1/23/2015

Frugal GM Review: Schema- Halls Beneath the Hills

Frugal GM Review: Schema- Halls Beneath the Hills
It is a rare day when I come across a RPG product I simply do not like, and today is one of those rare days.

Schema: Halls Beneath the Hills is a product I purchased based off of the free low-res PDF version. The low rez was a bit fuzzy, but good for planning layout. Heck, that is what it's advertised for.

The same graphics are used to advertise the "hi-rez" version which is touted as "presented to 100% scale for use with standard 1" base miniatures" Now right off the bat I have to call BS. The graphic files are presented as B&W .gif files that are 72DPI. Now they are large files, but when you re-size them.....and you have to re-size them.....they don't come out to scale when re-sized to 300 DPI. What should be eight inches of hallway (2400 pixels, which is 300*8 for those following at home) instead comes out at 1500 pixels.

The publisher advertises "NO piddly 3D assembly", but instead replaces this with piddly printing instructions. Seriously, if you have to provide a graphic and instructions on how to print your product to scale....when it is already advertised as "presented to 100% scale" when it clearly isn't.....well that is just downright false advertising.

I only opened up a couple of the .gifs and the very first one I couldn't even open in anything but a web browser. The files I did open ended up being Index color .gifs, which makes no sense as these are black & white files. Granted the size difference between an Index Color and Greyscale .gif is minimal...but still.
To-scale print out of a corridor
What are we even doing in this corridor?

I also noticed there was a specific mention of a commercial license available if you wanted to use these files in your product, and there were even some instruction as to how, but if you really wanted to do so you might need to get more information, "For further information and terms of license, see the Game Developer License in the Extras folder." Of course there is no Game Developer License in the Extras Folder.

There is a small one-off adventure and a whole RPG in the extras folder, which is nice....I guess. There is no mention of these goodies in the product description and when you factor in this RPG PDF takes up 62% of the download file it really feels like it was included to beef-up the download size, which is again...false advertising.

"Wow, must be a lot of cool floorplans if the zip file is 43.72 MB!Nope!

All this could be forgiven if the "hi-rez" graphics were better. Alas, I was disappointed in them as well. I can see why there wasn't a preview, which is a shame because it still looks better on-screen than printed out. There is a noticeable difference between the low and hi resolutions, but it just isn't enough.

Comparison between low-rez and high, to scale

Frugal GM 1 Star Review: Schema- Halls Beneath the Hills
$2.98 is too much for a product I won't be using. I'm not even going to keep this on my hard drive. I realize that is a tremendously cruel thing to type in a review, but I pretty much feel like I was tricked on this one.

There is potential though, and I'll be more than happy to re-visit this publisher if some changes are made.