Feedback: The Manual could be improved

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Skippy
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Feedback: The Manual could be improved

Post by Skippy » February 17th, 2006, 9:13 pm

I have found the Manual to be relatively limited and it omits many details that would be useful. In short, it could be improved.

I would be happy to help by providing revisions, but these are obviously not wanted: From the wiki "This document is kept in synch with the MANUAL file distributed with the game -- please do not edit."

Who is the maintainer of the manual file? How does one contact them? How is the manual actually updated? What is the point of having the manual on this site as an editable wiki and then saying "please do not edit"?

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Eleazar
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Re: Feedback: The Manual could be improved

Post by Eleazar » February 17th, 2006, 10:39 pm

Skippy wrote: How is the manual actually updated? What is the point of having the manual on this site as an editable wiki and then saying "please do not edit"?
The point of having it on the wiki is that people don't have to download the game to read the manual.
Feel free to post improved or additional sections of the manual here.
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 18th, 2006, 12:49 am

Moving

Clicking on a unit identifies all the places it can move on its current turn by dimming unreachable hexes (pressing the number keys 2-7 will identify the additional hexes that can be reached in that number of turns in a similar manner). While in this mode, moving the cursor over a hex will identify the path your unit will take towards that hex as well as additional information on the defensive bonus of your unit on that hex and, if it will take more than one turn, the number of turns it will take your unit to arrive. If you do not wish to move the unit this mode can be cancelled by selecting a different unit (by clicking on the new unit) or, on a Mac, by Command clicking on the current unit. [Details of other platforms needed.]

If you decide to move the selected unit, click on the hex you want to move to and your unit will move towards that space. If you select a destination which is beyond reach in the current turn, the unit will move as far as it can in the current turn and enter 'goto-mode'. In 'goto-mode' your unit will continue moving towards its destination in subsequent turns. You can easily undo goto movements at the beginning of your next turn; you may also change a unit's destination by selecting that unit and choosing a new destination.

Moving onto a village that is neutral or owned by an enemy will take ownership of it and end your move for that unit.

You may not move through hexes adjacent to enemy units (their Zone of Control) without stopping unless your unit has the skirmish ability. However, level 0 units have no Zone of Control and, so, all units may move past level 0 enemy units without stopping. These restrictions are automatically reflected in both the path that is displayed for your unit and the hexes it may move to on the current turn.

Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 18th, 2006, 4:13 am

mod note: part of this post refers to another post that was deleted for being argumentative rather than constructive

Sure - if you want to maintain an elitist attitude that instructions are for wimps and if you aren't smart enough to work out how to play the game you don't deserve to play the game - go for it.

Otherwise I see no problem with providing clear and explicit instructions. It is not obvious, for example, that to cancel move mode you need to Command click on the unit. Furthermore, the whole point of manuals and instructions is so that people don't have to work things out the hard way.

If you truly believed that people too stupid to understand that level 0 units have no ZOC doesn't deserve to play the game why bother with a manual at all?

Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 18th, 2006, 5:49 am

I apologise for being bristly. I would suggest you also impute to me a modicum of intelligence (or we will end up in some perverted "my brain is bigger than yours" nerd-macho chest-thumping travesty).

I do not complain that things are not simple enough. I complain that, for example, the section on ZOC and movement doesn't mention skirmishers. That the section on showing available moves doesn't mention the use of the 2-7 keys. That the method for cancelling move mode so you can explore the map without having little feet all over the place is not obvious.

Finally, there is a difference between 'simple' (in the pejorative sense you use it) and 'clear and unambiguous'. Good documentation is difficult to achieve. It should be written for people who do not know the answer rather than, as seems all too commonly to be the case, for people who already know the answer.

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Post by Dacyn » February 18th, 2006, 1:18 pm

Skippy wrote:If you do not wish to move the unit this mode can be cancelled by selecting a different unit (by clicking on the new unit) or, on a Mac, by Command clicking on the current unit. [Details of other platforms needed.]
it's a right-click for Linux, and I assume it would be for all non-Mac platforms...
Also, you can command/right-click on hexes other than the one with the current unit.
(BTW, I believe the system is considered intuitive for non-Mac users, which is probably why it isn't mentioned...)
Skippy wrote:I complain that, for example, the section on ZOC and movement doesn't mention skirmishers.
:? specialties aren't generally considered "rules of the game"... the idea is that since the tooltip for the specialty explicitly says that it violates the rule, there is no need to mention it in general discussion of the rule. (except for strategy discussions in which you would want to mention strategies for dealing with skirmishers, for example.)

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Post by scott » February 18th, 2006, 2:11 pm

Aside from addressing skippy's specific concerns, he has a valid point. None of us needs the manual. He does. Besides making a thread, what is the best way to submit changes to the manual? What about making a wiki pages for proposed changes to the manual or using the talk page for it?
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Post by jonadab » February 18th, 2006, 2:48 pm

Dacyn wrote:It's a right-click for Linux, and I assume it would be for all non-Mac platforms...
It is right-click on Windows, always (edit: unless the user's got the buttons reversed for left-handedness, in which case it could be considered left-click, but documentation always still calls that right-click). On X11 systems (including almost all Linux systems and the BSDs), it depends on the user's setup (i.e., it could be right-click, or it could be middle-click, or it could be ctrl-click, or meta-click, or alt-click, or...), but right-click corresponds to the default setup on every major distro of which I am aware, and anyone who has it set up differently would know what their setup is, probably.
Dacyn wrote:(BTW, I believe the system is considered intuitive for non-Mac users, which is probably why it isn't mentioned...)
Mac is by far the most widely deployed GUI wherein multiple click actions along these lines is not considered normal. There are others, but I don't know that Wesnoth runs on them. Certainly X11 and Win32 users are accustomed to right-clicking on things if they want to do things beyond what left-click provides.
Last edited by jonadab on March 8th, 2006, 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Eleazar
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Post by Eleazar » February 18th, 2006, 4:13 pm

Macs do and have supported multi-button mice for years.

If a Mac user doesn't have a mutli-button mouse, he/she will know what would otherwise be a Right-click should be accessed through CTRL-clicking (works 99% of the time.)
Unfortunately Wesnoth violates this standard Mac UI convention, by simulating a Right-click with COMMAND-click. And there seems to be no way to change it in the hot-keys.
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 18th, 2006, 9:05 pm

I think some obvious place where you can post the things you failed to find in the manual would be useful - a thread in a forum would work. That way, even if people are not up to providing drafting suggestions, a list of non-obvious or confusing things could be maintained so the next revision could incorporate those comments.

If I notice something like that I need to write it down relatively quickly or I'll forget how confusing things were at first acquaintance - I'm already beginning to forget some of the things that jarred or were confusing when I first fired up Wesnoth.

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Post by Sangel » February 18th, 2006, 10:20 pm

While I agree that the manual could use some fleshing out and revision (I actually wrote the initial draft), I do think we have to be careful about duplication.

For instance, your proposed revision for movement contains a section on what happens when a unit encounters Zones of Control. Surely it would be better to have a brief mention that units are affected by Zones of Control, and a link to the appropriate section of the manual?
"Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 18th, 2006, 11:31 pm

If there is good cross-referencing then excessive duplication can be avoided. Particularly with the on-line documentation/wiki that is easy to achieve.

However, a little bit of duplication isn't necessarily a bad thing - that way you don't need to know the precise section to find the information you are looking for but can find it in multiple different ways - hence, more easily.

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Post by Dave » February 20th, 2006, 4:07 am

Dacyn wrote: (BTW, I believe the system is considered intuitive for non-Mac users, which is probably why it isn't mentioned...)
Err...if something is 'intuitive' only for people with a certain experience, then it's not 'intuitive' at all.
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Skippy
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Post by Skippy » February 20th, 2006, 5:10 am

Taking on board the comment about cross-referencing and duplication, and adding in the information on other platforms I have modified the suggested redrafting (italics for changes):

Moving

Clicking on a unit identifies all the places it can move on its current turn by dimming unreachable hexes (pressing the number keys 2-7 will identify the additional hexes that can be reached in that number of turns in a similar manner). While in this mode, moving the cursor over a hex will identify the path your unit will take towards that hex as well as additional information on the defensive bonus of your unit on that hex and, if it will take more than one turn, the number of turns it will take your unit to arrive. If you do not wish to move the unit this mode can be cancelled by selecting a different unit (by clicking on the new unit or using the 'n' or 'N' keys) or by right-clicking (Command-click on a Mac) anywhere on the map.

If you decide to move the selected unit, click on the hex you want to move to and your unit will move towards that space. If you select a destination which is beyond reach in the current turn, the unit will move as far as it can in the current turn and enter 'goto-mode'. In 'goto-mode' your unit will continue moving towards its destination in subsequent turns. You can easily undo goto movements at the beginning of your next turn; you may also change a unit's destination by selecting that unit and choosing a new destination.

Moving onto a village that is neutral or owned by an enemy will take ownership of it and end your move for that unit.

Most units exert a Zone of Control which affects the hexes your unit can reach and the path your unit takes. These restrictions are automatically reflected in both the path that is displayed for your unit and the hexes it may move to on the current turn. See Zone of Control for more details. [NB fake link for the purposes of this post]

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irrevenant
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Re: Feedback: The Manual could be improved

Post by irrevenant » February 20th, 2006, 12:16 pm

Eleazar wrote:The point of having it on the wiki is that people don't have to download the game to read the manual.
OTOH, people who have downloaded the game shouldn't really have to go to the website to read the manual.

A while back the idea was being floated that the official manual be placed on the wiki and a snapshot of it be packaged with releases.
Eleazar wrote:Feel free to post improved or additional sections of the manual here.
It seems to me that it would make more sense to work on it directly on the wiki. They could also be posted here for comment, though...

P.S. I know this is a relatively old post that I replied to, but it seemed to encapsulate the issues I wanted to address.

P.P.S. Skippy's idea of a "gotcha's" section is a good one. I nominate "remember that 0 level units have no zone of control" for inclusion...

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