May 222012

If you’re curious about what’s happening with Evil Hat’s Atomic Robo RPG, you owe it to yourself to give the latest Bear Swarm podcast episode a listen, where Mike spills lots of great detail.

Like, whoa.

 Posted by at 11:35 am  Comments Off on Lead Developer Mike Olson Talks About the Atomic Robo RPG  Tagged with: , ,
Jan 102012

Evil Hat Productions Announces ‘Atomic Robo’ RPG License

Double 2011 Origins Award Winner Licenses Eisner-Nominated Comic Book

SILVER SPRING, Maryland— January 10, 2012 — Evil Hat Productions, LLC, today announced an agreement to produce, publish, and distribute a role-playing game based on the Eisner-nominated Atomic Robo comic book. The Atomic Robo RPG will be co-written by Atomic Robo scribe Brian Clevinger and Kerberos Club: Fate Edition author Mike Olson, creator of the Strange Fate version of the Fate engine.

“I’m such a big fan of the world Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener create in every page of Atomic Robo,” said Fred Hicks of Evil Hat. “When I found out they were fans of role-playing games—including Evil Hat’s own Spirit of the Century—it was clear we had a giant-sized opportunity that had to be pursued.”

With The Atomic Robo RPG, Evil Hat will build on the legacy of Fate games like Spirit of the Century and The Dresden Files RPG—together with the ideas of Evil Hat’s upcoming Fate Core project and Mike Olson’s Strange Fate work. The stand-alone game will deliver a fast-paced and fast-to-play role-playing experience focused on the themes of Atomic Robo—action-science, robots, angry talking dinosaurs, high weirdness, and more.

“Brian and I are lifelong RPG nerds, I mean enthusiasts, and we could not be more excited to partner with Evil Hat and Mike Olson to bring readers even closer to the world of Atomic Robo,” said Scott Wegener. “There’s over a century of adventure in our comic book, but we can only show you guys slices of the whole picture. This game opens up so many opportunities to play with that world, its history, the weird unexplored corners, and the might-have-beens,” added Brian Clevinger.

The Atomic Robo RPG  begins development in late February of 2012. “We’d love to get The Atomic Robo RPG out in 2012, and if everything comes together fast and smooth we might just manage that,” said Hicks. “But as with all licensed projects at Evil Hat, we want to take our time to make sure we serve the license and the fans well. Thankfully, Brian and Scott have the same opinion, here. The Atomic Robo RPG that we release will be the best one we can possibly make, period—and that may take us into 2013.”

For more information about Evil Hat Productions, the Fate system, Spirit of the Century, and the Dresden Files RPG, visit For more information about Atomic Robo, visit Atomic Robo is published by Red 5 Comics, available at and in comic stores everywhere. Kerberos Club: Fate Edition is published by Arc Dream Publishing,

About Evil Hat Productions

Evil Hat Productions believes that passion makes the best games. It is this passion for gaming that raised Evil Hat to its acclaimed position in the RPG community. Our games can be used to build the best kinds of role-playing experiences—full of laughter, storytelling, and memorable moments. Today we don’t just run games, we don’t just make them, we work with you to make your play the best it can be—the kind that upholds and gives birth to passions of your own. That’s the Evil Hat mission, and we’re happy to have you along on it.

Since its inception, Evil Hat has won accolades ranging from the Indie RPG Awards, the Golden Geeks, the ENnies, and the Origins Awards, most recently claiming the Origins Awards for both Best Roleplaying Game (The Dresden Files RPG: Your Story) and Best Roleplaying Game Supplement (The Dresden Files: Our World).

About Atomic Robo

Brian Clevinger is a ten year veteran of online and independent comics. You can laugh at and sometimes with his early work at Follow him on Twitter at bclevinger.

Scott Wegener used to fly planes until he found out it was nothing like High Road to China. Now he draws comic books as a form of very slow starvation. Follow him on Twitter at Scott_Wegna

Press contact

Fred Hicks
Email: feedback [AT]

Dec 312011

(Okay, this is excessively nerdy talk meant primarily for the InDesign-heads out there. It’s also incomplete. There are a TON of reasons I love GREP styles, but here I’m gonna focus on one.) A few versions back, InDesign added these things called GREP styles, which use the pattern-matching power of regular expressions to cause formatting to happen intelligently and automatically inside of a paragraph style. I used to be a Perl jockey, and that programming language really sings when you get cozy with regular expressions, so when this stuff started showing up in InDesign I was pretty damned happy. With the layout work I’ve done for Hero Games, I’ve used GREP styles to take care of a ton of the formatting that you see in stat-blocks, which is a huge boon. I did similar when doing D&D 4E statblock layout for One Bad Egg. This, however, is not about statblocks. It’s about using GREP styles to perform little tweaks to your header styles. So I’m looking at the Atomic Robo logo. It’s swanky.

And I’m wondering — is there a font that matches this? Clearly there’s some custom type design in the logo, but it’d be nifty if I could put together a header style that did a solid job of matching its look. I do some searching around via things like WhatTheFont, and I come across a pair of fonts that are sort of a match: Melrose Modern One & Two Okay, so Melrose Modern One is a bit closer of a fit, and so I start with that as my header style, getting something like this: Now the hunt for mismatches begins. The A isn’t rounded in One, but it is in Two. The I has serifts on it in One, but is a straight simple line in Two. The M isn’t really a match in either, so I have to set that aside as “it’d be nice, but this will be close enough”. Obviously the lightning bolts are added after the fact, so if I want those, I’ll have to hand-craft them. And the O in Atomic is simply different from the other O’s in the logo — but it looks a lot like the O in Two. I can solve this problem with the addition of two GREP styles (I could probably solve it with one depending on how far I wanted to go, but two will be easier for the teach, here). First, let’s look at the A and the I. I’d like these to be in Melrose Modern Two whenever I type them in the header. Prior to GREP styles, I’d need to find all the instances where I did, and apply a character style that makes them use the Two font instead of One. I’ll start by setting up a character style (“Mel 2”), because that much hasn’t changed. But to apply this effect simply and automatically in my header, I’m going to do this with a GREP style. I edit the paragraph style that I’m using for this header, and I go into the GREP Styles pane of it for the details. I create a new style that applies my character style, Mel 2. For the pattern, I want to do a single-character match for these, and I want it to apply whenever it encounters an A or an I (and as I mess around with it later, when it encounters an R and an N too, so I throw those in for good measure). My pattern is simple:


That’s regular expression speak for “a single character that is either uppercase A, I, N, or R”. What’s the header look like after I make that one change to the paragraph style, without me directly applying any character styles? Much better! And for a workaday header that feels consistent with the logo that inspired it, it’d work pretty much as is. But that O in Atomic hounds me a bit. It’d be fun if every time I typed “ATOMIC”, I got the alternative O from the Melrose Modern 2. I set up another GREP style in my header’s paragraph style, same as the first, but with a different pattern. This one’s a little more complicated — I want it to know that it’s “inside” of the ATOMIC word, but I don’t want it to apply my character style, Mel 2, to the other letters in the word — just the O. So I need it to be able to look to the left and the right of an O, and see if the letters around it spell AT MIC. That’s a concept called “positive lookbehind” and “positive lookahead”, which is a fancy way of saying look and verify, but don’t touch. In regular expression speak, that’s:


Look to the left: is AT there? That’s the first part. Look to the right: is MIC there? That’s the last part. The actually-matched thing, the O, that the character style is applied to, is in the middle. (Important tip: these are case sensitive by default. You’ve got to fiddle with the dials a bit if you want case insensitive.) If I use Mel 2 as my character style, I get this:

Boom! If I really wanted to go nuts on this, I could create a copy of Mel 2 that was maybe 10-15% bigger in size, with a baseline adjustment so the big O would drop down a bit below the other letters on the line, but that probably won’t look as good as I’d want it to because the weight of the O would change as it increased in size. So for now, with the font that I’ve got here, this is my best fit. (If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see that before all of this I did a font size override on Robo to make it smaller than Atomic, and gave it some different spacing settings, but that’s outside of scope for what I’m demoing here.)

Now, that might seem like a lot of trouble just to do a few letter substitutions in a single logo or header when I could simply apply the character style a few times and be done with it. But as with anything involving regular expressions, the real power comes in when you have to do something a few hundred or more times. With the GREP Style enabled header I’ve made, I can just type FRED DEFINITELY LOVES THOSE ATOMIC GREP STYLES and I get all my A’s, I’s, N’s and R’S substituted out all proper, without having to do anything other than apply the paragraph style to the text — here’s a before and after, without and with the GREP styles involved:

This isn’t always about one font for another font, of course. It’s all in what you do with the character style that you’re applying. Maybe you’re just changing the weight of the same typeface; maybe you’re giving it a different color or a slightly different size; maybe you’re turning on or off certain OpenType features (like swashes) — I did a lot of that last bit with the headers for the Dresden Files RPG, because its header font, Newcomen, has some crazy-great OpenType features, but not always ones that I like consistently turned on or off for every letter or letter combo.

GREP styles are incredibly versatile, and with a few smartly constructed patterns, you can save yourself a lot of work and cause your text to conditionally format itself with a single click.

Can’t recommend them enough.