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Duplicate arcade games in DB due to different platforms.


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While uploading Model 3 media I noticed that the majority of the games were already in the Arcade platform, but they will not scrape as Model 3 because of the different platforms. I updated the Arcade platform here and there, but now the better media is for the Model 3 platform, because I didnt upload new images to the Arcade platform. This approach creates duplicates that in reality are for the same game on the same, but broad, platform. I can see this happening with other systems too, due to multiple 'arcade' platforms within the db (model 1/2/3, atomiswave, taito type x, etc). Maintaining metadata isnt fun and having to do it twice isnt going to make it any better.

So I think some discussion would be good on how to structure the db to minimise dupes with arcade games would be good for everyone. I think the Arcade platform should be used differently, and needs to be more like the Platform Category withing LB, where Arcade is the only 'arcade' platform, and the other current 'arcade' platforms (taito type x etc) reside under the one Arcade parent. I'm just getting my head around LB but it could be possible that the current other 'arcade' platforms be converted into playlists? Apart from merging the info, I dont think this would need any extra fields added to the DB, just playlists to be maintained (which could be created from current platforms). A nice bonus would be all 'arcade' games appearing under the one Arcade platform :)

What do you guys think?


Edited by teeedubb
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Merging platforms is already on the docket actually, for almost this primary reason. It applies to a lot of systems actually. With our recent Poll, people REALLY want Jason to work on the Database more, so that's exactly what he's gonna do, and that is chief among the stuff to resolve. This is exactly why the Scrape As function exists as well, so you can call your platforms what ever you want and scrape them as something else. So I just imported my demul set of roms again, but scraped them as arcade. During import, if the platform doesn't exist, then Scrape As pops up. If it does exist, it wont pop up. However, I would just add a space to the end of a platform that does exist, and scrape as pops up. Clicking next also removes the space, so any associated platform stuff gets picked up because that space "goes away", but served the purpose to make Scrape As pop up during import. If your platform is already imported, you can go to Tools -> Manage Platforms, edit a platform, and the scrape as line is in here as well. You can then re-scrape the platform to update the metadata and media.

When importing a MAME rom set, there is also already the possibility for you to have LB automatically make playlists, which is what it already does by default for Arcade (it's a check box that you can uncheck). However, this is a duplicate of the original roms, so they'd still be tied to the old platform, they're just being filtered. You could bulk edit while in that Playtlist view, but then you have a platform that has multiple emulators being used. Scrape As has been around for quite some time, but the system merging just hasn't happened yet. I wanted to import my demul roms as their own platform (I used scripts which I uploaded to our download section to pull the roms out from a MAME rom set), so I imported them and scraped them as Arcade, even though some of them have official platforms. I also unchecked the playlist box for these, as I don't want them for Arcade right now, and that doesn't make sense for these special platforms.

To bulk edit stuff, you click on a platform, then a game, Ctrl + A, then right click edit a game. You can bulk edit several fields (this is how you switch emulators for a system too). With all your games highlighted in a platform, you can also re-scrape it by going to Tools -> Download Metadata and Media. Choosing the second option will only download stuff that is missing. The first option will replace all of the media and metadata period, so it's like a full update.

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Thats good to know that merging platforms is on the cards - imho the db is one of lbs best features and I'd hate to see it become a mess due to semantics.

Thats a good point about 'scrape as', and it got me thinking - between scrape as and playlists the current platforms could be emulated if all arcade platforms were under the one Arcade banner. Eg:

Want to add a arcade platform (eg sega model 2) -> name the platform whatever you want, but scrape it as 'arcade'. Mabe default any arcade platforms to scrap as 'arcade' in LB? Though I'm not sure how platform metadata would be handled with this approach? Maybe a 'child platform' for sub systems for scraping purposes (eg 'nintendo classics')?

Want to create a platform from a existing platform (eg cps2 from mame) -> create a playlist.

One issue I see is if all arcade systems are under the one arcade platform the configuring emulators could get messy. Maybe being able to sort roms by folder would help with managing this - want to change the emu for all model 2 roms? sort the files by rom folder - could be a possibility. Or maybe hidden playlists that are only used for managing data?

Anyways, hope that makes sense, most of it was me thinking out aloud. Looking forward to the upcoming improvements to the db. I'll hang off updating any arcade info until I hear about the merge (anyway, i get the feeling game and watch is gonna keep me busy for sometime). If there is anyway to help, please let us know.

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Specific art does exist created by the users which can be applied to Playlists or Platforms, but you have to do it manually. Doing it automatically is much harder. When you scrape as system as something, it actually takes the data from the system you scraped it as. We do want to get system pages up and running, and have "alt" consoles like we do Names (which we also want for dates, publishers, developers), and it could attempt to pull from that? Either way, it'd still need to be named exactly or close enough and this defeats the purpose. If someone is going through creating a bunch of custom platforms, I'd be willing to bet they've also got a custom Clear Logo pack download, etc.

You can also already create playlists for Arcade, automatically, and since those are created automatically I can certainly see artwork being downloaded specially for those. That scenario, being automatically created, only works with playlists though; they are custom platforms for a reason. You can create these automatic playlists at any time, or during import.

As for what platform does what, in most cases, you can just go to a playlists, ctrl + a the games and change their emulator. That's how you change emulators in LB normally (the bulk edit wizard), and the games in the platform will change from that playlist. You do then have a single platform using multiple emulators which does work, but can cause issues when needing to use Command Lines potentially. I guess an extension of this would be having a separate function to set playlist specific emulators, or be able to add them to the Associated Platforms page for an emulator.

As for the merge, not the merge, there's no reason to not do it now actually. So, when @Jason Carr put in all the MAME information during MAME .174, that included ALL of the artwork. You've noticed the duplicate games, well all those "special systems" are what people just wanted to break out, but they're all still in a MAME rom set. Look at my demul scripts in our download section. Derek (@DOS76) found, edited or created the original, then I recently edited them to include all the changes, new games and chd files for MAME .184. All those games are there, and if they were there for .174, then it's already in the database, just under Arcade. That's been the case since day one, but multiple platforms is more confusing, and people went for "the platform" they knew. Arcade gets stupid tricky, but having one place to contribute makes more sense to us. There are some "Arcade" games that do not get distributed in MAME, are not emulatable by MAME, and are stupid unique. The two that come to mind are Sega Model 3 and Taito Type X. Those are the only two that will probably keep their platform.

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