Release news post guidelines

pchote edited this page Jan 2, 2015 · 1 revision
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Note: This also applies to playtest news posts.

These news posts are the first thing that people see when they visit our website, and they are copied verbatim across social media and other websites. This means that they are as much an advertisement for the project in general as they are a means of explaining the specific release/playtest changes. It is worth putting in a bit of effort to maximize the publicity that they provide.

Text

The news text may be read from somewhere other than our website, so it shouldn't rely on other page elements such as the header or comments. Always include a link to the downloads page in the main text, and avoid saying things like "in the header above" or "in the comments below".

The focus of the text content should be on player-facing changes rather than technical details. Remember that the majority of our players are regular gamers who (overgeneralising) don't care about programming or open source. Refer interested readers to the changelog where they can view the full list of changes and the corresponding pull requests. It is a good idea to include a reminder that OpenRA is open-source and community-developed, but this should not be the primary focus of a release news post.

Aim for 5 - 10 key feature bullet points, balanced between the three shipping mods, general improvements, and engine/modding features. It may make sense to combine multiple features into one point in some cases.

Be aware of line length and the final rendered layout. HTML doesn't have very good typesetting facilities, but it is not hard to tweak the wording of a line to ensure that a sentence doesn't end with a single word overflowing on to its own line.

Screenshots

The screenshots are probably the most important part of a release newspost, and deserve particular care.

Most screenshots should be 600 x 300 px and saved as indexed png. Certain features may require a larger image or non-indexed colours, but these can be treated on a case-by-case basis. Aim for 3 - 5 screenshots per post, but this will of course depend on the number of changes in a release. Pick only the most visually interesting changes to show off, making sure that there is a balance between mods (ideally at least one in each of RA, TD, and D2K). If a mod doesn't include anything new, then consider using it to demonstrate a common feature instead.

The image should clearly demonstrate the feature being shown, which is described in the caption beneath it. It should be framed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and not contain too much empty space around the edges (but on the other hand, shouldn't be too busy to obscure the target feature). A screenshot of a single unit standing on empty terrain is not very interesting for example - show the unit in battle, with other units fighting around it (but not too close as to hide it). It can be tricky to compose all of the elements of a screenshot at once, so don't even try: it is more efficient to compose different parts of the image in different shots, and then combine them with an image editor.