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Improving on the Ultimate Site

Posted at 15:41 on March 13th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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After reading an article and taking part in the discussing about Designing the Ultimate Site, there's the usual problem: Talk is cheap. So here's the 'action' part.

As people who visit this site know, TGOD already is the ultimate site (hence the slightly changed thread title) ;) Almost everything mentioned over there is already here - a good sign. So far, I only really see two things which have been talked about which would be new.

The first one is screenshots within the review. That's very easy, because we already have screenshots - there just has to be a way to include them in the review text. Done quickly, two examples:
http://www.goodolddays.net/0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_en_0_602_show_1__0_0/
http://www.goodolddays.net/0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_en_0_605_show_1__0_0/

The syntax definitions to do this can now be found in the appropriate help texts. This is obviously optional, nobody is required to use it.

The second potential new feature would be the inclusion of either 'game themes' (as present on HOTUD) or 'game tagging' (as present nowhere, I think, but common on many other types of sites these days).

None of these are too demanding from a technical point of view. However, it'd require quite a bit of effort to get classify all the old game entries. That's why I'm not jumping on it immediately.

First, we'd have to decide which of the two to implement anyway. A few arguments:

Advantages of tagging
- Very flexible (reviewers can just enter any word as a tag)

Advantages of themes
- Easy to search (fixed set of themes, i.e. no need for visitors to guess the exact word and spelling the reviewer used)
- Easy internationalization (again, due to the fixed set, they can be displayed in any language)
- Themes can be properly defined (i.e. no confusion as to which tag means what)

Any opinions? Do we need something like that at all? If so, which one? Anyone willing to help fill the back catalogue?

And probably most importantly: Any other suggestions?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 16:02 on March 13th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Dr Gumby
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Hi,
I think that the search funktion is allready very comfortable. The only disadvantage I see, is the fact, that after a succesfull search, the search parameters aren't reseted.
I personaly stumbled over this the first time I wanted to start an new search.
Is tagging realy that usefull? If I don't know the exact spelling of an game title I just sort by the beginning letter. Found a few interesting games I didn't notice before that way. ;)
Posted at 16:18 on March 13th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I meant 'tagging' also along the lines of themes or other related information. So, for example, any games added lately would get the tag 'wild west'. The latest game would get 'karl may' and 'based on a novel'. And so on.

As for the search parameters sticking, doing actually took more of an effort than just 'resetting' it every time. So I actually considered this a feature that the site 'remembers' your selections. I assumed people would go on and refine their previous searches.

One problem with this is that in the current design, the selections aren't always visible quickly (only in the sidebar and in the browser title). The 2004 design always listed them explicitely in the menu itself, so there was less room for confusion.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 16:25 on March 13th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 16:18 on March 13th, 2009:
I meant 'tagging' also along the lines of themes or other related information. So, for example, any games added lately would get the tag 'wild west'. The latest game would get 'karl may' and 'based on a novel'. And so on.


So how many tags will there be? And how do I know which one is the right one? I don't see the difference between scrolling in the "Tags List" or the game list sorted alphabetical.
Maybe it's just because I'm not devoted to one kind of games. I love searching lists for games I didn't knew before. :D
Posted at 16:34 on March 13th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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With tags, there could be an unlimited number of them. Which, as I said, could be seen as a disadvantage, because the only possible way to let visitors search them would be freetext.

With themes, we'd have to defin them (help needed if we go that way...). Depends how much you want to narrow it down. For example, you could have a 'war' theme. Or you could have one theme 'WW1', one theme 'WW2', one for 'Vietnam War' and so on. In any case, it would still be a finite list, so it would be possible to simply list them in the menu, like genres or the alphabet.

The point I'm proposing this is actually what you're saying, too: To enable visitors to discover 'new' games. For example, they click on the latest news entry, read the review and then want to see more games which deal with something similar. Bang, list of western games.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 16:35 on March 13th, 2009
Posted at 12:07 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Quick 'fix': You can now reset the game selections by double-clicking the »
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 12:15 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 12:07 on March 14th, 2009:
Quick 'fix': You can now reset the game selections by double-clicking the »


Nice work MC. Works fine. Only Addblock Plus has to be deaktivated for this feature. Doesn't matter because your adds don't anoy me. :D
Posted at 13:22 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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That just once again shows how crappy / evil those adblock thingies are. Obviously, client-side interaction like this requires JavaScript - but if all JavaScript is interpreted as 'advertisement', then what is it for anyway?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 13:42 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 13:22 on March 14th, 2009:
That just once again shows how crappy / evil those adblock thingies are. Obviously, client-side interaction like this requires JavaScript - but if all JavaScript is interpreted as 'advertisement', then what is it for anyway?


Maybe I didn't made it clear enough. You have the feature to allow single JavaScripts in Addblock. That's what I did.
Posted at 13:46 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Yes, but the default is apparantely to block it all - which makes it pointless and stupid. Anyway, that's completely off-topic. Still looking for any opinions on the initial question.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 14:01 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Dr Gumby
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You're right. Back to the topic.
I think it's a whole lot of work. First you need a list of Tags. Than you have to tag each game. Is this realy such an big improvement that it's worth all the work?
Isn't it better to focus on allready startet projects like creating an disk image archive or expanding the Attic of the Underdogs?
Posted at 17:37 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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By the way. I like the comments beneath the screenshots but I dislike seeing them in the review. For me reading is a lot more comfortable without them because they distract me from the text.
Why just leave them in the screenshots section which I allways visit after reading the review but put the comments there too. That would be an nice function.
Posted at 17:57 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I tried putting screenshots appropriate to what's talked about in the adjacent paragraphs, with the screenshot comment relating to the point made in the review itself. That is why there is first a death scene and then an example of bad graphics in the Gold Rush review.

I don't think the comments make much sense detached from the review. It's great that you read the review and then look at the screenshots - but I fear there are many people who just occasionally glance over the review, but always look at the screenshots. No way these comments would make sense to them.

Additionally, this would require a completely different technical approach, of course (as the current one is just to write them into the review, which is already textual information and bilingual). But as I'm always saying: Everything is possible technology-wise.

Any other opinions on this?

Edit: Here's some more thoughts on this. The screenshot pages are (so far) 'agnostic', i.e. there is no opinion about the game there. The screenshots are always the same, even if a game has ten reviews. The reviewers might differ significantly in their appreciation of the game. If any opinion crept into the screenshots page, how should the reviewers decide which should be the prevelant opinion there?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:43 on March 14th, 2009
Posted at 19:47 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Comments under the screenshots look pretty, but end being silly remarks most of the times, like on Mobygames.

As for them on the reviews, I'm not too sure about the whole thing, but probably will use them on a review to see better how it all works. They seem to take too much space on the review.
Posted at 20:11 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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That's the idea: just try it out. I'm not yet sure I'll use them myself in the future. It's an optional feature - up to the reviewer. Have a look at the syntax documentation. You can also make the screenshots smaller if you like that better.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 20:12 on March 14th, 2009
Posted at 22:25 on March 14th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Here's a suggestion for game themes. Maybe this'll help to move things forward a bit.

Abstract
Games which are basically just 'computer games', i.e. don't have a real connection to anything real.
Examples: Breakthru in 3D, Rock'n'Roll

Apocalypse
Games dealing with the end of the world.
Examples: Burntime, The Legend of Ragnarok

Board
Actual board game conversions or 'pseudo' board games.
Examples: 221B Baker Street, Archon

Based on Other Media
A conversion of a book, a movie, a TV show or even a board game (?). Some sites use 'licenced' to describe something like this, but I think this is a bit of a grey area, because it refers to a legal contract - ruling out unofficial conversions.
Examples: Dracula, Jeopardy

Business
Games in which making money is your principal goal.
Examples: 1869, Airline

Cartoon & Comic
Reference to the visual style.
Examples: Battle Bugs, The Case of the Cautious Condor

Driving
Examples: Nascar Racing, Super Cars

Educational
Trying to teach you something.
Examples: Auf dem Weg nach Europa, Gesetzgebung

Espionage
Games dealing with spys and their work.
Examples: Border Zone, Covert Action

Fantasy
Games which involve 'fantastic' elements such as elves and dragons.
Examples: Dungeon Hack, Moonstone

Fighting
People bashing each other's heads in. Not meant for games dealing with 'fighting' on a global scale (i.e. wars).
Examples: International Karate, Street Fighter 2

Flight
Examples: Stunt Island, Comanche

Historical
Games dealing with historical situations in a more or less accurate manner.
Examples: Advanced Destroyer Simulator, Heart of Africa

Horror
Games designed to scare the hell out of you.
Examples: Dark Seed, The Lurking Horror

Humour
Games designed to make you laugh.
Examples: Eric the Unready, Yes Prime Minister

Individual Sports
Games in which you control a single individual doing sport.
Examples: International Athletics, Ping-Pong

Multiplayer
Games which can be played with one or more friends (or foes). Includes all possible modes, like hotseat, parallel action, network,...
Examples: Banshee, Panzer General

Mystery
Detective fiction, whodunit and so on. A note to the German readers: Not X-Files, but Agatha Christie. The German term would be 'Krimi'.
Examples: Deadline, Murder on the Mississippi

Nautical
Examples: Das Boot, Silent Service 2

Pirates
Examples: Redhook's Revenge, Monkey Island

Police & Gangsters
Games in which you play either a member of law enforcement or their opponents on the other side of the law.
Examples: Der Clou, Rescue: The Embassy Mission

Politics
Examples: Balance of Power, Hidden Agenda

Promotial
Advertising a product.
Examples: Cool Spot, Geheimprojekt DMSO

Science Fiction
The future...
Examples: Gateway, Spacewar

Team Sports
Games in which you control a whole team of sportsmen. Don't think it's necessary to have one theme for football, one for american football, one for hockey and so on.
Example: Bundesliga Manager Professional, NHL Hockey

War
All kinds of wars.
Exmaples: Battle Isle, Raid on Bungeling Bay

Western
Games set in the 'old american west' - i.e. 'cowboys and indians'.
Examples: Alone in the Dark 3, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

Edited for fewer line breaks.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 23:21 on March 15th, 2009
Posted at 12:50 on March 15th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Maybe we can also note those who have multiplayer mode. Just another theme, no need to mark the exact multiplayer mode like on HOTU.
Posted at 14:02 on March 15th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Added a 'multiplayer' theme to the list above. From your post, I assume that you're in favour of including themes?
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 14:10 on March 15th, 2009
Posted at 14:15 on March 15th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Yes, it can take a time updating all the games already on the page, but it's pretty useful and nice browsing by themes.
Posted at 14:32 on March 15th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I'm responsible for about half of the site's game entries, so I could do those (would still take a lot of time, but since the masses willing to help aren't pouring in, there's little alternative). Leaves the other half (about 300 games).

I think waiting a few more days to see if anyone has any suggestions concerning the theme list or also if anyone jumps in offering help to go through the back catalogue is in order.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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