A lot of people really liked the manual for Gratuitous Space Battles, and I’m conscious of this fact when working on the one for GTB. As with all complex strategy games, there is a ton of stuff to tell the player, and they will likely want to reference it after playing for an hour or two, in order to look-up or clarify stuff. It’s also a good place to put stuff like lists of hotkeys, or unit stat comparisons, although I probably won’t be doing the latter.
Some trendy designers would suggest that ‘a game that needs a manual is badly designed’. This is just silly. We don’t all want to play games as simple as Bejeweled, and sometimes, a separate reference manual is a good idea for a game that has real depth and a ton of features. I also like doing a manual because it means people can read how to play the game on their laptop, or a work PC, where maybe actually playing through a tutorial isn’t an option. Plus it means people who are really on the fence can read the manual before deciding to buy the game.
The manual is maybe half done. It’s mostly all there, but it will need some more images, some proof-reading, spell checking, and a second pass for actual humour and flavour text to make it more in-keeping with the blackadderish spirit of the game design. I might change my typewriter font to make it more typerwriterish, a tradeoff between authenticity and legibility. I like the idea of a 1914 army document that never got updated during 200 years of war. maybe the army spent all it’s effort on making more deadly lasers and none on word processors?
On the technical side, it looks like the server move went ok. Just quadruple checking it all before I turn off the old one. That still scares me…