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Author Topic: What would you like to see in a VGMaps.com makeover?  (Read 27101 times)
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2008, 05:33:39 PM »

I'll fix the FK and add the ordering field when I get moved into my new place. I think Jon asked before if the sub area part was necessary, so I'll wait on further comment on that.
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Maxim
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« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2008, 12:27:27 AM »

Of course, to be fully normalised you'd need a separate "stage" table for the 1-many relationship. This is why databases are annoying.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2008, 06:06:35 AM »

Sounds like when I do get my ass in gear and figure out what I need and what I want I'll be turning to you guys for help.  Or even all of the actual coding part... Tongue



We'll discuss compensation if you guys want it once I'm able to sit down and get serious about this.  I feel like you guys might have given it more thought than I have!



So far, I've had like one hour of free time this week.  I'm busier at home than I am at work!  This is why you really don't want me to learn this stuff myself if there are already people here willing to help...



I still would like to make a mock-up if I can find the time.  It wouldn't strictly be a graphical mock-up.  It'd be constructed in HTML, as one you can "navigate", though obviously limited and guided.  Things like search boxes and other fill-in fields would be locked in with particular text entered, so it'd be easy to show what I want to see when things are clicked through and etc.  Or maybe I won't...we'll see how the time goes, how easy it is for us to communicate what we think, etc.



Now to get back to talking about what we want...



Do we want a lot of user-specific stuff?  By that I mean people would log on to the site to be able to rate/nominate maps and add comments and see what they've contributed and that sort of thing.  That sounds like that would involve integration of the forums.



It's not so much the revamp of how the site looks and navigates...it's the potential new features that would make it worth the effort but are infinitely more intimidating to someone like myself...though I guess I should stop worrying and start thinking about what I want.  Then maybe after I can worry, but I shouldn't if this is in the right hands.  Tongue
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Maxim
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« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2008, 03:11:14 AM »

When I'm doing anything like this, I always make a "first cut" that's not using any CSS or fancy layout, just simple HTML that's easily styled later. Styling it can come later, as can moving things around and finding and fixing all the browser bugs. That way, you can worry about features first, get it actually working and then make it "pretty" later.



As for user interaction: it's always nice, but bear in mind 99% of visitors will not want to register. Anonymous comments can be protected with captchas and moderation. But all of it is sugar on the top of the basic structure, which is what you should focus on first.



The proposed schema has users linked to maps, presumably for submitting (you can always create a user account for people who just email you the maps, or for old maps where the submitter can't be contacted), which would allow the "show me my stuff" feature - or maybe just a user field in the search.



Oh, and password CHAR(32)? I hope that means a 32-character string representation of a salted MD5sum of the real password... Or, see what the forum user/pass tables look like, they may be usable for an immediate userbase fix.



On SMS Power! I made a separate, admin-post-starting-only forum for news posts and a simple query on the front page to grab the 5 newest topics. It's a nice way to (1) allow comments on news posts, (2) avoid having to code any interface for creating news posts, (3) allow news to show up in the forums (since many people have them as their site entry point) and (4) avoid having multiple systems for essentially the same thing. But then we also have a large forum archive (going back to 1999) that means we don't destroy our forums every few years Smiley and a long-term commitment to not lose old posts when changing forums (we still have the first post from 1999).



Oh, and I've had about 0 hours free (as in, free to actually do stuff except post on forums while at work) in the last 6 months and I have my own DB-driven site to work on even if I do get time, and a bunch of other projects too.
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Will
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« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2008, 07:40:22 AM »

Here is something I think you might find very useful and very intriguing. This Excel Spreadsheet is a complete (so far as I could research and compile) list of SMS and GG games in which I have marked the ones that are on the Website, whether they are complete, incomplete or not worth it (not all games are mappable). The list was divided into three lists. One for SMS only games, another for GG only games and the last for SMS and GG games. It also helps keep track of the map count and the Disk Space count, so I suppose you'll find it quite useful.



That document will certain help you and SMS n' GG mappers but I wonder if it'll trigger a whole swarm of Map Request on the forum, people seeing all those titles and recalling titles they may have played. If you approve of this document I can keep it up to date. I spend several weeks researching, compiling and calculating. :toast:
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #50 on: October 04, 2008, 08:53:09 AM »

You mean you don't store passwords in plain text? =P
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Maxim
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« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2008, 12:18:53 AM »

Semi-OT: Will's list is missing my Cosmic Spacehead maps, probably because Jon's never added them to the site. (They were part of my initial "here, have all my maps" contribution.)
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JonLeung
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« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2008, 06:10:57 AM »

Oh, yeah, I should get to those Cosmic Spacehead maps one of these days if you'll still have me put them up.



I'm debating whether or not to move this topic to the hidden board, maybe not yet, but perhaps when I get around to the mock-up phase.



I'm thinking there should be another category for "game series", so that, for example, when someone does a search for "Metal Gear" that Snake's Revenge also comes up.
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Maxim
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« Reply #53 on: October 16, 2008, 06:39:44 AM »

Tags are a nice, "web 2.0" way to handle series. They need not be publicly editable.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2008, 01:27:32 PM »

While I still make no promises as to how soon anything happens, my boss told me just now that he wasn't happy with me taking 10-11 hour workdays every day for the past year.  Overtime should be the exception, not the rule.



Looks like I may have 2-3 more hours of available time every weekday pretty soon...that's 10-15 more hours a week, which is pretty significant.



(But I'm still hourly, so that's 10-15 hours (or rather, 15-22.5 hours when you consider overtime is time and a half) that I'm NOT getting paid...  >_<)
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JonLeung
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« Reply #55 on: March 04, 2009, 11:25:18 AM »

I was disappointed to learn that JPEGs can have a billion different tags and other metadata fields (as can easily be seen if you're using Windows Vista), but PNGs don't seem to have that kind of tagability.  I was really hoping I could store all the information necessary about an image in the file itself, but that doesn't seem likely now, so we'll likely have to go with an external database as I think Maxim insisted earlier.



But of course I'll think more about this April 2 or later, as I said elsewhere.  I would like to discuss the hows and the whos at about that time.
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Maxim
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« Reply #56 on: March 04, 2009, 12:54:29 PM »

Metadata in the file is nice but you can never guarantee how much will be stripped out by whatever software you use. PNG could have metadata - it's a chunked file format, so you can store anything in it - but there's no standard.



Storing the info in the files and not having a database at all is... crazy. You'd have to load and parse every file on every page view!



One thing you might look into is using a framework. Either an existing image-oriented CMS (might be tricky, they'll be designed for photos and you might not get the listings you'd want), or a website framework like Ruby on Rails or CakePHP. All you need then is a developer.



But free developers are very hard to find. Occasionally someone will come along and volunteer but then disappear soon after. So ultimately the "whos" are the toughest part. If you have time you can learn to do it yourself...
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2009, 02:47:24 PM »

When it comes to searching for files by metadata you have to build an index (or go through each file, but that's insane), so you might as well use a database.
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magicbay
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this isn't me.. just a celeb i like..


« Reply #58 on: March 04, 2009, 03:10:42 PM »

Here's a few of my ideas for a website update.



1. I'd like to see the contribute section updated where it would be easier for someone to post maps that they have, have found or recieved from other resources.



2. Have a website links page to post links from other websites containing maps or info about a game.



3. Keep the forums up and running so the members can post requests and other things there.



that's about it for the moment.



More later.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #59 on: March 05, 2009, 07:55:52 AM »

I guess I said I wouldn't discuss much before April but I think I should at least respond to your comments, magicbay.



For the most part the changes we're hoping for are those that would make the site more aesthetic and easier to navigate.  Also, perhaps changes that would make things more cohesive, like tying in the forums to the main site to make it easier to comment on particular maps or map sets or mappers, for example.



I'm not about to change the (admittedly still unwritten) policies regarding contributions.  Perhaps I will get around to writing out contribution guidelines (revamp or not), but I still don't believe anyone should be contributing maps they they didn't assemble themselves.  It's so much easier, not to mention proper, if people only submitted what they put together.



If you like someone else's work and think perhaps the creator doesn't know about VGMaps.com, it would be better to encourage them to submit them here themselves than for you to submit them on their behalf, because then how do I know that they actually approve, or even know, so then I have to email them for permission, and etc.  I spend enough time dealing with submissions as they are, as well as other emails regarding VGMaps, that I don't believe I should have to deal with that.



As for links?  Well, that's what the forums could be for.  But personally, I would not endorse or encourage the use of the forums for that.  Sorry, you wouldn't go into a McDonald's and show everyone the latest Wendy's menu.  So I don't really want people to come to my site to be encouraged to go somewhere else for maps.  (Yes, I know some atlas pages have links, those are old ones that I will eventually remove...  >_>)



Fear not about the forums, as I hope for increased integration with the rest of the site, they will continue to run, and at a greater capacity than before.  As I said, I hope there could be a way for someone to click a comment link that appears with each map (or map set or mapper or something) and have that automatically generate a topic on the forums (or go to an existing one if someone has commented already).  Sounds tricky.  Even if that can't be done, I would certainly be encouraging the use of the forums, so they're not likely to go away.



I encourage you to keep coming up with ideas, magicbay, but be aware that not everything that everyone suggests will make it onto the short list.



Personally, I'm dreading the revamp as much as I want one.  It would be easy to just not do one, but it would be hard to disappoint myself and others.  And with the increasing amount of time I have to dedicate to VGMaps (or perhaps the increasing time spent in my "offline/real life" which decreases my available VGMaps time), a streamlining of SOMEthing is inevitable anyway, so why not take care of it sooner, right?



I digress.  My point is, a revamp will be nice, but it's not going to have every bell and whistle imaginable, but I hope it will have some.
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