User's Guide...USER'S GUIDE!!

I just bought Sid Meier’s Civil War Collection and there is no hard copy of the user’s manual!! Oh sure there is one, in Adobe ACrobat on the CD-Rom, but I really do not like the eye straigning necessity of having to read it on my montor. Not to mention that you have to switch between the game and AA. I could print it, after all, it isn’t like printer cartiridges aren’t $40 a pop. So no I don’t mind having to print up something I should get with the freaking game! Not at all! Stupid jerkfaces with faces like jerks!

And then the Rat Puke Bastards have the gall to say that yes I acn order a copy of the manual, for $5 of course. And then of course I will have to wait several weeks to get it. That is, as they say in Latin, bullshitus majoris*.

I know this BS is pretty common, so I am learning not to expect a huge tome, but at least give me gee-dee User’s Guide that goes over the basic gameplay.

grumble, grumble, grumble…

Were the games in a full size box? Or one of those 10 dollar games that wally mart sells that just comes in the jewel case?
If it’s the latter you knew you weren’t getting it. They are great games btw…once you figure them out you will truly enjoy them.

I don’t mind, too much, if the game has the manual on disk, if I’ve gotten the game at a bargain. I DO mind that the manual is in Adobe Acrobat, because if it was in some REASONABLE format, I could just copy and paste the relevant portions of the manual, and print out, say, 10 pages.

Right now, I am involved in Fallout, after reading several TMs’ recommendations of it. I don’t know whether to thank them or swear at them.

Full size box.

Tretiak, I wish you (or someone like you) could come to some of the meetings I have to attend. Hell, I’d pay your way if I thought it would do any good.

Among other things, I’m a technical writer. I write the manuals that are supposed to go with software, and in some cases actually do–but I’m finding that more and more, clients don’t want printed copies of manuals. They want all the documentation in PDF, WinHelp, or HTML formats, “because it shows that we’re on the cutting edge of technology,” or some such other silly excuse. “After all,” they reason, “a user can print it out themselves, right?” Well, not always economically or easily, as you point out.

No matter how much I point out that softcopy documentation interrupts what is happening on screen, that it cannot be opened and left on a desk for referral, that it requires no boot-up time and works even in the absence of electricity, I’m up against a brick wall in some cases. I have no problem if a client wants both soft- and hardcopy documentation, but I urge the ones who want softcopy only to rethink their decision. Usually, they stand by it, and the result is a frustrated user like yourself.

The only suggestion I can make is that you get in touch with the game manufacturer, and let them know that you do not appreciate them leaving out the printed documentation. And further, you doubt that you will purchase another game from them if it does not contain even a simple user guide that covers the basic gameplay.

(Of course, I wouldn’t mind if you dropped a hint for them to listen more closely to what their technical writers are saying because they know what they are talking about, but I can understand if you have more important things to mention in your communication. :))

I feel for you, but unfortunately in my field, those who pay the piper call the tune. If some of my clients realized how much consumers like yourself find this to be an inconvenience, maybe they would actually listen to people like me for once, and we would all be happier in the end.

I know this is reaching pretty far for a silver lining, but you know you can print out individual pages of an PDF document, right?

I’m a techwriter too, and Spoons is right. Companies don’t want the expense and hassle of printed versions. Call the company you bought your game from and Complain to everyone who will listen. G-d knows, they don’t listen to writers.

Well, it would, without a doubt, raise the cost of the game by $5 or so.

Printing those tomes ain’t cheap, trust me. Unit cost can be a couple of bucks per copy. And it increase cost of shipping and box stuffing.

That’s all they’re doing. Saving themselves some dough.

But let’s face it, paper is on the way out.

  • Jonathan “Publisher to the Stars” Chance

But what if she wants, say, 2 paragraphs from page 6 and half of page 8 and all of page 17, but only the top two sentences from that section that spill over onto page 18, and one section that starts at the bottom of page 20 and ends a third of the way down page 22… She may end up printing 25 pages to get the 10 pages worth of info she needs.

This may sound strange for someone who uses the computer as much as I do but . . .

I hate reading from a computer screen.

After all this time, I’m still not used to it, and I’ve tried Adobe and a few of the e-Readers out there. Yes, even at work on my phat monitor under the best writing. I hate it, and I’ve been computing since the days when the Apple II+ was cutting edge.

I’ll do it if I have to, but there’s no substitute for paper.

I’ve written game documentation for a former competitor of Sid’s, and I know that these games are incredibly complex. Tossing them to a user without even the most rudimentary one-page documentation is a shitty way to treat a paying customer.

This is one of those re-packaging deals, right? Three (or so) older games bundled together and sold at a reduced price? A manual would be nice, but documentation for Sid Meir games run towards the biblical in length. Providing printed documentation probably would have made it impossible to turn a profit on the product. It sucks not having hte manual, but at least you have the game, right?