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#1 Edited by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

Hey, huge props to @bobafettjm for his Weekly Wiki Update blog he did last year, but it appears that he's not doing it regularly anymore. Also, it's probably a good idea to have a dedicated thread to just talk about wiki stuff.

So, this is a place to talk about wiki stuff - anything from what you're currently up to, what you have worked on, what you plan on working on, ideas for pages, wiki questions, etc... Maybe we can even get some of our own wiki tasks organised.

Anyway, I'll start off by mentioning that recently I filled in the article for Polo. Something I knew nothing about beforehand, so I ended up spending a couple of hours scouring the web to find out what I could about this obscure, unreleased...then released, advergame. I went down a huge rabbit hole researching that game.

Things to keep in mind when editing the wiki

  • Articles should be written in third-person (e.g. 'the player can turn into a chicken' as oppose to 'you can turn into a chicken').
  • Avoid subjectivity - the wiki is not the place to talk about your personal thoughts/feelings/ideas/etc... about a game or subject matter.
  • Use correct grammar:
    • Be aware of common mistakes, such as confusing its and it's; they're, there, and their; and your and you're.
    • Make sure you are using apostrophes correctly: don't not dont, 'multiple chickens attack the player' not "multiple chicken's attack the player", Mario's moustache not Marios moustache.
    • Fewer is used when you are talking about countable objects (e.g. 'fewer dolphins' not 'less dolphins'); less is used when you are talking about the amount of something non-countable (e.g. 'less water' not 'fewer water'). Another way of thinking about this is that plural words use "fewer" and singular words use "less".
  • Regardless of where you personally live, this is an American site, thus American spelling should be used in the wiki.
  • Make sure you double check your spelling when you submit an edit!

A handy spelling/grammar guide from The Oatmeal:

No Caption Provided

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#2 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -

I wish the wiki had a more standardized formatting. Things like soundtracks are a great example. There's a soundtrack section on many game pages. Sometimes they are in charts, sometimes numbered lists, sometimes bulleted lists. Sometimes they include the composer and track length, sometimes they don't. I wish there was a standard that everybody follows, or even a soundtrack table option in the wiki wysiwyg. Same could be said for system requirements. And then which order should the sections of the wiki page be in? Overview is always first, gameplay, plot and characters usually follow, but their order is often different, then Soundtrack and System Requirements are usually last, but again, their orders are often flipped. Some standardization would be nice.

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#3 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

Yep, soundtracks are a weird one. My thought is to avoid tables where possible - they can be inconsistent and are hard to fix when they mess up. About the heading order, ideally it should be:

Overview

Gameplay

Story

In that order, where possible. Overview obviously goes first; gameplay is fundamental to games, so that should come before Story; then Story should be after that, if even applicable. Beyond that though, I don't know. I would say System Requirements should be below Soundtrack, as I would say that soundtracks are more important than system requirements (especially since system requirements are usually pulled out of the ass of developers/publishers).

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#4 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

Yep, soundtracks are a weird one. My thought is to avoid tables where possible - they can be inconsistent and are hard to fix when they mess up. About the heading order, ideally it should be:

Overview

Gameplay

Story

In that order, where possible. Overview obviously goes first; gameplay is fundamental to games, so that should come before Story; then Story should be after that, if even applicable. Beyond that though, I don't know. I would say System Requirements should be below Soundtrack, as I would say that soundtracks are more important than system requirements (especially since system requirements are usually pulled out of the ass of developers/publishers).

Hmm I disagree a bit there, I think Story or at least the basic Premise of the Plot should go first then Gameplay immediately after that.

After those sections would come the auxiliary stuff, like in depth character lists, maps,weapons/items, locations, Soundtrack, critical reception, commercial success etc with System Requirements at the very end.

The reason being that was the order Game Manuals were always written ( at least they were back in the day). That way the reader has a frame of reference for who the playable characters are when describing the gameplay.

Unless you were to include that bit in the Game Overview

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#5 Posted by bobafettjm (2306 posts) -

So about those weekly wiki updates, I am planning on bringing those back very soon. I had planned on bringing them back after the new year but I got really busy, now things have become a little more normal so I should be able to dedicate the time to it again.

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#6 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

I made a post (http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/delete-combine-requests-34/request-a-fix-for-release-issues-here-480673/?page=4#js-message-7808926) in the Delete/Combine forum that I'm not sure will get a reply there. I was trying to find out about splitting releases into two separate games. The problem is that many games that actually totally different games on handhelds vs home consoles but that share the same name are lumped together on one entry (e.g., Alice in Wonderland, Sonic the Hedgehog, many, many others). This is causing issues on some sites that use the API, like Grouvee. Do the guidelines for the wiki allow such games to be split? If so, how should it be done in practice?

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#7 Edited by Baillie (4711 posts) -

This has came up before, emtilt. I'm probably mistaken, but I'm sure game that are different like that are usually listed as separate releases.

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#8 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

They're very often not. I've found quite a few examples with just a cursory spot-check. Just a few of them are: Alice in Wonderland, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Corvette, The Simpsons: Road Rage, most Spongebob games, etc. Nearly all licensed titles that have a PS2/GC/Xbox version in addition to a GBA version have this issue, and that usually applies to DS versions, too, although not as often. You can find hundreds just by looking at the GBA games list, but it also happens with all other platform combinations to lesser degrees. And, as you can see from my examples, they range from obscure licensed titles to major entries in iconic series. To me, this seems like a very major flaw for a database seeking to be the major games database API.

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#9 Posted by ShaunK (1660 posts) -

When it comes to page formatting on the wiki I have always been a fan of letting people do their edits as they see fit. If we have all pages follow the same structure then that leaves little room for other topics which someone may want to add to the page. And I have always been a fan of getting as much important content onto a page as possible.

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#10 Posted by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

Wait, Giant Bomb has a wiki?

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#12 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

Eek, just spent an hour and a half trying to clean up this article. I'm sure there are still issues (still no Overview, for example). Sigh, there are still so many messy articles.

Also, does anyone have any more examples of horseshoe level design? The page seems to stem from this Gamasutra article.

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#13 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

So I guess the general lack of interest in the issue I highlighted means there is no hope of getting it improved?

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#14 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -
@emtilt said:

So I guess the general lack of interest in the issue I highlighted means there is no hope of getting it improved?

I agree that it's an issue, mods can only split stuff though. What you could do is create a new page for the handheld version of the game, then delete the references to that version from the original page. It might also help if you listed all the offending pages that you've found.

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#15 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

I'll work on a list this weekend, as it is quite lengthy. Is this the appropriate place to post such information, or is the Delete/Combine forum better?

EDIT: Given the subsequent discussion, which makes it look like this stuff won't actually get changed, I'm not gonna waste the huge amount of required time making a big list. I'm happy to help if there is ever a conclusive decision to systematically address this. Guidelines about what should be split should be agreed upon first, and then obvious and blatant cases (e.g., Sonic games) should be prioritized.

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#16 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

If you want to get a mod to fix something wiki-related then definitely head over to that thread.

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#17 Edited by Not_Rage (596 posts) -

@emtilt: I remember talking about this issue. I looked at my post history and it turns out I discussed this 2 and half years ago! I agree with you on separate pages for handheld games when their different games. Here is what I said back then:

Actually I think they can be different pages. When a major game got released it often had a gameboy/GBC/ DS version. In a lot of cases this handheld version of the game was a completely different game. They were made by a different developer and built from the ground up with no resemble to the console version. Different story, different gameplay. The only thing they shared was the name.

I think it would be ok for gameboy/ds games to have their own page, but your right it would be a mess. But technically I would be correct IMO. But there would be just a bunch of empty pages because nobody really played the handheld versions and nobody would fill them out.

For example, the DS version of Call of Duty 4 has its own Wikipedia page for this reason:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_Duty_4:_Modern_Warfare_%28Nintendo_DS%29This is actually really rare, but it was a big enough game where enough people cared to write a separate page specially for the DS version.

I actually think pretty much EVERY handheld game could have its own separate page.

In this case if someone took the time to fill out the Gameboy version of this Star Wars game, it should be allowed to stay since they are in fact different games. IMO

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#18 Edited by benjo_t (298 posts) -

I just filled the heck out of the Abe's Exoddus story section if anyone wants something to read. If I forgot anything I'd love someone to dive in there and add it!

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#19 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

@not_rage: Interesting. From that thread, it looks like the outcome, at least for the example used there, was a preference for not splitting the pages. That seems strange to me (and really limiting for a database promoting itself as a general purpose API), but makes me think that there's not going to be progress on this front.

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#20 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -

@not_rage: @emtilt: I was expecting that thread to be one of the three other threads where I've talked about it, but nope, it's not. This is a topic that is as old as the site and in general they lean towards keeping it to the same page.

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#21 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

@not_rage: @mosespippy: Well, if it's been settled I'll leave the topic alone then. Seems a short-sighted decision, though.

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#22 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -

@emtilt: I think the reasoning behind it is that Nes/Atari/Arcade/C64 versions of games and Snes/Sega/Arcade versions of games were often very different because of the technical limitations, but historically speaking we consider them to fundamentally be the same game.

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#23 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

@mosespippy: I think some of those should be split, too, if it is fundamentally a different game from a gameplay perspective, rather than an imperfect attempt at porting a different version. For example, both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 refer to pairs of games that were developed by different teams using different designs. Each has an 8-bit version (Master System, Game Gear, rare future ports) and a 16-bit version (Mega Drive, and most future ports). The levels, length, and gameplay are all different among these. Even Wikipedia splits the articles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sonic_the_Hedgehog_video_games), and Nintendo has sold them all as different, separate games on their Virtual Console for Wii. I think that is a case where it is very clear-cut: those are different games, but currently the Wiki and all websites that use the API cannot deal with them separately.

I do see what you are saying, though. Games like Prince of Persia differ dramatically in graphics and timing from platform to platform, and Donkey Kong has different combinations of levels depending on port. I think the difference is that the end goal was to reproduce those games as a port, but concessions had to be made, whereas some games started out as difference pieces of media from the outset.

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#24 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

@emtilt: There absolutely should be cases where it's acceptable to split games. It seems crazy otherwise. Also, there are examples in the wiki (Daikatana and Daikatana for example). One of the biggest issues with lumping games together is that you run the risk of conflating concepts/mechanics/levels, making a pretty messy and confusing wiki article.

Also, I'm going to update the OP to address some common wiki issues.

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#25 Posted by bobafettjm (2306 posts) -

I think 100% that games, especially handheld versions that differ completely in the gameplay should be split. It especially should happen now that games show their platform when searching. I can see if the game just has worse graphics or some things cut/changed around, but if it is a different kind of game or most of it is different it should be split. This is something that puts us behind other wiki sites I feel.

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#26 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

Well, if there is a desire to change those things, there needs to be a clear set of guidelines because it's a continuum rather than a sharp divide. Additionally, it's a very large project, and the bulk of the work has to be done by someone with mod privileges because it requires changing releases/platforms, so there would need to be a bit of a plan for getting it done.

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#27 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

@beachthunder: @bobafettjm: @emtilt:

I agree with you guys. Personally I think if the game is materially different it should have a separate page. Not to mention in terms of usability for the novice I'd think they'd be more likely to think of the games as being distinctt than just different releases of the same game.

What about this as a potential solution using the current database (assuming the staff is ever willing revisit this)? Split the games and use the subfranchise to denote the releases common heritage.

There's already precedent for this with say games like Street Fighter II. That way you could still have the releases linked but also acknowledge the platform differences are enough to make the gameplay experience feel radically different to players.

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#28 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

Sigh, the new system of adding links makes it so much slower to add several links to an article =/ It used to autofill whatever you selected into the search field.

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#29 Posted by FLStyle (6606 posts) -

Sigh, the new system of adding links makes it so much slower to add several links to an article =/ It used to autofill whatever you selected into the search field.

Indeed. Half of the time I'm told I've entered an invalid URL.

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#30 Edited by Mento (4230 posts) -

Hey Wiki Chums,

I'm tinkering with a style guide right now. I won't be the one to finalize it, of course, but I thought I'd do some research anyway. What follows are some rules that aren't set in stone anywhere (at least, most of them aren't; let me know if they're part of the official rules and I just missed it), so if anyone wants to say whether they agree or disagree with them and we can find out where the general editor mindset is, I'd be down. (You could also say "this rule isn't important enough to be added to a style guide" too if you'd prefer.)

  1. General Writing Tips: Beachy's covered most of it at the top of this thread, but I'd also add: No bold or italics for game titles. If you're talking about a different game than the one the page is about, link to that game's page. Feel free to use italics for movie, book, comic or song titles however. That'll help distinguish them from any game adaptations they might have.
  2. General Writing Tips: Before I forget: write in the present tense, not the past tense. "El Dumpo is a game for 16-bit consoles" not "El Dumpo was a game for 16-bit consoles". It's not like the game stopped existing at some point. Only things you should be referring to in the past tense are the releases themselves (e.g. "El Dumpo was first released in 1993").
  3. General Writing Tips: Feel free to add Overview headers on any pages missing them. Ideally, the page will have a lot of headers once fully filled in, but first things first. The headers are how you navigate larger wiki pages, so they're essential for structuring the page.
  4. Similar Games 1: Don't add sequels, or games in the same franchise/series, to the Similar Games list. Just add games that share thematic or gameplay similarities, beyond simply being in the same genre. Try to be specific. Not every Metroidvania needs to be connected to Metroid and Symphony of the Night, for instance (though if it's a spooky sci-fi Metroidvania game, like Axiom Verge, the Metroid connection is far more apt).
  5. Similar Games 2: For that matter, if a game's like those in a huge series, don't add every game from that series to the Similar Games list. That list is no help to anyone if it has fifty-plus games on it.
  6. Releases 1: Really, only the title, system, region and date are important. Try to fill in the developer/publisher too, if there's nothing there. If you're confident enough to handle all the other stuff, go for it.
  7. Releases 2: If there's duplicate releases (or releases tagged "Delete me") see if you can "recycle" them for other regions/systems. We're missing a lot of releases for UK and Australia, for instance. (And hell, we'll probably see Brazil, France, Germany and/or Korea at some point...)
  8. Releases 3: No kana/kanji in titles. No macrons or circumflexes or accents either.
  9. Page Titles: Ditto.
  10. Aliases 1: The acceptable place for kana/kanji/accented titles. If someone's dead set on searching the database in Japanese: boom, there you go. These aren't really a priority though: stick to romaji if possible.
  11. Aliases 2: Though this should all be in the alias request thread, aliases are for: Alternative regional titles ("Legend of Zelda" and "Zelda no Densetsu"); alternative numerals ("II" and "2"); alternative non-ampersand ("and" instead of "&", and only in those cases where the official title has an ampersand; we won't add ampersand aliases for titles with "and" in them); and abbreviated years ("Madden NFL 2013" and "Madden NFL 13").
  12. Aliases 3: If a game's been announced in Japan but doesn't have an English release confirmed, the Japanese title should be the page name. The predicted western title can be an alias until a western release is confirmed with its English title, at which point the two titles switch over. Fan-translations with localized titles won't be allowed for the page title, but can still be added as aliases.
  13. Images 1: All screenshots should be tagged with "Screenshots" and "[System Code] Screenshots". The "system code" is the shorthand the site uses, e.g. GEN for Genesis, SAT for Saturn, etc. The reason for the double-dipping is so people can peruse all the screenshots for a game if the system isn't important to them. Sometimes a duder just wants a screenshot.
  14. Images 2: Box art is always "Box Art", concept art is always "Concept Art", fanart... we could probably do without, honestly.
  15. Images 3: I've been reliably informed that manual scans are a form of copyright violation, so we gotta scrap any we find. It's a bummer, but let us know if you see any.
  16. Default Image 1: All right. So here's the order we should go for the "default" image, i.e. the one that the page uses on search engines: The North American box art for a game's original home release (no Arcade flyers if the game was originally an Arcade game - if it's exclusively an Arcade game, go ahead) > North American box art for a subsequent release or port, if the original's unavailable > European box art, if there's no North American release > Japanese box art, if there's no North American or European release > Any other region's box art, if there's no North American, European or Japanese release. If it's some kind of digital-only/iOS/Android game, use the logo icon the shop uses. In any other scenario, use a screenshot of the title screen.
  17. Default Image 2: Also, if the game's a multi-platform game, it's preferred (but not required) to use a cropped image that removes system-specific branding on the cover, like the "PS3" or "Xbox 360" tab along the top.
  18. The Deck 1: The deck (which is to say, the blurb at the top of most wiki pages) will always immediately follow the title of the page, whether you're looking at it on the page itself or in any of the site's advanced search engines (say, via the Wiki tab or when you enter a title in the top search bar and hit "enter" instead of choosing a drop-down menu item). As such, decks that begin with the name of the game--e.g. "Super Mario Bros. is a platformer starring Mario"--are redundant. Instead, "A platformer starring Mario" would be preferred in this case.
  19. The Deck 2: Otherwise, there aren't any real rules for decks besides the usual no subjectivity/no 2nd person stuff. Try not to make them too jokey, if possible. I realize the staff likes to do that, but they get a pass jus' 'cause.
  20. Genres 1: If a sport game has a specific sport-related genre that suits it better (say, "Football" for "Madden NFL '98"), just add that sport and not the general "Sports". The latter's for all the sports that don't get their own genre tag.
  21. Genres 2: For that matter "Wrestling" and "Fighter" are separate too. WCW N64 games are not fighters, and Zangief and R. Mika in Street Fighter doesn't make that game a wrestling game.
  22. System Specfic Stuff 1: Super Nintendo: Use "SNES" or "Super Nintendo", never "Super NES". Personal bugbear. (Feel free to ignore this one.)
  23. System Specific Stuff 2: Neo Geo: Add games to the "Neo Geo" platform if they were released in the AES cart format. Add them to the "Arcade" platform if they were released in the MVS cart format.
  24. System Specific Stuff 3: PlayChoice-10: I have no idea what a PlayChoice-10 is, but Jeff's said he wants those counted as "Arcade".
  25. Adding New Game Pages 1: Feel free, if we're missing it. If you're a developer adding your own game, we'll need you to follow our rules on plagiarism, despite how odd it is to be accused of plagiarizing your own material. If the game was canceled, we're technically only allowing games that became vaporware after the site was started in 2008. (I think we have a deal with Unseen64.) (Kidding.)
  26. Adding New Game Pages 2: Compilations: This is a weird one. We don't allow compilations if it's just GameStop taping two boxes together. If it has its own front-end GUI, like a game select menu or some similar set-up, or if there's a lot of old games jammed onto one disc for modern systems, then it counts as a page. All those Midway Treasures or Namco Museum comps are fine, for instance.
  27. Adding New Character Pages: Make sure there's only one of that character. We had a hell of a time with Pikachu a few years ago. There's the specific one that follows Ash around in games like Pokemon Yellow that counts as a Character, but the rest are a species and should be a Concept page. It's a tough call to make at times.
  28. Adding New Platform Pages: You can't. Hell, we can't. Only staff can, and they're only likely to do so if there's new consoles on the horizon. You can make a case for a new platform in the Editing and Tools forum if you'd like. (Same for Accessories pages, which I think we're scrapping anyway at some point.)

If you have an issue with one or more of these, let me have it. And feel free to suggest more.

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#31 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

A few more:

  • Always leave a wiki page in a finished state! Don't click submit if you have half-finished sentences or empty headers.
  • If a game is in the 'action-adventure' genre, just add 'action-adventure', do not add both 'action' and 'adventure'.
  • System Specific Stuff 4: Use "PlayStation", never "Playstation".

Also, Mento, feel free to edit the OP if you want to add style guide stuff there.

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#32 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -

I could have sworn the PlayStation vs. Playstation vs Play Station and SNES vs Super NES points were already covered by the official style guide that Jeff wrote using the guides system, but I don't know if that even exists anymore. Google sure is hell isn't turning it up. The no italics or bold for game titles was also part of that style guide.

Should probably add not to write in future tense either. It's real dumb seeing game name will be released in 2014 (especially for a game with an indefinite delay).

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#33 Posted by Savage (781 posts) -

I'm interested in some additional clarification about not mentioning the name of the page in its deck/blurb (rule #18 above).

Is the idea that the name of the page should simply not be the first words of the deck due to appearing redundant, but can be used later (see example 1 below)? Or should the name of the page never be used at all in the deck? If it's the latter, is there a preference between using "this" as the subject (example 2) versus omitting an explicit subject entirely, leaving the subject to be implied to be the page name, even though this is technically a sentence fragment (example 3)?

Examples using the Metal Gear game page:

  1. Featuring Solid Snake on a mission to infiltrate a terrorist military base, Metal Gear is a 2D stealth action game.
  2. This is a 2D stealth action game featuring Solid Snake on a mission to infiltrate a terrorist military base.
  3. A 2D stealth action game featuring Solid Snake on a mission to infiltrate a terrorist military base.

For comparison, this deck clearly violates rule #18:

  • Metal Gear is a 2D stealth action game featuring Solid Snake on a mission to infiltrate a terrorist military base.
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#34 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

@savage: I think it's fine using the name later on in the deck. The issue is that the example you gave at the bottom, when read, would sound like: "Metal Gear. Metal Gear is a 2D stealth action game [...]"

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#35 Posted by Mento (4230 posts) -

@beachthunder: Agreed. The genres thing gets very technical fast, though. Like the difference between "shooter", "FPS" and "shoot 'em up". I dunno if the site's intending to add more or clarify the ones we have or what. That's sort of the chief issue with creating a style guide: if there's a big wiki update later this year, it might render a lot of it moot.

@mosespippy: I managed to find Jeff's original style guide via Internet archive wizardry ( http://web.archive.org/web/20130126093614/http://www.giantbomb.com/guides/giant-bombs-guide-to-wiki-editing/2422/ ), and while I integrated most of it, it doesn't mention the PlayStation/Playstation thing, though like yourself I was certain it did. I'm sure it had something about it being "D-pad", not "d-pad" or "dpad" too.

@savage: LIke Beach said, I tend to think of the title and deck together like "Metal Gear - A 2D stealth action game." Starting it with "this is" would be fine too. Though I tend to use it a lot, I can see why the third example with the indefinite article sounds a bit weird on its own and grammatically unsound besides. It the deck didn't immediately follow the title in all cases, I'd probably suggest keeping the game's title in as the first words.

It may well be one of those things that doesn't go into a style guide because it's too trivial to be a concern. Still, it's best to add stuff now and then excise it later than to miss anything.

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#36 Edited by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

@mento: I think the PlayStation/Playstation thing was mentioned during a jar time, I think...

What happened to that style guide page anyway?

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#37 Posted by Mento (4230 posts) -

@beachthunder: The way guides were implemented into the site changed after a wiki update. Instead of all the guides being in a separate area of the site, each wiki page got its own section for guide stuff. That unfortunately meant miscellaneous guides like the style guide got scrubbed.

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#38 Edited by bobafettjm (2306 posts) -

An oldie but a goodie would be to not upload images with other sites watermarks. I don't see this as much as I used to, but it still happens.

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#39 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

Well, I attempted to create a new game page for the simplest "splitting" of "lumped" games that I could find. Currently, de Blob lumps together in its description a student game for PC and a Wii game published by THQ, despite them being totally different. However, I figured it was the easiest one to start with because it doesn't have any PC release/platform information, meaning that it was a simple case of creating a new page and then removing the description of the PC version so it could be moved to the new one - mod powers not required.

Unfortunately, I guess that wasn't easy enough, because my new game submission has been pending for 6 days now, despite my other page creations made at the same time being approved within 1 day. This seems to indicate that the desire to accurately split things is not universal, and this ain't gonna happen.

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#40 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

@emtilt: Hm, that seems like a weird example. From what I can tell, the original PC De Blob seems more or less like a prototype of the Wii version. I'm pretty on the fence about this.

Here is footage from the different versions:

PC:

Loading Video...

Wii:

Loading Video...

...and then there's the mobile version:

Loading Video...

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#41 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

@beachthunder: Doesn't seem especially ambiguous to me. It's not really a "prototype" in the strict sense, because the game was made as a student thesis before THQ bought the rights to it and made the commercial one. In any case, why wouldn't a prototype be split (assuming the prototype was released)? It is, by definition, entirely different. Take for example the Double Fine Costume Quest Prototype; it is entirely different than the commercial release, with different level design, graphics, location, enemies, story, and some mechanics.

In this case of de Blob, it's hard to argue that these games are the same one even though they share a similar design aesthetic and main mechanic (if those are the only criteria, all franchises should be one game!). The PC version is a single level based on the city of Utrecht, developed by eight students. The Wii version is ten levels (none in common with the PC version), was developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment for THQ, has different graphical assets and controls, runs on a different engine, and has additional mechanics, among other differences. I actually thought this was a slam-dunk example, having played both versions. (And clearly the mobile version is a third game.)

The differences among the de Blob versions or between the Costume Quest versions are greater than, for example, the different Resident Evil remakes that have different pages, or any of countless other examples.

If the goal is to lump similar games together, I guess that's the site's prerogative, but it seems really inconsistent at the moment. Perhaps with the discussion of a style guide, this should be one of the things addressed? For example, it should be defined what constitutes a unique game.

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#42 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

@emtilt: That's fair reasoning.I do have trouble seeing where the line is though, which I suppose is my problem. An obvious example is Tetris, a game with dozens of versions, each differing in their own way (e.g. different developers and publishers, rule changes, varying graphical styles, etc...). There's even two different DOS versions of the game.

I don't think all Tetris games should be lumped together, but the issue is, at some point, splitting can become excessive and perhaps have a negative effect on the wiki. I will definitely disagree with you on the Costume Quest suggestion. In that case, it's very clear that the Costume Quest Prototype was designed as a step towards creating the final Costume Quest Game. To say that that should be its own game is akin to saying that very early Early Access games should be separate entities to the final product.

It would be good though if Jeff could weigh in on this at some point, given that he's ultimately the boss of all of this.

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#43 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -
@beachthunder said:

@emtilt: I will definitely disagree with you on the Costume Quest suggestion. In that case, it's very clear that the Costume Quest Prototype was designed as a step towards creating the final Costume Quest Game. To say that that should be its own game is akin to saying that very early Early Access games should be separate entities to the final product.

Early Access games are released the same product as the finished version, though. Double Fine released the Prototype as a separate product (I have both on Steam, for example). Since they are separate products with no overlap in gameplay, I'd think that some users would want the ability to separately review them and the like. Additionally, a prototype isn't really like a very early version, because that line of code and assets is never intended to go into the game that will ultimately be developed. Finally, it meas that basically the whole wiki article is inapplicable and incorrect with regard to one of the releases - those descriptions don't apply to the prototype. It's in essence a remake or reimagining, more akin to my Resident Evil example than an early access game.

While I definitely disagree with you about Costume Quest, your Tetris example is a good example of how poorly defined this is. It's probably the most difficult game to handle in a consistent way.

I think part of our difference in perspective arises from the dual purpose of the wiki. I'm personally more concerned about how it functions as a database accessed via API for external development. For a large database to be useful via API, it needs to be uniform, consistent, and flexible so that operations can be automated and it works for a variety of purposes. This issue originally came to my attention because certain sites trying to use it were running into limitations because of this kind of inconsistency. I think most wiki editors, on the other hand, are more concerned about the intrinsic worth of the wiki as pages to be read by users, a purpose for which readability is more important that total consistency. A clear set of well thought-out guidelines could alleviate this tension.

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#44 Posted by Jeff (6051 posts) -

I wouldn't call a prototype of a finished product a separate game. That sounds like something that would be dealt with as a paragraph on the final game's wiki page. We shouldn't feel obligated to have something in the wiki just because there's a separate Steam entry for it.

The Tetris example is extremely messy, and it's the one I keep coming back to because it's the toughest to tackle. But here's the original thinking for wiki pages (which we haven't always enforced because our search has sort of sucked).

Games should only be joined onto one page when they are the same page ported to multiple places. That means that Nintendo's NES Tetris and Tengen's NES Tetris belong on separate pages. That means that Nintendo's Game Boy Tetris gets a separate page, too, because it isn't a direct port of the NES game (though handheld ports make everything stickier since the ports are often bad and barely resemble some of the game's other versions).

That also means that if a company were to come along, get the Tetris license, and release it across, say, three platforms at the same time with the same name and same basic featureset, those versions would be combined onto one page. Release date plays a factor here, too, since someone doing that would likely pump them all out around the same time frame.

This brings us to a handheld example. Let's take Mortal Kombat II. There are handheld versions of MK2 that suck ass. They're barely the same game. But they're designed to be interpretations of the same arcade product, they're all published by arms of Acclaim, and they're released around the same time. Combining them onto one page is fine here.

The catch is that our Search results don't reliably display that second line of data (the one that has year of release and platforms in it), so you end up with a billion things that just say "Tetris" without enough detail to help you find the one you're actually looking for. So in order to make the site a little more usable, we haven't split up too many pages. There's an engineer focused solely on search right now, so I'm hoping we'll finally get where we need to be on that stuff, at which point we can finally have like 20 different Tetris pages as we originally intended. It's messy, but it seems like that's what's right from a data perspective.

Let me know if you have any other ideas on this topic. It's certainly a weird one.

Staff
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#45 Edited by emtilt (21 posts) -

@jeff: Thanks for the reply! A few questions for clarification and precedence:

Games should only be joined onto one page when they are the same page ported to multiple places. That means that Nintendo's NES Tetris and Tengen's NES Tetris belong on separate pages. That means that Nintendo's Game Boy Tetris gets a separate page, too, because it isn't a direct port of the NES game (though handheld ports make everything stickier since the ports are often bad and barely resemble some of the game's other versions).

This still seems to me like it implies that something like the Double Fine prototypes should have separate pages. They aren't ports, they were released at different times, they share no levels, they share no (or close to no) code, they share no assets, they were sold to the public as products. What is the criteria that determines they should be lumped with the original commercial release? Admittedly, it's a strange example, because Double Fine runs their prototyping phase as a semi-public promotion and product. Similarly, how about the de Blob example above, which BeachThunder suggested was more like a prototype?

This brings us to a handheld example. Let's take Mortal Kombat II. There are handheld versions of MK2 that suck ass. They're barely the same game. But they're designed to be interpretations of the same arcade product, they're all published by arms of Acclaim, and they're released around the same time. Combining them onto one page is fine here.

Just to clarify the handheld issue with some examples, since it was what originally started this topic: So something like the 8-bit Sonic games (i.e., Game Gear and Master System) should be split for the 16-bit ones, as they are not ports but separate game developments, correct? From your Tetris example, I assume that something like the GBA version of The Simpsons: Road Rage should also be split because it is not a port but a different piece of development with somewhat different gameplay, despite trying to capture a similar game experience. Correct? That one is less clear to me because of your wording - it's "designed to be [an] interpretation of the same ... product" like your MK example, but is separate development and everything like your Game Boy Tetris example. I'd lean toward splitting for the sake of the API, but I get the impression that most other contributors wouldn't. This is the issue with many GBA games, especially driving games, where they could do shitty-3D on the GBA but it usually barely resembled the home console version and was handled by a separate dev team.

The MK handheld example, like Tetris, is another that strikes me as one of the hardest, messiest ones. It's, as you said, a rough attempt to replicate the arcade experience, but I imagine that under the hood it has very little in common with the other versions.

Let me know if you have any other ideas on this topic. It's certainly a weird one.

Adding a line to the search results listing each game's platforms is probably the best way to make this issue less of a hassle from a wiki-searching perspective. Could make the results slightly cluttered, though, if not done elegantly.

So in order to make the site a little more usable, we haven't split up too many pages. There's an engineer focused solely on search right now, so I'm hoping we'll finally get where we need to be on that stuff, at which point we can finally have like 20 different Tetris pages as we originally intended. It's messy, but it seems like that's what's right from a data perspective.

So does that mean that changes of this nature should be delayed for the time being?

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#46 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

Hey, I just created the Save File Copy concept page, and I need you guys to help adding games to the list. I know there must be heaps and heaps of games out there.

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#47 Posted by bobafettjm (2306 posts) -

@beachthunder: I added a few Zelda games to that page, but that is all I could think of at the moment. I know I have run across this a ton.

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#48 Posted by mosespippy (4751 posts) -

@emtilt said:

@jeff: Thanks for the reply! A few questions for clarification and precedence:

Games should only be joined onto one page when they are the same page ported to multiple places. That means that Nintendo's NES Tetris and Tengen's NES Tetris belong on separate pages. That means that Nintendo's Game Boy Tetris gets a separate page, too, because it isn't a direct port of the NES game (though handheld ports make everything stickier since the ports are often bad and barely resemble some of the game's other versions).

This still seems to me like it implies that something like the Double Fine prototypes should have separate pages. They aren't ports, they were released at different times, they share no levels, they share no (or close to no) code, they share no assets, they were sold to the public as products. What is the criteria that determines they should be lumped with the original commercial release? Admittedly, it's a strange example, because Double Fine runs their prototyping phase as a semi-public promotion and product. Similarly, how about the de Blob example above, which BeachThunder suggested was more like a prototype?

The thing about prototypes is that the work done on them is a necessary step towards a finished project. They are the same as alphas and betas. Just because the public can have access to them does not mean they deserve to be separated from the finished project that they contributed to. You wouldn't make a page for the Uncharted 2 Beta that came with Infamous, or for the "Beta" that it had two weeks before release. At the dev studio it is all the same project, just at different phases of its life.

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#49 Posted by emtilt (21 posts) -

The thing about prototypes is that the work done on them is a necessary step towards a finished project. They are the same as alphas and betas. Just because the public can have access to them does not mean they deserve to be separated from the finished project that they contributed to. You wouldn't make a page for the Uncharted 2 Beta that came with Infamous, or for the "Beta" that it had two weeks before release. At the dev studio it is all the same project, just at different phases of its life.

That's not really how the Double Fine prototypes worked, though. Most of them do *not* have a corresponding commercial product and yet have been released and have wiki pages, and even the Costume Quest one was released *after* the main game as a separate product. You're right that its a necessary step toward the finished product, but in the unusual case of Double Fine, they were also intended as their own products (and not as promotions for the game they relate to). I can see I'm convincing no one, though!

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#50 Posted by BeachThunder (15130 posts) -

I really wish Jason would stop copying and pasting decks directly from Steam. I hate it when it seems that the staff just don't give a shit about the wiki.

http://web.archive.org/web/20150321130216/http://www.giantbomb.com/malebolgia/3030-49215/