Game manuals should be in-game (Full Version)

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Texican -> Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 5:29:32 PM)

Some of these games have 200 page manuals, which take up a lot of paper to print and are awkward to reference on the computer when you have game running (i.e., minimizing game window, bringing up the manual in Acrobat, etc.).

It would be nice if the dev's started putting the manuals "in-game", so if you have a question about a rule, you could click on an icon and bring up the manual, scroll through it, get your answer, all while still running the game.

Just a suggestion.




Missouri Rebel -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 5:31:52 PM)

I wish all games did this. Not really sure why they don't.




Phatguy -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 5:52:57 PM)

Personally I prefer a paper manual over any kind of e-manual.. It just doesnt seem right dragging your computer into the cra....er, I mean commode to read the manual...




junk2drive -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:05:43 PM)

JTCS and Steel Panthers have an in game help method. SP just has a hotkey list but JTCS has a Windows help popup that pretty well covers any question you might have after actually reading the manual but might have forgotten something while playing. It doesn't take much time or computer power to open it up either.




Perturabo -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:06:12 PM)

You mean something like "help" files in older windows wargames?




Missouri Rebel -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:11:38 PM)

Yeah, anything IN-GAME would be great. I think WiF is going this route and I surely hope they do. Although I do enjoy a manual to read while on the throne, why make it exclusive? An in-game manual could be updated by patches too to keep up with changing parameters.

mo reb





Kuokkanen -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:30:26 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: apathetic lurker

Personally I prefer a paper manual over any kind of e-manual.

Paper costs, therefore paper manuals would increase game's price. Manuals of analog wargames (Warhammers, Classic BattleTech, Advanced Squad Leader, Risk...) can cost as much as ONE new computer game! Tactical Operations Manual, on paper cost me 50 €uros. For comparison, PDF version costs just 30 US$




Brigz -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:46:20 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Matti Kuokkanen

Paper costs, therefore paper manuals would increase game's price. Manuals of analog wargames (Warhammers, Classic BattleTech, Advanced Squad Leader, Risk...) can cost as much as ONE new computer game! Tactical Operations Manual, on paper cost me 50 €uros. For comparison, PDF version costs just 30 US$

I never understood why gamers don't understand this "printed manual included" game problem. As you said Matti, printing out paper manuals is a very expensive process and would increase the cost of any game. I like having printed manuals included too but understand the cost cutting decision to use manual files instead. I would pay extra for a printed manual for a game that I really wanted but I guarantee that the same people that cry now about not having printed manuals included would scream at the higher cost if printed manuals were included. I guess there is no win-win scenario for this.

My solution to this is to start the pdf manual in Acrobat, minimize that and play the game. Then if I need to read the manual I just have to hit the tab at the bottem of the screen and it pops up the manual. Seems to me that is the same as having a pop up button for the manual coded in the game. What's the difference, both require just one button click.




Missouri Rebel -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:53:16 PM)

posted by Mr. Briggs;


.......What's the difference, both require just one button click.



The difference is memory usage and the often encountered problems of switching between programs. What was the reason NOT to put it in game? I know that vista has not supported Help files but there are ways around that as I have done to my own system.

mo reb





Greybriar -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 6:55:58 PM)

Ideally a game should come with both a printed paper manual and documentation that can be accessed ingame. Sometimes digital manuals cannot be viewed by pressing the Alt + Tab keys, but if it is possible to do so while playing the game, that's not a bad alternative to ingame access.

Personally I prefer a printed paper manual. I do understand, however, that it not only increases the cost of the game but that it oftentimes becomes out of date when the game is patched.




Phatguy -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 8:07:18 PM)

Well, I so much prefer paying the extra 10 for a Matrix game with a printed manual over a game with only a pdf manual. There have been only two games(Max Football and Puresim) that I purchased without manuals. While I understand the paper costs of products and such, I have a serious problem when publishers moan and groan and cry poor when it comes to manuals but will not lower the price of products when they sell me a box full of air. Even that is not as bad as digital downloads. It really grates on my system for them to say they are trying to save the customers money by doing DD but then charging the same exact price as a boxed version.....

And another thing with printing costs.Yes they are large, but like anything the cost goes down dramatically the more you get. So the 30 you spent at Kinkos to print out that manual cost only about 3-5 to company X. Matrix probably pays more since they are a smaller company but thier costs are significatly lower than individual costs..




TonyE -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 8:20:35 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Texican

Some of these games have 200 page manuals, which take up a lot of paper to print and are awkward to reference on the computer when you have game running (i.e., minimizing game window, bringing up the manual in Acrobat, etc.).

It would be nice if the dev's started putting the manuals "in-game", so if you have a question about a rule, you could click on an icon and bring up the manual, scroll through it, get your answer, all while still running the game.

Just a suggestion.


I can speak to a couple of reasons it doesn't happen more often. Creating Windows standard context sensitive help files is a real PITA! The good tools to make such manuals make is a little less horrendous but also cost big money (RoboHelp $1000, Doc-To-Help $900) PER author. It is so much cheaper to buy Adobe Acrobat and make an unlinked PDF, not to mention unimaginably easier. It surprises me that anyone makes context sensitive Windows help files!

There are other intermediate options that can be used, straight HTML that the game opens contextually, much easier to create and maintain.

That leaves motivation. Most of us just want to write code and get stuck doing support as well. I for one am happy to build a HTML calling mechanism in programs but there is little chance I'll be the content creator of that Help unless I'm getting paid well to do so.






Perturabo -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 9:21:09 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Matti Kuokkanen

Paper costs, therefore paper manuals would increase game's price. Manuals of analog wargames (Warhammers, Classic BattleTech, Advanced Squad Leader, Risk...) can cost as much as ONE new computer game! Tactical Operations Manual, on paper cost me 50 €uros. For comparison, PDF version costs just 30 US$

Analog wargam manuals are expensive mainly because you are paying for games themselves. As for the printing costs - they usually include a hard cover, and over 2 hundred pages of high quality paper with high quality colour illustration.
Also, prices of PDF versions don't have to have anything to printing costs. A perceived and practical value of digital version of a book is much lower than perceived and practical value of printed version, so a distributor needs to severely decrease price to attract customers.




Scott_WAR -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 9:54:28 PM)

Why not expect it all?------ a paper manual, in game help and tutorials, a PDF file included with the game and the manual should be avalable for download from the games maker.

Hey, just be glad I dont expect the game maker to send someone to sit besides me and explain how to play the game. [:D]




Phatguy -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 10:08:38 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Scott_WAR


Hey, just be glad I dont expect the game maker to send someone to sit besides me and explain how to play the game. [:D]


Hey , if you buy World War One you just might want to set up a cot for the game-maker in your house [:D]!




06 Maestro -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/14/2008 10:09:05 PM)

It seems like a "no Brainer" that you should be able to pause a game and open the manual. I own several old games that have this "feature" included. In some games it is possible to have the manual open on another monitor, and to move the cursor there and do as you please. In most others (that I own), the cursor will not leave the game window.

I do not understand why a developer goes through the trouble of including "hints" (not tool tips), but avoids making the manual accessible in the game.

It is a situation we can all live with easy enough, but why. During the leaning process, it would save a considerable amount of time for the player.




Grell -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 12:31:52 PM)

I prefer a printed manual but have come to grips with pdf files. An in game manual would be nice.


Regards,

Grell




Terl -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 1:08:04 PM)

I got one of those Asus netbooks and use it as a pdf viewer/chm reader/mp3 player.  It is small enough to have on and handy while I play.  Clunky solution maybe, but it works.  [:)]




Prince of Eckmühl -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 3:40:20 PM)

I really prefer nice, printed manuals.

PoE (aka ivamoe)




Ramcat -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 5:42:58 PM)

I say all games should be released with video tutorials, like the John Tiller games.




Jeffrey H. -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 7:45:36 PM)

I prefer pdf manuals on the media. I can store and print the paper to my own likings and there is no need to spend $$ and fuel on shipping paper bundles around.  




Kuokkanen -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 9:54:13 PM)

quote:

I would pay extra for a printed manual for a game that I really wanted but I guarantee that the same people that cry now about not having printed manuals included would scream at the higher cost if printed manuals were included. I guess there is no win-win scenario for this.

Yes there is: make available two versions of the game, one with manual, the other without. There are even games that have received additional (paper) documentation that can be bought separately.


quote:

Personally I prefer a printed paper manual. I do understand, however, that it not only increases the cost of the game but that it oftentimes becomes out of date when the game is patched.

Most likely only some parts of the manual is going to be outdated. Everything else can be described with patch documentations. That's what's done with other (analog) games: errors slip into rulebook, when those are found, corrections are made available in Internet... IF they are made at all: someone forgot to type rules into Total Warfare about physical damage against conventional infantry, and it still isn't in errata files yet!


quote:

Analog wargam manuals are expensive mainly because you are paying for games themselves. As for the printing costs - they usually include a hard cover, and over 2 hundred pages of high quality paper with high quality colour illustration.

That applies for books that are at 40 € or higher. Cheaper books are often black & white with maybe few color pages between (like BattleTech Field Manuals)... Mercenary's Handbook (BattleTech book from 1987) is exception, but paper is poorer quality and page count isn't high.

By the way, new BattleTech rulebooks (starting from Total Warfare) have page counts over 300, pages are top-notch, and there are colours everywhere!

quote:

Also, prices of PDF versions don't have to have anything to printing costs. A perceived and practical value of digital version of a book is much lower than perceived and practical value of printed version, so a distributor needs to severely decrease price to attract customers.

Now we need someone to tell THAT to game publishers. I think Matrix knows this already...




Mobeer -> RE: Game manuals should be in-game (12/15/2008 10:30:19 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: TonyE
I can speak to a couple of reasons it doesn't happen more often. Creating Windows standard context sensitive help files is a real PITA! The good tools to make such manuals make is a little less horrendous but also cost big money (RoboHelp $1000, Doc-To-Help $900) PER author. It is so much cheaper to buy Adobe Acrobat and make an unlinked PDF, not to mention unimaginably easier. It surprises me that anyone makes context sensitive Windows help files!

There are other intermediate options that can be used, straight HTML that the game opens contextually, much easier to create and maintain.

That leaves motivation. Most of us just want to write code and get stuck doing support as well. I for one am happy to build a HTML calling mechanism in programs but there is little chance I'll be the content creator of that Help unless I'm getting paid well to do so.


I have been using FastHelp: http://www.fast-help.com/

A single user licence costs $299 for the non-international language version.

The biggest costs in making help files would seem to be:
(i) becoming familiar enough with the software, especially if the software lacks good design documents
(ii) author time preparing the help
(iii) developer time linking the application to its help files
(iv) testing time to check that the help is actually helpful to people other than the author and developer

By comparison the software is comparatively cheap.

I am a bit surprised by your phrase "Most of us just want to write code" - do you mean "us" to refer to programmers only? In "my ideal help project", the help would be written by separate members of staff, based off design documents and checked by testers. Alternatively, having the testers write the help can be useful, as they are most likely to notice where the user interface needs revision to reduce the need for help, rather than writing comprehensive help for an overcomplicated design.




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