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Full blown manuals vs Simple txt files
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Do you prefer Full blown manuals vs Simple txt files?
Seperate Manual
34%
 34%  [ 10 ]
Simple "Readthis!" or .txt file
65%
 65%  [ 19 ]
Voted : 29
Total Votes : 29

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ChiefRebelAngel
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 3:44 pm
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I was wondering what you all prefer big production manuals or just basic .txt files, or dedicated section within the readthis! menu (if applicable).

Your thoughts/brain farts...
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 5:16 pm
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I prefer the readthis inside the game. Something like in the original Wolfenstein 3d where you have the story, gameplay, weapons, enemies, etc. with some pictures here and there and that suspensful background music. Very atmospheric! That's one of the many reasons why I love the game.
Just my thoughts (as requested Wink )
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:09 pm
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Depends on the game. If it's a game where you have to follow things step-by-step, a TXT file is absolutely my preference without a doubt. Toggling back and forth between instructions and my game was a hassle for me when I tried to play that Windows version of Clue (which didn't even play right anyway, since it was so buggy).

For games where you *don't* have to do things step-by-step, like in Wolfenstein, the "Read This!" routine is my preference.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 7:47 am
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On mods that are simple and don't use source code changes a TXT is fine, especially if one puts time into it. Otherwise if you're going to change the code, you might as well change the "Read This!". That should be the bare minimum. Any other manuals should be extra and not required.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 9:48 pm
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Heh, I think I'll say both. I like the ReadThis section of the game as it reminds me of some of the charm that older games had, each with their catchy help screens, plus it's a nice quick reference while playing the game. The HTML help files are nice to give more elaborate descriptions/details and any instructions that should be or you want to have available with the game being run... say, system requirements or whatever. But it all depends on the information that you need to present.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 10:11 pm
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My game is meant to be a TOTAL total conversion , so im goin hardout , the manul will be out soon - tis big

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:44 pm
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I personally like the text file manuals better...I just find it easier to read them in this form, whereas it gets to be hard to read too many of those in-game screens for me (I could never have read the full length Wolfendoom manual by AReyeP in "in-game" form), though I do enjoy the pictures like those featured in WSJ's "Project Eisenritter" manual. It just seems like usually the seperate text manuals are more in-depth and personal than the in-game stuff. I do have a soft spot for both though.

Did any of the above post make coherent sense? Man, I'm tired... Yawn

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:29 pm
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Why is Readthis and txt together? Isn't a txt file considered separate? And why is a ReadThis/txt considered simpler? This poll is weird dude. Laughing

[votes for the second option, as I never liked 'fancy' external manuals... though non-electronic ones like the wolf3d/spear hintbooks are cool]
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:45 am
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I agree the printed manuals are the coolest...but what a pain in the arse to get a printed copy to everyone who downloads your mod...you better have some sweet deals with Kinko's and UPS, or you'd be broke and worn out in five minutes...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 12:42 pm
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I hate when all weapons and enemies (and bosses Surprised ) are revealed in the manual...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:42 am
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I do too now. I used to think differently, that it was fun to have a bunch of cool pictures and info in the manual, but sometimes less is more. WSJ's mods did it for me the most, with their lack of info (usually there are hints of things to come without excess detail), and we took a more secretive approach to OMS and OMS2 by revealing stuff after levels instead of before. I think we're going to use a similar approach with our current mod in the works. The "manual" will tell the prologue story, but there will be a lot less detailed enemy and weapon info than in projects before.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:47 pm
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It's cool that WSJ's mods got you more into the secretive and subtle hint stuff Majik. This is something I liked about alot of old addons. The only thing they could really do is tell you the info about the enemies in a text file (back before Floedit was around). Even that is sort of a spoil, I feel. Most addons which have that modest approach work better for me overall, because I like to dig up most of the adventure on my own (or gradually, by not knowing certain things until I get to a certain point in the game). I always thought it was cool how Chemical Warfare basically just said "I'm not going to tell you what lies ahead" in the ReadThis; it always made me want to play more of the levels. Details are sometimes quite fun to read too though (like the purpose of each boss/weapon/level, or the thoughts of the author as they were creating everything), so the whole concept is sort of two fold. Over time, I think alot of people just learn to read and spoil what they want to, when they want to, in the same way that some of them learn not to use the MLI cheat; even when they can. Still, it's nice to keep things under wraps sometimes and get people to focus more on building their adventure through exploration within the game itself. The two ends will probably always conflict to some level, as every person has a different balance that works right for them for each game, even if some viewpoints/procedures seem more standardized and/or universal overall; I guess.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:23 pm
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Chris wrote:
Why is Readthis and txt together? Isn't a txt file considered separate? And why is a ReadThis/txt considered simpler? This poll is weird dude. Laughing

[votes for the second option, as I never liked 'fancy' external manuals... though non-electronic ones like the wolf3d/spear hintbooks are cool]


Perhaps I should have made the options A) packaged manual with game (.txt or readthis!) or B) auxilary info source (online/downloadable).

Basically, I was trying to see if everyone preferred the "big production" manuals, like Eod/SR for instance.

I think Helvete will have both .txt and readthis! (which will be extensive...believe me), but I don't have the time to put together a whopper of a web-page dedicated to hints and detailed explanations.

Chris wrote:
Details are sometimes quite fun to read too though (like the purpose of each boss/weapon/level, or the thoughts of the author as they were creating everything)


It would be great to develop a feature which would unlock a more "detailed" readthis! type menu after the game has been completed. Of course, it would be kind of useless, but it could include things similar to a DVD special features menu. Things like boss bios, weapons specs, locations of all secrets (although this may destroy re-play value), "behind the scenes", deleted walls/characters, Hmmnnnn...... Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:08 am
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I often enjoy looking through game manuals and reading what the authors have to say about the enemies, weapons, environments, etc. However, I don't like it when I know about everything in the game before I've even played it. I feel less inclined to play a game/mod if I know that I won't find much new stuff. It's like going on an exploration when there's nothing to explore. You can still talk about a bunch of game stuff in the manual, but I don't think it's a good idea to spoil everything.

I really liked the approach used in the Mutant Strike games by only describing new enemies in the intermission texts. You still get the details the author wanted you to know, but you only get them after you venture into the game itself. You discover for yourself what the new enemies are like, and then the intermission texts help to further elaborate on them. I remember that Ian did something similar to this in one of his Batman games when he had a character whose bio wasn't revealed until later in the game.

As for whether I like .txt files, "readthis" files, or HTML manuals... I tend to prefer "readthis" files because it's easier just to view the text from within the game, and you can still have pictures. However, the small size of the pages can be a pain if you're trying to write long, descriptive passages.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:08 pm
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ChiefRebelAngel wrote:

Basically, I was trying to see if everyone preferred the "big production" manuals, like Eod/SR for instance.

I think Helvete will have both .txt and readthis! (which will be extensive...believe me), but I don't have the time to put together a whopper of a web-page dedicated to hints and detailed explanations.


well if you consider that many websites often "disappear" or die as it were, having everything within the zip will make distribution of the game(and manual) a much simpler task.

On the other hand, you might achive the same sort of effect as a web page if you were to use a .PDF

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:12 pm
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ChiefRebelAngel wrote:
On the other hand, you might achive the same sort of effect as a web page if you were to use a .PDF

Or an off-line HTML file, like AReyeP and MCS did for EOD. Geek
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:13 am
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Yeah. The organization for the EoD manual looks a little cluttered to me that way (since in WinXP, you can see all the pictures before you click on whatever html file you're supposed to go to first). I do think it's better than using a PDF, but it would have been nice if they could put that all into one file or something, or atleast put everything but Game_Manual.html in a hidden subfolder (calling the pictures from an unknown extention so you don't see them). Or even just keep the manual in another zip file inside so you can do what you want with it. It doesn't feel as special to me when they have all the files for the manual in the download when it's already on the website. I would have prefered two types of complete manuals (either a txt or extensive readthis in the zip file, and the html manual on the website). The html thread for the Mapping Melee download looked alright, but the pictures could have also been reduced to one image folder to make things more organized and save some room (which I fixed on the thread with an updated zip, but it didn't get used for some reason). People really lack the desire for optimized/clever organization skills, I tell you. Razz

ChiefRebelAngel wrote:
It would be great to develop a feature which would unlock a more "detailed" readthis! type menu after the game has been completed. Of course, it would be kind of useless, but it could include things similar to a DVD special features menu. Things like boss bios, weapons specs, locations of all secrets (although this may destroy re-play value), "behind the scenes", deleted walls/characters, Hmmnnnn...... Cool

I like the ideas you have in mind after you unlock the bigger readthis. This would be quite a fun reward. I've done something similar in Chokage, too, where the readme file gets alot bigger after you beat the episode. It wouldn't be hard to do nowadays if you just made two HELPART chunks, or limited it so that you couldn't pass a certain page on the readthis until you beat the game. Another idea could be that the "down" button could work after you beat the game on certain pages, but I don't think that would look as professional. Either way, I guess you can just store an extra variable in the config file that gets changed to true when you beat the game to keep track, or only show it during the sessions where you've opened the exe and beat the game again. Interesting to ponder about how it could all work together though.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:42 pm
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The simplest way to do that would be to add two additional symbols to the "Read This!" routine. Any text in between those two symbols would automatically be skipped until the game is won. When the game *is* won, a small extra file is created with characters you can't type in through the DOS prompt. Then, when the "Read This!" routine is run again, it will find the additional file, verify its contents, and stop skipping the marked text.

Of course, you'd have to encode the "Read This!" end-art file, lest the user can read the skipped text with the LIST utility. Razz
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:46 pm
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Offending post removed.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:54 am
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I, as a old-fashioned DOS leet choose for a simple textfile. The DOS frontend I'm currently working on only features simple textfiles though, but if there was a third option I would choose for .nfo files. Those have better formatting and feature also a great way to create simple graphics with ASCII coding. And, of course, full blown manuals like .chm or just .html require a lot more resources than just notepad.

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