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Andytizer

Proposal: Overview (or 'port history') to replace top of articles

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Proposal: Restructure articles with 'Overview' to replace Key Points, Essential Improvements, General Information
 
Key points was designed to be a way to add statements that would be quantitatively verifiable and individually moderated easily. It occupies the top of the article and is the first thing visitors read when viewing an article - it implies that this is the headline top information.
 
However it currently suffers from an issue where people fill out lines for the sake of having a line, and includes information that is far from ‘key’ eg {{++}} Game uses 7.1 audio. Or to include {{--}} negative points just to 'balance' out the top of the article, where it is not warranted.
 
Secondly I would like to push PCGW to contain more Wikipedia-like information that is qualitative, with a focus on technical and quality of life information. Back in 2012, I was afraid we wouldn’t have the policies and manpower to correctly moderate large blocks of text. However I think we are in a good position to do this now with a healthy active moderation team. This would also vastly improve its 'SEO' quality and push PCGamingWiki articles from average slot of 11th space on Google to possibly the front page. This will attract visitors and editors and make the entire site more useful.
 
Here's a draft General section example (no 2nd level header), that would go at the top of the page:
 
Quote

 

<game> is a <genre> first released on <platform> on <date> from <developer> and published by <publisher>. It was first brought to PC on <format> on <date> and was was first brought to <digital distribution> on <date>. <game> uses the <engine> which was made open source in <date>. The <game> is part of the <series>. The <game> was a free upgrade to owners of <game> on Steam.
 
<game> is missing <features> or cannot run on the latest version of <os> enhanced version is available on <digital distribution> and includes <features>. Originally released using <drm>, it is now DRM-free. The <store> version is no longer being supported, and it is recommended to buy it from <store>.
 
Recommended mods/patches include <#mods/patches> with following <quality of life features>. 
  • Essential quality of life mods (not things like uncompressed audio, or 4K textures etc. but things which make the game run)
  • Content mods include, <mod 1> and <mod 2> (these must be very notable - deemed ‘essential’ by majority of users). 

 

 
General information - instead of a long rambling list of everything, we move this under the Infobox. Rename to "Support Resources". Remove things like wikis, official websites - this section should be for things like 'authoritative threads', forums, etc. where users can expect to find answers to technical questions about the game.
 

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I support this proposal as-is. It's very comprehensive, and if the site is moving more towards a Wikipedia-style of writing, then this would make an excellent fit.

That said, I would prefer a set of guidelines for evaluating content mods beyond "deemed 'essential' by majority of users". I've found people's opinions, especially on the Internet, to be fickle and ever-changing. Having a set of guidelines separate from opinion would greatly help to ground content mods listed on the wiki against such changing opinions.

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@Expack3 Thanks for your feedback, I am open to suggestions for codifying 'Essential' mods.

For example Kotor 2 - the Restored Content Mod is 'essential' - you would be 'missing out' if you didn't install it.
Yet we also have this list of Steam graphical mods - but most of these I would call non-essential. The only one I think is 'important' is the quality of life fix to make the game appear correct for widescreen - the Widescreen UI fix 

Any suggestions on how to codify this?

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1 minute ago, Andytizer said:

@Expack3 Thanks for your feedback, I am open to suggestions for codifying 'Essential' mods.

For example Kotor 2 - the Restored Content Mod is 'essential' - you would be 'missing out' if you didn't install it.
Yet we also have this list of Steam graphical mods - but most of these I would call non-essential. The only one I think is 'important' is the quality of life fix to make the game appear correct for widescreen - the Widescreen UI fix 

Any suggestions on how to codify this?

I would definitely want the ideas of the rest of the staff - none of us are islands, after all - but as for my criteria, it all centers around the idea of building upon what exists, not changing it. An example of "essential" vs. "non-essential", aside from the KOTOR 2 example you gave, would be two different mods for STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl: The Zone Reclamation Project (ZRP) and STALKER Complete.

The former is essential as it is a collection of bug fixes, quite necessary due to Chernobyl's infamous bugginess and instability, and improves UI issues, such as hiding the "save" icon because, for some reason, it's hard-coded to never go away, even when no saving is occurring. The latter, while including a now-old version of ZRP, also changes textures and, most importantly, core gameplay mechanics, such as adding repair kits such that the player can perform in-the-field repairs to their equipment, instead of having to locate and pay the nearest, comparatively-expensive repairman. The STALKER games are meant to be hard by FPSRPG standards, so this changes the game into something it was never meant to be.

Also, there's the BG2 Fixpack mod for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, which fixes many, many bugs, language issues (i.e. changes "fagain is horrible" to "Fagain is horrible!"), and unintentionally-broken mechanics in the game. (It should be noted there are additional fixes which, due to ambiguity on whether the particular bugs were intended by the developers, are clearly listed under "Optional, But Fun", which the mod does not install by default.)

However, the above are the clearest-cut examples. There are some less clear-cut examples:

  1. GMDX (Give Me Deus Ex) for the original Deus Ex. It is a faithful expansion on the original mechanics of the game, adding things which make sense for an immersive sim like Deus Ex, such as cameras alerting guards upon seeing dead or unconscious corpses, ranged enemies being able to use their guns as an impromptu melee weapon, and spiderbots being able to walk on walls and ceilings, not just floors.

    However, the mod does change the design of the levels for the sake of realism. While they're sensible changes, such as replacing an impossible T-section from the underground subway section with a more realistic curved version, they nonetheless change the original game. There are also certain additions which aim to remove the clunkiness of the original gameplay, such as the ability to climb up (mantle) objects as well as a perk system which adds such bonuses as making any physical lock in the game take only one picklock, albeit requiring "master"-level skill in lockpicking and a large XP investment.

    Also, the game uses the High Definition Texture Pack (HDTP) and New Vision model replacement mods, which while doing an admirable job of raising the fidelity of textures and models while keeping the original artistic intent, nonetheless do make some changes not seen in the game. For example, certain textures which were not animated before are now animated, and others which had minimal animation have had major changes, such as TVs with anchorpersons having clearly brought the original character models into a 3D modeling program to more realistically animate them, versus the original's generic lip movements.
  2. Jagged Alliance 2's v1.13 patch/mod. This adds arbitrary resolution support, content normally available only in the game's standalone expansions, such as multiplayer and additional official mercenaries, and a massive variety of real-world guns (all of which are tied to the game's existing "Tons O' Guns" new game option).

    However, the mod massively overhauls how shooting and line-of-sight is handled. For example, ballistics is now modelled in-game, meaning certain weapons, even with maximum experience in armaments, simply can't hit targets at certain ranges. It also includes some major changes to the game's base difficulty, making it more difficult than the original. It also allows advanced players to tweak the individual variables driving the game.
  3. Skyrim's SkyUI, which modifies the in-game menu and inventory system to work with a keyboard and mouse. While it does add filtering options and hotkeys, neither of which were in the original game, these options were (if memory serves) present in previous, PC-oriented Elder Scrolls releases.

As these three examples demonstrate, some mods considered "essential" by the community both change the game and build upon it. Thus, the question becomes, in my mind, "How closely should a mod hew to the original intent of the developers?"

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Writing in support of the proposal, although I also will have to re-read the replies as I basically just skimmed them now.

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Reinventing the wheel to "sound like wikipedia" (very nice analogy) may even do wonders for SEO. But, moving back to the sake of content itself... that's already covered by Wikipedia indeed?

And even more importantly, I don't see in which form whatsoever that would help the general quick and clear readability of the page?

Yes, there are games which you could write almost a book with all the essential, initial, procedures - but I would argue most of them just has some stupid specific fix here and there. If really somebody wanted to revolutionize a players life, an applet that scans installed games and preemptively offer fixes to be applied automatically would be it imo.

If instead we talk about Glossary pages (look, a distinct reason to keep a separate namespace s:) and similar instead, of course Wikipedia wording would be golden. And we would actually provide some added value.

IMO you also seem to mix too much the problems behind verification, quantification, objectivity and.. laziness/stupidity/carelessness of novice editors.

I'm at least very glad you could find the time to note down your POV on the new vision® though.

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Key points give too much power to new accounts (I'm mainly referring to unregistered users) and some very questionable information has even been featured on the front page's "featured articles" . I don't often know what can be added either and a significant portion of my key points have been quickly removed from articles. The editing guide is more of a guideline.

I've compiled some examples of subjective edits here:

 

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