Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

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Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by BasiliskWrangler » August 13th, 2008, 7:10 am

Okay, so the User's Manual for Book I just contained some essential info needed to get started. Given that this is an old-school RPG series we don't intend to fill the user's manual up with all the game's secrets (such as a complete monster guide) because we want some things to be discovered by the player during the course of the game. However, we admit there is room for improvement...

So the question is: what are some topics or information you would like to see added to Book II's manual that you felt were missing from Book I's manual?
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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Jtarz » August 13th, 2008, 3:54 pm

Assuming that you want to make more or less the same use of forums as with Book I, why not just say in the Manual that they are available, and indicate the range of uses (desperate to argumentative) they can be put to -- that way the Manual itself could be kept quite short.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Saxon1974 » August 13th, 2008, 4:34 pm

I actually prefer the longer manuals myself. I am one of those that usually reads a manual cover to cover.

That being said, I get more enjoyment out of background lore than I do on gameplay mechanics.

Maybe just include the basic gameplay mechanics like;

Basic mechanics\combat\view screen
Spell listings
Skill descriptions and uses
Wearpons and Armor ratings (Maybe list the basic armor and weapons but make the player discover stats for magical ones)
how to type of stuff.

The meat of what I like to read is stuff like this;

- Give a little background lore about each town. I don't mean give anything away about the story, but just basic stuff like the history of the town, what type of people live there, list a few shops etc....and maybe even hints at a few things rumored to be happening there to make us want to venture there to find out for real?

- Give a little background story about the world itself in a similar vein as I mentioned above

- A sneak peak type bestiary listing traits of some of the common types of monsters. List stats, but also give some type of description about their origins.....

- Maybe post an adventure's journal from someone who had journeyed through the land before. I love stuff like that.

- Artwork for the manual is a big deal too! I realize its hard to get that though being your a small studio so it might not be cost efficient.

Thanks for this topic, this is one of my pet peeves of games now, weak manuals.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Rune_74 » August 13th, 2008, 5:04 pm

Hey Basilisk,

You remember how ultima used to do the manuals? Those were great because it gave you the basic knowledge to start the game plus a whole bunch of lore that got you excited to play the game.

Let us (The gamers) into the little world you created give lore that may(or may not) relevant to the game....make us wonder if it is. It doesn't even matter if we can't do anything with it, its more a primer to get our imaginations firmly entrenched in your world. You could even write the manual like a lost journal...detailing it like someones notes on things and what they have seen.

I think this is something missing in todays games, I hope I'm not alone on this.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Saxon1974 » August 13th, 2008, 6:18 pm

Rune_74 wrote:Hey Basilisk,

You remember how ultima used to do the manuals? Those were great because it gave you the basic knowledge to start the game plus a whole bunch of lore that got you excited to play the game.

Let us (The gamers) into the little world you created give lore that may(or may not) relevant to the game....make us wonder if it is. It doesn't even matter if we can't do anything with it, its more a primer to get our imaginations firmly entrenched in your world. You could even write the manual like a lost journal...detailing it like someones notes on things and what they have seen.

I think this is something missing in todays games, I hope I'm not alone on this.
Your not alone, it's exactly what I am looking for as well. Manuals used to add details and background to the game and get your imagination living in that world, all too often now manuals are just tiny little books with only gameplay basics. Not that you really need a book for gameplay basics games are so dumbed down and easy now.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by VPeric » August 14th, 2008, 5:07 am

I'd very much like to see the underlying math, or at least some/most of it, but I realize I probably wouldn't get that. Item lists aren't necessary, nor spell lists (provided you can get the relevant spell information in-game), but knowing in advance what the sword skill does in comparison with the armor skill would be fairly useful, and allow me to decide where to invest my skill points.

Failing that, I agree a short story or two set in the world would be interesting (and probably easy enough for you to add).

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by zarvok » August 14th, 2008, 8:18 am

VPeric wrote:I'd very much like to see the underlying math, or at least some/most of it, but I realize I probably wouldn't get that.
I would also love to see some of the math, or at least a better description of how the skill and stat numbers play out - when I started the game I was very confused about how to allocate points and whether there are maximums on how high you can boost these numbers. Most of the similar CRPGs I played back in the day were based on D&D or some other known system, so you knew what you were getting into with the numbers.

One other thing - the pdf that came with the game has this tan, gradient background. This is cool looking, but it means you have to waste a lot of ink to print the manual. It would be nice if there were a version better suited for printing.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Dragonlady » August 14th, 2008, 3:09 pm

zarvok wrote: One other thing - the pdf that came with the game has this tan, gradient background. This is cool looking, but it means you have to waste a lot of ink to print the manual. It would be nice if there were a version better suited for printing.

You could always go into your word processing program and change the print option to grey scale or black and white. I've done that when my color cartridge was empty and didn't have money to replace it.
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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by zarvok » August 15th, 2008, 8:08 am

Dragonlady wrote:You could always go into your word processing program and change the print option to grey scale or black and white. I've done that when my color cartridge was empty and didn't have money to replace it.
Yeah, but the background will still print - just in grey scale. Still wastes ink and makes it harder to read.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by ChrisHallett » August 17th, 2008, 12:38 pm

Copy pasta the text from the manual .pdf into a new .pdf with no background?

Some background story, not only about Eschalon itself, but about the NPC's in the game, and some info about Basilisk Games and its slaves (sorry, employees) would be nice.

If we buy the game on cd/dvd could we get it in a dvd case with a nice little booklet? One step above the usual stapled booklet we tend to get these days? I forget which game it was, but one of my friends brought the manuals (that's right, there were two of them) for a computer game he had just bought to school when I was eleven. They were approximately A5 sized, they had embossed card covers, were perfect bound (no damn staples!) and full colour inside. That impressed the hell out of me, to the point where I borrowed them and read them both cover-to-cover, despite never having read the manuals for any game I had owned up to that point, or being able to play the game at all.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by RezoApio » August 18th, 2008, 9:37 am

Hi all,

I think most of what I will say has already been asked for but let's say it is to second you all in your request ;-)

I also like to read manual from cover to cover. I like to have the charts that will be used in the combat system so I can plan stuff better from the start of creating the character. Not necessarily to grasp every little thing to have the most powerful guy/gal in the world but in order to know why what happens happen. Like say ok I understand that figthing a skeleton with a piercing weapon gives me only 1/1Oth of the damage while maybe a bashing weapon will do 1,5 times. Or the effect of fire damage or such things.

I know this may be difficult if we want our character to only know what correspond to its level but this can be arranged by activating only the bonus effect after combating some of my easy example skeleton or maybe issuing a warning at the beggining of the combat to remind you of the penalty....

And on a very different level, I also like quite a lot background information that maybe will not ad very much to the understanding of the mechanics of the game but will give atmosphere to the game.

I have also read someone asking for a real paper user manual in the DVD package. I would like that very much if that does not make oversea shipping too costly. (Not the same thing as printing a pdf and making it a book myself which is very possible I do agree)

Nothing very new on the subject I am afraid but...

My 0.02€

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by Unclever title » August 18th, 2008, 5:49 pm

Something that I'm pretty sure we'd all enjoy is a bit of a bridge between books I and II in story. My thinking is something along the lines of what the main character has been doing after the events in book I and leading up until right before the player begins playing book II.

This might require a little agility in your words considering the two kinds of endings in book I. I imagine it more of a 'living peacefully' moment with a little detail ending with a 'have to act' moment rather than a moral or immoral mission. I don't really know enough story elements to do more than be vague and assume what would cause the beginning of the second book based on common things in games.

So yeah. :mrgreen:

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by recluse » September 4th, 2008, 5:44 pm

Dumb it down. Lots of stuff I couldn't figure out how to do.

One I can think of now: you had a prompt to click on the sign for quick-travel, but no instructions on HOW to quick-travel. It was only by accident that I clicked on the map and found the list -- about 30 hours of game-play. All wasted time walking back to town.

Only today did I really figure out the spell level thing. All this time I'm casting at level one, thinking that's all I had until I find another spell lesson (though a second scroll didn't work).

Wonder what else I'm missing. I'm pretty sure there was something that I should have learned, but missed, in a first-time tutorial at the start. Wish I could run through it again, but can't guess how.

Assume the player never played ANY computer games before. Overexplain. Hard-core gamers won't be likely to read it anyhow.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by recluse » September 4th, 2008, 5:52 pm

Jtarz wrote:Assuming that you want to make more or less the same use of forums as with Book I, why not just say in the Manual that they are available, and indicate the range of uses (desperate to argumentative) they can be put to -- that way the Manual itself could be kept quite short.
Ooh, bad idea. I find this site a little hard to navigate. Most here are very comfortable with forums, but many of us have difficulty. For starters, I found "Search" rather useless: either no hits or a zillion. I've been browsing now for hours and STILL can't find what I'm looking for -- an entry I read yesterday on my first visit. PUL-LEASE don't make me go back to this method for basics that should be in a Users' Manual! Though actually, that's exactly what prompted my first visit here: not enough instruction that I thought should be basic.

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Re: Things you'd like to see in Book II User's Manual

Post by recluse » September 4th, 2008, 6:00 pm

Saxon1974 wrote: all too often now manuals are just tiny little books with only gameplay basics. Not that you really need a book for gameplay basics games are so dumbed down and easy now.
Nah, dummies play this game too, and WE need somebody to hold our hands until we can figure out how to stand and walk. Don't omit basics, I need them.

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