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PCGamingWiki Skin v3.0

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Repost from IRC: I like the colors, but I'd prefer single pixel line border around tables instead of dark glow. Here is my mockup and with system requirements table with tabs idea:

 

8sFki4F.png

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I really like the tabbed system requirements table idea, so I'll keep pestering Soeb about that one ;)

 

As for the border, I personally like the drop shadow from a stylistic perspective, and I think it has enough contrast to be able to differentiate. I can increase the darkness of the drop shadow if you think that'd help, but I'm going to be a bit stubborn about changing it unless there are any other alternatives besides the border.

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It definitely has enough contrast to differentiate, I just feel like 5 pixel wide border is a bit too much. This is just a personal preference though, keep the shadow if you like it more.

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Some feedback regarding the look (after some review):

  • There should be some dividers for the table headers. It would keep it more organized and slightly easier to read. Use white for the colour.
  • Put back in the wiki-style table of contents. Just the button by itself makes it look "incomplete".
    • A suggestion: add the old TOC back while using the current button as a "constant" version when the main list is not visible (i.e. hide the button when at the top of the page).

Otherwise, I can't find any other glaring issues for now. Looks good.

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Adding on to the above, the Home page will also be rebuilt from the ground up. Hopefully loading a lot faster than the current home page by relying less on external scripts (twitter, YouTube, IPBoard).

 

EDIT: Also we made it sort of work on mobile!

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This post will be regularly updated.

 

Most recently we've switched all commonly used icons to SVG files - one of the many little things to look forward to.

 

To give some idea of what will be changing once we release the new skin:

  • All talk pages will be replaced by Flow
  • Developer/Publisher pages will be replaced with a simpler common namespace
  • Support for GSM in the Save game cloud sync table will be dropped (to not show preference towards custom solutions, plus it's mostly irrelevant)
  • Tabs (Preview/Changes) will be disabled in WikiEditor. You can still see a preview using the buttons at the bottom
  • Thumbs on pages will no longer be done in the usual MediaWiki format. This is to ensure uniform size across the wiki as well as better styling options
  • Infoboxes will now require an image at least 300px in width. Sorry, Steam covers won't cut it now
  • Game data tables, by limiting the values the System column can take. Sorry, but screw the nonsense in there - UPDATE: First steps taken on the prod wiki. Values other than (Windows, OS X, Linux, Mac OS, DOS, Steam, Origin, Uplay) place the page in the invalid template usage category.

Most other templates are keeping their usual look and inner workings. When we're ready to release the new skin, there will not be a period during which we'll be offering the old look - too many changes had to be made to make it all work the way it does.

 

Since the planned release is more than a month a way at this point, there's still a possibility more changes will be introduced, including:

  • System requirements tables, including template code (see the tabs above, as suggested by LDK) - no promises on this one though
  • Input settings tables, by expanding them to include more information
  • References, though probably without interference to the work of editors

Something not entirely related that I'd like to add is improved Upload pages. This is the ensure proper information about the source (covers), patch version (settings), and other minor information is provided. I am hoping to start a drive on converting/fixing old File pages some time at the beginning of next month. Why? By default, clicking on an image will now show a larger version with details right below the file. Doing this will take perfect advantage of the improved information sharing.

 

For an example of the various changes, watch Borderlands 2. Refer to Braid for new notice styles.

 

Everything above is still subject to changes, and we're always open to discussions on any of those topics. We're hoping to improve the experience of not only the readers, but also the editors of the wiki, so if you have any ideas as to what would make editing easier for you, don't hesitate to come forward.

While I like most of these changes, there are some nagging issues:

  • "Support for GSM in the Save game cloud sync table will be dropped (to not show preference towards custom solutions, plus it's mostly irrelevant)"
    • Define "mostly irrelevant". The service supports games that other services won't. I'm also not aware of any existing service that does what GSM can.
  • "Tabs (Preview/Changes) will be disabled in WikiEditor. You can still see a preview using the buttons at the bottom"
    • The tabs load much faster than the "Preview" button. That, and it adds unnecessary bulk to the page while I'm editing. I only use the "Preview" button when confirming links I added.
  • "Infoboxes will now require an image at least 300px in width. Sorry, Steam covers won't cut it now".
    • For the older pages like Bejeweled, the current Steam cover wouldn't be qualified (292×136). However, Steam covers got a new standard size some time ago (460x215). I would keep using Steam covers as an option since some games don't have retail releases.

On another note, if we are updating the tables, some suggestions:

  • Input Settings
    • Add in a field called "Input protocols" (or "Input APIs") that state what API the game is using (XInput, DirectInput, etc.)
  • API table
    • Add in a field called "VESA-compliant" that states if the game requires/supports VESA-compliant video cards (at least, this is how I understand this mode). For DOS games only.
  • Middleware table
    • Remove the "Input" row. It's borderline useless and I rarely encounter a game that uses the field.
  • System requirements
    • Do we have a field for sound cards? It would be useful for DOS games to state all supported sound chipsets instead of repeating the information from the API table.

One final thing: I would highly recommend that we finish/fix up the Editing Guide before we go public with the redesign. We should launch them both at the same time to drive home the "refreshed" feel of the wiki.

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On another note, if we are updating the tables, some suggestions:

  • Input Settings
    • Add in a field called "Input protocols" (or "Input APIs") that state what API the game is using (XInput, DirectInput, etc.)
  • Middleware table
    • Remove the "Input" row. It's borderline useless and I rarely encounter a game that uses the field.

The same might possibly apply to Audio API row.

I mean:

  • assuming the user is under Vista or newer Windows (and we already assume this)
  • given we ought to point out that every time a game is using DirectSound under those systems, audio is either degraded or just stereo

99% of times we should say in surround sound row that DirectSound hw restoration is required (and for the remainder 99% we'll have to say it's probably going to suck).

So, if we already mention it there, moving audio middleware row in audio template (and maybe merging it with EAX support row) might be a wise move.

 

Even though, I'm not really sure about details, and I'd like to hear other opinions.

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Work on the home page has begun!

 

Right now we're planning on including the following:

 

* Search & Suggested games (automatically selected daily from the Featured articles list which Soeb is working on implementing)

* Statistics

* Upcoming releases

* Project links

* Recent blog posts

* Recent forum posts

* Twitter feed

 

Thoughts?

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Some thoughts on the Home page so far:

 

1. Looks really good on my MacBook Pro (1440x900 viewport) and on a tablet which suits the 2-column layout. However on a 1920px width screen, the content looks a bit out of place as it is centred - but the sidebar is stuck on the left with a big gap. It looks even stranger on a super high res screen because of the white space. My suggestion (just a suggestion, it's probably not the right move) is to fix the width and centre the content just for the Home page, for example:

 

.page-Home div#body-content input[type=search] 

{

position:inherit;

margin-top:10px;

}

.page-Home #main-column {

max-width:1100px;

}

.page-Home #masthead {

justify-content:center;

}

 

p6ANNNq.jpg

 

2. Instead of a 'Statistics' box we could have a 'Welcome' box which basically says, 'PCGamingWiki aims to list fixes and workarounds for every single PC game' - underneath this we can include stats, other welcome info.

 

3. Currently the 300x250 ad is not being placed nicely on the Home page. It's pretty essential for it to be displayed properly. I wonder if there's another way to 'call in' that ad on the home page, and put it inside the content.

 

4. Right now the sidebar isn't in the responsive view - this means that a lot of people won't be able to view the 'Games' list as OS categories Windows, OS X and Linux. These are amongst our most popular pages on the site. Perhaps we can integrate this into the Home just below the Welcome box.

 

5. We've removed RecentChanges from the front page, mostly because it doesn't cache properly. I'd love to get it if it can cache, but if it not then RecentChanges link needs to be somewhere on the Home page, as it is no longer on the sidebar.

 

6. I think if we can get the sidebar back that would probably be the best option!

 

 

Great work so far, looking forward to seeing this thing come together :).

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Some thoughts on the Home page so far:
 
1. Looks really good on my MacBook Pro (1440x900 viewport) and on a tablet which suits the 2-column layout. However on a 1920px width screen, the content looks a bit out of place as it is centred - but the sidebar is stuck on the left with a big gap. It looks even stranger on a super high res screen because of the white space. My suggestion (just a suggestion, it's probably not the right move) is to fix the width and centre the content just for the Home page, for example:
 
.page-Home div#body-content input[type=search] 
{
position:inherit;
margin-top:10px;
}
.page-Home #main-column {
max-width:1100px;
}
.page-Home #masthead {
justify-content:center;
}
 
 
 
2. Instead of a 'Statistics' box we could have a 'Welcome' box which basically says, 'PCGamingWiki aims to list fixes and workarounds for every single PC game' - underneath this we can include stats, other welcome info.
 
3. Currently the 300x250 ad is not being placed nicely on the Home page. It's pretty essential for it to be displayed properly. I wonder if there's another way to 'call in' that ad on the home page, and put it inside the content.
 
4. Right now the sidebar isn't in the responsive view - this means that a lot of people won't be able to view the 'Games' list as OS categories Windows, OS X and Linux. These are amongst our most popular pages on the site. Perhaps we can integrate this into the Home just below the Welcome box.
 
5. We've removed RecentChanges from the front page, mostly because it doesn't cache properly. I'd love to get it if it can cache, but if it not then RecentChanges link needs to be somewhere on the Home page, as it is no longer on the sidebar.
 
6. I think if we can get the sidebar back that would probably be the best option!
 
 
Great work so far, looking forward to seeing this thing come together :).

 

 

1. I'm on a MacBook Pro with a 2560x1600 viewport (1280x800 in CSS pixels), but I also have a second screen that's 1600x800, and on that it's really obvious that there's a problem with the size of the content, on larger screens it only gets worse.

 

The problem I've run into is this: I dislike all possible solutions to this problem using CSS, and using JS would be overly complex, slow down the page, and cause its own problems. It would also take longer to develop.

 

Right now, using breakpoints to create more columns could work, but the problem with that is the content would end up flowing from a theoretical third column into the second when it gets smaller, meaning the third column would either be awkwardly small or the second awkwardly large (depending on viewport width). The columns CSS property will fix these problems pretty much in their entirety, but that won't be a viable solution until October or November of this year. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all support it right now, albeit prefixed. Unfortunately, Chrome and Safari's implementations of the spec are incomplete and very buggy. Trust me, I've tried to use them on other projects of mine, they are horrific.

 

The idea is that we'd wait for this to have proper support in Chrome and Safari this fall (Firefox should be fine even if it remains prefixed), then we can use it for the home page. It would allow the content to flow into more columns when the viewport width allows for it. It also includes the ability to "equalize" content so that the columns are as similar in height as possible.

 

As a hotfix, your suggestion may work, but I'm unsure if it would be annoying to use. Regardless, we're definitely going to get complaints for this problem, so it's something we need to work on fixing.

 

 

2. I've tried to have the header serve as the welcome card, as I assume searching or getting article suggestions would work as a navigational flow for a significant portion of users. I'd definitely be willing to try a welcome card with some navigational elements (e.g. OS categories and the like), recent changes, and statistics, but I'll need to give some thought on its implementation first.

 

 

3. I blame Soeb, it's his job to fix it :P

 

In all seriousness, this is a significant problem, especially since it messes with the header layout. I'm not sure exactly how to get the ad placed on the page, but I have some ideas.

 

 

4. See 2

 

5. See 2

 

6. That's planned eventually, but I want to get the skin out sooner rather than later, so its been pushed back for now.

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1. Sounds great.

 

2. Perhaps we can swap the header cards with OS links, e.g. below the search bar display 3/4 buttons with icons: All Games / Windows / OS X / Linux - these are commonly used navigation elements from the sidebar.

 

The Welcome card could be something like this:

 

Welcome

PCGamingWiki aims to list fixes and workarounds for every single PC game

About | Patreon / PayPal | Editing guide | Recent changes

{{Stats}}

 

3. Ideally the MPU ad would sit under the header. Maybe there's a way we can customise the Home page so that it uses a different PHP file skin from the rest of the site, then we could hard code a lot of the features we want inside it.

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Do you have a list of the other blocks we may include on the Home page? I recall discussing this at some point.

 

It would be nice to generate some lists of games automatically so that users can be drawn to the most popular articles at the minute, e.g.

Most visited game articles in the last 24 hours

Most visited articles all-time

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The file total on the main page is maybe a bit misleading since this is a total of the images rather than the actual files section (I don't know whether it's possible to query the files section total).

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The file total on the main page is maybe a bit misleading since this is a total of the images rather than the actual files section (I don't know whether it's possible to query the files section total).

Soeb would be able to better determine the capabilities of IPBoard in that regard, but as far as I know there's no endpoint for that. Thankfully, I don't think it's a big enough deal to be problematic for most users. We may just want to replace "Files" with "Images" since there aren't any really other types of files on the wiki itself.

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Do you have a list of the other blocks we may include on the Home page? I recall discussing this at some point.

 

It would be nice to generate some lists of games automatically so that users can be drawn to the most popular articles at the minute, e.g.

Most visited game articles in the last 24 hours

Most visited articles all-time

 

Sorry for not responding to this earlier, the skin has been taking up most of my wiki time :P

 

Soeb and I discussed using these metrics for the Search suggestions on the home page (For example... *list of games*), but based on Google Analytics and Piwik statistics, we'd just end up with Grand Theft Auto V on the home page for months on end. These would essentially be static until a new release knocks others down a peg, so it'd be kind of useless to have them front-and-center on the home page.

 

Right now the blocks included are somewhat final, as I feel that the header is where your eye obviously lands upon loading, so it serves as a pretty good "Welcome" card, and includes everything we had in the previous welcome card (except for the news articles, which are outdated at this point).

 

Recent changes isn't included on the basis that it would break the caching, and the twitter widget would make the home page load take a bit longer (although we could always load it asynchronously), and add quite a bit to the page size which we've been working to cut down on for the last few months.

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These would essentially be static until a new release knocks others down a peg, so it'd be kind of useless to have them front-and-center on the home page.

 

I think it would serve a purpose to automatically list the most trafficked game articles so that new releases are front and centre, if it's possible in the future.

 

 

Twitter - I don't mind not including it to save speed.

 

However without the sidebar showing up on mobile, we should definitely include these x2 missing things somewhere on the Home page so it's accessible from mobile:

All Games / Windows / OS X / Linux

- Recent changes

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Recent changes is something that as moderator is really helpful.. but I don't really see the utility from a phone (which is only a "device for end users" imo)

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Recent changes is something that as moderator is really helpful.. but I don't really see the utility from a phone (which is only a "device for end users" imo)

I think considering mobile to have users with inherently different problems and goals isn't the right way to go here. We want to have as much feature parity between desktop and mobile as possible (except editing, because that'd just become a mess even if we had VisualEditor).

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I know mobile users don't have the same requirements, but it seems needless to remove 100% access from mobile when we could just add them to a Home page block.

 

We could fit them all inside the Statistics block and it would only take 1 or 2 lines of vertical space.

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This is the analytics for the top 50 pages visited after the Home page for the last 30 days.

 

The Category:Windows is the most popular, and Category:Games is number 2.

 

Special:RecentChanges appears at number 11 - this will undoubtedly increase once the embed is removed from Home.

 

LToW3Q7.png

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This is the analytics for the top 50 pages visited after the Home page for the last 30 days.

 

The Category:Windows is the most popular, and Category:Games is number 2.

 

Special:RecentChanges appears at number 11 - this will undoubtedly increase once the embed is removed from Home.

 

LToW3Q7.png

 

I still don't get the usefulness of Category:Windows and Category:Games pages for people..

Why would you be interested in those lists?

 

The categories pages haven't been optimized for mobile, and I wonder if people are clicking it under the assumption that it would be more useable than it is, e.g. a list of cover art? Or just clicking it because it's one of the most prominent elements on the current home page?

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