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User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 10:23:17 AM   
Perturabo


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So, I've noticed a curious thing about modern times. A lot of wargaming companies are not including printed manuals in their games.
More, I've seen a few examples of not including a printed manual and not offering digital downloads.

To me such practices are an instant dealbreaker, mainly because unless a game is simple or has a very good tutorial, I can't learn it without a paper manual.
Paper manual allows me to learn while I'm not sitting by computer, for example in bus. I don't like to read manuals on computer.

There were at least two games that I would buy recently if they had a paper manual, but they were sold only on CDs without manuals, which caused me to resign from buying them.

I mean, what's the point of buying a physical copy of game and paying for CD and postal when there's no manual?

Generally, I miss the good old times, when games had decent big cardboard boxes and 200 page printed manuals. I still have a lot of manuals from old games...
Too bad that some of my favourite ones disappeared (Syndicate, Seal Team, Baldur's Gate)...

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 10:30:42 AM   
GaryChildress

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

Generally, I miss the good old times, when games had decent big cardboard boxes and 200 page printed manuals. I still have a lot of manuals from old games...



I think part of the reason that games don't come in big boxes anymore is that it just takes up more volume in landfills and is a waste of resources. That and and they take up more shelf space if you keep the box. There are no doubt economic reasons for it too. I remember when music CDs first came out they were in boxes about twice the size of the CD. The original justification for huge boxes was partly to prevent shop lifting.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 11:30:12 AM   
Greybriar


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I miss the good old times, too, Perturabo. Remember the large printed game manuals included with the MicroProse games, for example?

The word I got was that store retailers didn't want PC games to take up as much shelf space so they pushed for and got the smaller retail boxes. I can understand their point of view--have you ever seen the retail box of the Seven Cities of Gold Commemorative Edition? That thing is huge and all it contains is one 3.5" floppy and a small manual. So it looks to me like some of the PC game publishers were responsible to a certain degree.

I have never bought a digital download of a game and I rarely purchase the retail version of a PC game if it doesn't include a paper manual.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 11:58:48 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Well, Matrix Standard Edition and Collectors Editions come with printed manuals (as well as PDF manuals on their disks). Express editions come with pdf manuals only.

I think teh Colelctors edition comes in a colour manual too...though we've yet to see a "collectors edition" from Matrix (maybe WITP:AE??)

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 12:04:12 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Well, Matrix Standard Edition and Collectors Editions come with printed manuals (as well as PDF manuals on their disks). Express editions come with pdf manuals only.

I think teh Colelctors edition comes in a colour manual too...though we've yet to see a "collectors edition" from Matrix (maybe WITP:AE??)


In addition : what's stopping those who want a printout of a pdf to make one ? It's what I do and thanks to some nifty printer driver software I can make booklets, print 2 or 4 pages on 1 sheet, only print what I need to have on paper as a reference etc.

Don't get me wrong, I like printed manuals for the initial read-through of the rules, but afterwards I prefer the pdf file because it allows me to quickly scan/search for a certain word/expresssion and find all the references.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 12:12:04 PM   
JudgeDredd


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I prefer printed manuals. I can't read a computer screen (I've said before, I program for a living...I don't want to sit and read a manual). And I don't know what software you have, but I've tried a couple and have never been able to have the desired results.

The software with my printer actually allows for 2 pages on 1 sheet (even 4) but I cannot seem to get it that it prints the right pages in the right order (if I select 2 pages on 1 sheet, it prints page 1 and 2 on the same sheet....so I never got the bookm effect.  And when/if you get it printed, it just doesn't look or feel the same. And you can't bind it...worse still if you can get 2 pages on 1 sheet.

Besides...there's just something about a new manual. It has a nice, unique smell.

Also, self printed manuals don't have the binding etc....you just can't beat a printed manual.

Now that I've said that, this is always a fiery topic...so I'm going to bow out now I've repeated myself

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 12:38:32 PM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL:  Greybriar

I miss the good old times, too, Perturabo. Remember the large printed game manuals included with the MicroProse games, for example?

I started playing on PC too late to have contact with them. All games that I have from MicroProse are re-editions.
I have one MicroProse instruction - from Mechawarrior 3 - it's not large, but looks good and is in-character.

I especially like SU-27 Flanker manual - it's a 200 page book and has plenty of info. IIRC SU-27 Flanker 2 had much thinner manual.
Another manual that I like is for Baldur's Gate - 80 pages - it felt almost as a manual for a PnP RPG. The only problem was that half of things described in game world section weren't in game, which made it pretty disappointing. On the other hand BG2 manual was not only much smaller and less interesting, but also included spoilers XD .
Arcanum manual was great - it has one of the best of world descriptions in gaming history and is written in good style.

Damn, I'm only 24, but looking on present games market makes me feel old XD ...

quote:

ORIGINAL:  Greybriar

The word I got was that store retailers didn't want PC games to take up as much shelf space so they pushed for and got the smaller retail boxes.

From what I heard it's Walmart's fault and fault of PC gaming going down the drain with demise of small, dedicated independent computer game stores. Basically, PC games moved to big hyperstores like Walmart and they didn't really tolerate something taking so much space only because it's expensive and looks good.

quote:

ORIGINAL:  Greybriar

I can understand their point of view--have you ever seen the retail box of the Seven Cities of Gold Commemorative Edition? That thing is huge and all it contains is one 3.5" floppy and a small manual. So it looks to me like some of the PC game publishers were responsible to a certain degree.

That's weird XD .
It reminded me that some game publishers in Poland tried to save money on manuals. For example Polish CD-Project cut Fallout manual from 120 pages to 40.

quote:

ORIGINAL:  Gary Childress

I think part of the reason that games don't come in big boxes anymore is that it just takes up more volume in landfills and is a waste of resources.

Landfills? That's a heresy. I still have my Fallout, Fallout 2, Arcanum, Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2, Icewind Dale, Heart of Winter and Discworld II boxes.
Also, cardboard boxes are made of cardboard. In opposition to big plastic cases, they are easily recyclable.
Also, they have enough space to hold a decent 200-300page manual a map, a reference card and some extras.
Yeah, and they look like something that costs over 40$, not like those old re-editions for 10$.

quote:

ORIGINAL:  sterckxe

In addition : what's stopping those who want a printout of a pdf to make one ? It's what I do and thanks to some nifty printer driver software I can make booklets, print 2 or 4 pages on 1 sheet, only print what I need to have on paper as a reference etc.

Having to buy a printer and inks and paper to have something that should be provided inside the price of a game?
Also, what's the point of selling games on CDs through internet, when there is no printed manual? Actually, what's the point of selling games on CDs only without a manual (I'm talking about certain wargame publisher, which takes 50-60$ for a game and 16$ for postal to Europe and leaves player with a 375 page .pdf to read on screen/print... - at least Matrix Games offers cheaper digital version and my CCMT box actually had a manual inside.).

quote:

ORIGINAL:  sterckxe

Don't get me wrong, I like printed manuals for the initial read-through of the rules, but afterwards I prefer the pdf file because it allows me to quickly scan/search for a certain word/expresssion and find all the references.

Yeah, that's why both should be provided.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 12:53:32 PM   
105mm Howitzer


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Amen to that, Judge. Thankfully the Campaign Series came with a comprehensive and helpful manual.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 12:54:47 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
And I don't know what software you have,


http://www.fineprint.com

There's a trial version there

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx


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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 6:30:54 PM   
noxious


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You should have seen the original Falcon 4 package by Microprose then : a Huge Manual (over 300 pages I'd say, not numbered normally I just looked ;)), a slim Cadet Manual (quick start book), a color map of the Korean Peninsula which was the Ops Theater, and quick reference card, etc.

I also sometimes miss those days, especially reading the manuals while commuting, etc.
But I've come to enjoy electronic versions of games, and they do consume less finite resources.
And for every game like Falcon 4, you had what, 10 games with useless manuals, printed or not...
Don't forget that either :)

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 10:28:09 PM   
madgamer2

 

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Unless your system is not the normal type you can install a program called DOSbox that will let you run all the old dos games if your using XP and I think there is a version for vista as well. there is a site called the underdogs that has all the old dos games for download for free.
Matrix is a company that was one of the first to offer download & hard disk with printed manuals.

Madgamer

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/9/2008 10:31:13 PM   
madgamer2

 

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at least all them BIG box's were biodegradable LOL Them plastic ones will last a long time. I did favor the big box's with all the neet graphics's.

Madgamer

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 12:05:25 AM   
BoredStiff

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: madgamer

at least all them BIG box's were biodegradable LOL Them plastic ones will last a long time. I did favor the big box's with all the neet graphics's.

Madgamer

The plastic ones don't get thrown away in the first place, except by anal retentive types who seem to throw everything away as soon as they unpack it.

"Does anyone have the manual for XXX game? I threw mine away years ago, along with the box and the encryption keys. I still have the disk though. Anyone...hellooo?"

I never understood people like that.

I like the smaller, DVD-type plastic cases much more than the large, old style cardboard boxes, maybe because I have three large storage containers full of old cardboard computer game boxes. When I say "old", I'm talking Empire Deluxe, Twenty Wargame Classics, etc.
Oh, and then there are my 50-odd Amiga game boxes. Empire: Wargame of the Century (which it was), Dungeon Master, Ports of Call, etc.
Ports of Call was an interesting game of worldwide shipping, except for the random arcade sequences where one had to pilot ships into a harbor. Someone should re-do that.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 2:14:02 AM   
Greybriar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: madgamer

I did favor the big box's with all the neet graphics's.


Yes, the box art is usually very well done. I sometimes think displaying some of them on the walls in my game room would look attractive.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BoredStiff

"Does anyone have the manual for XXX game? I threw mine away years ago, along with the box and the encryption keys. I still have the disk though. Anyone...hellooo?"

I never understood people like that.


I could never understand people like that either, BoredStiff. I have over 4,000 PC games in their original boxes with all the manuals and other goodies safely stored inside.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BoredStiff

I like the smaller, DVD-type plastic cases much more than the large, old style cardboard boxes....


The DVD style hard plastic cases are OK if they are large enough to contain a decent manual. Those type cases don't get banged up or smashed flat like the older retail boxes sometimes did. (And by decent manuals I don't mean the ones whose pages have been shrunk so much that you need a magnifying glass to read them.)


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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 3:30:34 AM   
RedArgo


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I remember back in the mid eighties the game(s) Universe 1 and/or 2 from Omnitrend came with about a two inch thick padded three ring binder. That was the best game manual I've ever had.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 3:38:34 AM   
BoredStiff

 

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quote:

I have over 4,000 PC games

Did you count them? That's a lot of games.
I never counted mine, but I'm guessing I have somewhere between 250-400, not counting the 50 or so Amiga titles.

Some games do deserve larger boxes, such as the Kilrathi Saga, which is a compilation of the first three Wing Commander games, redone on CD for Windows. Long out of print, it's about as close to collector status as a computer game can get, normally fetching $150 or more on ebay for a complete game. I sold a couple of those a few years ago and of course still have a copy for myself. Oddly, I've never played the game, although I hear it's excellent. I bought them for about $10 at a local used book store.



Empire Deluxe is another one I sold several of on ebay years ago, before the newer version made them obsolete. They usually fetched at least $50 and often more than $100. I bought them for $5.



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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 4:20:04 AM   
Cmdrcain


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Theres various reasons these days as to why no printed Manuels.

Shelf space where smaller boxes take less space is one

However with Gas prices as they are that is likely becoming more of a reason, after all the Space on trucks and the Weight must add up to shipping costs, be it to stores or to distributors those costs have to go into the Price, but if the price is increased, sales could suffer,
a lighter simple CD case and cdrom/dvdrom takes less space, total weight is less and more can be shipped boxed up, Boxes don't need be large they can be much slimmer, that also decreases the cost of the boxes themselves.

Box costs are also eliminated by simply shipping and selling games in cd cases (the $9.99 games)

If one wants a good printed manuel theres places that will perhaps Print a copy for you, if you don't want the printing bother.

Paper manuels sure must increase prices, I prefer prices kept LOW not increasing, you want paper manuels, those wanting should pay extra to get one not get as part of game, it is unfair to others to boost up prices for those wishing a paper manuel in my view, making rest pay that extra cost where they would rather just print or write down what need from the PDF's.






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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 4:22:08 AM   
Greybriar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BoredStiff

quote:

I have over 4,000 PC games

Did you count them? That's a lot of games.


Yes. I had to create a database of them because from time to time I would forget what games I had and buy a second (or third!) copy of the same game. The last time I printed it out there were over 4,000 titles.

I quit counting when I ran out of room and had to stop buying so many PC games. Now I am very selective about which games I purchase and it's easier for me to remember the games I have.


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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 4:29:07 AM   
Cmdrcain


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An added thought:

Those of you youngsters who are in teens , 20's 30's with still good eyesight overlook that a paper Manuel has a set type set, those that DO print manuels are making print smaller to fit more on less pages to keep costs down.

For those of us who are older and see smaller print less well, a PDF allows one to actually set it to be the
size their comfortable with, print out what needed in larger text sizethen the printed manuels so really, for those of us older gamers who started with PC's in 70-80's and are older, loaded with M O N E Y and are the ones really buying many things we want ability to
read the manuel.

Game distributors that print manuels just don't print large enough text...(would add more pages and cost)

Nor necessary do we with Money want to throw around it we didn't get well off spending money like crazy... so we want affordable games and manuels we can read easy.

PDF is the way really, we can set text to our needs and print or have printed as we want it.



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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 4:33:37 AM   
Cmdrcain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greybriar


quote:

ORIGINAL: BoredStiff

quote:

I have over 4,000 PC games

Did you count them? That's a lot of games.


Yes. I had to create a database of them because from time to time I would forget what games I had and buy a second (or third!) copy of the same game. The last time I printed it out there were over 4,000 titles.

I quit counting when I ran out of room and had to stop buying so many PC games. Now I am very selective about which games I purchase and it's easier for me to remember the games I have.





You do realize that media has a certain life?

Older gameson Floppys are at a point going to loss magnetic properties, media age, etc and fail to be read.

Even if transfered to Cdrom/DvdRom, the media has a life length...

So... I wonder what pct of the 4000 games you have will actually be readable and install

I have Thousands of Floppys going back to early 80's (360K, 1.2M 1.44M)

Not all will get read these days even through I have protected em.



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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 4:57:16 AM   
panzers

 

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I certainly agree that it makes so much more sense to have the paper manuals, but I can see why they do the pdf files. I could probably neame you 10 reasons why they just don't do it anymore, although matrix still does it for some of their newer games like EIA or AT. EIA is an extremely complex game. Of course I have no idea how to play it. I bought it because it was made through ADG games. Something tells me that the same isn't going to be true for WiF. That one would consume hundreds of pages making it virtually impossible to fit in today's cartriges unless they were to use bible like paper, lol
But that would be great if that were possible.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 5:31:51 AM   
Greybriar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cmdrcain

You do realize that media has a certain life?

Older gameson Floppys are at a point going to loss magnetic properties, media age, etc and fail to be read.

Even if transfered to Cdrom/DvdRom, the media has a life length...

So... I wonder what pct of the 4000 games you have will actually be readable and install

I have Thousands of Floppys going back to early 80's (360K, 1.2M 1.44M)

Not all will get read these days even through I have protected em.


So far all of the disks I have tred to use have been OK. But I haven't tried using any of the 5.25" floppies for quite awhile since the only PC I have with a 5.25" drive is down. I can still run the DOS games I have on 3.5" disks on my Windows 95 Pentium. But I generally just play games that will run on my latest PC which only has a DVD drive. Early on I backed up all my games that came on floppies, but the backups are so old now that they may be going bad.

What I probably should do is sell most of my old games. Some of them are rather valuable to collectors and are worth more than what I paid for them.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 5:34:27 AM   
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runs in the door, looks around furtively, blurts out:

I hate paper manuals. I like electronic documents that I can modify to suit my own needs. Rearrange, insert, annotate, you name it (not to mention the term search ability).

Besides, when you cast it in print, it's like the Dead Sea Scrolls - dead. It doesn't change, no matter how many patches and upgrades there are. Planned obsolescence par excellence.

You wanna read while you play? Send it to your PDA. You wanna read it on the bus? Blackberry it, like the rest of us. You want to read it in the crapper? Well, you need some paper there, now, don't you?

sees uniformed, armed figures running in. Panics. "Rick, Rick, you must help me, Rick!" Makes a pathetic attempt at fleeing before being overwhelmed and taken into custody...

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/10/2008 8:57:45 AM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: noxious

You should have seen the original Falcon 4 package by Microprose then : a Huge Manual (over 300 pages I'd say, not numbered normally I just looked ;)), a slim Cadet Manual (quick start book), a color map of the Korean Peninsula which was the Ops Theater, and quick reference card, etc.

Sounds great...
Amusingly, when games like Falcon 4 came out, I expected things to get even better in future. I was wrong.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Cmdrcain

If one wants a good printed manuel theres places that will perhaps Print a copy for you, if you don't want the printing bother.

Paper manuels sure must increase prices, I prefer prices kept LOW not increasing, you want paper manuels, those wanting should pay extra to get one not get as part of game, it is unfair to others to boost up prices for those wishing a paper manuel in my view, making rest pay that extra cost where they would rather just print or write down what need from the PDF's.

Err...
Physical versions usually do cost extra. Also, what's the point of selling a physical version (which also includes the cost of shipping) when one can simply sell a digital download cheaper than physical version and without the costs of shipping?
Also, the game I was talking about was expensive, available only in physical version and adversed as one of those ultra-complex military simulators - i.e. something where reading manual is absolutely necessary.

quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski

You wanna read while you play? Send it to your PDA.

PDAs are expensive.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 4:31:30 AM   
BoredStiff

 

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quote:

Yes. I had to create a database of them because from time to time I would forget what games I had and buy a second (or third!) copy of the same game. The last time I printed it out there were over 4,000 titles.

I was going to ask whether you have some sort of database. What software program is it? Is it something simple that I could use? I've been wanting for years to database all my games.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 5:24:16 AM   
Greybriar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BoredStiff

I was going to ask whether you have some sort of database. What software program is it? Is it something simple that I could use? I've been wanting for years to database all my games.


There was at least one program that was designed for cataloging computer games. A friend of mine gave it to me, so it was probably shareware. I don't recall the name offhand. But I had already come up with a database I had made using File Express. My database didn't have all the bells and whistles that the professional one did, but at least it prevented me from buying more than one copy of a game. At any rate, I hadn't added any games to the database I created for years before the computer it was on crashed and was subsequently trashed.

I expect I still have that old database program around here somewhere. But I'm sure it would be in DOS and very, very dated.


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(in reply to BoredStiff)
Post #: 26
RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 5:43:06 AM   
Greybriar


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@BoredStiff: I Googled for Computer Game Database and found the Game Collector which is advertised to "Catalog your video games automatically." It is much more sophisticated than the homemade program I used. It is priced at $24.95 US.

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 6:07:41 AM   
GaryChildress

 

Posts: 6853
Joined: 7/17/2005
From: The Divided Nations of Earth
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quote:

ORIGINAL: pasternakski

runs in the door, looks around furtively, blurts out:

I hate paper manuals. I like electronic documents that I can modify to suit my own needs. Rearrange, insert, annotate, you name it (not to mention the term search ability).

Besides, when you cast it in print, it's like the Dead Sea Scrolls - dead. It doesn't change, no matter how many patches and upgrades there are. Planned obsolescence par excellence.

You wanna read while you play? Send it to your PDA. You wanna read it on the bus? Blackberry it, like the rest of us. You want to read it in the crapper? Well, you need some paper there, now, don't you?

sees uniformed, armed figures running in. Panics. "Rick, Rick, you must help me, Rick!" Makes a pathetic attempt at fleeing before being overwhelmed and taken into custody...


Some excellent points, not to mention the number of trees saved in this world from electronic media. Grognard games are also notorious for having a lot of "ifs" "ands" or "buts" which add up to a LOT of pages.

Another thing I like to do is print out just a few pages if there is a particularly data intensive part of the manual which I need to see (example: The ship type list for WITP).

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RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 9:11:19 AM   
JudgeDredd


Posts: 8564
Joined: 11/14/2003
From: Scotland
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well, there you are. Truth be told, I rarely read a pdf and if I do, I soon tire of it and move on. I have to wonder if that's part of the reason I drop so many games lately.

I simply cannot read an electronic screen. It tires me. I spend all day programming...I don't want to read an electronic document when I get home.

(in reply to GaryChildress)
Post #: 29
RE: User Manuals, Boxes and things like that... - 7/11/2008 10:39:41 PM   
JudgeDredd


Posts: 8564
Joined: 11/14/2003
From: Scotland
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
And I don't know what software you have,


http://www.fineprint.com

There's a trial version there

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx



50 pages later and a lot of faffing around and I'm there with Fineprint. Thx for the link Eddie.

I had an older version downloaded (demo) and obviously never got it to work...but I gave it another thorough try and I've eventually got it to work.

Still need to buy binder equipment of some sort and covers etc...but at least I can get rid of the dreaded PDF

(in reply to sterckxe)
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