View Full Version : Game Manual poll

05-21-2005, 10:53 AM

05-21-2005, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the responses.

I find it interesting that nobody thus far is happy with the way things are now and that the greater majority are willing to pay more money for a game with a GOOD printed manual.

.....publishers take note.

05-21-2005, 06:10 PM
A printed and thorough manual would be my ideal choice. At the very least, a pdf version that has some meat in it. What we received leaves a lot to be desired, that's for sure. Choice #1 received my vote.

Good poll, Mylo42. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

05-21-2005, 07:06 PM
I selected choice 2 as I would have paid the additional $10 for a good manual. What gets me is the U-Boat commanders manual is on sale for like $9 US at most book stores and that would have been a fantastic addition to a great game..(IMHO) but then again everyone is entitled tho their views.

05-21-2005, 07:25 PM
I think that the results of the pole thus far speak volumes (no pun intended).

05-21-2005, 07:32 PM
I can remember years ago when you'd always get a great manual and sometimes neat add-ons for games. The stuff you buy now as "deluxe edition" used to be standard. I remember the manual that came with Red Baron III. It was really good. It also had maps of all the fronts. Nowadays, I usually buy the "Strategy guide" that you can get with most games, just to see some more content.

05-21-2005, 07:39 PM
Did anyone here ever buy Falcon 4 with the D-ring binder? Now that is how a simulator should be sold...

I guess that type of packaging is more suited towards modern simulators, since the systems are so much more complex.

But I can't help but feel a little ripped off when I open up a game box to find a thin little manual and little else.

05-21-2005, 07:41 PM
To me, good documentation, which includes not only a thourough and complete manual, but also the nice extra touches, as Astaldo mentioned, reflects the final product as a whole. For me, SHIII lost points in this category (Most games do). Look at the players that spend money on "Official guides". Those "guides" should be part of the package that is purchased in the first place. The consumer would feel much better about the product he was getting, I know I would. A SIM with a good SIM manual, documentation, history, maps, etc just FEELS more like a SIM. Charge me for this. I, as well as others, according to this pole, are fully prepared to pay for quality. (I wish I had a nickel for everytime I've said that in this forum).

I really like how the Hearts of Iron manual gave a timeline of events that happened in the real war, giving a player a sense of what he was a part of (although the manual for THAT game was horrible).

Hopefully the votes will keep coming in order to gain a larger sample group.

05-21-2005, 10:23 PM
I would be all about paying a little extra for a good in depth manual. I also like Badlilmonkee's of the U-boat commanders notebook http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

05-21-2005, 10:38 PM
Perhaps SHIII would like to provide a pdf of the ship identification manual or even a chart. Decent maps are also a must have for any game, even if I have to print it out myself.

05-21-2005, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by jr_canuck:
Did anyone here ever buy Falcon 4 with the D-ring binder? Now that is how a simulator should be sold...

you got that right! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
i still keep that manual for reference http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

05-22-2005, 12:16 AM
well, there is a 'unofficial' ship recognition pdf file http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
but a game manual.. well, i'm hoping a third party will work on that..

here's the link to the recognition manual:


The Avon Lady
05-22-2005, 12:27 AM
I don't agree with any of the polling choices.

The printed manual that came with SH3 is abysmal. There is no more in-depth online manual. I don't mind if a 500 page manual is supplied as a PDF file but we didn't get that here.

As for paying more for a full fledged hardcopy printed manual, it could easily be made optional as a separate order. You don't need to force the publisher to package it with the game and you don't need to force people to pay for it when they are willing to save money and use a PDF file.

05-22-2005, 02:52 AM
Got the link to the manual - Thanks

05-22-2005, 09:16 AM
I voted option three, but with the following stipulation.
I think the key problem with online manuals, apart from the insult of 10 page PDF manuals, is that they cannot be consulted while playing the game. So what I would like to see is printed reference material, and not just keyboard overlays, and an in-depth online manual.

For example, I would be happy with the SH3 printed documentation as long as I had a detailed online manual that delves into the finer details of crew efficiency, sonar, AI and so on...

05-22-2005, 10:16 AM
Judging from the results of the poll, one thing is perfectly clear. We want more documentation, a better manual, whether it be printed and included with the SIM or online in PDF format. By the looks of it, we understand the added cost and are willing to "buck up".

I love the comment about Falcon 4. Right on the money http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif ....oddly enough, look at the type of sim that F4 turned out to be. Argueably, one of the best ones ever churned out. Coincidence ???

My understanding is that the writing of the manual if often "farmed out" to people who had no involvement in the creation / design ? WTF ?

Gabriel, agreed. I always end up printing out these online manuals so that I can reference them in the game. I then get out my handy 3 hole punch and put all the stuff in a nice 3 ring binder with a label on it. This is why I voted #1. I figure by the time I calculate the expense of the paper and ink for my printer, and the binder, it's pretty much equal.

Avon, I as well agree with your statement, in that we didn't get an online "manual" with SHIII either. The poll was referring to games in general, with the assumption that the online or printed manuals would be of good quality. If there was a poll asking how many players feel that the quality of the manuals they are getting with games is good, I think the overwhelming majority would vote "No", myself included. As well, I feel "O.K." about a game that has an online manual but it has to be good. However, like I pointed out, I don't think I'm saving much money by it being online.

I can't help thinking how impressed I would have been to buy SHIII in a nice thick box with a full complete manual, recognition manual, charts, quick ref. charts, maps, chronology of the Battle of the Atlantic, ..hell, even a red light bulb for my lamp (that's in reference to another thread on the forum http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif). That kind of thing adds value to me.

Thanks for the responses and keep the votes coming. One of these days, one of these polls just might mean something..

05-22-2005, 10:28 AM
Hi ,as you all i beleive in good info and wished that in this game i could of got of gotten a better manual,i left with trying to get some info in the forums but my knowledge in maitime navigation is like nothing so i,m having a lot of trouble with this great game ,but i read that there is a book that can be purchased?

05-22-2005, 12:54 PM

Your post raises a point. I'm sure many of those that cast their votes in this poll have previous Sub sim experience, yet they STILL want more documentation. Imagine the poor noob, desperately wanting to know what all the hype is about. Starts playing SHIII, armed only with the knowledge that subs go under water, that's it. How is this person supposed to figure the SIM out without going on forums and asking lots of questions (we see many examples of this). Many keep slugging away, learning from others but I'm sure there are lots that have just uninstalled SHIII in frustration with no idea why ANYONE would want to waste their time with such a "stupid" game. ....another customer lost.

05-23-2005, 04:18 PM
Look at these results !!

Publishers.....c'mon, this needs to be addressed.

05-23-2005, 04:25 PM
I think it's easy to say we'd buck up the costs when you look at it and see that it's only $20. But when looking at the final product, would people be willing to pay upwards of around $100 for a game to support this manual?

Also, I wonder how random of a sample this forum is.

I love a good in depth manual with tons of reading. I'm not sure how many other people share my thoughts though....especially if we examine the market as a whole.

The only way to make this work would be to allow the purchase of a manual separately...but don't we already call these strategy guides http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

05-23-2005, 04:39 PM

I strongly believe that people who play SIMS are "cut from a different cloth" than your average casual gamer. I'm not going to get much arguement on that point. Having said that, I also feel that yes, people who play SIMS would in fact, shell out that $100 USD for a game that is refined and complete with indepth documentation. There may be hesitation at first because we have all been "burned" by spending more and getting less. I do understand that it is the SIM games that this approach would be most welcomed. I'm sure most SIM players share your thoughts with regards to the "lots of reading".

To me, a higher average price tag for a SIM would tell me that SIMS are "different", that they cost more but that you also get more. No different that buying a Dodge Neon or a Viper. You get what you pay for. We've been saying all along that a SIM isn't your average "game". ....and if the higher price weeds out the casuals, so be it, all the better for those that play in MP arenas. In the end, if my basic economics is correct, selling 1000 units at $100 is better than selling 1500 units at $50....just as an example.

05-23-2005, 05:02 PM
I'm not sure what the elasticity of the price for Sim games are.

Your example does make sense (assuming that the cost to make the product does not change significantly), but it's possible that the numbers are too generous. I suspect it would be more along the lines of 1500 units at $50 would drop to 100 units at $100. The price is probably very elastic.

However, I am just speculation. My assumption comes based on the fact that, as so many people like to point out, the executives at UbiSoft have analysts to determine price points and whatnot. If the situation would be 1500 at $50 vs 1000 at $100, then it would have already happened.

With the rising costs of development, I think it becomes too risky to create a game for a niche market. Even if that particular niche likes it, it's still tough to come up with the volume to pay for development.

Also, with higher prices comes higher consumer expectations. Had Silent Hunter 3 cost $100, the little bugs that come in to the game become more and more inexcusable. People get frustrated enough when they pay $60 for game with bugs....they'll be crying for blood for $100. In turn, this would make development longer and more expensive, to the point where you are no longer making the additional profit, since the cost of the game has gone up.

05-23-2005, 05:06 PM
Also, the Dodge Viper vs Neon comparison is a bit misleading.

A Viper will cost about $80,000 whereas a Neon costs like $15,000

Going with a game costing $60, would you be willing to pay $320 for a game? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

05-23-2005, 05:37 PM
Ya, I threw in the car analogy 'cause....guys can relate. (I've always wanted to try out a Viper http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif) I didn't intend for the prices to be relative.

Without a doubt, if I'm paying that $100 for a SIM, the "nagging" bugs better be squashed.

At the end of the day, I'm sure the publishers are doing EXACTLY what they should be to make the most money they can.

05-23-2005, 05:50 PM
Well here is my two cents worth. Earlier I had posted that I would be willing to pay an additional $10 US for a neat manual or an added book such as the U-Boat Commanders Manual. That being said, I think the market is just a whole lot more willing to put up with mal-treatment than in earlier times, IMHO. I can remember several games that were classified as "simulations" and for no additional price had really neat, intense, and fully documented manuals, most notably the Janes series or the Falcon series of games and I cannot recall having paid an additional price for the outstanding manuals that were included..or let me say if I did pay more I was unaware of it. I can only theorize that if these games had attempted to gain an commanding following of playrs as that had..they would not have been able to do so without those outstanding manuals to further immerse players into the simulations.

I have paid good money before for what I thought of as good games..and I have suffered both non-existant, regular, outstanding and downright tedious manuals from all sorts of programs. I still have otstandinig copies of games and manuals that piqued my interest in certain genre of simulations. I can say that without already being a previous player of SH2 and other sub sims, I would have passed this game up for its lack of documentation. I can wish or hope that in the future UbiSoft learns from this and includes some for of manual on par with Falcon 4 or such other games, hopefully lesson learned. On the subject of PDF manuals, I think thats the cheap way out..because they are expecting the consumer to print it out and absorb the cost of doing so. If this was such a good thing to do, car manufactures would be doing the same thing for everyone to print out their own car manuals...and that ain't happening right now, irrespective of the final cost of the product. To sum this lil thing up I think that for $49.95 US, the game needed to have a better set of ducuments with it. I paid about the same for Falcon 4 and such so I dont think it would be a stretch for UbiSoft to do the same thing. Now let the flaming begin...hehehehe

05-23-2005, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by jr_canuck:
Did anyone here ever buy Falcon 4 with the D-ring binder? Now that is how a simulator should be sold...
I got a softcover (glued) handbook... looks like here in Europe we got the second choice http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

But the idea of paying more for a manual is ridiculous.

Any lawyers in here? Because I imagine the basically non-existent manual may be reason for serious complaints.

05-23-2005, 06:15 PM

No flaming here. I'm with you 100%. (Whatever happened to the Janes series ? I thought they were going to dominate the SIM genre. The manuals and "stuff" included with the software was top notch, like you were getting an owner's manual for the weapon platform. The Janes line, from what I remember, was competitively priced as well. I noticed the series slip when they came out with WWII Fighters. Long Bow II....awesome.) With Falcon 4, didn't it just FEEL like you were getting a SIM from the moment you picked it up off the shelf ?


Yes, we game consumers get "ripped off" on a regular basis with regards to the manuals. As for the "pay more" poll, it was just to see what the community opinion was like in terms of accepting the fact that indepth/complete manuals cost money, are we willing to pay that money ? Don't get me wrong, if I'm paying $10 or $20 more for the game, I DEMAND a good/complete/well written manual. I should not have to hunt down a "strategy guide" or surf forums looking for answers.

05-23-2005, 06:25 PM

Yes, we game consumers get "ripped off" on a regular basis with regards to the manuals. As for the "pay more" poll, it was just to see what the community opinion was like in terms of accepting the fact that indepth/complete manuals cost money, are we willing to pay that money ? Don't get me wrong, if I'm paying $10 or $20 more for the game, I DEMAND a good/complete/well written manual. I should not have to hunt down a "strategy guide" or surf forums looking for answers.
Well, I can see your point.

But if I compare the cost/performance ratio of my old sims, like Falcon 4.0 or my hallowed-and-still-worshipped Longbow 2 to the newer stuff, it brings tears to my eyes.

One example: When Longbow 2 came out, I paid 599,- ATS (the Austrian currency) for it. (if I convert it to Euros, it'll be around 43 ").
I paid almost the same for Silent Hunter III, and instead of getting an "into- the- matter guide" I'm getting a pathetic leaflet with fewer pages than the average porn DVD inlay.

It would be quite interesting if you really could put a lawsuit on UBI (and others) for this. Especially in the US, where (sorry) almost every **** could be brought to trial.

05-23-2005, 07:20 PM
Wasn't Longbow II great.. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I quit playing it ONLY because the game got "lost" in a move. Even today, I would play it, and think the graphics were just fine.

The way the manuals have gone I can only assume that publishers don't take us seriously enough, that we would hardly even "notice" the pathetic "leaflets" (I like your description there). It really annoys me that I can't read a manual and find answers to some basic questions, and I've been playing SIMS for years. I've commented before, what about the noob ? ....come to think of it, I can't remember buying a game in the recent past that had a good manual. Probably Civ III, but that was years ago.

05-23-2005, 07:54 PM
Mylo42, the Janes series fell to the wayside as just too friggin good to pay someone else to improve upon(ie. too expensive). Sonalasys (spelling) has developed their own modern sub sim this year called Dangerous Waters...former Devs of 688I and it has a 500+ page manual..imagine that...lol...the situation today reeks of the almighty profit margin. Who wants to pay the additional $7 to develope a manual when someone from Prima Stratagey Guides will bid the job for you and call the guide "Official" and cut the publisher in for an unspecified amount of the sales of the "Officail Strategey Guide"??? the power of the profit margin has spoken...and we as consumers (myself included at times)just run out there and pay Prima or some other company $20 US for a book/manual that should have come with the program anyway. I mean look around..how many of us have Windows XP for Dummies or somehting like that laying around when after spending $125 for the Program you sure felt you earned a full manual with it and it never was included??? I am just as guilty as anyone... but if I could get a few of the program developers in a quietroom or a dark alley..their collective butts would be mine....or like I said...give em a cd with the car manual on it in PDF format and let em pay for the printing of it and then ask em if they will do it again...hehehehe anyway..we are preaching to the choir...and teh reverand..aka UbiSoft ain't a listening.......again cheers mates....

05-23-2005, 08:48 PM

Thanks for the scoop on Janes. Interesting. When the Janes Combat Simulation line came out, we, as SIM guys, struck gold for a few years.

What I don't like about Dangerous waters is the multiple weapons platforms that are playable. One sub, that's all I want, O.K, maybe two, L.A. class and the SeaWolf.

Hey, I'm guilty, I've bought more than one Prima Guide.

I realize that all the discussion on the forum is "preaching to the choir". ...but, it's kind of like a therapy group for me... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

To bring things back on topic............

Manuals, for the most part....suck.

Kudos big time however to Sonalyst for the 500+ pager.

.....just to remember better times, I just took my 688i game off the shelf at looked at its beauty.

"Janes Combat Simulations is an Electronic Arts Brand". .....I forgot all about that !! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

05-23-2005, 08:52 PM
Well, I actually can't wait till I get my hands on Dangerous Waters and its 500+ page handbook.

This game will even make Silent Hunter III look like a first person shooter in terms of complexity and tactics... 4 different submarines (my beloved Akula!!), Oliver Hazard Perry frigates, Sikorsky Seahawk AND Lockheed Orion in one game...


Well, I think I'll deport my girlfriend somewhere, stock up on Vanilla Coke, onion rings and smokes and be off for the next 6 months http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

One thing is to critisize, however. The graphics are quite poor. A Total Conversion (Silent Hunter III engine + Dangerous Waters game) would be indeed the sheer perfection.

Sorry, another downpoint: No Alfa class submarines. Means "no 'The Hunt for Red October' multiplayer battles". Too bad.

I would have shown them that the Alfas were indeed as much of the fragbait as they are depicted.

05-23-2005, 09:02 PM
Keep the votes coming. I think it would be interesting to get a large sample group on this one.