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GDNet Trump Cards: adding gameplay to the GDNet forums.

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Suppose I was a beginner and suppose I was a beginner that did not read FAQs (which contained information on a metagame) then the series of polygonal icons would convey little meaning to me. The addition of bar graphs would serve only to increase the overwhelming factor. Taken together these serve to increase the learning curve for the forums.

In addition to what Oluseyi stated, each badge should be clear as to what they represent such that a guess on their meaning is never too far off. They should be shiny to represent significance. In the profiles each badge should be named.

Having badges of different metals would render bar graphs and similar concepts redundant. Things are kept simple - increasing the chance of something interesting emerging.

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Quote:
Original post by Daerax
In addition to what Oluseyi stated, each badge should be clear as to what they represent such that a guess on their meaning is never too far off. They should be shiny to represent significance. In the profiles each badge should be named.

Or just state what the badge symbolizes when you hover the mouse over it.

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I imagine a forum posting looking something like this if these changes were implimented:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The only thing I would change is that Icons/text for Rating a user, reporting a post, and getting a link URL would be added to the section where the Edit and Quote buttons are. Also, the three emotes in the post heading represent badges.

Also to expand on my ideas from before, I think there should be two kinds of "badges" - those are Merit Badges (to display proficiencies) and achievements (just like XBox Live Achievments). You should be able to look at a user's profile and see all of their badges and achievements they've earned throughout their user history. Some kinds would be yes/no (like merit badges) and some might have a quantity attached (certain "achievments" such as the number of Image Of The Days they've had.) The icons in the profile page could be larger and more detailed than those displayed on formum posts themselves. I think that, in part, there's much to be learned from the XBL achievment system.

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Maybe it's my crotchety old-man habits coming to the surface, but I don't see why the badges have to be (or even why they should be) graphical. As Daerax pointed out, abstract symbols have no meaning to beginners - and it is precisely the beginners and newcomers who we want to help, by indicating who they can trust for advice.

IMHO, if the system does not lend itself to immediate comprehension by a newcomer to the community, it has not only failed, it is actually a detriment.


The easiest thing to do to ensure this clarity is to just use text labels:

ApochPiQ   GDNet+   Member since: 2007-03-27   From: Atlanta, GA, United States
It's a post icon, you schmuck.   Credentials: [Crotchety Old Man]   [Works in the Industry]   [Not Particularly Worth Listening To]


Colour-coding the little text labels is probably worthwhile as well, although obviously they would need to be fairly muted hues to avoid becoming a visual distraction.

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
Maybe it's my crotchety old-man habits coming to the surface, but I don't see why the badges have to be (or even why they should be) graphical.

Icons are smaller, and then text can reveal on hover. Plus, graphical icons are pretty! [smile]

Text for even three badges will rapidly become clutter, whereas three icons, if designed as part of a consistent set with good use of color, won't.

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Actually, something I hadn't thought of before is browser size - to me, it looks like there's heaps of room for text tags. Five or six should fit comfortably with suitable styling.

The problem, of course, is that I'm browsing with a nearly-maximized window on a 22" widescreen monitor. This isn't really representative of the typical user, I suspect [grin]


So yeah, I guess icons do make more sense.

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Web Developer Toolbar says I'm browsing at roughly 1300 by 800. Plenty of room for me as well. [grin]

Anyone have info on what the current average is for browser width? Surely we aren't catering to those 800x600 people still!

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I think this is a fantastic idea. The problem is the Subject Matter Expert's "SME: Listen to this dude!" icon. This may be true for me in the For Beginners forum or (hopefully) even in the General Programming forums, but certainly not in the Math & Physics forum. I'd like to see a badge for forum experts on each forum, that only appear on posts in that forum--so even if I were awarded an SME badge in General Programming, newcomers in Math & Physics would know not to take my word for doctrine.

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BeanDog raises a good point.

Maybe only show badges that are related to the forum being viewed? You can still show all of them in the profile.

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
Maybe it's my crotchety old-man habits coming to the surface, but I don't see why the badges have to be (or even why they should be) graphical. As Daerax pointed out, abstract symbols have no meaning to beginners - and it is precisely the beginners and newcomers who we want to help, by indicating who they can trust for advice.

IMHO, if the system does not lend itself to immediate comprehension by a newcomer to the community, it has not only failed, it is actually a detriment.


The easiest thing to do to ensure this clarity is to just use text labels:

ApochPiQ   GDNet+   Member since: 2007-03-27   From: Atlanta, GA, United States
It's a post icon, you schmuck.   Credentials: [Crotchety Old Man]   [Works in the Industry]   [Not Particularly Worth Listening To]


Colour-coding the little text labels is probably worthwhile as well, although obviously they would need to be fairly muted hues to avoid becoming a visual distraction.


That's a good point, but text does take up more space. Quite a lot more. And the plan is to make more efficient use of horizontal space as wide-screen displays are more prevalent now. My preference would be for the 'card' to appear on the left of the post, with each post separated by, at most a line or two. Or possibly by simply switching between alternating colours. (Which seems quite common in PHPBB themes, I notice.)

That said, there's no reason why some themes / skins couldn't use a more 4:3-friendly layout and favour words. Another option is to simply have a default 'newbie' skin for new members, which they can then choose to swap for another skin. The "newbie" skin might use text, while other skins might use icons. Or they could use a combination of both. (Much like the 'logout / control panel / bookmarks..." toolbar at the top of this forum page.)

In any case, the idea is to make something different. Half the fun of a game is the joy of discovery! If we tell everyone what everything means up front, where's the fun?

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