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The importance of manual scans

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Essential
Whereever possible
Case to case decision
Nice, but not important
Waste of time
Posted at 16:20 on July 6th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Lately, I've been scanning quite a few manuals (not all have been posted on the site yet). Although I've become quite proficient with post production (in order to reduce file size to a bearable level, clean the images up and all), this takes a lot of time. The last one I did was Midwinter - a whopping 200 pages. Now, before I start with Midwinter 2 (another 200 pages), I had a look at the document download status and now I'm not so sure anymore whether it's worth it.

Two from the last weeks:
- Lancelot documents have been downloaded twice (each)
- The Castle Master manual has been downloaded once

That's pretty much the same as not being downloaded at all. It could very well be one or two people who just blindly click on everything. Most document scans seem to be pretty unpopular. Hardly anything which has actually been scanned (i.e. not a manual typed as a text file) ever reaches a significant amount of downloads.

On the other hand, there's T-Pow's scan of the Syndicate manual (which is even in German, i.e. not usable for most visitors) which has jumped into the top ten document downloads within just a few weeks...

So what is this? Should I even bother scanning? It's fairly stultifying work and I'm not too keen on it. I did it, because I thought people would be interested. Opinions, please.
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Posted at 17:19 on July 6th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think that offering manuals is great, but scanning them doesn't pay. Most people won't even want to take a look to the manual for any reason, and nowadays the games hardly ever have manual with background, feelies or anything.
Posted at 07:51 on July 7th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Wandrell at 17:19 on July 6th, 2009:
nowadays the games hardly ever have manual with background, feelies or anything.

Sorry, but how is that relevant? I'm confused. If you're talking about newer games, the question of scanning doesn't even come up, because those games all come up a manual in PDF format anyway - no need to scan physical pages.
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Posted at 11:45 on July 7th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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To me the manuals are interesting and a good thing to scan when they are like the ones from Ultima, or Infocom games. There was the manual, which came with background for the game and a few documents that may or may not serve for anything, they were just feelies, but withouth them, even if they are just scanned, the game loses a bit of charm.

Right now games come with pdfs of really simple games, but I'm talking about games like Homeworld, which came with a big manual telling the history of the world and the creation of the ship. Usually when they release the manual on pdf those sections are removed.

But what I meant is that not even having a manual is that they feel a bit empty compared to older games, being just a disk on a plastic box. But I'm sidetracking.
Posted at 12:13 on July 7th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, have another look at the Infocom manual download numbers. Pretty much all of them are below 10. So again: Who cares?
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Posted at 16:53 on July 7th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I personaly like the idea of having a game "complete" on the site. That means review, screenshots, Boxshots, Manual scans, ... all these things that where shipped with the game. Maybe even a scan of the disks if they are pretty (who ever owns a copy of "Strike Commander" knows what I mean).
So it may not be necessary, but it's nice to have it.
Posted at 22:58 on July 9th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Perhaps most visitors to this site are downloading manuals from replacementdocs.com ?

With reference to the Infocom game manuals, I downloaded many from the Infocom Documentation Project ( infodoc.plover.net ).

So there is an interest in scans of game manuals, it may be that not many visitors to this site are aware that this site also hosts manuals.
Posted at 21:00 on July 10th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I'm not too familiar with what Replacementdocs offers, but every time I check their collection for a particular document, it seems the ones I'm interested in aren't there. They seem to concentrate on a different time period than I do, that one being current enough for manuals to be delivered in digital format by the publisher itself (so no need for scanning). So while I see the point of that site, I don't really see it as a replacement for scanning manuals of the games we cover here.
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Posted at 21:06 on July 10th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, they have quite a bunch of MSDos games manuals, I've even uploaded some, 43 f them were approved and are to be downloaded. Usually if I find on internet a manual I upload it there. Not always, as for example I know where to download the manual for Dungeon Master 2 in german, but it is a nuisance getting it page by page.

The webpage, by the way, is http://dmweb.free.fr/
Posted at 06:19 on July 11th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Wandrell at 21:06 on July 10th, 2009:
I know where to download the manual for Dungeon Master 2 in german, but it is a nuisance getting it page by page.

The webpage, by the way, is http://dmweb.free.fr/

Yeah, took me 30 seconds to type in a script to download those images :P

Code:
#!/usr/bin/perl

use warnings;
use strict;

my $base_url = 'http://dmweb.free.fr/files/DMII-Scan-Manual-Amiga-German-Page';
my $extension = '.jpg';

for (my $page = 1; $page <= 44; $page++) {
	if (length($page) < 2) {
		$page = '0' . $page;
	}
	my $url = $base_url . $page . $extension;
	`wget $url`;
}
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Posted at 03:52 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 06:19 on July 11th, 2009:

http://dmweb.free.fr/files/DMII-Scan-Manual-Amiga-German-Page
= 404 Page not found

The Firefox add-on DownloadThemALL! would probably work very well for this.

How about a python script for the windows machines? :P
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Edited by Gargantuan Orangutan at 03:53 on July 12th, 2009
Posted at 05:43 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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That is why it says 'base_url' - the actual URL of each file is constructed by combining that base URL, the page number and the file extension. The script is tested and it works. And last time I checked, Perl was available for MS Windows (though seriously, I don't see how a system without Perl installed can be considered usable).
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Posted at 06:05 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by at 12:19 on December 15th, 2017:
Compiling Perl from source code under Windows is possible, but most installations lack the requisite C compiler and build tools. This also makes it difficult to install modules from the CPAN, particularly those that are partially written in C
-Wiki

etc
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Posted at 10:21 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Hello all,

First time I post here but I have been following goodolddays for a long time now.

Personally, I do like to have manuals available. In most cases I read the manual before starting a new game.

In general I would think that the necessity of having a manual available strongly depends on the type of game. Most strategy games and role playing games are hardly playable without a proper manual (ok, you can try to play them but you most probably will miss the one or the other info that is important for the game). On the other side, most action games, sports games or even adventures have got rather simple game mechanics which do not require extensive explanation.

Regards
retro
Posted at 17:21 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Orangutan: Seriously, at least quote with context - the very first sentence of the same paragraph you're quoting is this:
Quote:
Users of Microsoft Windows typically install one of the native binary distributions of Perl for Win32,[31] most commonly ActivePerl.


retro: Thanks, you're making a good point there. This would explain why many of the manuals I mentioned earlier aren't that popular download-count-wise (Adventure games). However, what about other background information about the game? Game documentation includes more than just the stuff necessary to play the game. Castle Master has this very nice, long poem. Is this important?
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Posted at 18:10 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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There are no typical Microsoft Windows users that use Perl, lol.
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Posted at 18:32 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Maybe that explains why they're all unproductive, with no way to automate tasks? "lol"
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Posted at 19:30 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Could be. But Windows has a built-in scripting language, VBScript. I've not used it. But there are also batch files understood by cmd.exe, or batch scripting, which I've had more experience with. Although it's often rather convoluted as hell and counter-intuitive, you can still do a lot with it, as shown in my Time Streamer game (which you've probably not looked at, I assume). Part of what I was doing was to prove that a good game is not dependent on fancy graphics or the language used.

But I will admit that I doubt I could write a batch file on the fly to do what you did. But that may have more to do with never having done it before, and how I don't write them on regular basis.
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Edited by Gargantuan Orangutan at 19:32 on July 12th, 2009
Posted at 20:18 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Gargantuan Orangutan at 19:30 on July 12th, 2009:
my Time Streamer game (which you've probably not looked at, I assume)

Obviously, because "System Requirements:

(Windows XP)".
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 21:39 on July 12th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Do you have Windows 2000? Far as I know, it will also run. Also reported to work under Vista.

But DOS, 95, 98, and WinME do not have the functions required for it.
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Edited by Gargantuan Orangutan at 21:42 on July 12th, 2009
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