Game Manual

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Hi all,

    We've been receiving a number of support tickets about the lack of a completed Game Manual. So we are going to give priority to the Game Manual. But first I want to get some feedback from you all as to the format. In the past we used Adobe's In Design to prepare and format the manuals. This is great for printed output but its overkill for online viewing. Moreover Adobe have stopped supporting the old version I have here and the only way now to get the latest version is to commit to a subscription service which frankly I can't afford.

    So basically I propose to do this in Word and from there either produce a pdf or a html document. The latter you can read in a browser. It will wrap the text which is great when you resize your browser but the pictures will just be in line, so no fancy word wrap around them.

    Another reason for going this route is that it will hopefully be quicker for me to do. In the absence of any one else it is down to me to do the manuals and if I'm doing that then I cannot be developing the game. So to my mind anything which lessens the demand on my time and allows me to focus on game development is a good thing.

    If anyone has any other suggestions on how we can proceed with this I'm all ears.
     
  2. Matt D.

    Matt D. Member

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    the manual content is what is important, I don't see any reason to 'dress it up'. Get it out the door, and get back to developing!
     
  3. rjantzi

    rjantzi Member

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    I agree, the simpler & quicker the better. Your time is better spent on develepment. I'll be happy to get the manual in any format that works for you. I just want to have some reference material to help me learn all the features.
     
  4. Andrew Franke

    Andrew Franke Member

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    Frankly the online idea is not something I prefer. I want a PDF document. Sorry but it isn't hard to do and when you pay for a game this complex it should have good documentation. Your ability to afford this is frankly something you need to think about before you push a software package out the door. Proper documentation by a software developer is a basic requirement not an extra perk.
    Adobe Acrobat will convert it into both a HTML and a PDF if you send me the word Doc I will do the work for you for nothing. It really is not the conversion that is hard.
     
    warrafael likes this.
  5. kipanderson

    kipanderson Member

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    Hi,


    All sounds fine, but of course we certainly want to be able to print it..


    Online is way harder work.. with printed you can flick back and forth while playing the game in a way that is hassle with online content.


    But I doubt only online was going to be the case anyway.


    All the best,

    Kip.

    PS. I think this is being handled elsewhere.. but for new players printable tutorials matter too.. way easier to learn than any other system.
     
  6. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Hmm... word as base app isn't bad. Word has a proper PDF-Export, I guess, so that would be covered. Word-wrap can be activated in MS Word (right-click on image -> properties) and should work fine (i am using Staroffice) if you use Word to export to HTML. In case it doesn't work, even older versions of Staroffice export to HTML with working word-wrapping, so you could switch to an old free version. In turn, PDF-Export is tricky in Staroffice, though, as the PDF output slightly differs from what you see in Staroffice.
    If you do a HTML-Version, you should see if you can add a hyperlink to each screenshot image (to open it in full size in a new window), to make the plain HTML file a bit more convenient. A Flash enhanced HTML page (and importing the text from an xml file) would work, too, and it would make for a professional layout. Involves some work/time, though.

    I think you meant to say that you "would like to get a PDF", right? :p
    Also, I'm pretty sure the HTML version is not meant to be an online version, but just another flavour for offline reading.

    Hey, be nice. Let's assume I'd clobber your head with the original HTTR manual, then your face would be black and blue afterwards, as the printed manual is quite heavy (some 122 pages IIRC). ;) The current (incomplete) manual included with the Command Ops engine references 212 pages (the final version will hold a few more, most likely). Basically, the manual of Command Ops 1 has to be revised, new features have to be covered/explained and changes say in AI behaviour, hints for the ScenarioMaker, screenshots of the new scenario selection window have to be added and the adjustable/movable windows and other GUI improvements have to be mentioned.
    Now, Panther Games switched to another distributor, and Dave holds several offices: He's one of the most gifted AI programmers out there, he's the head of Panther Games, editor and author (manual), Community forum manager, support clerk, support engineer and he's an in a different time zone (in Oz') !
    That said, you might want to rethink your assessment and hold your horses, as you'll surely get your PDF.
    The big fat manual exists already, it just needs to be revised to cover changes/additions and new features present in Command Ops 2.


    Well, if you get a 2nd screen, then flipping back and forth won't be a problem. ;)
     
    #6 GoodGuy, Jun 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  7. Father Ted

    Father Ted Member

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    Actually I find a second screen is pretty much a must have for the game anyway. Back on-topic: for me the info is more important than the presentation
     
  8. Rob

    Rob Member

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    I agree that content is usually more important than method of presentation BUT I would prefer it be downloadable and/or printable. I'm not thrilled by the prospect of having to go online every time I play the game. What if my/our/your service is down or having tech issues and you can't get to the site??:arghh: No thanks, down loadable at the very least please........format is your choice.

    Rob.:bookworm:
     
  9. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Let me clarify. You won't be required to be connected to the internet to read the manual. The manual will be a file within the Documentation sub directory of the game directory. The point of discussion is what format that file will be. If I make it a html file then double clicking it will open it in your browser or you can upload it to your smart phone (even kindle device) so you can read it wherever. The main difference between the a html based format (eg ePub) is they support dynamic text wrap so they can work on any device regardless of size. If I do it as a pdf then it will be a set size with fixed text wrap. I'm happy to provide both so long as I use a standard approach. By that I mean If we're going to support dynamic text wrap then I need to make pictures in line. It won't then look as fancy in a pdf file but it will still be functional.
     
  10. kipanderson

    kipanderson Member

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    Dave,


    “It won't then look as fancy in a pdf file but it will still be functional.”


    That’s fine.. as long as it’s printable no matter. As others say content matters not format.


    You guys are right, second screen would be fun.. but no room.. 24 inch screen in front of me now, then a reasonable gap to PC to the left and printer to the right. Desk full :).


    One day.. :).


    All the best,

    Kip.
     
  11. Txema

    Txema Member

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    Hi Dave,

    For me it is very important to be able to print the manual and read it confortably in printed format. I don't like reading manuals on my computer screen. Please, make it so that it can be read confortably in printed format also. Your prior manuals are fantastic and a strong point of the game, in my opinion :)

    Txema
     
  12. *budd*

    *budd* Member

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    There should really be a sticky for those videos you did for BFTB, most of it still applies. They were and are still helpful to me when i've been away from the game for awhile. Besides, there very well done.
     
  13. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Kip, move the printer mate. You got to get your priorities right. I could not be as productive as I am without two monitors.Once you try it you'll wonder how you could have coped without it. :)
     
  14. Nick S

    Nick S Member

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    If you could only provide one type of manual or had to prioritize, I'd agree that the ePub is the most versatile. I'm finding that I prefer that format to PDF now. It's also handy to load it on a tablet while playing the game or for some late night reading on an eReader. If you can provide both types - that's even better!

    Cheers!
     
  15. BigDuke66

    BigDuke66 Member

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    PDF may be nice but to be honest I also think throwing some money after Adobe doesn't make sense, I long ago bailed out of their products as there are better & cheaper products out there. Just look at their own reader, there are a billion better ones out there and that is a shame for the company that invented this file format, but I guess that is how it runs sooner or later they all get fat & lazy and just try to rip off the customers.
    Same can be said about MS Office, there are different office suits out there of which I prefer LibreOffice what is free and works better than MS Office.

    Anyhow to be really versatile HTML sounds like the thing to go, till now I only have Steel Panthers that uses a HTML manual but I like it as it works flawless and you can read it with any browser on almost any device so go for that.
     

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