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Its official: Say goodbye to ALL printed game manuals..

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Although the warnings have been in the air for the past year or more, it is now official: all games (PC, Console, etc) are to be restricted to the new 7 1/2 by 5 1/4 inch packaging... Just slightly larger than the DVD/CD cases they'll come in. Depth you ask? Hows 1 inch strike you.Of course, the cost savings in real manuals, cardboard packaging and retail shelf space aren't getting passed to the consumer... Rue that thought. Prices stay exactly the same (which continues their steady rise of course - specially in the console space).You have to love this quote:"In the '80s, environmental groups assailed the music industry over the original cardboard "longboxes" for CDs. But, to the surprise of many in the PC industry, there never was a similar clamor about the oversized PC boxes. "It always struck me that was at least one bullet we seemed to dodge," says Doug Lowenstein, president of the Interactive Digital Software Association, a trade group."Gee... I wonder why there wasn't a clamor? Could it be because these now empty cardboard boxes actually used to *have something in them* like extremely useful manuals? Maybe if CD longboxes would have had actual useful content in them like game boxes *used to have*, less complaints would have been heard. But of course, lets not state THAT argument.I also find it extremely insulting when the argument is made: "Just print the thing yourself from the CD manual". Uh, those that make that argument must be Richie Rich decedents as far as I can tell... In my reality, printing a 400 page spot color manual on my inkjet would cost well over a hundred bucks (inkjet printers are dirt cheap and sold for near loss these days for a reason: they milk you like no tomorrow on the ink - of course). *We* can't mass produce them like game manufactures once did. Nice "ideal" though.Anyway, for your reading "pleasure", the information can be had here:http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Detai...?RelatedID=2623Goodbye printed manual... I'll miss ya!Elrond

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Thats true Francois... For now.I subscribe to a few highly specific developer mags as well as three general purpose mags: game, computer and science related. In the past year however, two of the four specialized developer mags have gone online only - albeit at a reduction in subscription price (but not by as much as they *must* be saving). While the content is just as good, its a tad hard to read myself to sleep each night on my laptop! Or enjoy my washroom near as much as I used to (its always been my favorite reading room in the house :-)). Or read on a laptop while stuck in traffic (which is now illegal where I live anyway). etc, etc.While the big three mags are still delivered by mail, two of them have online versions now you can subscribe to. I have no doubt they'll follow the way of the more specialized mags at some point and stop physical versions.I keep waiting for the supposed revolution in digital e-book devices, but to date they all suck (I know, I've bought - and returned - three). Either they are unwieldy in weight even at paperback size, their screens simply suck, or the battery life on them is horrible. Until a good e-book specific device that will last 20-50 hours between charges, has a 24bit or better screen that actually works out of doors and isn't the size of a postage stamp, is the weight of your standard real paperback book, and doesn't cost more than $199 US appears, I think a law should be passed making online only versions of ANY for-pay magazine or manual illegal!Well, maybe not. :-) But you catch my drift...Take care,Elrond

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Being an old typographer by trade I couldn't agree with you more of course. I just love the feel, looks and smell of freshly printed reading matter.... but allas, economics nowadays take a lot of the fun out of life as we know it. I like the computer for making lay-out and prepress, but reading from paper still has the definite edge to reading from any kind of screen.... !!! :-outta Francois :-wave[table border=0 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0][tr][td valign=bottom" align="center]"At home in the wild"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:avsim.com/alaska/alaska_052.htm|Don's Alaskan Bush Charters]"Beavers Lead the Way"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:www.avsim.com/vfr_center/mainpages/vfr_flights_main_page.htm]VFR Flight Center]"Looking Good Outside"[/td][/tr][tr][td valign=top" align="center]http://avsim.com/hangar/air/bfu/logo70.gif[/td][td valign="top" align="left" colspan=2]http://www.fssupport.com/images/moose2.gif[/td][tr][/table]________________________Francois A. "Navman" DumasAssociate Editor &Forums AdministratorAVSIM Online![/bemail: fdumas@avsim.com________________________

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Until the consumers all get together and say "enough already!!!" manufacturers will continue to try reducing their costs by depriving us (the consumer). There IS still such a thing as supply and demand, but unfortunately the public seems more willing these days to simply "go along" and just accept whatever is thrown their way. (There sure must be a lot of rich folks out there; they obviously don't care and the poor folks don't buy computers and related items anyway.) Don't even get me started on the printer/ink cartridge situation!!!And I better quit while I'm ahead or this is going to turn into a REALLLLY long rant. :-lol -Lindy :-wave

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It really does stink that although publishers have saved themseleves tons of money by no longer having to print the manuals, we the consumer, have not. I wonder where all that extra money we spend is going? It cost me an extra $40 (I took them to the printers as my inkjet would have taken a year to print them all and cost me twice as much in ink catridges and paper)to print all the manuals for 767 PIC on top of the $80 (CDN) I paid for the software. And as for the printed magazines? Thank God there is still something on paper. I do my best thinking in the loo;) Kinda tough to haul my desktop in there!CF-AOA

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95% of users don't read the manual anyway, so there is no real need for it...And for those that do want it, they can print it.Good for the environment, which is always a big seller.Personally, I don't mind all that much. The last company that made quality manuals for games died years ago, that was Jane's.

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Personally, I like the .pdf manuals that some with games these days. It is better for the environment, & saves space. I don't really mind them. :)

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>It really does stink that although publishers have saved >themseleves tons of money by no longer having to print the >manuals, we the consumer, have not. I wonder where all that >extra money we spend is going? It cost me an extra $40 (I >took them to the printers as my inkjet would have taken a >year to print them all and cost me twice as much in ink >catridges and paper)to print all the manuals for 767 PIC on >top of the $80 (CDN) I paid for the software. Two comments, we are releasing FSMaintenance in a DVD style box but it DOES contain the full printed manual, depending on what box you choose (withing the set standard) you can get up to 80 pages of manual in there.In the current market of games and add-on for games the price of a product is very important and the price is partly dictated by the production cost. But whatever happens, customers pay for it, so if we can keep production costs down it will in the end be good for the customer.We did a survey on how many customers actually print the manuals I wrote, after asking 172 customers we only found 11% who did print the manual. I think this is rather standard (how many of you printed the FS2002 manuals?) So, for most customers there are no additional costs in providing PDF manuals. And there are advantages as well. I believe the manual should be where the product is, inside FS2002. That's why our manuals are either full blown help files that can be run inside Fs2002 or PDF files that can be called from within FS2002.In the end it is all economics. To be specific for FS, creating add-ons these days is MUCH more expensive then it was 5 years ago, simply because matters are all so much more complex and customers expect much more. As the average price of the product has gone done and the market has not expanded much we only have the option of a serious raising of the price or to try to keep production costs down. Mathijs KokLAGO Concepts & Developments

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Hi Mathijs,While I have no doubt your survey was accurate, it didn't ask the right question in my opinion. The question should have been how many wanted a real manual as opposed to having to print one themselves? I'm actually suprised that 11% did print them since the expense is so high I'd have bet it would have been lower.For many games, I really couldn't care much about a printed manual either. But simulations and the like are exactly that: simulations of real life. While it doesn't take much to understand the mechanics behind shooting an alien with a laser gun, it *does* take a lot to understand how to accurately fly a 747 or almost any aircraft (or how to start these up for that matter). Many, I'm sure, couldn't care less what the real startup procedure is for such a craft (and thus FS doesn't have that type of realism either), but the popularity of the PIC addons and the Fly! series shows that there are a ton who do, too.Because of the above, the trend in no printed manuals will only help dumb down games and sims even further.You do bring up a great point though: if printed manuals must go, then both pdf AND in-game help files must become the norm. There's nothing worse than being in a game and needing to look something up than having to quit just to read a non-physical manual. The trend in PDF only manuals only makes the trend in non-printed manuals that much more painful. Since the developers are absolutely saving some serious cash not having to provide printed manuals, it should be demanded at the least they provide offline pdf AND online in-game help in their stead. In game help shouldn't be a second thought either: it should be just as detailed as a pdf version, but hyperlinked and easier to navigate.Take care,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.jpeg]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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way too large. You can only read them not print them. You can only read half a page on the screen because one is landscape the other portrait. They don't scroll with the mouse whell. I prefer either Word docs or better still HTML.Before some of you were born, manuals came in small three ring binders that included pages of plastic pockets that held, what was then termed, 'floppy disks. That was a long time ago.

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Mathijs,Have to agree with Elrond - it wasn't the right question. There is no way I would attempt to print my Lago manuals, but it would have been awfully nice to actually have them. It's a bit like asking:"Would you buy this magazine for $10?""No!""OK, would you buy it for $5?""Yes!"I looked everywhere for FSSE in a box. Couldn't find it anywhere.To extrapolate upon Elrond's original post, how long will it be before you don't even go into a shop at all, and *all* software is downloaded? Wasn't this concept vaguely touched upon in Microsoft's long term plans for their ".net" concept?

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There is a boxed version of FSSE available, at least in Germany and the Netherlands.Aerosoft in Germany sells it through their website I believe.About when everything will be downloaded instead of boxed, not anytime soon I think.As long as not everyone has reliable broadband internet (even now the percentage of people who have that is no more than 10-20% depending on geographic area) it is simply impractical.Over my modem at home, I can get 15MB per hour when I'm lucky. Wouldn't want to download FS2002 (almost 2GB of data on those 3 CDs) that way, as it would take forever (and cost me more than going to a shop and buying a boxed version even if the downloadable one is substantially cheaper).That download would cost me approximately $80 in phonecharges alone (and 137 hours or so), plus the say $40 MS might charge for it. Even if the price of the boxed version were $100 (instead of the $80 it is here) I'd still be cheaper of with a box. And FS2004 will probably add another 600MB or so of data, which is another 45 hours or $30.

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Actually on that point, I am stuck with 56kbit bandwidth and will have to be for some time. In Australia, we really are in the dark ages when it comes to the proliferation of broadband.I recently contacted the two largest broadband providers in Australia (Optus and Telstra). Both advised that ADSL is not available to me, nor is cable. That only leaves satellite. Apparently ADSL will be available at some stage but they can't say when. I'm not even sure how good an investment broadband technology is at present. It is frightfully expensive and I'd venture to suggest very few users in Oz use broadband on a private basis. I'm sure just about all use is by medium and large businesses.

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