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The TMP FAQ


Here lies Frequently Asked Questions (and some answers) regarding this website.


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8,048 hits since 23 Jan 2007
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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News of the Hobby

Tell me about news of miniature wargaming on TMP.
News stories that relate to the hobby of miniature wargaming, or that would be of interest to our readership, are welcome here. They can appear either in our Hobby News section, or on our main forum (see below for details and restrictions).
Who can submit a story for Hobby News?
Due to the overwhelming number of news submissions, TMP currently only accepts news stories from our advertisers for the Hobby News section. (An exception is made for non-commercial announcements and stories of exceptional importance.) Non-advertisers are welcome to post announcements on our main forum.
What qualifies as news?
Our goal is to cover anything that is of interest to miniature wargamers. That includes:
  • announcements of new companies
  • new products
  • new issues of hobby publications
  • changes in company ownership
  • companies going out of business
  • distribution changes
  • major updates to hobby-related websites
  • new books of interest to wargamers
On a slow news day, we may run almost any story... but when things get busy, we have to run the most important stories first, and other stories go into the backlog.
Do you cover plastic kits?
If they are in wargaming scales, definitely (including 1:72 and 1:144 scale aircraft, and 1:72, 1:48 and 1:56 armor and vehicles).
Do you cover traditional, painted 54mm toy soldiers?
Yes.
Do you cover military history books?
Yes.
Do you publish stories about large scale figures, busts, and diorama sets?
We run stories about non-wargaming models when space allows, since these are often "of interest" to wargamers. Figures larger than 54mm would generally be considered non-wargaming figures.
Will you run stories about upcoming movies?
If the movie is of interest to our readership, yes. That would generally include films that include military history, or action films suitable to be depicted in a wargame.
I want to remind people about my contest/convention/event - can I run a second news story?
You can submit it, but we probably won't run it unless it's a real slow news day - a 'reminder' story isn't really news, and banner advertising serves that purpose better.
How often do you run news stories?
Whenever we're in the office, we try to run three news stories per hour.
I'm having a sale - is that news?
Only if you're a TMP advertiser, sorry.
Will you run stories about upcoming game conventions?
We'll run one "announcement" story for any game convention. We'll run update stories only if:
  1. your convention is an advertiser, or
  2. it's a slow news day...

Searching Hobby News

I'm looking for a particular story. Is there a way to search Hobby News?
Currently, the only way to search Hobby News directly is by manufacturer. If you look up a particular company in the Manufacturers Directory, you will see a button in the lefthand column that says View News. Pressing that button will get you a list of all stories mentioning that manufacturer.
But I'm not searching by manufacturer...
Then your best bet is to use one of the search services on the internet. For instance, you'll find Hobby News items (and Hobby News Talk discussions) with Google if you try:
searchterm site:theminiaturespage.com/news/

Submitting a Hobby News Story

What's the best way to submit news to TMP?
The best way is to submit news is to use the button on your advertising account page. You will receive a PM when the story is scheduled for publication, and another PM when your story is published.
How do I submit pictures with an online submission?
The best way is to provide the photo's URL within the story itself. We'll download the photo to our server later. Remember to always provide captions for your photos. For instructions on how to format a photo, please see the Formatting FAQ.
Can't I just submit a news story by email?
Yes, you can. However, we process online submissions first, since they are already "in the system."
I have a mailing list - can't you just get the news from there?
Let us know the details of your mailing list, and we'll subscribe and monitor it for news. However, on a busy news day, we might not have time to sort through the email for news...
Can you get news from my RSS feed?
Give us the URL, and we'll monitor the feed. When we don't have enough web-submitted stories, we rotate through known RSS feeds to find stories. (This even takes priority over email-submitted stories.)
I don't want you to run news from my mailing list or RSS feed.
Just tell us, and we'll ignore your announcements.
I don't speak English so well - will you fix my English for me?
If we can figure it out, yes. grin
If I send in five stories at once, will you run them all at the same time?
No, we'll space them out to give everyone else a fair chance.
If I submit two stories, will you run them in the order I submitted them in?
Not necessarily. For instance, let's say you submit a high priority and a low priority news story. There is usually a longer queue for high priority stories, so we might run the low priority story first... and then your high priority story might have to wait longer (see above).
I've got news - can I send in a story, even if I'm just a "fan"?
Yes - just make it clear in your submission that you're not representing the company, and let me know where you got your news from. However, we will only run the story if it involves one of our advertisers, or if we decide the story is an exception to our policy.
Should I sign my name at the bottom of the story?
No - it already appears at the top.
If something is important, SHOULD I CAPITALIZE IT?
No.
When I file a story with your online submission form, how do I know which areas to select?
Select the areas which the story is relevant to. For example, if your story is about the release of medieval miniatures, check "medieval."
My story is about WWII figures, but I also make science-fiction figures. Should I select "science fiction" too?
No.
I want everyone to read my important news story. Can I select all areas?
No.
I'm impatient for my Hobby News story to run. Can I post it to the forums?
Yes. However, since you've already announced your news story on the forum, we'll treat the story as a lower prioritry or less important story in the Hobby News queue.
I'm not an advertiser. Can I announce my news on your forum?
Yes.

Graphics

How many photos should I submit for a news story?
Two
How large should they be?
Try to keep the file size of each photo under 30K.
What about photo sizes?
Photos should be no larger than 350 pixels in width and height.
What if my photos are too big/large?
Send them anyway - I can resize them.
I'm an advertiser - can I run more/larger photos?
Yes - you can have up to four photos per story. Maximum dimensions for a headline photo are 400 pixels wide by 450 pixels high; other photos may be up to 550 pixels wide.
But I need even more photos!
Doesn't hurt to ask... grin
Which photo will you use for the photo on the homepage?
If you submit online, you can leave instructions if you have a preferred photo. Otherwise, we'll try to use the first picture submitted. If you send photos by email, we'll pick one for you unless you specify in the email which one you want.
But you didn't use the photo I wanted on your homepage...
In general, the photo needs to match the headline. So if your headline is "Mammoth Games Releases Sherman Tanks," don't give us a headline picture of the Napoleonic hussars you also just happen to be releasing. If your headline mentions several releases, the photo should be of the first item mentioned. So if your headline is "New Orcs and Wizard from Triangle Games," the headline picture should be of the Orcs.
I sent you my logo, but you didn't use it...
We try not to use logos unless we have no alternative - photos of actual product are much more interesing...
I sent a photo, but you shrunk it down!
See file and size requirements above.
I want to have a YouTube video embedded in my news story.
Include the YouTube link in your story, and when we edit your story, the link will be converted to an embedded video.

Posting News to the TMP Forum

Can I post my news story to the main forum on this website?
Yes. In fact, this is the only way for non-advertisers to announce their new releases.
Can I announce that I'm having a sale?
Only if you are a TMP advertiser, sorry. Sales, discounts, promotions, special bundles - sorry, not allowed for non-advertisers.
Can I announce something both in Hobby News and on the forum?
Yes, if you are an advertiser. However, it is best to post to the forum only after your Hobby News story has been published. Otherwise, your forum post will count as the original announcement of your news, and your Hobby News story will be downgraded to a lower priority when it is run.

Advice

Make Your Headline Specific
Your headline should give readers a clue about what your news is, to make them want to click on the link. Good headlines also help when readers are looking to find a particular story they remember. Poor headlines are uninformative, such as "This Month's Releases from XYZ Miniatures" or "Update from Ajax Studios".
Don't Bury Your Own Story
Your headline should mention the most exciting part of your news story. For instance, if you're going to be releasing a new line of Communist Trolls at BigCon, a poor headline would be "XYZ Miniatures to Attend BigCon" - a lot of people who aren't going to BigCon won't think to click on the story, and will miss the announcement of the new line. A better headline would be "Communist Trolls Releasing at BigCon".
Don't Be Afraid to Split Your Story
If you can't sum up your news story in a brief headline, that's probably a sign that you should split your story up into several stories. If this week's releases are Roman latrine diggers and Gestapo transvestites, running two stories instead of one means each release gets its own focus.
Text in Photos
Those of you with large online catalogs with photographs understand the same issue that I deal with at TMP: trying to keep photo sizes down, to minimize bandwidth costs. ("Bandwidth costs" are when my service provider wants to charge me extra because I've gone over my allotted bandwidth this month.) Therefore, I am always balancing between photo quality (because nobody wants to see blurry pictures) and photo size.

And while you might think of photo size in terms of how wide and tall the photo is, the real number I'm concerned with is the file size.

Considering file size, it is almost always better to avoid adding labels, logos, and other text to a photo of a miniature. It is much more efficient to have the text in the article, rather than in the photo. Text in a photo involves lots of color changes and hard edges, which tends to make a photo larger in file size.

Let's say you submit a photo for a Hobby News story, and it illustrated your new model, plus your logo, and some descriptive text: "1:56th scale. Painted by Arrigo Juarez." Now, if you've already sized the photo to meet our recommended file size, you're good to go. But usually that won't be the case, especially in this situation.

So I'll need to work with the photo. My first step is typically to add compression to the photo (i.e., extract detail from the photo) to reduce the file size. At first, the compression will have little effect on photo quality. Eventually, however which will probably happen in this case the photo will start to have noticeable degradation in quality, with lots of shadows around the text.

My second step is to reduce the photo size, and then try compression again. The problem with reducing the photo size is that the text becomes smaller and less readable. However, since the photo is smaller in width and height, the filesize will also be smaller.

So keep that in mind when submitting photos for Hobby News.
Pick a Name and Stick With It
I suppose this is mostly a convenience to me if you can pick a company name and stick to it, it's easier on my end, because I can set up the Hobby News system to automatically put the right links in whenever it sees that name. Plus, it just looks more professional when you remember your own name. grin

Now, I'm not really talking about companies that can't remember their own name, it's the nicknames and abbreviations that people aren't consistent with. For a totally fictitious example, let's say that your company is General Purpose Miniatures. Which means you might also use...
  • GP Minis
  • GP-Minis
  • gp minis
  • G.P. Minis
All I ask is that you pick one or two nicknames and stick to them, because if you're always coming up with a new nickname, then the Hobby News system won't expect that and I have to hand-code the link myself. frown
The Toy Zone
When you submit a Hobby News story using the online system, you have a chance to check off which categories the story falls under. Besides fantasy, science fiction, and the historical periods, one of the choices is "Toy" and it's one which seems to confuse a lot of people... because it is a bit confusing, as the "Toy" category is an odd amalgamation that sort of grew in the early years of TMP. It started as "gaming with toys" (a genre which seems to have disappeared over the years), then added "gaming with toy soldiers," then added "games which don't require painting."

Your story qualifies for the "Toy" category if:
  1. Your story is about a toy that can be used for gaming. Includes action figures, stuffed animals, diecast cars, etc.
  2. Your story is about a ruleset which would typically be played with toys.
  3. Your story is about traditional toy soldiers 54mm or larger, unpainted or pre-painted.
  4. Your story is about a ruleset which would typically be played with toy soldiers (see above) or 54mm+ figures.
  5. Your story is about miniatures which are sold fully painted (not just primed).
  6. Your story is about a game which is ready to play from the box, and does not need painting. For example: a boardgame which includes counters, even though you could also play the game with minis.
  7. Your story is about paper models (which require no painting).