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Michael Tanczos

Looking to kill IOTD as it currently exists.. Need testers

31 posts in this topic

Hey guys..

 

I've been talking with some of the other staff and came to the conclusion that our IOTD isn't really cutting it.  The submission rate is ultra low.. and that may be for a number of reasons including us not promoting it more throughout the site.  But I'm just blown away by the response that #screenshotsaturday gets and I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel on this one.

 

I was thinking maybe it would be better to provide an interface for this twitter feed and have a little fun with it.   Let me know what you guys think.. I was thinking about fleshing the game out more into something utterly ridiculous.. like you get points for votes, then you unlock cool armor and weapons that do absolutely nothing but show up in the sidebar looking all stylish.  Perhaps randomly you can unlock "quests" as well.. non-serious quests of course that use the honor system.   "The town bully has stolen my favorite sheep, go out and search the far off cavern at the base of mount worthlessjunk and fetch me a rock to make me feel better.  Did you do it yet?  Press yes or no"   You get points for pressing yes!  Who knows, just stuff to be fun.

 

Here's the link so far:

http://www.gamedev.net/page/showdown/index.html

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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Just gave it a whirl. Kinda interesting. I personally don't like a lot of these X vs Y minigames, and instead just like to look at eye candy. Anyway, here's my thoughts:

 

I'm wondering if IOTD could be less "formal" kind of like #screenshotsaturday, where users post screenshots of what they're working on with a very minimal explanation. Then GameDev.net cycles through this posting "feed" on the front page. With today's IOTD, all I really want is to look at the screenshots, and if they interest me enough (along with maybe a very small explanation), provide me with a link to a blog post/video/whatever where I can read more about what the images are about.

 

Then bump up the "formal"-ness of Your Announcements, so it's kinda like IOTD is now (but not really based around screenshots). That is, make it so Your Announcements isn't just a forum where you make a normal thread (that typically ends up being dry, a wall of text, or just overlooked), but where things are kind of a bigger deal.

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Just gave it a whirl. Kinda interesting. I personally don't like a lot of these X vs Y minigames, and instead just like to look at eye candy. Anyway, here's my thoughts:

 

Understood.  I think for this to work I'd have to actually make a game out of the X vs Y minigame since it does need a pretty constant feedback loop to work.

 

 

I'm wondering if IOTD could be less "formal" kind of like #screenshotsaturday, where users post screenshots of what they're working on with a very minimal explanation. Then GameDev.net cycles through this posting "feed" on the front page. With today's IOTD, all I really want is to look at the screenshots, and if they interest me enough (along with maybe a very small explanation), provide me with a link to a blog post/video/whatever where I can read more about what the images are about.

 

Do you think it's a bad idea to get behind that twitter feed?   It does serve the same purpose and is pretty established.   One of the other things I'm doing is that if you link your twitter account here with your profile it will automatically associate each image you post with your Gamedev.net account.

 

 

Then bump up the "formal"-ness of Your Announcements, so it's kinda like IOTD is now (but not really based around screenshots). That is, make it so Your Announcements isn't just a forum where you make a normal thread (that typically ends up being dry, a wall of text, or just overlooked), but where things are kind of a bigger deal.

 

I'm not sure I'm following you on this one.

 

On a side note I have modified the showdown so that you get +1 participation points for every 5 Showdown matches you complete.

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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Just gave it a whirl. Kinda interesting. I personally don't like a lot of these X vs Y minigames, and instead just like to look at eye candy. Anyway, here's my thoughts:

 

Understood.  I think for this to work I'd have to actually make a game out of the X vs Y minigame since it does need a pretty constant feedback loop to work.

Cool beans.

 

I'm wondering if IOTD could be less "formal" kind of like #screenshotsaturday, where users post screenshots of what they're working on with a very minimal explanation. Then GameDev.net cycles through this posting "feed" on the front page. With today's IOTD, all I really want is to look at the screenshots, and if they interest me enough (along with maybe a very small explanation), provide me with a link to a blog post/video/whatever where I can read more about what the images are about.

 

Do you think it's a bad idea to get behind that twitter feed?   It does serve the same purpose and is pretty established.   One of the other things I'm doing is that if you link your twitter account here with your profile it will automatically associate each image you post with your Gamedev.net account.

I don't know much about that Twitter feed, as this thread is my only introduction to it. I don't think it's a bad idea, but I don't have a Twitter account (and I really don't want to make one). Would there still be a way for me to add to the GameDev.net feed?

 

Then bump up the "formal"-ness of Your Announcements, so it's kinda like IOTD is now (but not really based around screenshots). That is, make it so Your Announcements isn't just a forum where you make a normal thread (that typically ends up being dry, a wall of text, or just overlooked), but where things are kind of a bigger deal.

 

I'm not sure I'm following you on this one.

What I mean is you get lots of posts like this one and this one. It's kinda like "I want to show this off and announce it, but it's kinda awkward to do that in a thread post (unless you're a ninja with formatting and everything) and it isn't layed out or formatted nicely." Look at how most of the people are using Your Announcements. They're using it kinda like the IOTD. Why not give some kind of posting-template to Your Announcements that makes it prettier, a bit more formal, and easier to read/follow. I don't think the current IOTD template can be copied and applied to Your Announcements, but some ideas can be taken from it. But also, people come back and post updates in Your Announcements, and I think there should be some way to differentiate project updates and regular posts/replies in the thread (so the OP can respond to a few replies, and then later post an update that actually looks like an update and not just another reply by the OP).

 

On a side note I have modified the showdown so that you get +1 participation points for every 5 Showdown matches you complete.

Personal request: make floorcaek something you can "unlock" (and integrate some old GameDev.net memes in the rewards/quests).

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Just gave it a whirl. Kinda interesting. I personally don't like a lot of these X vs Y minigames, and instead just like to look at eye candy. Anyway, here's my thoughts:

 

Understood.  I think for this to work I'd have to actually make a game out of the X vs Y minigame since it does need a pretty constant feedback loop to work.

Cool beans.

 

I'm wondering if IOTD could be less "formal" kind of like #screenshotsaturday, where users post screenshots of what they're working on with a very minimal explanation. Then GameDev.net cycles through this posting "feed" on the front page. With today's IOTD, all I really want is to look at the screenshots, and if they interest me enough (along with maybe a very small explanation), provide me with a link to a blog post/video/whatever where I can read more about what the images are about.

 

Do you think it's a bad idea to get behind that twitter feed?   It does serve the same purpose and is pretty established.   One of the other things I'm doing is that if you link your twitter account here with your profile it will automatically associate each image you post with your Gamedev.net account.

I don't know much about that Twitter feed, as this thread is my only introduction to it. I don't think it's a bad idea, but I don't have a Twitter account (and I really don't want to make one). Would there still be a way for me to add to the GameDev.net feed?

 

Then bump up the "formal"-ness of Your Announcements, so it's kinda like IOTD is now (but not really based around screenshots). That is, make it so Your Announcements isn't just a forum where you make a normal thread (that typically ends up being dry, a wall of text, or just overlooked), but where things are kind of a bigger deal.

 

I'm not sure I'm following you on this one.

What I mean is you get lots of posts like this one and this one. It's kinda like "I want to show this off and announce it, but it's kinda awkward to do that in a thread post (unless you're a ninja with formatting and everything) and it isn't layed out or formatted nicely." Look at how most of the people are using Your Announcements. They're using it kinda like the IOTD. Why not give some kind of posting-template to Your Announcements that makes it prettier, a bit more formal, and easier to read/follow. I don't think the current IOTD template can be copied and applied to Your Announcements, but some ideas can be taken from it. But also, people come back and post updates in Your Announcements, and I think there should be some way to differentiate project updates and regular posts/replies in the thread (so the OP can respond to a few replies, and then later post an update that actually looks like an update and not just another reply by the OP).

 

On a side note I have modified the showdown so that you get +1 participation points for every 5 Showdown matches you complete.

Personal request: make floorcaek something you can "unlock" (and integrate some old GameDev.net memes in the rewards/quests).

 

 

floorcaek, mountain climbing and horses, rhino, the "magical black theme" badge that gives you productivity x 2.. what other memes can you think of?

 

I'm wondering too if I could let people gamble their points away.. if a screenshot gets a minimum number of votes then allow members to have a set "wager" of points and they can see if they choose the one the community thinks is better.  If they win they get points, if they lose they lose their points.   I dunno, some definite weird possibilities with this.

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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floorcaek, mountain climbing and horses, rhino, the "magical black theme" badge that gives you productivity x 2.. what other memes can you think of?

> EAT ROPE, MMO hockey, MMO in HTML with variables, MP3 beating compression, various Boolean comics (especially asking medical advice on the forums), GDNet: The Trading Card Game... I'm just listing all the memes and often referred to threads/events that I can remember...

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Can IOTD just feed SaturdayShowdown? If you post an image on IOTD, you get a +1 Participation point because it'll be used in SaturdayShowdown.

 

And one other thing. Saturday Showdown ....... Samurai Showdown. You know what to do :)

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I think there needs to be a way to skip voting on either image. [Delete] key, maybe (and a button).

 

I get that you are choosing the better of two images, but sometimes they are both equally not interesting.

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Can IOTD just feed SaturdayShowdown? If you post an image on IOTD, you get a +1 Participation point because it'll be used in SaturdayShowdown.

And one other thing. Saturday Showdown ....... Samurai Showdown. You know what to do smile.png
I think it's actually going to be the other way around. The IOTD will be selected as the top rated image from a moving seven day window that hasn't yet been an IOTD or something like that.. that would leave the pic pretty current as well and would provide a window back to the screenshotsaturday showdown. But I get what you are asking for, which is a way to have gdnet folks post to the showdown without having to go through twitter. I'll try and think of something simple.. it would probably be a simple twitter-like input box to make it easiest.

IOTD will probably be retooled to become the GD Showcase most likely.


I think there needs to be a way to skip voting on either image. [Delete] key, maybe (and a button).

I get that you are choosing the better of two images, but sometimes they are both equally not interesting.
Agreed.. there are sometimes non-interesting images that show up. What I'm trying to do is figure out a way to quickly isolate which ones people find uninteresting and filter them from the voting process. Some just lose so much that they have to be pretty bad I'm guessing. Edited by Michael Tanczos
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Aye i tried it a bit and twice i've been like "uhh, i really REALLY don't want to click either"

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The problem though is that there will always be at least a few uninteresting screenshots in there from a general point of view.   I'm just not certain if abstaining from voting helps though as really every matchup is only to differentiate between two images.   Even if similar it comes down to making one decision with no adverse personal consequences.   I just need that data to figure out the matchups.

 

The way it works now is that new images will be compared to high rated images first where possible in order to attempt to quickly figure out where the image falls.   As it gets voted on more and more it gets compared to images that are closer and closer to it's existing rating.. hopefully narrowing in on a small window that represents it's actual accurate rating.   But when that narrow windows for some screenshots it may in fact be pretty on par with other screenshots within the same window.

 

I'm using a modified ELO rating system with some severe tweaking of the K constant to grant large numbers of points initially for a win while not penalizing losses too badly against really good rated images.

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Some things that come to mind:

  • Perhaps some people who participate in #screenshotsaturday don't want to be in this (even if it is free publicity), perhaps there should be an opt-out tag (eg: "#screenshotsaturday-" seems like it could work, the punctuation doesn't seem to interfere with the tag and it's only 1 character lost).
  • I feel it would be unfair and somewhat against the spirit of screenshot saturday to keep old images in the 'top images' for longer than say 1 or 2 weeks.

Despite my reservations, actually playing the game was somewhat entertaining, and a good way to quickly go through screenshots.

 

edit:

I noticed at least one person used '#screenshotsaturdays' (notice the extra 's'), so I guess that is something to keep in mind.

Edited by GMuser
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Some things that come to mind:
  • Perhaps some people who participate in #screenshotsaturday don't want to be in this (even if it is free publicity), perhaps there should be an opt-out tag (eg: "#screenshotsaturday-" seems like it could work, the punctuation doesn't seem to interfere with the tag and it's only 1 character lost).
  • I feel it would be unfair and somewhat against the spirit of screenshot saturday to keep old images in the 'top images' for longer than say 1 or 2 weeks.

Despite my reservations, actually playing the game was somewhat entertaining, and a good way to quickly go through screenshots.

 

edit:

I noticed at least one person used '#screenshotsaturdays' (notice the extra 's'), so I guess that is something to keep in mind.

 

 

I think your concerns were some of my biggest in doing this.. mainly because I don't want the competitive element to overshadow *anything*.  The side by side comparison is purely to let you choose one that appeals to you more on some level so we can ultimately bubble up the really cool ones from the week.   The top images are indeed one week only and you only are comparing images within the same seven day window.

 

The stream is a public one though, and there are even sites that go so far as to really scrutinize and analyze the individual projects being developed.   The problem though is that it's really hard to sift through hundreds of screenshots even if they are dumped on the same page.   I just wanted to find a way to weight some of them more than others.

 

The biggest and I mean biggest point of this is to put the screenshots themselves on stage.   If you play the game you are guaranteed to never see a duplicate screenshot at least on the left hand side until you run through all of them from the week.  

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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I don't know... I like regular IOTD. Isn't there some way of fixing it up or promoting it more?

 

The twitter thing is fine but I personally don't do twitter, don't have any desire to start, and the people posting in the #screenshotsaturday feed are not www,gamedev.net users so what's the point of aggregating their content here? Also don't know a lot about twitter but isn't the popularity of various hash tags extremely fickle? What if screenshot saturdays is a fad that everybody forgets about in a month or that only the same few people keep up with week after week?

Edited by jwezorek
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I don't know... I like regular IOTD. Isn't there some way of fixing it up or promoting it more?

 

The twitter thing is fine but I personally don't do twitter, don't have any desire to start, and the people posting in the #screenshotsaturday feed are not www,gamedev.net users so what's the point of aggregating their content here? Also don't know a lot about twitter but isn't the popularity of various hash tags extremely fickle? What if screenshot saturdays is a fad that everybody forgets about in a month or that only the same few people keep up with week after week?

 

The problem though is that the submission rate isn't there with our IOTD.. It's hard to compare 200+ screenshots per week of games in development versus the 1-2 we get per week.   And the submissions we do get include a lot of commercial middleware rather than just regular joes making games.  Clearly something isn't working.   Using twitter though creates a strong feedback loop and that's something we need.   What I added yesterday was the ability to add our own comments as a community to screenshots.. which is good.

 

I think we're in an age where game developers and twitter go pretty hand in hand.   The game development community is *incredibly* active on twitter.   

 

But in this case, #screenshotsaturday has been around for years and years and is actually growing in popularity.   What I think I might do for users who don't have twitter is to post a link to their screenshots on our own twitter account and reference #screenshotsaturday.   I'm still thinking about this.

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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> EAT ROPE, MMO hockey, MMO in HTML with variables, MP3 beating compression, various Boolean comics (especially asking medical advice on the forums), GDNet: The Trading Card Game... I'm just listing all the memes and often referred to threads/events that I can remember...
Talk about a trip down memory lane!

I still have (and cherish) my trading card:
[spoiler]
jdUBO.png
[/spoiler]

Anyways, Michael, I started clicking through the showdown and I don't particularly like the format. The best explanation I have to why I feel that way comes in the form of a question: "Do the screenshot necessarily need to compete with each other, or should a screenshot only compete with itself to the viewer?"

I think a "vote/no-vote" system would be more appropriate for the screenshots. Either the screenshot is such that it invokes a viewer to "vote" for it, thus giving it a point, or "no-vote" it and go to the next screenshot.

With that sort of system, the screenshots that are appealing for whatever reasons will bubble to the top with votes, while those that don't simply "don't have votes", which is not negative, just not positive.

For something that is supposed to be fun and entertaining, I think a model like that one would better suite the screenshots while not taking anything away from the screenshot itself.
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[quote name='Drew_Benton' timestamp='1358157469' post='5021328']
Anyways, Michael, I started clicking through the showdown and I don't particularly like the format. The best explanation I have to why I feel that way comes in the form of a question: "Do the screenshot necessarily need to compete with each other, or should a screenshot only compete with itself to the viewer?"
[/quote]

 

For me I think the format suffers when you have pretty uninteresting screenshots actively competing in matchups.. perhaps I can do a hybrid approach that also integrates up-down voting as I still want to at least allow the showdown to run as is for a bit.      Or make it necessary that a screenshot receives at least one upvote to be entered into the matchups.

 

What I wonder is if there is some algorithm that could be written to determine if a screenshot might be interesting.. or at least have the potential to be interesting.

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Anyways, Michael, I started clicking through the showdown and I don't particularly like the format. The best explanation I have to why I feel that way comes in the form of a question: "Do the screenshot necessarily need to compete with each other, or should a screenshot only compete with itself to the viewer?"

 

 

For me I think the format suffers when you have pretty uninteresting screenshots actively competing in matchups.. perhaps I can do a hybrid approach that also integrates up-down voting as I still want to at least allow the showdown to run as is for a bit.      Or make it necessary that a screenshot receives at least one upvote to be entered into the matchups.

 

What I wonder is if there is some algorithm that could be written to determine if a screenshot might be interesting.. or at least have the potential to be interesting.

out of curiosity, could you use re-tweet count's to determine interest(although i'm not sure how much screenshotsaturday images are RT'd.

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out of curiosity, could you use re-tweet count's to determine interest(although i'm not sure how much screenshotsaturday images are RT'd.


Good question.   You could.. I just don't know how big of a percentage of images are retweeted.   Though it could be enough to automatically have them enter into the matchup system.   I guess after 1500 or so matchups that I've done I'm tired of seeing mostly black screens with a few simple sprites rendered onto them.   When you see screenies that show stuff like this I find it pretty cool:  http://www.gamedev.net/page/showdown/view.html/_/runevisioncom-r397

 

I was wondering if a histogram of the image could be used to determine much.. Looking at the bottom screenshots I do notice that there is a tendency to have very unsaturated colors, possibly use a very limited color palette, and contain relatively few image features of note.   

 

http://www.gamedev.net/page/showdown/view.html/_/edg3za-r314

 

This isn't an exact science since this is purely aesthetics... I just need to be able to come up with some metric that quickly finds if an image is unlikely to suck.   Maybe I can at least filter out some low hanging fruit.

 

On another path I have retweets of the image, the potential Klout score of the poster, the poster's number of followers, the ranks of all the author's previously submitted screenshots..  

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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I was wondering if a histogram of the image could be used to determine much.. Looking at the bottom screenshots I do notice that there is a tendency to have very unsaturated colors, possibly use a very limited color palette, and contain relatively few image features of note.   

 
Though you should be careful about accidentally excluding cool concept art. (Though not technically 'screenshots', I certainly wouldn't (corrected by a edit) mind if people slipped some concept art into #screenshotsaturday, if still gamedev related)

Edited by Servant of the Lord
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It's a bit late, but to throw my 2c in the ring --
 
It seems like a waste to kill off the GD.Net IOTD because only a few community members a week make use of it, and then replace it with what's basically an IOTD system from an entirely different community.
 
The IOTD forum at the moment is a way for members of this community to show off their work within this community. We'd be removing that 'perk' of the site, and instead sending them off to the twitter community to show off their work there, and maybe it will randomly show up in the new system here. There'd be no direct way to show off your work here any more, besides spamming images into another forum once the IOTD forum is closed (into Your Announcements maybe?), or posting in a GD.Net journal, which aren't as well promoted as forum posts or current IOTDs, and wouldn't show up in the new IOTD system.
 
Further, people who have nothing to do with this community will be having their work promoted here, without being given a 'hook' to be drawn into this community (they won't even know their image has appeared here), and the ability to have a discussion about the images with the author will be moved out of this community and over to twitter. So while you're harnessing the #screenshotsaturday community to put content onto this site, you're not dragging in any new users, and you're removing a perk for existing users.
 
If the real problem is that GD.Net doesn't have enough users that have progress screenshots to post, while the twitter community does, maybe it's a marketing problem?
It just seems like that because we don't have many users showing off their progress, we're going to stop trying to help our members show off their progress, and instead just hoist content from an entirely different user-base. I'd rather see some discussion about how to optimise/encourage the sharing of progress screenshots within our own user-base.
 

Can IOTD just feed SaturdayShowdown? If you post an image on IOTD, you get a +1 Participation point because it'll be used in SaturdayShowdown.
IOTD will probably be retooled to become the GD Showcase most likely.

I like the idea of keeping the GD.Net IOTD and also feeding it into the showdown game... but if the showdown replaces the IOTD, then yeah, a GD.Net showcase section, which is somehow promoted like the current IOTD (random or automatic-daily-cycled showcase image on the front page?) would be good.
 
One problem with the current IOTD is that it doesn't automatically cycle; sometimes an image seems to stay up for a week, even if there's new ones in the queue.
Having it automatically cycle would seem more OTD-ish wink.png If there's no more images in the queue, it could cycle to the oldest and keep going until new ones come in, at which point it would have to remember which 'old' image it was up to, so that next time it loops, it can resume from the same point (instead of going back to the the very beginning every time).

Edited by Hodgman
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I prefer the old IOTD a lot over this because you get some nice infos about the project and space to discuss.

 

Improvement ideas for old IOTD:

 

- Make IOTDs updatable so that entries with newly added images go into the queue

- Show the last 5 entires or so on the frontpage (there's plenty of space below that one image)

- Make the entries on the frontpage be in sync with the gallery (currently it's showing the 5th recent entry)

- Display title and author below the images

- Integrate twitter into it ;)

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You can't vote-up posts in the Lounge so I'd like to say that I agree with all of Hodgman's points especially:

 

 

One problem with the current IOTD is that it doesn't automatically cycle; sometimes an image seems to stay up for a week, even if there's new ones in the queue.
Having it automatically cycle would seem more OTD-ish  If there's no more images in the queue, it could cycle to the oldest and keep going until new ones come in, at which point it would have to remember which 'old' image it was up to, so that next time it loops, it can resume from the same point (instead of going back to the the very beginning every time).

 

 

Also I'd like to bring up -- although I don't have a solution -- is that I think one of the reasons people don't submit more images to IOTD is that some of the images are so good that people feel as though the bar is set too high for them. I'm not sure what to do about this, except that if the image was cycling literally every day then maybe it wouldn't be as intimidating.

Edited by jwezorek
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This isn't an exact science since this is purely aesthetics... I just need to be able to come up with some metric that quickly finds if an image is unlikely to suck.   Maybe I can at least filter out some low hanging fruit.

This would be a really fun use of a machine learning toolkit like Weka, the idea being that if you have a few different objective features (e.g. saturation, contrast, transient features, or any number of interesting image features that are out there), some of which are related to the suckiness of the image, you're generally better to let some reasonably simple algorithm decide which features are useful and how to treat them rather than trying to figure it out yourself.

 

In fact, if you've got a pre-existing database of images mapped to their scores, I'd be interested in playing with it in my free time, although I can't make any promises.

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