Cover scans found of the net are of varying quality. Many are not straight and needs a bit rotating / cropping to look right, and the edges sometimes contain noise, stretch marks or damaged areas. Such cover images needs to be fixed to look good when used like this:
If the edges of the images look bad, the above browsing UI will look bad as well.
Covers can be uploaded in either JPEG format or PNG format. If your source is an JPEG image and you have not modified it, then you can upload the JPEG. If you have enhanced the image (recommended) by rotating/straightening it, cropping it, retouching it or adjusting the colors, please save as PNG so further modifications can be performed later without additional loss of quality due to compression.
The covers should not include watermarks unless it is impossible to obtain an image without watermarks for a game.
When the game is available in English, screenshots and covers must be from the English version (the text, if any, must be in English when possible).
Cover Image Enhancement
Some common enhancements suitable for cover images (depending on the state of the source image):
- Rotate the image in order to straighten it, if it is scanned slightly rotated.
- Crop the image (if needed) after rotating, or if the edges contain noise / garbage and the image can be cropped a bit without significant loss.
- Retouch the image to erase rips and fix damaged areas. Tools such as “clone brush” or similar can be used in many cases.
- Perform curve adjustment to improve the colors and contrast in the image.
Cover Image Resolution
The images are intended to display on computer monitors / TVs, and an incredible resolution is not necessary. But don’t scale the images down unless you have a good reason.
- If you have a 2116×1513 image (just a random example), fine – upload it in this size. The system will scale (a copy of) the images to a suitable download resolution, so don’t scale the images to the “final size” display in a given user interface.
- Image sizes around 1024×768 are also OK, but if the image size is significantly less than this, try to find a better source. Still, anything is better than nothing, and size is not everything. The overall quality of the source material must be considered.
- If the image is very large (say more than 4000×3000), and contains noise (a high-resolution scan), you can just as well scale down to for example 2000×1500 with a good quality scaling method and filter away some noise in the process The specific sizes are examples only. I do not mean that you should only send in exactly 4:3 covers. Use the correct aspect ratio, and remember that there is no specific maximum size 🙂
Remember to save as PNG and not JPEG when you modify an image. We don’t want to introduce additional compression artifacts.
Cover Image Aspect Ratio
Currently the launcher displays covers in two aspect ratios: 4:3 and 1:1. The one that is closest to the actual aspect ratio of the cover will be used to display the cover in the launcher. When the 1:1 aspect ratio is used, black borders will be displayed above and below the cover. Please never stretch or correct the aspect ratio of a cover to force it to match 4:3. Always upload the original cover with its aspect ratio. When the original aspect ratio is known, it is possible to have a user preference to control stretching in launcher programs. If the image is pre-stretched, this will not be possible.
One obvious resource for box cover images is the original box itself. I believe cover images can be sourced from other websites as well, at least individually. As far as I know, these sites can not claim copyright on the images itself (Though a site may possibly claim some ownership on the collection as as whole). If anyone can claim copyright on individual screenshots and box art, it is the copyright owner of the game (game publisher, probably). Using images for illustrative purposes should be within the realm of fair use.
Additional sources for screenshots and box covers:
- Exotica has a quite good collection of Amiga box covers with decent resolution. Many covers have washed-out colors and need some color correction (at least curve adjustment).
- Commdore Is Awesome has a few very high quality covers. Most of them need to be retouched, but the base resolution is much higher than from other sources.
Hall Of Light is a great Amiga game information resource, but not for covers as the covers are currently watermarked.
Restoring covers and other scans using GIMP
Our member tomse made a video to explain how to process raw scans to correct dents, discolouration, colour levels and other damages. If you’ve scanned images yourself this tutorial might be useful for you 🙂
Restoring scanned pages using Gimp
When a original Amiga cover cannot be found, or does not exist for the game (PD/shareware/freeware), a custom cover can be created and uploaded:
- Sometimes custom covers can be created based on the title screen and/or ingame screens.
Custom covers are allowed because this database is not meant to be an encyclopedia. Instead, the covers are “illustration images” for games, and 100% accuracy is not needed.
But still, it is important to not “fake history” and create general confusion by being to clever with custom covers:
- Don’t add Amiga stickers (or similar) to a cover from another platform, to make it look like this cover was actually sold.
- Use the “__custom_cover” field to add a short note about the custom cover (what it is based on for example). The presence of the __custom_cover can then be used to dermine that the cover is unofficial.
These guidelines can be summarized as:
- Creating covers for things that don’t have a cover is good
- Removing a system specific sticker and use that cover is okay
- Putting an Amiga sticker on a cover is too much…