Due: Saturday, April 22nd at 11:59 pm
Your final (formal) document for this class is the game manual. The manual is intended to
provide a quick tutorial of the game, so that the player can get started immediately.
For this first draft of the manual, we are not requiring that you finalize all artwork
(in fact, it is common for artwork to still be in flux up until
Designing your Game Manual
While printed manuals are certainly going away, most games still have a some form of
manual. It may be an interactive set of instructions in the game, or a PDF file that
ships with the game. Despite trends towards interactive instructions, we are going
to stick with the latter format. You need to be able to design a classic game manual
before you move on to a something more complicated, like an interactive manual.
The format of your game manual is largely up to you. One of the
design TAs can help
you with layout suggestions if you need help. You should also look at many of
the examples below for inspiration.
With that said, there are some "minimum requirements" for your game manual.
Your manual should contain (at a bare minimum) the following information.
What are the minimum system requirements for your game. While you have probably not
tested it out on all systems, you should try to make a reasonable guess. OS requirements
are particularly important.
Even though this game is in Java, not everyone has the same Java VM or the appropriate
OpenGL libraries. Therefore we recommend that you use
to create an installer for your game. However, if you are free to use other solutions.
But whatever you do, you must have the installation instructions clearly explained
You should provided an overview of your game and identity the basic objectives.
This is a really good place to put some backstory if you wish.
Gameplay and Controls
You should outline the primary actions and show how the user activates them
(e.g. keyboard, mouse, gamepad, etc.). While interactions are less important,
it is a good idea to highlight the major game entities, and describe how the
player interacts with them.
The last page of your manual should be the credits. List everyone on your team
and their role (to the best approximation). In addition, if you used any third
party assets or libraries that require attribution, you should list them here as
well. This is particularly important for audio assets; most of the
Newgrounds audio library requires
that you acknowledge the music in the credits.
Manuals have not changed too much in this class, and so we have plenty of examples
to show you. All of the manuals below have a very different style, and illustrate the
amount of freedom that you have in designing your manual.
You should be very familiar with the 2014 Showcase Winner
Dash by now.
In addition to being one of the most recent manuals here, it is one of the most beautiful manuals
ever designed for this class.
was the audience favorite at the 2015 Showcase. This is a much more flowery manual than
the one for Dash; you should not be compelled to have this much art. However, it has
fantastic installation instructions, and it should be the model for your game.
Dodgeball Damnation was another popular game at the 2015 Showcase. While we are not
a fan of the messy links in the installation section, the description of the controls is
excellent. Notice how well the images work together with the text.
was a puzzle platformer at the 2013 Showcase. The manual is very minimal, but elegant.
It introduces the controls and all of the major gameplay elements to the player. This is
the type of manual you should be striving for.
The manual for ChronoBot
is one favorite manuals from the "old days" (back when this class was called CIS 3000).
It is a very minimal manual, combined with some elegant graphic design. It shows that
you can have a high quality manual without a lot of text or art.
We have used Lifted
as an example for many of the documents in this class. This game had a great artist who
was also talented at design and it really showed all of the way through the project.
The Winner of the 2011 Winter Showcase,
was a game that was easy to pick up and play, as reflected by this manual. Another nice
thing to note about this manual is that it is formatted so that it can be printed out and
stapled into a booklet.
The Director's Choice game for the 2011 Winter Showcase,
was a rhythm game for conducting classical music. Because the style of this game was so
different from anything anyone had seen before, players needed more guidance on how to
play the game. This is evident from the explicit tutorials in this manual.
Due: Saturday, April 22nd at 11:59 pm
You should submit a PDF file called manual.pdf
representing your game manual. As usual, we ask that the file be a PDF so that we can
annotate it in order to return it to you with feedback for possible revision. More
importantly, we are expecting some art assets in this manual, so you will need to
use PDF for that reason as well.
As with every other document in this course, this is not the final draft of your manual.
You will get another chance to revise this manual for
final document portfolio. However, because we are so close
to that assignment, there is no chance for intermediate revisions before that assignment.
Therefore, this assignment is different from the rest. For the game manual "final"
document portfolio is actually just another draft. The final, final version of your
game manual is to be submitted at Showcase.