Sort Order

feedback, questions and discussion relating to the Complete BBC Games Archive (beta site now open!)
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pau1ie
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Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:00 pm

Despite saying the site was finished, I really wanted to make it direct casual users to the best games. To that end I released some code a couple of days ago to count downloads and plays of games, and also to count accesses to individual game pages. So I intend to use a bootstrap split button on the search. If you click the first half you get the default. The second half will allow you to choose between sorting the results by:
  • Popularity (Default)
  • Last updated (by disc image upload).
  • Alphabetic (i.e. the same as now)
  • Release date ascending
  • Release date descending
The last two incorporate an idea from Arcadian.

The default search is kept stored in the page if it is passed, so you can refine the search and keep the order, but if you visit the page again, or click a link at the top the default order is reinstated.

I record plays and downloads as the same thing. Game page views are recorded separately. I am not sure whether popular should be downloads+views or downloads then views. I aggregate counts by year, and use this and last years stats to work out the popularity.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:34 pm

I added this to the site. Part of my motivation for doing this was in the hope that we wouldn't have two copies of 3d dotty or three of 3d munchy next to each other on the home page, so it is ironic that we have two copies of Snapper/Pacman next to each other. Never mind.

I decided to sort by downloads using game page accesses as a tie breaker. Game page accesses can be search engines, but the downloads have to be counted by a browser because they are triggered by javascript. I suppose I should add some code to the counter to ensure that the user agent is a browser?

The figures are interesting though. I don't understand why Martello Tower is the most popular? The count is rising pretty consistently. Is it just one person playing it over and over? Or is it the best program on the BBC micro, just nobody ever mentioned it?

Code: Select all

Name                Downloads     Game page loads
===================    ====       =====
Martello Tower           91         81
Chuckie Egg              28         28
Elite                    16          0
3D Tank Zone             14          5
Sphinx Adventure         13         11
Eagle Empire             13          0
Adventure                11         39
Pipe Mania               11         20
Samantha Fox Strip Poker 11         16
Castle Quest             11          0
Mr. Ee!                  11          0
Arcadians                11          0
Revs                     10          4
Dune Rider               10          0
Twin Kingdom Valley       9          5
Dare Devil Denis          9          0
White Light               8         55
Frak!                     8          1
Dune Rider                8          0
Citadel                   7          0
Doctor Who And The Mines
        Of Terror         6          4
Snapper                   6          0
Pac-Man                   6          0
Elite                     6          0
180! Darts                5          8
You can see the numbers drop off pretty quickly. I expect it will take a while before things settle down. Only 800 games or so have been accessed in the time since I started counting.

With the release date, we only have the year to sort on. I made the latest releases come out in the right order by also sorting on ID as Lee will have uploaded them more or less as they are released, so it looks right. I couldn't think of a way to get the earlier games sorted in a decent order, so that is all we have, so the first six pages are games released in 1982 in no particular order.

Latest updates I populated from the disc image file timestamp. This will be updated as they are changed from now on (I hope), so you can see the latest games uploaded, because they are new, or because they are improved in some way. This is probably best for regular users of the site.

Let me know what you think.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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tricky
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Re: Sort Order

Post by tricky » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:47 am

If you search for phoenix, the alligator 1983 comes up twice.

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Re: Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:46 am

They are alternative versions. If you click on one, you can see they are linked. We had a discussion as to whether alternative versions should be displayed or not and decided they should be (Given I didn't want to make it optional, which would probably have been the most popular option otherwise). I hope that by ordering them in popularity order, the best one will tend to float towards the top, as people will be encouraged to use the most representative one by the text on the game page.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Sort Order

Post by Arcadian » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:12 pm

This looks to be nicely implemented - thanks Paul, an excellent facility for the site.

I won't pretend - I'd have loved to see some kind of button that was visible when you first hit the site, that enabled you to see the latest releases - but if this isn't possible, would you consider making Latest Releases the default search order?

This would actually address the second point I was going to pick up on: I'm not sure if I'm in favour of listing the 'most popular' games by default - whilst I do think it's really valuable to track the most popular downloads (and making the order visible as a selectable option), I can see certain games building up a huge number of clickthroughs purely because they happened to appear on the first page in the early stages (see the numbers for 180 Darts for example, and more recently Martello Tower). I think we'd get more genuine, less-skewed numbers for most popular games if the titles were ordered differently by default. (Appreciate you could argue that the same would apply if we were to order by latest releases, but I'd actually consider that a huge positive - as I mentioned previously, it can be a lot of work trying to convince some folks to even try out new games for older systems!).

Another thing - do you remember in my original mockups I included a secondary 'list' view of the the archive?

Image

Well, I think some of the new search indexes would work very well if a 'list' option was offered (such as the Latest Updates index, for people who want to maintain offline copies of the archive). Can you see this being something you'd ever consider implementing? Appreciate it could represent a lot of work, so I'd understand if you were to rule this out.

Last comment - I'm not sure whether I see the point in the 'earliest releases' option - I doubt it would get much use, but I suppose it doesn't do any harm having it there as an option. What do others think?

Anyway, just wanted to thank you again Paul for continued input on the BBC Micro site - I'm really grateful that you took this on and I'm so pleased to see new features still being added, when it could easily be considered 'complete'. Not forgetting the work of the other contributors (Mick, Lee, Chet et al) either - thanks everyone!
For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit www.bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Sort Order

Post by tricky » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:46 pm

Sorry Paul,
I admit that I didn't keep up with all of the discussions :oops:
Thanks for all your hard work.

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Re: Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:40 pm

Thanks for the kind words Tricky, and no need to apologise I don't think it is possible to read every post on the forum! It is nice that it is so popular.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:42 am

Thanks for the kind words Arcadian. I have been mulling over what you say.

I am trying to keep the site accessible to the new user, and the "advanced" functionality easy to discover. My motivation for sorting by default in popularity is for a new user who doesn't know about the BBC micro, what to search for, and doesn't know any better than clicking on the first game. I agree this doesn't seem to be working, so I have done what you suggested and changed the default display order.

I am happy to remove earliest releases, as I noted it doesn't seem very useful.

I will think a bit more about your comments on the interface. What do you think about having radio buttons above the search box for search order? This would make it more visible which I think is your concern.

I am very keen to only have one interface, which means I am not keen on a list view. If you want to slice and dice data, then download bbcmicro.co.uk/ss.php into a spreadsheet.

As you say, this is a group effort, the site would be nothing without Mick to provide the games, Lee and Chet to provide the metadata, and of course someone to pay for the hosting and maintain the server it runs on.

It is interesting that you mention maintaining an offline version of the archive. It is something I would like to support people in doing, not least because it gives us distributed backup functionality for free. I am mulling over how we can do this with the least bandwidth utilisation and load on the server. What would be really nice of course would be a cross platform desktop app which provides similar functionality to the website and provides one click emulation of games to emulators, but also allows creation of mmb images with menus, and something similar for the datacentre. I don't have time to do this at present, and I have never written a desktop application, but I might get round to it in a couple of years or so if nobody else does it first. If anyone does want to get going I will happily provide any required API on the website.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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Re: Sort Order

Post by Arcadian » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:17 am

Thanks for implementing the changes Paul.

And yes I think Radio Buttons - certainly for Newest Releases - Alphabetical Order - Most Popular - Latest Updates - would be a welcome addition.

Btw if anybody else has any input re: the default search order - do speak up! If others feel that 'by popularity' is the way to go then I'm happy to be overuled!!
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Re: Sort Order

Post by Pernod » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:27 am

I really like having them ordered by release year (descending), as it's already shown me a number of games that I was previously unaware of, and will certainly help promote new releases.
I also like the idea of having Radio Buttons to change ordering to Newest Releases, Alphabetical Order, Most Popular, but am unclear on what is intended with Latest Updates.
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Re: Sort Order

Post by Arcadian » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:20 pm

Pernod wrote:I really like having them ordered by release year (descending), as it's already shown me a number of games that I was previously unaware of, and will certainly help promote new releases.
Ok thanks for the feedback - it's useful to know that I'm not the only one in favour of having descending order of release as the default option! :)
Pernod wrote:I also like the idea of having Radio Buttons to change ordering to Newest Releases, Alphabetical Order, Most Popular, but am unclear on what is intended with Latest Updates.
It simply means new or updated additions to the archive i.e. if a new game is added, or if an existing disc image gets updated; for example if instructions are added. So very handy for anyone wanting to maintain an up-to-date, offline copy of all the SSDs...
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Re: Sort Order

Post by pau1ie » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:05 pm

So it seems the consensus is we are OK leave the search order as they are.

I changed the search order controls to radio buttons, and removed earliest releases as suggested.
I'm working on http://bbcmicro.co.uk

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