At last! The end of this week has been extremely busy. I've had two main things to do: starting to drum up some interest/sales of It's Alive! in preparation for receiving the game from the manufacturers, and finishing the layout of the artwork in the correct program for the manufacturers.
When I was getting the artwork digitally printed, the printer was happy to receive the artwork as uncompressed JPEG files. I used PaintShopPro to do these, painstakingly laying out all the components to pixel-perfect accuracy. Needless to say, it was a horrible and slow job. In particular, trying to justify the text for the rules was particularly bad as I had to move each word individually! Still, I had a copy of PaintShopPro and it almost did what I wanted.
This time round the manufacturer wants PDF files, laid out in Adobe InDesign or Quark Express. I bit the bullet and bought a copy of InDesign for a staggering fee, but it has been well worth it. Unlike PaintShopPro it is specifically designed for print layout, and does a great job of it too. Clicking the 'Justify Text' button was a particularly great moment :-) I've laid each component out in it's own file, the cards one to a page, the rules, slabs, guides and coins with two pages - front and back. I've also started (but not yet finished) the new box design too.
Perhaps the slowest job (and one I couldn't start until I received the last of the artwork yesterday) was doing the illustrations for the rules. These had to be done again, since there were some changes to the artwork, and so I had to reconstruct them from scratch in Photoshop (InDesign works best with artwork embedded as Photoshop .PSD files). That was finally done mid-afternoon today. So now I only have the box to finish off and it's ready to go to the printers.
The other thing I've been doing is contacting shops in the UK, trying to convince them they need to stock It's Alive! I'm offering them the game in case quantities only (lots of six), if they want to get less I'm directing them to Esdevium, the UK distributors who have agreed to pick it up. I've already got far more orders than I've ever had for a game before it's ready, and I've not got any deals in place with US distributors yet. Nor any distributors in other territories.
Next up is get the box artwork finished, and then trying to get other distributors and shops interested.