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GDNet Trump Cards: adding gameplay to the GDNet forums.

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(This is a spin-off from Oluseyi's thread on post-rating and user ratings. My original suggestions can be seen on Page 2.) I would like to propose a more fun way of rewarding valuable members than the present, somewhat boring, 'user rating' number. Why? Firstly, because the rating conveys little of value. All it tells us is that the user is 'popular' (or not). But what defines popularity? Politeness? An ability to crack jokes? Wit? Sarcasm? Godlike technical ability? There is nothing in the present rating system that provides any useful metric by which to determine the reason for its value. I would therefore like to propose a replacement system based loosely on the concept of 'Trump Cards'. (Those of you familiar with, say, "Magic: The Gathering" or even "Pokémon" will also be familiar with its basic concept.) Tweaking the forum code would allow most of the user info to be placed to the left-hand side of the post, rather than dotted around the top, side and bottom. Doing this allows that left-hand space to be drawn as a 'Trump Card', displaying each user's "abilities". Members could then choose to rate each ability directly, while some -- such as "Grizzle Rating", providing a measure of the member's veteranship within the games industry -- would be handled by the forum code itself. Ratings could be displayed either numerically, or graphically. (The "Grizzle Rating", for instance, could be displayed in the form of an ever-lengthening beard.) Which leads me on neatly to the "Badges" part of the 'card'. This displays badges, probably small icons, which are bestowed upon the user either by the community either by popular vote, or by the staff, mods. (Or some other variation.) For example, a particularly proficient graphics programmer could be awarded a "Platinum Polygon". An experienced musician might be awarded the "Silver Semibreve". An artist "The Golden Pixel". And so on. The range of badges need not be limited to purely technical achievements either. Lounge regulars might aspire to membership of the "Guild of Cynics", for example. The result should, I think, produce a kind of meta-game within our own forums. Essentially, posting in our forums becomes a part of an over-reaching GDNet Game. Competitions could be based around it. Special offers and other incentives could also be based around it. * My rationale for the above is simple: this is a forum about designing and developing games, so why not make participation in GDNet itself a game too? Exactly how all this would be implemented, which ratings and badges we should have, etc., is, naturally, open to debate. So... ...discuss!

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And to earn badges you'd have to defeat distinguished GDNet moderators in a test of skill, such as out-arguing LessBread in a politcal thread in the Lounge?

Actually, I'm intrigued by the idea. I'd been toying around creating a set of "argument cards" for debates in the Lounge, where you could play the "Godwin's Law" or "Straw-Man card" instead of getting into a lengthy sidetrack argument with someone who wasn't debating fairly. I'm all for making using the forums a bit more fun.

I'm not too sure about the "Grizzle Beard" though; I think our female members might be a bit perplexed by that one [smile]. You could make it something like a deck of cards though, with different meanings behind the suits. Make it a bit like Tarot with various meanings associated to the symbols - although I'm momentarily stumped on what they should be. It also mightn't work for those who have multiple skills; there's a few good programmer/musicians out there, for example.

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Quote:
Original post by Kobalt64
Do you mean something like this?


(Link in case it doesn't show up)

(No offense for not making your 'Grizzle Beard' long enough or something [lol])


Yup. But with added badges*. I ought to have won at least a "Golden Ego" by now. Or something.



* ("Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!")

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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
And to earn badges you'd have to defeat distinguished GDNet moderators in a test of skill, such as out-arguing LessBread in a politcal thread in the Lounge?

Actually, I'm intrigued by the idea. I'd been toying around creating a set of "argument cards" for debates in the Lounge, where you could play the "Godwin's Law" or "Straw-Man card" instead of getting into a lengthy sidetrack argument with someone who wasn't debating fairly. I'm all for making using the forums a bit more fun.

I'm not too sure about the "Grizzle Beard" though; I think our female members might be a bit perplexed by that one [smile]. You could make it something like a deck of cards though, with different meanings behind the suits. Make it a bit like Tarot with various meanings associated to the symbols - although I'm momentarily stumped on what they should be. It also mightn't work for those who have multiple skills; there's a few good programmer/musicians out there, for example.


Well, I'm a musician, graphics artist _and_ programmer. (And writer, graphic designer...) So I was envisaging non-exclusive badges. Someone who posts erudite and lucid arguments in the Lounge might boast a "Purple Hitlar" _and_, for their consistent nay-saying to wannabe MMORPG designers, the much-coveted "Flaming Chalice Of Cynicism".

There's no end, really, to the different combinations of badges the cards could show. New ones might be made available at any time; older badges might be retired as the industry changes; "War Veteran" badges might be awarded to those who can prove that they've worked through at least three major crunch periods without going insane.

The possibilities, as Eddie Izzard once put it, are endless.

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I think that's a great idea. It should help the newbies a bit too if they can tell what members are experienced in what areas.

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I quite like the idea as well, as it serves the dual purposes of making the forums a little more fun and presenting a bit more information about what areas a specific user may be experienced in.

I also really like how uncluttered the GDNet forums are compared to a lot of other packages out there however, so if such a feature were included I would hope it isn't too complex. Another thing to look out for would be ensuring the cards work at least reasonably well for users of different themes; make sure the theme is able to (and does) change them sufficiently or alternatively ensure the design doesn't glaringly stick out in any of the provided options.


I assume the image used on the card would be some sort of general image (or perhaps selected from a set of general images) for regular users and customisable for GDNet+ subscribers, taking the place of the current display picture/avatar functionality?

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Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
I quite like the idea as well, as it serves the dual purposes of making the forums a little more fun and presenting a bit more information about what areas a specific user may be experienced in.

I also really like how uncluttered the GDNet forums are compared to a lot of other packages out there however, so if such a feature were included I would hope it isn't too complex. Another thing to look out for would be ensuring the cards work at least reasonably well for users of different themes; make sure the theme is able to (and does) change them sufficiently or alternatively ensure the design doesn't glaringly stick out in any of the provided options.


Valid points, and I agree with that. But tweaking the graphics shouldn't be too onerous: it's not as if there aren't already a plethora of icons, buttons and other chrome to fiddle with. A few more shouldn't cause too much pain.

Quote:

I assume the image used on the card would be some sort of general image (or perhaps selected from a set of general images) for regular users and customisable for GDNet+ subscribers, taking the place of the current display picture/avatar functionality?


Well, my recollection of the original "Top Trumps" card designs was that of a picture in the top half of the card, with stats and other stuff below. So yes, the primary picture would take the place of the existing avatars. (This could easily be handled by creating framing graphics around the existing avatar images.) The user's handle would appear either directly above or below the image (according to the theme), while the rest of the card's space would hold stats, badges, etc. Badges could be either simple text, or most likely, small icons -- about the same size as those shown in the toolbar above the forums for 'logout', 'control panel', and so on.

A table structure could hold 'slots' for these. A design decision would be needed to determine how many slots would be needed, but one option is 'rank' badges for different skills, so that you would have either a "Silver Polygon", "Gold Polygon" or "Platinum Polygon", but never more than one of the "Polygon" rankings.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, examples of the original "Top Trumps" cards can be seen here. It seems to me that badges could be displayed on the image frame itself if space is an issue.

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To help combat the clutter, and reuse some elements that are already present, why not include it as a hidden part of the forum UI, using a common element that presently doesn't do anything when clicked? Something like this, perhaps?

Concept image for 'trump' card

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