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Update Navigation Panel

Update: What Can I Play? now includes a sorting of EVERY game out of development on the wiki. In my humble opinion, it now deserves to be in the Navigation Panel, perhaps even more so than the Existing Games, which is a flat list with little explanation of why someone would choose a game on it.

Please put What Can I Play? between Existing Games and Games In Dev. on the left navigation panel. --David Artman 12:20, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Changing the nav panel is, sadly, done in the PHP code of MediaWiki and not anywhere in the wiki's own editing interface. This is the main reason I haven't done it - it's difficult and brittle. It's still on the table, but don't expect it soon. - misuba 14:20, 4 September 2007 (EDT)
Actually, no. MediaWiki:Sidebar should work from version 1.5 onwards. Requires a sysop to edit it. --Lardarse 03:02, 22 March 2008 (EDT)
As the sharp-eyed could see, changes had been made to the sidebar when this edit went in. Adding entirely new entries to the navigation, however, did require PHP access but was not working until we had this last piece of the puzzle. Thanks Lardarse! - misuba 16:14, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki_FAQ#How_to_customize_your_own_navigation_bar... This looks like I need access to the PHP code. I don't think I have access to that, do I? - Cerulean 14:40, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Can you FTP into and out of the site? If so, download the relevant PHP file, edit, and upload (overwrite). Otherwise, there might be a way to modify it within the Admin interface. For example, I can modify the PHP for the "skin" of my web forums with "edit PHP" forms divided by section (header, footer, sidebar, body, etc). If you can't do either, then I'd guess its the difference between being a site admin and a wiki admin. --David Artman 15:06, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

I would like to see Games Under Development, Icehouse In General, and What Can I Play? added to the nav bar. There's plenty of vertical space there that we're not using, and it would help increase the visibility of other parts of the wiki (as well as reduce unnecessary page loads of the Main Page for those just passing through). - Cerulean 08:08, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Great! Thanks for the effort, MiSuBa. I guess this action point is resolved and it can be archived soon. - Cerulean 18:12, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

ARCHIVED 28 March 2008

Spam trek, the next generation

So, whitelisting seems to piss people off, and also doesn't prevent these random deletions we've been getting (which, however, do have the amusing side effect of helping us find existing un-whitelisted URLs). How would people feel about moving to a captcha-based solution? - misuba 14:20, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

nm, just went ahead and did it. Aloha! Although this may not address the deletion issue all that well. I bet I can address that later tonight. I will see if I can get the nav panel change in too.
Nope, doesn't stop deletions. Pages are being vandalized today. Can't you just make the site require admin approval to be a member, and then you could use your favorite spam-trapping e-mail account (or a new Gmail account) to ask them to prove they are human? It's not like we get new members that often... except for spambots and vandalbots. I'd be happy to perform this vetting process if you made me an admin (yeah, yeah--INCONCEIVABLE!).... --David Artman 14:48, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
My. God.
Look at [User List].... We are, literally, RIFE with spambots and vandalbots. I'd hazard a guess that 80% of all User accounts are not humans--it might be nice if an admin killed them off so that User list page would be more useful (and maybe the wiki database would be smaller).
Hmmm... and at a glance, it would seem that you could control this if, somehow, you can forbid the use of numbers in a user ID. That might make things a little hard on those folks who feel they HAVE to use some goofy handle in 2007... but it will prevent most of these bots from successfully making a new account.
Finally, it strikes me that the Captcha system doesn't work, or that bots are defeating it--WHY would the wiki allow deletions without a Captcha confirmation, but (for instance) check me when I am trying to roll back a vandalism?!?! It seems... well, stupid and fundamentally flawed: "edit rights" restriction without "deletion rights" restriction?!?!?!? --David Artman
Dave, as an alternative to Special:Listusers, I've created Category:User page as a user-moderated way to parse legit human users from mal-bots. - Cerulean 15:42, 18 September 2007 (EDT)
Gee whiz! After slogging through Special:Listusers, I only found 106 probable humans out of 946 accounts, most of which have zero edits. - Cerulean 13:48, 19 September 2007 (EDT)

Game Lists Proliferation

OK, I'm prolly guilty of it somewhat, but doesn't it seem like we have too many "lists of games" floating around, none of which is complete?

I propose we consolidate somewhat. Two--and ONLY two--"game list" pages:

  1. Award-winning and published games - call it "Top Games" or "Best Games" something obvious.
  2. All games, period - call it "All Games" or "Complete Game List" or something.

To format those pages, I'd let the "What Can I Play" be a guide:

  • Only sort-out actual links to games by number of Treehouse or number of Icehouse stashes needed, which is generally what someone buying up stashes cares about ("Ooo! NOW what can I play?").
  • Let Categories do their jobs--sorting # players, themes, complexity; with added playing time categories (minutes, half-hour, hour, hours, indefinite) to replace that third sort-out table on What Can I Play. UPDATE: Done, see below!
  • The publication in which a Best Game appears or the contest that it won is rather incidental, but they could be shown via footnotes (superscript numbers referencing a list of publications and contest dates at the page bottom).

I'd leave the (current) In Development page as it is now: a quick way to find new stuff to test as well as a way to "hide" games not ready for prime time. After a game is out of Playtest, it goes to the All Games page; after a game is published by Looney or wins an IGDC, it gets added to Best Games (while remaining on All Games, of course).

I know this is a "just do it" kind of wiki, but this would involve changing three major pages to redirect to two new, major pages; and it would mean changing the navigation panel to use the new page titles (a nav panel full of redirect page links is sloppy, IMO). Beyond that, it would be a somewhat large effort (hopefully shared by all designers) to make sure every game out of testing is listed in appropriate #/stashes categories. UPDATE: DONE for What Can I Play?

Thoughts, folks? --David Artman 12:16, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

It looks like you're trying to duplicate SLICK's sortability here. I imagine the most helpful feature would be a choose-your-own-adventure styled app which narrows down the game options based on inputs of time, players, stashes, etc. We've been trying to do that with categories, but there's no way to filter them in combination yet. - Cerulean 14:51, 17 July 2007 (EDT)
Well, actually, I just want to have a clear-cut guide for newbies: one page for The Best and one for All. This clear progression would also mean that we designers don't have to do three or four page edits to get a new game listed: it goes on GUD when in testing (and comes off, when finalized), on All when finalized, and on Best when published or wins a contest.

Update: Time Categories

I have made time-based Categories, so folks can start to tag games for the What Can I Play page's time required sorting. The categories are:

category: minutes
category: half hour
category: hour
category: hours
category: indefinitely

--David Artman 11:26, 17 July 2007 (EDT)

Update: What Can I Play?

All games from The List are now on the What Can I Play? page. Between its table sorting, division by Treehouse and Icehouse stashes, and Category conglomeration, it is BY FAR superior to Existing Games.

Game List Navigation Plan by David Artman

If I do not hear otherwise, I am going to do the following next week:

# Empty and redirect Existing Games to The List.

# Move Choosing Games to Best Games.

  1. Redirect Choosing Games to What Can I Play?.
  2. Update the Main Page, first section, to list only the Games Under Development > What Can I Play? > Existing Games progression.
  3. Update the Main Page to also mention The List, for a comprehensive alphabetical list similar to an Index.

--David Artman 13:56, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Cerulean

David, I admire your ambition is solving an issue that you've taken great interest in. But I kindly ask that you refrain from making such a fundamental change without first hearing from more of the community than just you and myself. I think we see the wiki differently: portal to learning about Icehouse stuff *vs* portal for storing and organizing the collective knowledge of pyramaniacs. Let's please leave it as is until we know whether newbies really do have a problem navigating here! (Newbies, please speak up!) Wanna fight redundancy? Settle What Can I Play? vs Choosing Games. Whichever one is more useful, I agree it SHOULD be placed more prominently on the Main Page and nav bar. - Cerulean 16:26, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

A couple of points to explain:
  1. You won't hear a chorus from the newbies, here, I don't think; this being a Talk page. But that said...
  2. I HAVE ping this community and the Looney list and even the Rabbit list (I think, somewhere, in passing) and guess what: we are the only ones who care. I bet anyone showing up "late" would just hink "hmmm... OK, this is a better breakdown" and go on like nothing happened.
  3. I want to serve both newbies and designers (archiving, I suppose, is a solid third priority). My whole push for this streamlining is that every time I begin (and finish) a game design, I have these four or five hoops through which to jump, to shuffle links to it all over this non-dynamic navigation and classification method.
As for your basic split above about redundancy, I totally disagree: My battle is (mainly) between Existing Games and What Can I Play? I think both pages serve the same audience, but What Can I Play is now, clearly, far more practical IN TERMS OF THE PRODUCT. Folks buy Icehouse or Treehouse, and I'd bet large sums of money that a survey of actual users (not OCD designers) would show that a user is MOST limited in game choice by what pyramids they own, how many. I'd be interested to hear someone defend the notion that folks care about, say, the theme or the use of a chessboard or even the number of players! Furthermore, to list a game on Existing Games means copying its link to--what?--four or five sub-sections? When I already ALSO have to list it on four or five pages AND put Categories. YEESH! What Can I play requires you to place two links; # sets and # stashes. After that, it's all Category links for those who actually care about # players or time (common limiters), mechanics (possibly of interest), or theme (yeah, right! who cares, really?). David Artman 11:33, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Jwolfe

I would also ask that the proposed changes not be made at this time. Specific comments:

  • I find the Existing Games page to be the friendliest, most accessible page of the "list of games" pages I've seen. It's not at all the same as "The List" and shouldn't be redirected there.
    • Really? I mean, seriously: you find a list of games with a minor breakdown by publication/award/the-rest to be "friendlier" than a basic alphabetic list? How so? What makes it sing? David Artman 11:33, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
  • Calling a page "Best Games" is just asking for trouble. Everyone thinks their game is "best," whether you're talking about games they designed or just games they prefer to play. If you want it to be "Published and Award-winning Games" call it that.
    • If that's consensus, fine: redundant pages (and five page edits to list a game) are what I'm mainly fighting. However, I do not feel "Choosing games" even gives good navigational guidance: why would any newbie think those games are the "best" or most tested or tried-and-true? Your alternative above is just too long winded and besides... "best" is a valid term, even amongst hippies. A game that is published and which, by garnering interest, sells books: that's at the least "better" than one tossed up here and abandoned, to be played once in a blue moon. A game which goes through testing and judging and wins a community award is "better" than one which does not participate or which does and doesn't win. Maybe "Top Games" or "Select Games" would make for a nice (and ambiguous) euphemistic way to direct folks to the "best among equals" or whatever... but why prevaricate at all? Why molly-coddle? We want new users to find the cream of the crop--Right? So they dig pyramids and dive into more, right? Not for designer egos--so why not just step out and say, "YO! These are the best games we got here... and when you're ready, here's all of them, sorted or alphabetically listed, your preference!" David Artman
      • Why can't a newbie decide for themselves what's "best" or "Tried and True" and for game designers how do you make that list without some way to get exposure. Labeling a particular group of games as "The Best" by default makes everything else substandard. I agree with you as far as the 5 million categories thing. There ought to be a bit more rationality to that (or perhaps a way to automatically categorize based on the infobox (or whatever it is called) template if that is possible.) Carlton Noles
        • Why can't a newbie decide? Well, I suppose if a newbie wants to read through 181 rule sets, mentally (or actually) testing play, and then pick one that way; sure. Otherwise, they'd likely defer to "experts": a majority of judges saying a game is award-winning or folks willing to spend money on spec to print them and sell them.
          • While (as a non-award-winning designer) I agree with having a well categorized list of all the available games, I do think a newbie page of "Here is what Icehouse is and here are a few universally-liked games you can play" would be helpful. My fear is that an Icehouse newcomer would try a game at random off the giant master list, be unimpressed, and wholly dismiss the entire system. Playing one of the generally-favored games could make a huge difference in that process. (When doing demos, I've noticed that if someone doesn't like the first Icehouse game you show them, they are much less receptive to trying others.) Nekura 11:35, 27 July 2007 (CDT)
        • I promise you that you can not come up with a sufficient Category scheme to sort by requirements with fewer than, say, 50 new Categories. THEN, you gotta make sure folks know how to use them (many don't even know what to put in an Infobox in the first place!). THEN... you STILL have a Level 2 navigation page: the list of Categories, organized in some easy-to-absorb way (i.e. half of What Can I Play?). Categories is NOT the answer to #sets/#stashes issue cause by repackaging the whole system. --David Artman 13:41, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
  • I think we can eventually serve both the "portal for learning" and "portal for everything" constituencies, but we're not there yet. We'll probably have some duplication until we get there. We'll probably have some duplication after we get there, too.
    • So your advice is "wait for things to get better"? Uh... on a wiki? OK: no, I won't. I care, no one else does, I change it. You seem to care about some vision for this site: present it, be the change you want to see in the wiki. If all you can do is curse the darkness, thanks but no thanks. Sorry if this seems harsh, but I see "it's like this, it can never change" at work ALL day and on about 70% of the Internet forums I deal with regularly. It is patently absurd to believe that an environment like a wiki will "always" be ANYTHING. Unless you believe it will always be the way it is if NO ONE does anything. David Artman
  • Instead of having a manually updated list of games, why not set up a Category and have Wiki sort them for us?
  • I keep thinking a sortable table might be a useful way to do a Game Chooser, although I'm not sure how well (or even if) it would work in practice
    • Welcome to the debate. We've pondered how to make sufficient Categories to do number of stashes or number of sets and number of players breakdowns, and the list of Categories explodes. Think how you'd tag a game like, oh, Martian Chess: 3 stacks (not sets or stashes) per player, color irrelevant, so you've got something like 3n/5 players per stash or 5/3n stashes per player. Some games are 5n players per set; others are 1 stash per player, others are two stash for up to five players.... It's madness. The closest I've come, on paper, to a solution that's TRULY dynamic is to literally have a MONSTER database form for designers to specify every single piece the game requires (by color or by "X of Y colors" or by "colorless" or by "groups"; further divided by "per player" or by "for all players") and use a database query to compare what a user catalogs as being in their ownership set against what the games' minimums are. You up for that kind of db design and the wiki maintenance it would require, each update? No one else was either.... David Artman

Jwolfe 05:09, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

David Artman On "Best Games"

Look guys, I really DON'T care about the "Best Games" or "Awarded Games" or "Lauded Games" page... not one bit. I am merely trying to PRESERVE it as a Level 2 navigational break-down that was here when I got here last year: someone once wanted it that way. As far as I REALLY care, I'd just use a superscript character or symbol to designate award winners and published games, and only have TWO Level 2 nav pages: All Games, sorted by requirements; and All Game, sorted alphabetically.

So, if I REALLY was to rework the front page and Level 2 navigation pages, I would do this:

  1. The List = the ultimate, complete, canonical list of all games (for template purposes and as an alphabetic sort: an Index)
  2. What Can I Play? = the complete list of all FINISHED games, sorted as shown on that page (mainly by #sets/#stashes).
  3. Games Under Development would remain as-is, though I might reformat it to use tables rather than reams of bullet lists. Something like:
GameDevelopment StageDesignerOverview
IcecasterInitial DesignDavid ArtmanA single Treehouse set real-time game of dueling mages

I would add a set of symbols in superscript (with a Legend at the top of each section, as shown) that one could put next to a game, to indicate publication or awards:

UPDATE: DONE on What Can I Play?

In short, we really only need out Level 2 navigation pages to answer two questions:

  1. Given a limited collection of pyramids, what can be played? ("What Can I Play?)
  2. What all is here; how can I find Specific Game X? (Index; "The List")

--David Artman 13:41, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

UPDATE: Conceding Point

I am only going to redirect Choosing Games to What Can I Play? because they are the only truly redundant pages. There is a meaningful distinction between Existing Games and The List. (Someone can clean up this whole debate, if no one else has something to add.) --David Artman 11:34, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Whither "Existing Games"?

I've been giving this issue a lot of thought (considering I've had zero time to work on it recently), and I'd like to offer an opinion of where I think "Existing Games" fits and what we should do with it. David has listed above what questions are answered by the "What Can I Play?" page and the Index. Perhaps "Existing Games" answers:

  • I've heard of these pyramid games, but when I hear "Treehouse set" I think you must be talking about a collection of Simpsons Halloween episodes or something. What games are out there to get me started?

There's no jargon on the "Existing Games" page (or if there is any, it's minimal), and it focuses on published and award winning games. If we pare it down to just those two types and rename it, it turns into a short list of games where extreme newbies can get their feet wet, so to speak, before they jump in with both feet. And because it's short, maintenance shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I still don't like the name "Best Games" for the reasons I stated before. How about if we just call it "The Short List"? That would emphasize the page's limited focus and still be succinct for those who want a short name for the page. Jwolfe 01:11, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

OK, so we're getting some consensus, here: EG should stay, but with some more meaningful, directing name, not a reference to "best". Frankly, seeing some games in development that are coming down the pipe, I honestly don't think games like Icesickle or CrackD Ice are anywhere near the "best of breed," anymore, anyway.
So now it's all about brainstorming....
  • Published and Award-Winning Games - Hey, there's nothing like being direct and to the point. Remove the "community games" section (link to WCIP) and we'll also solve the "problem" of Games Under Development being listed there at the moment. Add an Index link on the Main Page (because the EG won't have "all" games on it anymore) and we're done.
  • Games in Print - A bit of a prevarication, as the IGDC winners aren't all in print... yet. Same Handling of List of Games as above
  • Exemplary Games - Exemplary doesn't quite mean "best," in its strictest, traditional meaning; it means "serving as an example or model, typical." It sort of says "step right up and try these samples!" Hmmm....
  • Sample Games - As above, but less connotative weight than "exemplary" carries these days.
  • First Games - This has a great, direct, double meaning. On the one hand, most of the published games are the first games made for 'mids. On the other hand, they make for good "first games for a new player to try" and so the name works on that level, too: as a draw to new players.
  • Games the World Plays - Getting a bit wonky, now, but this notion works to say "hey, these are the games other folks you meet are likely to know" without saying anything about quality or publication or awards.
--David Artman 15:07, 24 August 2007 (EDT)
Of those choices, I prefer Published and Award-Winning Games. The next closest is Games in Print, but, as you mentioned, not all the games have been put into print; also, some of the "in print" games have since gone out of print.
Here's a thought: what if we called it Games in Print, and we actually did restrict the games to those currently in print? I'm just "thinking out loud" here; I haven't formed an opinion yet on whether that's a good idea or not. I think it would probably end up being just Treehouse, Martian Coasters and the stuff in PwP and 3HOUSE--about 15 games.
Jwolfe 05:27, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

Need photos

It is requested that additional image(s) should be included in this article. If you have permission to upload a suitable image of anything relevant to Icehouse Games, like happy people playing with pyramids, please contribute it to this page. The discussion page in the Talk: namespace is available for more information on this request.

Actually, we can use as many good images as we can get, since it would be nice to have a different image on the main page every so often. In fact, at the moment, it would be nice to have any image on the main page! Rootbeer 17:14, 28 Apr 2005 (GMT)

I'll keep this in mind, and take some pictures as I play games. I have a question, though. Roughly what size (dimensions) should front page images be? 400x300? Smaller? Bigger? -- Jeremiah 18:12, 1 May 2005 (GMT)
If you upload one that's bigger than necessary, we can let the server resize it. (That's what we did with the Zendo pic that's on the Main page now.) If we try to stretch a small image, though, it can start to look grainy. Probably the best rule for now is to make sure that it's large enough to show all of the important details, while not being too many Kbytes. Thanks! Rootbeer 18:39, 1 May 2005 (GMT)

The Main Page's photo should now automatically update weekly. If you want to choose the picture upcoming on a given week, Main Page/Weekly images has the whole list with edit links for your convenience. Thanks to all who have contributed images so far. Keep 'em coming! -- Rootbeer 20:54, 4 May 2005 (GMT)

Organizing with Tags

Hi all,

Just wanted to add a suggestion that might solve some organizational problems in the wiki, although it may not be technically possible (I don't know this wiki system...).

What if every game had tags with things like: Recommended-Game One-Stash 1House 2House 5House Award-Winner 1Player 2Players etc...

Then dynamic search pages could be created with games containing these tags.

If this can be done, then maintaining those pages is just a matter of making sure all the games have the appropiate tags, which are very easily added when creating a new page.

What do you think? Is this even possible?

--Jorge

Yes, that ought to work fine. That's a great way to use categories.— Timotab Timothy (not Tim dagnabbit!) 20:16, 29 August 2007 (EDT)
This is, in fact, what we now do. Go to the Categories Special page and you'll see several Category "tags" that can sort by number of players, theme, mechanics, extra equipment, time to play, etc. The one thing we have resolved not to do is to try to use Categories to sort games by number of Treehouse sets or Icehouse stashes--it's just too hard to do, for all games (ex: Martian Chess: 3 nests per player). Hence the reason I built and maintain the What Can I Play? page, with tables to sort games by requirements. --David Artman 09:16, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Translation of rules

Hi all,

I'm currently playing Penguin_Soccer on SuperDuperGames and to better understand the rules I would like to make a translation in french. Is it possible to create a page on this wiki to add this translation ? --Didier69 05:55, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Interesting question. I'm inclined to say just do it, but make the page title something like Penguin Soccer (FR) or Penguin Soccer (French) or Penguin Soccer/French (that's my order of preference; click one of those links to begin to make the new page). The main things that I would try to ensure are as follows:
  1. The original game title isn't translated - this makes it possible to be found in an English search. You could, of course, make a Redirect page from Le Football de Pingouin to Penguin Soccer (FR), so that native French speakers can also find the name. Hmmm... or maybe do the opposite: make Penguin Soccer (FR) redirect to Le Football de Pingouin. Whatever: the point is to have both an English-named page with the "(FR)" tag and a French-named page.
  2. You give credit to the original designer, even as you credit yourself with the translation.
  3. You add the [[Category:French]] tag, to begin to offer that as a sorting option (in fact, I am going to make such sorting available on What Can I Play? and elsewhere!).
Thanks for asking; now go make some pages! :) --David Artman 09:26, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Thanks David, translation is in progress for Penguin Soccer (French). --Didier69 10:42, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

The picture is covering up the text

The main page looks really amateurish because the graphic is obscuring the first section of the article. I don't know enough about Wiki to be able to fix it. Please somebody, do something. Thanks to Cerulean (I think) for fixing it so quickly! By the way, now I know how to add a timestamp right here--Splooge169 22:34, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

I can't take much credit for the Main page layout. I think David Artman had more to do with it. - Cerulean 10:40, 25 September 2007 (EDT)