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Author Topic: What would you like to see in a VGMaps.com makeover?  (Read 27129 times)
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magicbay
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« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2010, 11:39:32 AM »

I had an idea while saving some maps from the site and came up with the idea of suggesting a file section for each game system which include map zips for each game for that particular system.

I don't know if this is a good idea but if it's deemed a good idea to include in a future update, then i look forward to it, but if it's a bad idea for the update, by all means, disreguard this idea and this topic.

I'd like to suggest this idea to all members and adminstratrors alike.  Maybe a poll could be put up to see what everyone thinks of this idea?


Thanks.
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Peardian
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« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2010, 01:16:22 PM »

That's an interesting idea, but there are a few problems with it. The main one is that would essentially double the amount of space taken up because of having a duplicate of everything. Second, a new zip would have to be created every time a new map for the game is submitted. Now, one could always send an email to the mapper/Jon to ask for a zipped version of all the maps, but in the time it takes to get a response, the individual maps could have already been downloaded the regular way.

It's not a bad idea, it's just probably not very practical here.
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #62 on: September 17, 2010, 01:44:16 PM »

It's possible to have a web server zip collections of files, cache them, and serve them up to the user.  It just doesn't make a lot of sense here because most of the content is made of PNG files.  These files are already compressed.  Zipping isn't going to yield a noticeable savings in bandwidth and creating the zips (at least for the first user) takes processing time.  A download manager or plug-in such as DownThemAll would be a better choice if you want to download all the maps in a particular game.
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magicbay
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« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2010, 05:40:32 PM »

Those are all excellent points that I didn't consider before.

I didn't know the current maps were already compressed as far as they could go to save on bandwidth space.


Speaking of bandwidth space and out of curiousity, how big are the servers for the site?  I mean no harm in asking about the servers.  I'm just curious about them.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #64 on: September 21, 2010, 09:27:57 AM »

The idea of a site makeover has been tossed around for years.  I haven't mentioned it much lately because I don't want to get people's hopes up.  It'll happen when it happens, like Duke Nukem Forever.  >_<

It will have to happen, for fear of being antiquated, but whether it's soon or later is dependent on a lot of things.  Namely, the things going on in my life (as well as my own video game addiction...  >_>).

The two biggest concerns to be addressed are navigation/loading (seems "all the games on one page" format is unpopular) and the time it takes for me to update (I hope to just rename and upload the files and have them auto-sorted with all the relevent info, instead of typing it all manually).  More complicated things such as integration with the forums have been mentioned, which are very nice but probably not priority.

I don't know that I would ever allow one-click downloading of archives for my maps, but most likely not as I want people to come to my site themselves, as ultimately the site depends on the ad revenue, which is dependent on actual visitations.  Ads would also get an overhaul or rearrangement, but they would still have to be present.

More likely, I would make minor changes over time until I can find the time to implement an overhaul.

I thank everyone for their patience, and I hope no one is seriously irked at my slowness to implement things.  Truly, the person that would benefit most by upgrading is myself, as I get the feeling new visitors don't "get" the layout of the site and get turned off, and then my site doesn't grow as much or as quickly as it could.

One day, one day.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 09:30:01 AM by JonLeung » Logged
bustin98
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« Reply #65 on: September 21, 2010, 09:58:46 AM »

PHP can be used to create a navigation and landing pages based on a file structure. For example, have a directory called 'maps', then have 'consoles' and 'handhelds' and the other categories. Within each of those, create more directories 'nes', 'snes', and so on. And then directories for each of the games within each console. At this point you either place map files or additional directories for 'included' games, like how there are several Grand Theft Auto games for the PS2. Same idea for interiors. Name the map files what they should be listed as, and create a text file with additional information about the game and maps, like the author and ripped or original. PHP can display file sizes and document types and whatever metadata is attached to the image. The logo of each game can just be called 'logo' and the script can look for the file, if it exists then it gets displayed.

Anyway, it would be fairly to make a more intuitive way to navigate the maps. A search function can be added, too. Imagine wanting to see all maps of 'Mario' or 'Sonic' in a single list, no matter the console. The hard part would be renaming the images and making the text files. Who knows, maybe it wouldn't be too bad, take the existing tables and extract relevant data into a new file...

That would make adding new maps easier, too.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 10:02:35 AM by bustin98 » Logged
Peardian
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« Reply #66 on: September 21, 2010, 10:31:17 AM »

I know PHP can do a lot, especially combined with databases and such. I don't know enough to say how, though. You'd be able to dynamically generate pages based on the console or game the user chooses. As bustin said, this could also lead to a search feature. Adding maps to the site would be as easy as adding to the database and letting the scripts take care of the rest.
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Maxim
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« Reply #67 on: September 22, 2010, 02:56:00 AM »

It's very hard, especially if you don't have a coder with a lot of time to spend on it. I tried lots of different ways:

- writing it myself (I am a professional software developer - but it never got very far, because I have to work)
- getting help from interested third parties (they always disappear after a few months with little done)
- using "platforms" (Ruby on Rails and clones - still way too much to learn)

In the end, what I've ended up with is a wiki engine, modded to not look too much like a wiki, with a few customisations to make it a bit more seamless. There are generally various plugins/extensions/whatever to wikis to extend them if the base doesn't suit. Personally, I don't like MediaWiki and find PmWiki to be simpler (no DB) and nicer to extend.

So anyway, http://www.smspower.org/ is the result. However, it's deliberately hard to download a bunch of images Smiley
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2010, 06:25:09 AM »

I write web-applications for a living (document management and data tracking mainly).  I think I might have offered my help in the past, but lately I have been pretty busy as well.  Obviously the idea of having a site with tons of bells and whistles like allowing users to upload maps instead of e-mailing them would be cool, but I don't think anyone has that sort of time to invest.

That said, I don't think it would take too much effort to build a site based on a few core scripts and some XML files.  This is very similar to bustin's idea, but uses a better format for data storage.

You could have a directory structure like:

/webRoot
   /images
      /maps
         /nes
            /game1
            /game2
            /game3
         /genesis
            /game1
   /games
      /nes
         kidIcarus.xml
         metroid.xml
      /genesis
         kidChameleon.xml
   consoles.xml


The XML files for the games would look like:

<game>
   <logo>path/to/some/file.png</logo>
   <name>Kid Icarus</name>
   <map>
      <file>nes/kidicarus-level1-area1.png</file>
      <author>Some Guy</author>
      <width>800</width>
      <height>900</width>
      <group>Level 1</group>
      <name>Area 1</name>
   </map>
   <map>
      <file>nes/kidicarus-level1-area2.png</file>
      <author>Some Guy</author>
      <width>800</width>
      <height>900</width>
      <group>Level 1</group>
      <name>Area 2</name>
   </map>
</game>


Maybe you have an XML file that lists all the games for navigation within the console, or maybe this list is generated by a script automatically, could go either way.  I could lend some time to write something like this.  It wouldn't take too long and I think it would still make things a little easier for Jon.
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bustin98
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« Reply #69 on: September 22, 2010, 07:25:02 AM »

XML files will allow an RSS feed too. Followers can see when new maps have been added without visiting the site.
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