Feedback: The Manual could be improved

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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant » March 5th, 2006, 5:22 am

I had a look at what you've done. It's a vast improvement already.

My personal vision (which I've been too lazy to pursue :oops:) is for the manual to be much broader than the current manual; to make it more like the manual you'd get with a commercial game (except electronic).

I note from the talk page that you already intend to include at least some of the text from "Getting Started", but I'd suggest going significantly furhter. I'd suggest that a comprehensive manual should include almost all the contents of the "Playing Battle for Wesnoth", "Advanced players" and "The World of Wesnoth" sections (and ideally things like unit stats).

To avoid conflicting versions of manual sections, I suggest that the best way to do this is to use the transclusion feature of MediaWiki to automatically display all the relevant documents as a single document.

The problem is that the sections in question have been written as unrelated documents. If we want to combine them into a single document, they'll need to be reframed.

I've taken the liberty of starting the manual down this (transcluded) road. If you disagree, please feel free to revert.

Also, I note that the current manual states that it is for v1.1.1 only. This seems like a bad idea to me; most 'regular' users will be using the stable version, and they're the ones most in need of a manual! In my opinion, it would be a lot better to either have two separate manuals (one for development and one for stable) or clearly flag development-specific options in the manual so that the manual can serve both groups of users. I consider the second approach uglier, though.

scott
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Post by scott » March 5th, 2006, 1:18 pm

irrevenant wrote:Also, I note that the current manual states that it is for v1.1.1 only. This seems like a bad idea to me; most 'regular' users will be using the stable version, and they're the ones most in need of a manual! In my opinion, it would be a lot better to either have two separate manuals (one for development and one for stable) or clearly flag development-specific options in the manual so that the manual can serve both groups of users. I consider the second approach uglier, though.
This is an important point to ponder. On the one hand, you can consider the 1.0 manual to be a static product shipped with the game for better or for worse. The effort should go to a place that supports the current development effort.

On the other hand, an updated manual probably would trigger the release of 1.0.3 along with translations (if I understand the 1.0 policy correctly), and if we expect 1.0 to continue to get reviews and distribution it's worth Skippy's time to keep improving the 1.0 manual ;).

On the third? hand this might be a moot point in that very few gameplay features are different. The ability system is the biggest divergence now, and if you leave out the extensibility of it you don't have much to change (the behavior of slow is a notable exception). However, who knows how much else will change in the future?

Finally, we should consider available effort. Someone can go through all the effort to revamp the 1.0 manual and fizzle out. But, that's good. We have something to show for it. Someone could start working on the 1.1-2.0 manual and fizzle out, and we're stuck mid-stream without a new 1.0 manual and a 1.3.5 manual (when we're on version 1.6.2). But that argument isn't very convincing since the hard work would be done already and we're almost in that position right now.

Taking all those factors into consideration I recommend the manual be updated to the current version of the game. Once the formatting and reunification are done, it can be backported to 1.0 and fixed as needed. But it's no secret that I was the one who added {{DevFeature}} in the first place - but now you know why.
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Post by im the one you think of » March 6th, 2006, 5:50 pm

OK ive finished the first draft of the manual, C&C would be welcomed. This is only a first draft so i dont expect it to be ready yet.

The first couple of pages is just the contents so they can be ignored if necessary. The entire document is about 18 pages long. If theres anything i've missed let me know and suggest where to add it and ill get right on it. :D

For some reason it wont let me upload the document, anyone have any idea why?
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Skippy
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Post by Skippy » March 6th, 2006, 10:19 pm

im the one you think of wrote:OK ive finished the first draft of the manual, C&C would be welcomed. This is only a first draft so i dont expect it to be ready yet.

The first couple of pages is just the contents so they can be ignored if necessary. The entire document is about 18 pages long. If theres anything i've missed let me know and suggest where to add it and ill get right on it. :D

For some reason it wont let me upload the document, anyone have any idea why?
The easiest way to contribute is via the wiki. I'd suggest you copy and paste from your source document into the wiki. It's probably best to do this in small chunks rather than in one wholesale dump to make further editing easier - drip feed the new stuff to allow others a chance to C&C. Also, note that the document is now somewhat different from the old manual (although that still exists within the new manual). Irrevenant has linked the Getting Started, old Manual, Basic and Advanced Tactics pages together to form the Improved Manual. Work needs to be done integrating them but they also include much more information than was in the old Manual alone. Have a look at it and how it meshes with your draft and start making improvements.

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