Over the past couple of decades numerous words have been written about the disappearance of the lavish printed game manual, but until this Open October submission from Cornerite Tom Goodfellow (aka Wilson) landed on my desk, the idea that we had a passable substitute in our midst had never occurred to me.
(Disclosure: Tom was involved in the marketing for Isonzo, a title briefly mentioned below)
One of the casualties following the rise of digital storefronts has been the chunky physical manual. I still remember my dad’s copy of the M1 Tank Platoon manual – a solid 205 page brick of arcane tank knowledge – or so I imagined. I never read it because I was only 5 or 6. Much the same went for the intriguingly ring bindered accompaniment to Aces Over Europe.
^ You can see this fan wiki page has much more in-depth info on the strengths and weaknesses of different enemies, and can make for some interesting reading.
In the everything online age only one thing reliably scratches my itch for wordy game information: developer diaries. These can range from the longish, technically detailed posts put out by Paradox where they even respond to player queries in the comments, to more thematic writeups like this one from my favourite strategy series which covers the Imperial Sunrise scenario that Tim highlighted previously.
- Burden of Command – another one of their blogs, this time about language, word choice, and how to implement player communication.
- Cantata – a bold discussion of a major gameplay design change, exactly the kind of thing you can’t find anywhere else.
- Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic – this blog on waste management also include a variety of other little additions and plenty of screenshots. Overall I find their blogs to be a great balance of text, visuals, features and design theory discussion.
- Isonzo – lots of nice gifs and a video flying over a new map, but not much juicy dev or design info.
- Strategic Command: American Civil War – a nice discussion of scenarios in a DLC, with more gameplay info and design choice reasoning than the one I linked above.