Game Development Reference
manage large inventories or organise the building of strategic teams with all
the attendant attributes. A series of screenshots from the relevant parts of the
game will be used to illustrate these features, but the text description will take
them through the in-game process and how it works.
Some manuals, to help the player get a proper feel for the game as quickly
as possible, include a small walkthrough of the first ten or fifteen minutes of
gameplay. It is important that this is written in a way that not only ensures
that the player understands why they are doing the actions described, but also
in a way which reflects the style of the game.
Do not forget that games are created for a number of target platforms -
computers, home consoles and hand-held consoles. Each will have their own
manual requirements, particularly those connected with discussions of inter-
face controls, saving and loading, and menu navigation. Unless any descrip-
tions or other details need to reference the platform specific information, a
very generic approach should be used when writing so that it can be applied
to all versions of the manual and keep any specific editing down to a mini-
mum. So, for example, avoid phrases like 'click on the icon' as this suggests a
PC-orientated mechanic.The phrase could become 'select the icon'.
The strategy guide
A strategy guide is, usually, a large format book that is created and published
by a company other than the game developer or publisher. Although
unofficial guides have been published in the past, this is very rare nowadays
and most guides are official ones. Usually the guide publisher pays the game
publisher a fee for the license to publish the guide.
In some ways, the term 'strategy guide' is a bit of a misnomer, suggesting
that the topic will help the player develop a strategy which will allow them
to complete the game. However, many games simply do not have that variety
of gameplay and mostly have only one way of overcoming each of the
gameplay obstacles.The guide then becomes a way of helping the players to
get past the obstacles they become stuck on or shows them areas they may
not have discovered on their own. It effectively becomes a way of making the
game easier for the player by walking them through it.
Evidence suggests that if a game has an accompanying strategy guide it sells
more copies.This is clearly advantageous to both the publisher of the game and
of the guide.The guide must be published at the same time as the game for this
to be most effective.This means that the writer of the strategy guide must have
access to the game well before it is released to be able to complete the work.