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AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two

 
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AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 12:13:58 AM   
Alfred

 

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I am opening up a part two thread as the original manual revision thread was locked.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3689581&mpage=1&key=manual%2Crevision

As can be seen in post 85 from 13 June 2015 in the original thread I provided a then status report and future intentions. The current status is as follows.

1. I upgraded to the latest official patch last week and recommenced direct work on the project.

2. The revision is locked in to the latest official update ie v.1.01.24. No notice will be taken of any beta changes made by michaelm since then. This is a non negotiable position as otherwise the project could never be finalised.

3. I am retyping from scratch the complete manual. New screenshots are being taken. This is actually quicker than trying to cut and paste into the existing PDF document.

4. The general layout of the original manual is being followed but I am adding new sections and rewriting existing sections to both improve accuracy and readability. Unknown to them yet, I have a couple of individuals in mind to send the drafts to read in order to provide feedback on ease of readability. The condition will be that the drafts are not released to nor commented on to any third parties.

5. Drafts of the first three chapters have been completed. I anticipate that I will have drafts of the first five chapters completed by the new year. When completed I will be sending the first five chapters to the devs for

(a) confirmation that the approach I have adopted in the revision is acceptable to them, and
(b) checking the code to confirm certain changes I am making are in fact completely accurate

I don't know how long it will take for the devs to respond, nor whether they will approve of my approach. In any case whilst they assess the first five chapters I will continue the revision. If I do get a negative response from the devs the project will cease from my end.

6. One of the things I have done, and why it is important for the devs to agree to the approach I am taking, is to add hyperlinks back to accurate and useful forum discussions. These are identified by the preceding [FD]. The intent is to provide context. For example, I have provided a hyperlink for players on Win 10 who have tech issues (such as slow response times). That link is provided in chapter 1 in a new section dealing with Command Line switches. Another [FD] provided in chapter 2 is on which scenario should a new player first choose to play. That way a new player can read what is in the manual (which is expanded on anyway from the original) plus see what actual players recommend. There are several other [FD] in addition to these two already inserted into the draft.

7. Currently I have another forumite checking on things which I am not in a position to do so. These are things such as use of hotkeys in a PBEM game (I don't have any PBEM games to use as a test bed) and any thing which needs to be under Win 10 as I remain on Win 7. No effort will be made to test on Win 8.1 as most of those users seem to have moved over to Win 10.

8. Currently there is no estimate as to when the project will be completed. In the last week I have been spending some 12 hours daily on checking patch notes, searching the forum, running game turns for checking purposes, on drafting etc. That rate may not be able to be sustained indefinitely but even if it were, it would still entail another two months minimum just to get the first draft of the complete manual done. That is without taking into account time spent by the devs on the drafts and any resulting rewrites necessary from their comments.

9. I have linked back to the original thread so that those earlier comments are not overlooked. This new thread can be the repository for any new, relevant comments. However lets try to not get this thread locked too.

Alfred
Post #: 1
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 1:03:54 AM   
dave sindel

 

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Thank you for your efforts in this regard Alfred. A labor of love indeed.

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 2
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 1:16:15 AM   
mind_messing

 

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How will the manual be distributed?

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 3
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 1:39:22 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

How will the manual be distributed?


No idea, that is one of those many decisions up to the devs/Matrix and why it is so important for them to approve how I am handling the revision.



The easiest way would be to simply release a new PDF. I doubt that Matrix would want to publish a hard copy but one of my objectives is to produce a document which is of a sufficiently high standard that it could be produced in hard copy form. Actually this is one of the reasons why I have decided to not cut and paste into the existing manual but to rewrite from scratch. By doing so I can have a simple and consistent formatting style which can then be easily reformatted by Matrix to their standards for hard copy or PDF publication.



Ultimately it is a marketing decision for Matrix. If they believe there is sufficient demand for the sale of stand alone hard copies (plus adding them to new sales of the boxed version of AE), they might think it worthwhile. Otherwise the cost of releasing it only in PDF form is minimal. After all I'm not being paid for this project and I doubt any of the devs who might look at my drafts will be either.



Alfred

(in reply to mind_messing)
Post #: 4
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 1:55:10 AM   
pws1225

 

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Many thanks Alfred for your contributions. It is a mighty task indeed that you have undertaken. We wish you well.

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 5
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 2:05:33 AM   
rustysi


Posts: 3342
Joined: 2/21/2012
From: LI, NY
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Wow Alfred, and thank you. Happy holidays to you and yours. If you're ever in the neighborhood drop a line and dinner is on me.



_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 6
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 6:26:10 AM   
Yaab


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From: Poznan, Poland
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The new manual will be distributed to those players who completed at least one GC game against human/AI and reached March, 1946. Slackers will be stuck with the old manual.This discrimination will continue until the turn rate improves.

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 7
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 9:24:55 AM   
Leandros


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

How will the manual be distributed?


No idea, that is one of those many decisions up to the devs/Matrix and why it is so important for them to approve how I am handling the revision.



The easiest way would be to simply release a new PDF. I doubt that Matrix would want to publish a hard copy but one of my objectives is to produce a document which is of a sufficiently high standard that it could be produced in hard copy form. Actually this is one of the reasons why I have decided to not cut and paste into the existing manual but to rewrite from scratch. By doing so I can have a simple and consistent formatting style which can then be easily reformatted by Matrix to their standards for hard copy or PDF publication.



Ultimately it is a marketing decision for Matrix. If they believe there is sufficient demand for the sale of stand alone hard copies (plus adding them to new sales of the boxed version of AE), they might think it worthwhile. Otherwise the cost of releasing it only in PDF form is minimal. After all I'm not being paid for this project and I doubt any of the devs who might look at my drafts will be either.



Alfred



I should think quite a few followers would be willing to pay for such a manual. Could even put it up on Kindle?

Fred


_____________________________

River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sea Lion - www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - a book series on how The Philippines were saved - in 1942! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018F2QMEW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 8
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 11:34:46 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 34143
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Leandros


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

How will the manual be distributed?


No idea, that is one of those many decisions up to the devs/Matrix and why it is so important for them to approve how I am handling the revision.



The easiest way would be to simply release a new PDF. I doubt that Matrix would want to publish a hard copy but one of my objectives is to produce a document which is of a sufficiently high standard that it could be produced in hard copy form. Actually this is one of the reasons why I have decided to not cut and paste into the existing manual but to rewrite from scratch. By doing so I can have a simple and consistent formatting style which can then be easily reformatted by Matrix to their standards for hard copy or PDF publication.



Ultimately it is a marketing decision for Matrix. If they believe there is sufficient demand for the sale of stand alone hard copies (plus adding them to new sales of the boxed version of AE), they might think it worthwhile. Otherwise the cost of releasing it only in PDF form is minimal. After all I'm not being paid for this project and I doubt any of the devs who might look at my drafts will be either.



Alfred



I should think quite a few followers would be willing to pay for such a manual.

Fred

warspite1

I think that is right based on the reaction to the quality, hard-bound MWIF, WITW and DC:B tomes. Certainly something I would dish out cash for.



_____________________________

22nd November 1944 - The British Pacific Fleet is born (temporary avatar changes to commemorate the ships and aircraft). HM Ships Formidable, Illustrious, Victorious



(in reply to Leandros)
Post #: 9
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 11:46:38 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Leandros

...I should think quite a few followers would be willing to pay for such a manual. Could even put it up on Kindle?

Fred



The issue is that the IP rights to AE belong to others. Anyone can write a game guide which focuses on game play hints but it would not be authoritative not being based on the underlying game code, as a manual is meant to be, and would need to avoid infringing copyright which would not be an easy task considering how extensive the existing manual is.

What people want is primarily a manual which accurately explains current game mechanics. Secondarily they want guidance on how to become a good AE player. Both of those requirements necessitate direct access to the game code. Ideally one of the original devs would produce a brand new manual but that "ain't gonna 'appen". So the community is left with me.

No matter how diligent I am in cross checking patch notes, historical forum posts from the devs, or eagle eye examination of the processing of a game turn and data relationships, there is no escaping that a dev with access to the code/Matrix will only participate if they retain control over the process. In fact there is even a possibility that Matrix demands I sign a NDA for any official assistance/recognition to given to the project.

There is too much work involved for this to simply be treated as a " garden folly". As it is too many around here dismiss as worthless or inaccurate what I post because I'm not one of the devs.

Alfred

Edit: wrong phonetic "right", should have been "write" in the first paragraph.

< Message edited by Alfred -- 12/23/2015 1:12:16 PM >

(in reply to Leandros)
Post #: 10
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 11:47:33 AM   
Jorge_Stanbury


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Thanks for the significant effort!

< Message edited by Jorge_Stanbury -- 12/23/2015 12:59:40 PM >

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 11
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 12:38:05 PM   
richlove


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Alfred, thank you for your efforts here, and for explaining the state of the project and the hurdles ahead.

(in reply to Jorge_Stanbury)
Post #: 12
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 6:53:50 PM   
NigelKentarus


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Joined: 3/27/2015
From: OH, USN 20 yrs, & FL
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You are to be commended sir for undertaking a truly Hurculean task. I really like the idea of hyperlinks to the forum embedded in the manual. Thank you.

_____________________________

If the attack is going too well, you're in an ambush.

(in reply to richlove)
Post #: 13
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 6:54:48 PM   
Mac Linehan

 

Posts: 1441
Joined: 12/19/2004
From: Denver Colorado
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quote:

There is too much work involved for this to simply be treated as a " garden folly". As it is too many around here dismiss as worthless or inaccurate what I post because I'm not one of the devs.


Alfred:

I respectfully submit that there is absolutely nothing "inconsequential" about your exact, detailed and exceptionally helpful posts. While the Devs are always to be listened to and respected, there are a number of people on this forum, who are far more astute than I, whom I have found to be exceptional in their accuracy and understanding of the mechanics of the game. You are, of course, included on this list.

Am absolutely delighted that you have persevered with this project, and look forward to it's release.

From the Snowy Mountains of Colorado, to the Beautiful, Sunny (but shark infested) beaches of Oz Land

Mac



_____________________________

LAV-25 2147

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 14
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 8:57:20 PM   
rustysi


Posts: 3342
Joined: 2/21/2012
From: LI, NY
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Yaab

The new manual will be distributed to those players who completed at least one GC game against human/AI and reached March, 1946. Slackers will be stuck with the old manual.This discrimination will continue until the turn rate improves.


Hey, wait Yaab, doesn't that leave you out. You haven't gone passed the end of December if I recall.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to Yaab)
Post #: 15
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 9:06:56 PM   
rustysi


Posts: 3342
Joined: 2/21/2012
From: LI, NY
Status: online
quote:

So the community is left with me.


Its difficult to describe what you have done and continue to do for the community without sounding like a sycophant, so I will just say we are not 'left with' you.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 16
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/23/2015 10:01:22 PM   
KenchiSulla


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Good luck Alfred

_____________________________

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"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
¯ Primo Levi, writer, holocaust survivo

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 17
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/24/2015 5:34:17 AM   
paradigmblue

 

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From: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Thank you so much for this labor of love.

Please let us know if you need help with copy-editing. Also, it wouldn't hurt to have another set of eyes helping with readability issues.

(in reply to KenchiSulla)
Post #: 18
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/24/2015 7:31:47 PM   
reg113


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Thank you, Alfred!

_____________________________

"Life's a b***h, then you die."

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 19
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/24/2015 7:54:17 PM   
DanSez


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rustysi

quote:

So the community is left with me.


Its difficult to describe what you have done and continue to do for the community without sounding like a sycophant, so I will just say we are not 'left with' you.


+1

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 20
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/24/2015 8:08:42 PM   
Justus2


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Thank you Alfred, I know this is a massive undertaking and the entire community will appreciate the results.

< Message edited by Justus2 -- 12/24/2015 9:08:54 PM >


_____________________________



Check out my AAR - Avoiding the Turkeyshoot! (Marianas Scenario, as Japan):
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3867657

(in reply to DanSez)
Post #: 21
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/25/2015 6:40:15 AM   
Yaab


Posts: 2866
Joined: 11/8/2011
From: Poznan, Poland
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: rustysi


quote:

ORIGINAL: Yaab

The new manual will be distributed to those players who completed at least one GC game against human/AI and reached March, 1946. Slackers will be stuck with the old manual.This discrimination will continue until the turn rate improves.


Hey, wait Yaab, doesn't that leave you out. You haven't gone passed the end of December if I recall.


Oh yes, but I am doing all my best to jockey for the best position to get the new manual. Should be there in about year 2038, God willing!

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 22
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/28/2015 1:22:00 PM   
Alfred

 

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Short update.

Chapters 1-4 have been sent to an experienced forumite to check on readability and how well the objectives are being met.

There are three objectives for this project.

1.  Produce an accurate manual.  Entails correcting errors, incorporating patch enhancements, standardise concept naming, filling in lacuna but still not breaching the no algorithm disclosure rule, ultimately improving the index.

2.  Producing a readable manual.  Not just a reference document which players look up when they come across a problem but one which logically flows and reduces the learning cliff.

3.  Reduce the number of new players asking questions on the forum and then receiving incorrect answers.  A good manual should always be the first resource accessed by a new player.  If a new player can't be bothered to check a good manual and work out for themselves the answer, they are incapable of understanding properly forum answers which are often incorrect anyway.

Actually, there is a fourth objective.  Get it finished and approved by the devs.

The process of polishing the first 4 chapters is not yet complete.  When done they, together with chapter 5, will be sent to the devs to check on certain under the hood functions.  hopefully, this will be early in early January 2016.

Compared to the printed manual, the drafts of the first 4 chapters have gained "weight".  Much of it is due to the great increase in screenshots incorporated.

To give an idea of the changes, these are the working sections titles of chapter 4 only.  They should hint at the new screenshots added.  To get an idea of the work involved compare the draft layout with the printed manual layout.

4.0  The Main Map Display

4.1  The Menu Bar

4.2  The Tactical Map

4.2.1  Terrain
4.2.1.1  Hex Terrain Types
4.2.1.2  Land Transportation Links
4.2.1.3  Hexside Barrier Terrain
4.2.1.4  Maritime transportation Links
4.2.1.4.1  Tactical Map Straits
4.2.1.4.2  Tactical Map Navigable Rivers
4.2.1.4.3  Off Map Maritime Transportation Links

4.2.2  Allowable Movement Through Hexsides

4.2.3  Tactical Map Icons
4.2.3.1  Land Unit Icons
4.2.3.2  Base Icons
4.2.3.3  Operational Airfield Icon
4.2.3.4  Anchored Ships Icon
4.2.3.5  Task Force Icons
4.2.3.6  Minefields Icon
4.2.3.7  Flagged Events icons

4.2.4  Off Map Areas
4.2.4.1  Transit Zones
4.2.4.2  Holding Boxes

4.3  Hex Command Display

4.4 Jump Map

4.5  Mouse Pop Over
4.5.1  Base Icon Mouse Over Display
4.5.2  Land combat Unit Icon Mouse Over Display
4.5.3  Operational Airfield Icon Mouse Over Display
4.5.4  Anchored Ships Icon Mouse Over Display
4.5.5  Task Force Icon Mouse Over Display

4.6  Strategic Map
4.6.1  Strategic Map Top Edge Filters
4.6.2  Strategic map Left Edge Filters

The next update from me will probably be no earlier than mid January.

Alfred

(in reply to Yaab)
Post #: 23
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/28/2015 4:33:51 PM   
Rommel76


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Wonderful idea Alfred , I appreciate very much your effort in getting a complete manual , this is the best wargame ever seen and deserves a more complete manual. Greetings and thanks!

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 24
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/28/2015 4:54:47 PM   
Anachro


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I would advise you to try to write it according to the structure and graphical style of the current manual. Thank you very much for the effort!

< Message edited by Anachro -- 12/28/2015 5:55:11 PM >

(in reply to Rommel76)
Post #: 25
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/28/2015 6:16:39 PM   
Tejszd

 

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Thank you for all the effort Alfred!

(in reply to Anachro)
Post #: 26
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/29/2015 10:34:23 AM   
Ranger5355

 

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Will the manual be term searchable?

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 27
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/29/2015 11:11:11 AM   
pws1225

 

Posts: 1112
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From: Tate's Hell, Florida
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Thanks so much Alfred. I can't imagine the amount of work this project must require. We all owe you a pint or two.

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 28
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/29/2015 12:41:51 PM   
USSAmerica


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Thank you, Alfred!

_____________________________

Mike

"Good times will set you free" - Jimmy Buffett

"They need more rum punch" - Me


Artwork by The Amazing Dixie

(in reply to pws1225)
Post #: 29
RE: AE PDF Manual Revision Part Two - 12/29/2015 2:57:00 PM   
jcax101

 

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Thanks for making the AE experience better Alfred.

(in reply to USSAmerica)
Post #: 30
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