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Wish List Items from my first week of solid commissions

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I do layout work for TTRPG (tabletop roleplaying game) designers, and this week I decided to give Affinity Publisher an honest go of it. I took two commissions, and put both of them into Publisher. I'm pleased to say that it mostly went smoothly, but I have a few things that would have made the experience even better. A lot of us in the TTRPG industry are looking at Affinity Publisher as a more manageable alternative to Adobe's subscription model, and we bring with us some very specific needs that would be great to accommodate.

I put a thread up on Twitter talking about them, which I'll link at the bottom of this post, but here's the bullet list of things we'd like to see:

  • Impovements to the Place tool when used with text--specifically, we need the styles to map consistently every time a given file is placed--or, more preferably, a menu to appear prompting us to map the styles in the source file to the styles in the Publisher file, with additional options to keep or discard any style changes from the source file.
  • Place tool support for Markdown (.md) files--right now we have to use Pandoc to generate a docx file in order for it to work with Publisher, which adds a layer of complexity that can cause problems. Let us skip that step.
  • Export/Persona for HTML output--this is a big one for me, but web designers could get a lot of mileage out of this application if it could generate HTML code. I've been wanting to create interactive character sheets for games, with trackers and toggles and text fields and menus. Being able to do all of that within Publisher would be awesome, but being able to add those things to the HTML output would be a nice first step.
  • Export/Persona for ePub output--this would be good for generating multiple versions of a document without having to maintain multiple source files.

Those are the big-ticket items for me as a TTRPG designer and layout artist for the industry. I know there are others who would also benefit from these things.

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I've been promoting this app in the RPG design Facebook groups I'm part of too. I'm a full time graphic designer at a university, but used to do all of the layout for the RPGs I published. My main concern with it right now is support for third party font managers and how it deals with tables (my game's rulebook had over a hundred tables with some of them multi page). I still need to dig into the latest beta though ( It's definitely a pro app and not a warmed over word processor. VERY promising.

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  • 6 months later...

Funnily enough, I just started to use Affinity Publisher for TTRPG stuff too. It is indeed extremely promising, and I'm happy with most of what I've seen so far, but I strongly agree with the @Dee's first 2 points:

  • I'm not sure if "we need the styles to map consistently" meant that it does it inconsistently right now? I can't make any styles map on import ever. It's a big waste of time when I re-import a text file. That's my #1 feature request by far for Publisher.
  • Supporting Markdown would be a nice bonus indeed. Most Markdown editors support a quick RTF/DOCX export, though, so it's not a huge deal for now.
  • My #2 feature request is being able to link to a text file, as opposed to importing it. I imagine Publisher would mark "outdated" text frames with some icon, and you can one-click-reimport the text without having to navigate for the 100th time to the correct file on disk. Assuming the text style remapping works, this means that the layout person only needs to fix, well, layout issues when the text changes.
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