search and alternative versions

feedback, questions and discussion relating to the Complete BBC Games Archive (beta site now open!)
User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:49 pm

Lee has been taking advantage of a feature I added of allowing games to be linked together. A good example is Snapper which has a few versions. Because they are linked together, you only get one when you search, or when you browse through the games, which makes things tidier.

Lee noticed a problem where different versions of a game have different names. You can't search for the "child" games, so you can only search for the main (Parent) game. The example he gives is Laser Cycles. The alternative version which is linked as a child is Grid Cycles. You can't search for this directly, and if you try nothing is returned, even though you can see it in the type ahead.

So what to do here? Clearly the title appearing in the type ahead is a bug, the type ahead shouldn't display anything that won't be displayed if you search for it. The more difficult problem is how to cater for someone who remembers playing Grid Cycles and searches for it, and doesn't get any results. As I see it we have a few options:

  • Call the game "Laser Cycles (AKA Grid Cycles)". I guess this won't be correct for this game, or it would already be named like this.
  • Have an option that allows searching of every game including child games. I don't like this as it is a little opaque.
  • Somehow allow a search for the child game but return the parent if it matches? Sounds like a lot of work, but possibly easier for the user.
I think I kind of envisaged when creating the functionality that the parent would incorporate all aspects of all versions, though this may have been to save me work!

What do you think?
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:59 pm

pau1ie wrote:
  • Somehow allow a search for the child game but return the parent if it matches? Sounds like a lot of work, but possibly easier for the user.

That would be my preference. Because users will only search for what they can actually remember! (And the other options you suggested are either messier or too fiddly to use.)

I know you said it would be harder to implement, but you did ask..!

:?:

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3402
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby leenew » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:21 pm

Yes, unfortunately I agree with Lurkio :lol:
My idea was to have the "Alternative Versions" tick box UNticked by default and have search function exactly as it does now, where child games are invisible, but the information is there on the details page of the parent.
BUT, if a user should tick the Alternative versions tickbox, then the child games, and any other Alternative would simply not be "hidden".
This does not sound like a lot of work to me - but then I do not have the faintest idea what I am talking about :wink:

Lee.

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:08 pm

OK, finally done.

It occurred to me that I could repeat the search for child games, the include the parents of all the child games that matched.

It worked really nicely on my laptop, so I copied the code across to the website. It took 30 seconds to run. Turns out the mysql version on my laptop (Arch Linux) is much newer than the version on the server, which is likely running a server OS such as Centos, which is more conservative. The newer version realises it only has to run the part of the query to match the child games once, so does and caches the results. The older version doesn't realise this so runs it once for every row, i.e. 2600 times.

So to fix it I had to run the sub-query (it is called technically) once manually, then plug in the id number of the games it returns, if it returns any. I had to re-factor the query a little before this would work, and of course I messed it up and broke the website a couple of times.

This is what is annoying about people saying their idea for a change shouldn't be much work. Nothing is ever simple. The website is pretty simple, but even so there are a loot of moving parts. It is pretty easy to break things by making a small change, and realise you have to change other parts to make it work again. It is in part due to my poor coding, not having split things out properly, but in my defence I don't really know what I am doing and it more or less works.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:54 pm

pau1ie wrote:OK, finally done.

Thanks, Paul! That's great.

1. I notice, though, that you can't browse for an Alternative Version -- you have to explicitly search for it by name: searching is the only way to get to Alternative Versions; they don't appear in the Browse list. Do we think this behaviour is okay?

pau1ie wrote:This is what is annoying about people saying their idea for a change shouldn't be much work. Nothing is ever simple. The website is pretty simple, but even so there are a loot of moving parts. It is pretty easy to break things by making a small change, and realise you have to change other parts to make it work again. It is in part due to my poor coding, not having split things out properly, but in my defence I don't really know what I am doing and it more or less works.

You've done a great job! bbcmicro.co.uk is already really good! Please don't feel under pressure to do any more work if it seems like drudgery.

Any suggestions I might make for further features or enhancements are as much to record my thoughts as to ask if you personally can implement them. My comments and requests are directed at whoever ends up taking on the development of the site, not necessarily at you specifically.

That said...

2. Should we have the ability to Search By Year Of Publication? Then we could eliminate the awkward Release Type of "Year 2000 on", which is causing Lee problems because it's too broad and doesn't allow him to specify that a game was not only released after 2000 but is also a commercial release, etc.

3. Currently, if you go to the homepage and click the hash # button, you get zero games in the Browse list -- all games vanish! Is this right?

4. Can we swap the locations of the Browse checkboxes and the Search field? Then the Search field would be "front and centre" -- or prominent, at least -- like the unmissable Search field at the top of the Amazon homepage.

5. Can we change the label "Browse release types" to "Filters" or "Refine results" or something like that?

:?:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:56 am

lurkio wrote:1. I notice, though, that you can't browse for an Alternative Version -- you have to explicitly search for it by name: searching is the only way to get to Alternative Versions; they don't appear in the Browse list. Do we think this behaviour is okay?


This is by design so you don't have the same game several times as you browse. I could change the query so that for any child games that match release type their parent can also be displayed, the same as for searching. Maybe this would be more correct (I think I thought of a reason not to do this, but I can't remember what it was at present). I am not sure of the value of the alternative version release type though. We already store this information in the database by virtue of the fact that it is a child record of another game. I am not really sure what behaviour you think would be better though.

lurkio wrote:2. Should we have the ability to Search By Year Of Publication? Then we could eliminate the awkward Release Type of "Year 2000 on", which is causing Lee problems because it's too broad and doesn't allow him to specify that a game was not only released after 2000 but is also a commercial release, etc.


We have that ability. But of course that problem exists for other types, for example a magazine type in that was later released commercially as an alternative version after being published in one of those books that magazine publishing houses do so they can sell the same content twice, then released as public domain when it didn't sell. I realise that is contrived, but the point is real life isn't a clear cut as these release types would suggest.

lurkio wrote:3. Currently, if you go to the homepage and click the hash # button, you get zero games in the Browse list -- all games vanish! Is this right?


No. It should display all games which start with a number. I will have to fix that.

lurkio wrote:4. Can we swap the locations of the Browse checkboxes and the Search field? Then the Search field would be "front and centre" -- or prominent, at least -- like the unmissable Search field at the top of the Amazon homepage.


I was told I should do that by a usability expert at work, and I agree in principle, but I'm afraid I couldn't be bothered at present. This was a design decision which was made at the start. The next problem will be that they update the list when you click them, and the boxes which appear under the search box don't. Moving them closer will highlight the inconsistency and I will have to fix that too. I wrote that section while at Abug, and had a whole weekend to dedicate. I can't normally spend that much time on it, so I don't like my chances of understanding it again (Without neglecting my children for longer than they will allow). As I say I feel that getting the educational archive together is more of a priority for me.

lurkio wrote:5. Can we change the label "Browse release types" to "Filters" or "Refine results" or something like that?


Yes, but why? I am not completely happy with "Release types", but I feel it is more descriptive than what you are suggesting.

Everyone will always have an opinion about something that can be done differently. I could spend the rest of my life rearranging deckchairs and not really achieving anything. I am really keen to fix real problems or bugs such as the # not working, but otherwise I would prefer to say it is finished, it works well, it is easy to find games you half remember, and work on more pressing problems, like programs that aren't available online at all. Remember I am not being paid for this work, so I need another form of motivation. This for me is doing something I find interesting and worthwhile.I put the code online in the hope that if/when I lose interest, someone else will be able to step up if they feel it is required. I have come close to hating this project in the last few monthst. I do need to take steps to ensure I have enough enthusiasm to fix bugs, and this is how I am choosing to do it.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:20 am

pau1ie wrote:I would prefer to say it is finished, it works well, it is easy to find games you half remember

I agree! And I don't think anyone would disagree with you.

pau1ie wrote:I have come close to hating this project in the last few months

Not a nice feeling! Please don't stress yourself any more over this project. Take a break. Slow down. Pick and choose what further changes you make. Or give it up entirely. No one will blame you -- quite the opposite: I'm sure everyone is massively appreciative of what you've already done.

My following comments are therefore NOT requests for you to take action but merely a discussion of the points you made in your last post. I just want to put my thoughts down in writing, that's all. Please feel free to ignore what I'm about to say!

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:1. I notice, though, that you can't browse for an Alternative Version -- you have to explicitly search for it by name: searching is the only way to get to Alternative Versions; they don't appear in the Browse list. Do we think this behaviour is okay?

This is by design so you don't have the same game several times as you browse ... I am not really sure what behaviour you think would be better though.

Let me try to explain what behaviour I think would be better. Currently, when you go to the homepage and click the G button and then browse through the 4 pages of results, the game Grid Cycles doesn't appear in the results because it's an "alternative version" of the game Laser Cycles. Unfortunately, that means that users won't be able to find Grid Cycles by browsing (but only by searching). I'm suggesting that Grid Cycles should appear in the list of Browse results (explicitly named as Grid Cycles), in addition to the game Laser Cycles (which should obviously appear further on in the list, under L).

What are other people's opinions on this? I'm just thinking aloud here. Don't take this as me trying to lay down the law. I'm NOT asking anyone to take any action whatsoever.

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:2. Should we have the ability to Search By Year Of Publication? Then we could eliminate the awkward Release Type of "Year 2000 on", which is causing Lee problems because it's too broad and doesn't allow him to specify that a game was not only released after 2000 but is also a commercial release, etc.

We have that ability.

I hadn't realised that! Perhaps we can just get rid of the "Year 2000 on" release type altogether then..? I think Lee might agree with this. Lee..? (What are other people's opinions on this? I'm just thinking aloud here. Don't take this as me trying to lay down the law. I'm NOT asking anyone to take any action whatsoever.)

:idea:

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3402
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby leenew » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:28 pm

Firstly I have to re-iterate what Chet says.
We are over the moon with the work Paul has done, and any comments we make are simply wishes of what could be in an ideal world, and not in any way a crack of the whip, or any kind of demand to do any work at all.
This is a hobby. If it becomes unbearable then stop.

So, to the search function:...
I agree with Lurkio in so much as I believe ALL games should be visible by browsing through the site, if that is what the user wants.

I *also* like the clean look of the site where only the main version of the game is visible, and not multiple versions cluttering up the site, making things a little confusing.

Therefore to reconcile this, I think that the "alternative versions" tick box should be OFF by default, and in this state only the main versions of the game should be visible. (This is what happens now). However, if that alternative versions tick box is ticked, then ALL versions of all games would be visible. (At present, nothing happens when this tick box is ticked).
I hope this is clear!
Thanks
Lee.

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:21 am

This is more complex than it seems at first glance.

I am not clear what you think defines an alternative version, and so neither is the database. I have defined it as a game that has a parent game. You seem to be defining it as a game that has an alternative version release type. In relational databases you can't have a single relationship defined in two ways, eventually you will get an instance where the two ways don't match up and things will break in confusing ways.

Also I am not clear how you envisage search working. At present alternative versions are hidden, so if a search matches it returns the parent that is not hidden. Presumably if you switch on display of alternative versions, search should return the alternative version and not the parent. So the workings become quite complex, both to write the first time around and also to maintain going forward. Search is already quite complex, especially the way it interacts with the starting letters.

I also think you are overestimating the effort that most users of the site will put in to understanding how it works. I think the use cases are people who want to see what games were available for the BBC Micro. They will just browse the site (Maybe arranging games by popularity would serve them better, but how to do that...). People who remember a particular game from back in the day. They will use the search. I am struggling to think who the options you are proposing would serve. It is only people like Lee and Chet who have the depth of interest in games to put the effort in to understanding how the site works to get the best results out of it.

I don't think either option is "right", but I think that we just need to pick one option and make the site work well with that. Personally I think what we have is good, but I am also happy to go the other way and display everything.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:45 am

leenew wrote:I think that the "alternative versions" tick box should be OFF by default, and in this state only the main versions of the game should be visible. (This is what happens now). However, if that alternative versions tick box is ticked, then ALL versions of all games would be visible. (At present, nothing happens when this tick box is ticked).

I agree. That's a good solution.

pau1ie wrote:I am not clear what you think defines an alternative version, and so neither is the database. I have defined it as a game that has a parent game. You seem to be defining it as a game that has an alternative version release type.

Ah, I didn't realise that we might have our wires crossed here.

pau1ie wrote:I am not clear how you envisage search working. At present alternative versions are hidden, so if a search matches it returns the parent that is not hidden. Presumably if you switch on display of alternative versions, search should return the alternative version and not the parent.

No, because the alternative version will be linked to at the bottom of the Details page of the parent anyway. The way Search works doesn't need to change, in my opinion. Don't tinker with it. It's fine as it is.

As ever, please ignore me if I'm being dense or causing you more trouble than it's worth.

:?:
Last edited by lurkio on Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:37 am

For what it's worth, here's my current thinking on all this.

If I've understood everything correctly, then all games with an Alternative Version release-type are also attached to a parent -- so what's the point of the Alternative Version release-type then?! It doesn't add any value. It's redundant. We're defining what it means to be an Alternative Version in two different ways. Which is bad practice for a program/website/DB. (It'd be like having two variables and two procedures to keep track of your score in a BASIC game instead of just one, even though the two vars both always had exactly the same value! Simplify, simplify, simplify.)

Plus, the Alternative Version release-type is confusing to the user because it has a slightly different scope and meaning from the other release-types (a bit like "Year 200 on", which is also a bit naff as a release-type).

So perhaps we should just get rid of the Alternative Version release-type. Reclassify all games that currently have the Alternative Version release-type by just giving them the same release-type as their parent (though there may be some (many?) exceptions).

Then the backend will have to be re-worked so that the "Alternative versions" checkbox just looks for games with parents (instead of what it's currently meant to look for, which is games with an Alternative Version release-type).

Or, preferably, eliminate the "Alternative versions" checkbox altogether. Just show all games in the Browse list all the time, regardless of whether they have a parent or not.*

Anyway, what are other people's opinions on this? I'm just thinking aloud here. Don't take this as me trying to lay down the law. I'm NOT asking anyone to take any action whatsoever.

:?:

* UPDATE: Lee has just pointed out to me that the reason for creating the concept of "alternative versions" in the first place was to avoid displaying four different versions of Philosopher's Quest in the Browse list. Which I think is a fair point, but if you put a gun to my head I'd still prefer to display every version of every game in the Browse list at all times, rather than have a fiddly checkbox thing to toggle the display of child-games. But it's a close call. I'd be happy either way.

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:05 pm

I am mulling things over. I pretty much agree. with what you say.

My only concern is having the alternative version tick box not relate to a release type among all the ones that do. A game can only have one release type, but it has a release type as well as a child/parent type. So do we move the "Display alternative version" tick box elsewhere, or do we think about what rules we apply.

I would prefer to pick one way to display things, I don't think it matters which, but if you want it switchable, then we need to consider the best way to do so.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:16 pm

pau1ie wrote:I would prefer to pick one way to display things, I don't think it matters which, but if you want it switchable, then we need to consider the best way to do so.

I still prefer to eliminate any checkbox that toggles the display of children, and just display all games (parents AND children) all the time. That will be simpler for the user, who just gets to see all the games on the site, regardless of whether they are parents or children. The user just won't have to think about the concept of parents/children/alternative versions at all. Also, the more checkboxes there are, the fiddlier the site is to use. But I'm happy to be overruled on this.

pau1ie wrote:My only concern is having the alternative version tick box not relate to a release type among all the ones that do. A game can only have one release type, but it has a release type as well as a child/parent type. So do we move the "Display alternative version" tick box elsewhere, or do we think about what rules we apply.

Just change the label that says "Browse release types" so that instead it says "Refine results" or "Refine search" or "Filters" or "Toggles" or "Show me the following things..." or "I want to see..." or something.

:?:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:36 pm

lurkio wrote:I still prefer to eliminate any checkbox that toggles the display of children, and just display all games


So long as Lee is happy with this, I think it is OK... but should search return the parent when it will always return the child anyway?

lurkio wrote:Just change the label that says

This won't be needed if I understood you correctly and we always display all results. If we are making it switchable my concern is one tick box has a different behavior than the rest. They should be obviously different things in the interface. The problem comes trying to explain to the user what it does, which I think is another indication we should just pick one way and go with that. I hope that makes sense.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:07 pm

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:I still prefer to eliminate any checkbox that toggles the display of children, and just display all games

So long as Lee is happy with this, I think it is OK...

I think Lee would actually prefer to have a checkbox that toggles the display of children! So that's the opposite of what I prefer. Lee's away at the mo, but he might still be able to weigh in here if you need a quick answer, Paul. Lee can have the final say. (And let me just quickly repeat that I'm happy to lose this battle and go with what Lee prefers.)

pau1ie wrote:but should search return the parent when it will always return the child anyway?

I'd say yes, the search results should include the parent as well as the children. That's easier for the user to understand, I think.

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:Just change the label that says

This won't be needed if I understood you correctly and we always display all results.

Agreed. I was talking about a possible scenario where we do have a checkbox that toggles the display of children.

pau1ie wrote:If we are making it switchable my concern is one tick box has a different behavior than the rest.

But it's not wildly different, is it? I mean, all the checkboxes perform a similar function: they all toggle the display of certain kinds of games. I don't think it'll be confusing to the user if we include the "Alternative versions" ("Toggle children") checkbox along with all the other checkboxes (as is the case now!). It's intuitively obvious what it's meant to do, right? Maybe I'm wrong though.

:?:

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3402
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby leenew » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:51 am

Hi,
Sorry if this seems a bit rushed but I only have my phone... and not a lot of time :D

. I would prefer a checkbox that toggles the display of child games.
. I would prefer if this checkbox was OFF by default.
. I think search should always display the parent and all child games when said checkbox is ticked.
. I think that when it is un-ticked, it should display parent games only. (You still obviously get the display of any children on the details page of a game if it has any).
. I think the wording of the checkbox as "Alternative Versions " is still fine.
. I think the wording "Browse Release Types" is a little unfriendly and would prefer "Display Only:" or "Refine Search" or something similar.

Now that I have linked all children to a parent, this makes all children 'alternative' versions by default, therefore the 'A' release type is now redundant.
My thoughts are to ditch the 'A' release type and the 'N' (for new) release type, and I can then re-classify these.
As Paul has shown; if you want to search for something from the 2000s then just search '20' so that's cool.

I think that's it.
Again, these are just my thoughts, and if none of it gets done then I am still fine with that. :D
Thanks,

Lee.

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:14 pm

I realise I am arguing two things.

  1. I don't want to have the option where displaying child games is switchable
  2. If we do have that option what would a good design be

That makes what I am saying a little confused. Sorry.

lurkio wrote:But it's not wildly different, is it?


It is different. Lets say we have a child game that has a release type of commercial.
We agree it is not displayed when the "Alternative version" is unticked, which it would be by default.
It is displayed when alternative version is ticked. This is the whole point of the change we are proposing.
So, if "Alternative Version" Is ticked, but Commerical is not ticked, should it be displayed? Presumably not? It would be confusing to click on a game when commercial is off, and see it is commercial.
So if nothing is ticked apart from "Alternative version" we have just argued that no games should be displayed.
So alternative version can't be in the same group of controls. The user interface needs to make it clear that there is an AND relationship between the groupings of controls. This applies whatever the text is above them.
I also agree with Lee that the way you search for things should change to match how you are displaying them (Parents should be returned if you are not displaying children)

So the proposed change almost doubles the complexity of understanding of the code, because everything needs two versions, one for displaying child records and one for not doing so. It also doubles the mental facility needed to drive the site. And as I say, I can't see what purpose it serves. What is the benefit the user sees for all this work I am giving myself in creating the feature in the first place and then maintaining it?

I don't think you can convince me it is a good idea, and because of that I don't think I will be able to summon the enthusiasm to do the work. Unless loads of people pile in to say they would like the option, or unless Lee explains how it will make him much more productive in refining the data within the site, though maybe an export would better serve him there.

I would still prefer that we choose either to never display child games, or always to display them and make that work really well. I don't really mind which.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:36 pm

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:But it's not wildly different, is it?

It is different. Lets say we have a child game that has a release type of commercial. We agree it is not displayed when the "Alternative version" is unticked, which it would be by default. It is displayed when alternative version is ticked. This is the whole point of the change we are proposing. So, if "Alternative Version" Is ticked, but Commerical is not ticked, should it be displayed? Presumably not? It would be confusing to click on a game when commercial is off, and see it is commercial. So if nothing is ticked apart from "Alternative version" we have just argued that no games should be displayed. So alternative version can't be in the same group of controls. The user interface needs to make it clear that there is an AND relationship between the groupings of controls. ... So the proposed change almost doubles the complexity of understanding of the code, because everything needs two versions, one for displaying child records and one for not doing so. It also doubles the mental facility needed to drive the site.

Yes, good point. I hadn't considered all the wrinkles of the complexity introduced by having an "Alternative versions" checkbox. Let's eliminate it then.

pau1ie wrote:I would still prefer that we choose either to never display child games, or always to display them and make that work really well. I don't really mind which.

I vote for always displaying child games. That's a more transparent user-experience, I think. But I'm happy to go along with Lee if he has a different opinion.

:?:

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3402
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby leenew » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:50 pm

Ay ay ay ay ay!
This just shows the hidden complexities that you just don't think about when you don't have to do the actual coding :roll:
OK. I may be looking at this from my personal perspective.
I probably use the site more than anyone else on earth.
I think it's great, and I *thought* the ALT check box could help me.
In reality, I could incorporate these ALTS Into my spreadsheet and still be productive.
So....
For everyone's sanity...
Remove the ALT version checkbox altogether.
Remove the 2000 on checkbox altogether.
Display everything. Always.
I am happy with this :D
Lee.

garfield
Posts: 387
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:38 am

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby garfield » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:04 pm

On a slight tangent, is there anything in the database that denotes that the media ( .ssd et cetera ) is truly "vanilla" ?

( In other words, that no gubbins like custom title screens, or custom load menus, or after-release amateur bugfixes, have been added to the media ? )

.
.
My personal preference is always to play the absolutely original media ( in as-near equivalent disc/tape image format ) where possible.

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:30 pm

garfield wrote:On a slight tangent, is there anything in the database that denotes that the media ( .ssd et cetera ) is truly "vanilla" ? ( In other words, that no gubbins like custom title screens, or custom load menus, or after-release amateur bugfixes, have been added to the media ? )

No, because the ethos of bbcmicro.co.uk is almost the exact opposite! See the "Who we are" section of the About page:


But you can rest assured that the mechanics, the gameplay, the appearance of the main game, the controls, and the machine code of the main game file(s) for all the games are all original -- except in the rare cases where a bug had to be fixed. (I can't think of any specific examples of such bugfixes off the top of my head, but see these and other posts by Michael Brown for further details.)

:idea:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:49 pm

pau1ie wrote:.

lurkio wrote: 3. Currently, if you go to the homepage and click the hash # button, you get zero games in the Browse list -- all games vanish! Is this right?


No. It should display all games which start with a number. I will have to fix that.


I think I have fixed this now. Let me know if it doesn't work.

OK...

So, I need to display all the game, and make search work logically.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:20 pm

pau1ie wrote:
pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:Currently, if you go to the homepage and click the hash # button, you get zero games in the Browse list -- all games vanish! Is this right?

No. It should display all games which start with a number. I will have to fix that.

I think I have fixed this now. Let me know if it doesn't work.

Looks good to me! Many thanks.

pau1ie wrote:So, I need to display all the game, and make search work logically.

Yes. Do you agree with the following approach? I still do. Lee..?:

lurkio wrote:
pau1ie wrote:but should search return the parent when it will always return the child anyway?

I'd say yes, the search results should include the parent as well as the children. That's easier for the user to understand, I think.

:?:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:40 pm

lurkio wrote:Yes. Do you still agree with the following approach? I still do. Lee..?:

lurkio wrote:
pau1ie wrote: but should search return the parent when it will always return the child anyway?


I'd say yes, the search results should include the parent as well as the children. That's easier for the user to understand, I think.


:?:

No. Search should work logically with the display. If we display all games, search returns only games that match. If they are child games, the user can follow the links to the parent. This is what I think we decided above.

If we only display the parents, search should return the parent which matches the child which is not displayed as it is a child. This way the screen is not cluttered with similar games but the user is able to follow the links to the child if they want that particular version. This is what happens now.

As I say, I don't care which of the above options is chosen, but I am not willing to do both for the reasons discussed, and I I certainly don't think we should have a hybrid of the two because the website would be inconsistent with itself, which would make it more confusing to use.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:01 pm

pau1ie wrote:Search should work logically with the display. If we display all games, search returns only games that match. If they are child games, the user can follow the links to the parent. This is what I think we decided above.

Yes, we did.

So if a child and its parent have the same name, and the user searches for that name, then the search results will include both child and parent, right?

:?:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:21 am

lurkio wrote:So if a child and its parent have the same name, and the user searches for that name, then the search results will include both child and parent, right?


Yes.

If they have different names, only the one whose name matches will be returned (e.g. Snapper vs Pac Man)
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:33 am

pau1ie wrote:
lurkio wrote:So if a child and its parent have the same name, and the user searches for that name, then the search results will include both child and parent, right?

Yes. If they have different names, only the one whose name matches will be returned (e.g. Snapper vs Pac Man)

That sounds good to me.

:idea:

User avatar
pau1ie
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Location: Bedford

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby pau1ie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:14 pm

Before I make any changes, can Lee confirm that he is happy with this approach?
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

User avatar
leenew
Posts: 3402
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 pm
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby leenew » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:09 pm

Yes.
Yes I am.
I think I will get used to it.
I fear change :lol:

Lee.

User avatar
lurkio
Posts: 1290
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:30 pm
Location: Doomawangara
Contact:

Re: search and alternative versions

Postby lurkio » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:03 pm

pau1ie wrote:Before I make any changes

I was wondering whether you could also change the banner on the site so that it says "Complete BBC Micro Games Archive" rather than just "Complete BBC Games Archive" (i.e. add "Micro") -- if you agree? It would be more precise. And it would be more consistent with the URL of the site (bbcmicro.co.uk).

As it is, the banner can be misread to mean games made by the British Broadcasting Corporation rather than games made for the BBC Micro computer. (Unlikely, I know, but technically the current banner doesn't actually mean what we want it to mean.)

(As ever, I'm just thinking aloud here, not making demands. What are other people's opinions?)

:?:


Return to “bbcmicro.co.uk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest