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  #1  
Old September 29th, 2009, 10:16 PM

James243 James243 is offline
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Default One of the things I love about Dom3

I'm waiting on a replacement disk, since I managed to lose my original disk.

I have other hobbies (e.g. tabletop miniatures gaming) where waiting for something always seems painfully interminable.

Now, don't get me wrong - I CAN'T WAIT for my disk to show up (tomorrow I think ) but in the meantime, I've been rediscovering one of the sheer pleasures of Dominions 3:

Sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading the manual for a few hours.

I really can't recall a manual that was such fun, so interesting, and so educational to read. If anyone ever read the game guide for Morrowind that was great too, and some of the manuals from waaaaay back were sort of like this. But everything from the writing style, to Bruce Geryk's tutorial, to the millions of ideas presented that hint at the millions of ideas you'll be having while you play and think about playing.

Seriously, if it's been a while - pick it up again. I read the whole thing when I first got the game, but I've learnt sooooooo much re-reading it.

Big round of applause to those who put it together - a job well done.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

Indeed. And while CBM (which is on in about any MP game I'm in) does change some numbers around, the manual still is an useful tool as a reference to spells (and summoned units) and magic items.
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  #3  
Old September 30th, 2009, 06:13 AM

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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

It's a good manual. It's pretty untrustworthy though. I certainly wouldn't believe something about a mechanic in the game just because it said so in the manual. It's wrong about plenty of things.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

Yeah, unfortunately there were some inaccuracies in the manual when it was first printed and patches have added countless others, even to the mechanics.

I still love my manual, and in fact it happens to be right next to me right now since I was a bit hazy on some details yesterday.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

It was one of my early pushes that a manual should not be written by the developers. Or even the experts. IMHO the manual that comes with the game does not have to be perfect in the experts territory down to the last spread-sheet calculation. It needs to be written for newbies. In fact, Im turned off by manuals that make it seem as if the game has already been so analyzed and laid out that there is nothing new to learn about it.

By the time developers, and even beta-testers, get to the point of writing a manual they tend to be too deep into the game to think of newbie questions and give newbie answers. The best manuals I have ever read involved (A) someone with decent writing skills, (B) that started the game fresh, (C) keeping notes with the intention of writing a manual from it.

I commend Illwinter and Shrapnel for going the right route and creating one of the best manuals Ive ever gotten with a game.
(and thats not just because Im in it)
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Old September 30th, 2009, 05:58 PM

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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

I also-also agree that the Dom3 manual is great. I know this has been discussed more in-depth in other topics, but I love the overall mystique and mystery the game has surrounding it *because* there's so much to do and understand and create, even a 300-page manual can only scratch the surface and provide the basics. That, to me, is telling of the quality of the game when the manual basically says "Here's what you need to know to get started, now go nuts and have fun."
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Old September 30th, 2009, 08:17 PM

James243 James243 is offline
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

Glad to see I'm not alone

I for one will also forgive any inaccuracies, because the greater strength of the manual has been to aid the mystique of the game, inspire me to play, and catalyze my thinking about the game.

And nice Gandalf! I see you there on page v - hadn't realised you were in the beta testing And I agree with your sentiments. I'd played Dominions 2 (only offline), but I found the tutorial, and the general well-written easily understood text huge for learning the game.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

See, lack of accuracy is a major flaw in my eyes. its not that I want the manual to explain every possible interaction of effects, but it should give a fundamentally sound account of the rules so people playing the game understand the rules they are playing under. I realize in this game of computers where the player doesn't need to know the rules to move pawns around that its fashionable to hide rules from the player, but it really detracts from interesting play because it encourages players to do stupid things. Basically, it creates a barrier to entry that inhibits players from doing their best because they don't know what they're actually doing.

I like to know how rules of a game I am playing function, so I can plan strategies and work out tactics that work under those rules. Blind button mashing isn't very interesting in a fighting game. Running around shooting randomly isn't very interesting in a FPS. And buying units at random isn't very interesting in a war simulation game.

That fundamental aspects of the rules are poorly explained or wrongly explained in the manual only means that new players have to do the equivalent of blindly mashing buttons for their first couple of games before they have any clue what's going on - wasted time that could have been ameliorated by writing an accurate manual. So yes, i think the actual algorithms from the code for things like combat resolution should be represented in the manual somewhere, probably in an appendix, but they should be openly accessible so everyone can know.

Edit: The reference aspect of the manual is nice, but imho that should be *expected*. Call me old fashioned, but all the games I grew up with had full spell lists in the rule manual.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

My understanding is that the manual is only wrong about a few corner cases for the rules and for the stats which have been re-balanced since the printing. The basic combat rules are fully explained, and they even give you a handy chart for calculating the percentile chances with an open ended 2D6. Really, I think the thing that makes learning Dominions difficult isn't a lack of documentation, but rather the sheer amount of spells, items, units, and effects.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 09:45 PM

James243 James243 is offline
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Default Re: One of the things I love about Dom3

Well, each to their own of course. Lack of accuracy seems a bit harsh - perhaps imperfect accuracy? But I take what you're saying on board. It's unfortunate that their are errors, but I'd say that the positives far outweigh the negatives. When you compare this to, say, perfectly functional manuals like those to other TBS, or RTS games etc, this wins hands down.
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