Documentation as part of the game

CapTAmerik@ I'm working with the idea of making the documentation (being a booklet, a map or maybe a well-integrated and frequently updated website) an instrumental part of my game. For example, I always loved the way how the Quest for Glory- and Colonel's Bequest-documentation contributed to the look and feel of the game. Once you were done reading, you were really locked into the story... (although QFG was a bit overdone, :P).

What's this boards' opinion and experience?

Thanks for your opinions,
sonneveld I always thought of manuals as an afterthought both in developing a game and actually playing a game. While a back-story would be nice, it should also to be possible to play a game without having to touch the manual.

Saying that, I think you should write your game before writing an actual manual. Your interface may change, your story might change, or you might decide that you want to make it a shooter instead. :) By all means write notes so your story is consistant throughout the game.

One time, when I was a kid, I used to write the description of a story that appeared on the back of a book, before actually writing the story.. it's the wrong way of doing things. :)

- Nick
CapTAmerik@ Don't get me wrong... the story is all etched in stone. I'm a writer of novels and books with a journalist-background, so that's the least of my worries. Artwork is about 60% done. The only thing I encounter now is that --after writing the story-- there's a lot of background info that I don't want to put in the game itself.

Think of the "Blairwitch Project". People thought it was for real, because the website kind of gave you backgrounds on what was happening in that area. From there, the movie itself was an instant hit. I was just wondering if it would be possible to create that kind of a buzz with an AGI-computergame...

Rainer I think thats an excellent idea. Kings quest also added more feel to the game too with their manuals.

Actually, I always thought the reason they put so much extra into the manuals is because there's only so much you can say for a story using AGI.

I might even steal your idea and use it for my game too.
CapTAmerik@ Feel free...

We are here to help each other and generate more buzz for the AGI-community, right, ;)!

Parabola I say go for it.


it can only make the game experience more involving.
Nailhead I think it's a great idea too. I was always very big into the sierra manuals. I'd usually put the game manual/map next to my keyboard and the game box on top of my monitor while I played a sierra game, this would fully immerse me into which ever game I was playing at the time.
CapTAmerik@ Oh, didn't we just love the game-boxes? I remember running to the store, whenever there was news about a new Sierra release. I gathered them all, and put them up in an artistic way in my old bedroom. It's quite a collection. They're STILL prominently placed in my new house and YES, I dust them off from time to time (especially the covers of Laura Bow II and SQ4/5!)...

Pikachu14 I can convert Word files to PDF! I use this to write a quasi-professional manual for my game. It's neat!
Steven Melenchuk I don't know about everyone else, but SF1 will contain not one, but THREE booklets with it when it's done. :P
mr-t I'm going to do box art, and a manual for Fuulong Moon when it is done -- in awhile, probably.
Eigen Now I know. I'll make a manual for Al Pond 2 when it's ready. It covers the background and the plot. Isn't it great!
CapTAmerik@ :D

Okay, okay, okay:
I know I said that we should help each other!

But, when I said everybody could use my idea, I was only joking...

(does this sound convincing enough, :D?)

Kon-Tiki Better posted this thread afterwards;D. Now there'll be games with your idea even before yours is finished.

Rainer actually, your idea is not original. randy dykstra did it with operation:recon.
Andrew_Baker Thank god! Ever since that damned Myst, designers seem to have decided that manuals are no longer an important part of a game's release.

I, too, would crack open a new game box and read the manuals and maps first thing. Sometimes it was more satisfying than playing the game. Also, there was a game called Weird Dreams (the game itself was buggy as hell) that came with a full novel, wherein were hints to help solve the game.
rwfromxenon 1st of all,
No offence andrew, but you shouldnt go bashing Myst. The entire idea of the game was to find out everything yourself.
I quite liked Myst and it's sequels and I enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy playing AGI/SCI games.

Secondly, Thats a great idea to have the documentation in the game, It's kinda like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by Lucasfilm.
sonneveld Myst was pretty awful as far as I'm concerned.. since it's sucess, hundreds of myst clones were released and I'd hazard a guess and say it may have led to the industry shying away from adventure games in general.

- Nick
mr-t Myst is a glorified collection of puzzles, although I'm sure many people will disagree with me. (Including my best friend)
rwfromxenon Well, there actually was no need to have a manual for Myst telling you the history, there are 3 novels by the creators of Myst explaining the background and stuff

We've gone off-topic here haven't we?
mr-t We sure have. To be an asshole, I might put copy protection in the game to increase the hits to our website, and downloads of the manual :-\