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Codeman

Essential Database Features REQUEST

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Posted (edited)

I believe for the future integrity of the database and continued success of Launchbox these basic database features are necessary and should be considered. Please add a "heavy DB revamp" option in the next poll, and link to this post so the community can decide on it. Thanks.

#1 Dedicated help. Jason has talked before about having another developer in the future. This new dev position should be someone working full-time on the database. At the very least, have someone part-time or a volunteer who is fully knowledged in the database working on features/fixes. The database is crucial to the Launchbox experience, but goes pretty much goes to the wayside when Jason goes back to working on features. It's a constant balance for Jason between Launchbox features, and database features. Jason seems to enjoy developing the app more, so the next paid position should be someone working on the database. If you can't pay someone, or can't justify paying someone, get a dedicated volunteer, vet them, and put them to work. Requests like this list could be directed to this person and implemented, instead of competing against more flashy features for the program.

 

bfc69378f05762a950f571d1b1277eea.thumb.png.b0101024a7200b0a332c4861539d8338.pngLaunchbox has been in development for a couple years now, yet the very thing that makes it work is still in "Alpha". That's just crazy. We absolutely need an official (ACTIVE) person working on it.

 

#2 Protect "complete" Platforms from duplicate/invalid games. New games for "complete" platforms, for example NES, should require a lot more votes than normal to add since by this point it's probably a user error in not finding that the game already exists. This would lead to less junk for moderators to sort through and fewer duplicates. Currently a request can made about any game or value. No one wants to moderate when the next 50 changes are someone adding Mario, Zelda, ect to the NES.

 

#3 Protect correct Database data. Existing data values could be given a "this is correct" option that could be voted on by moderators. Once data hits a certain threshold of votes (probably best not to publicly display this threshold number), it would become protected so that future changes could not be requested for this data. The same protection could be offered for data that hasn't been changed in months/years. In the case of abuse, enough moderator votes to flag the data as invalid would open it back up to change. Records should be kept on which games are constantly being changed so that it can be fixed 1 time with the correct values, and stop the users that keep modifying it. We should narrow the focus on completing a correct database, rather than moderators seeing absurd junk requests like changing the release date for Super Mario Bros to 2004.

 

#4 FIX NAMES Platform names should be consistent. For example, all other consoles made by NEC have NEC in front, so "PC Engine SuperGrafx" should be changed to "NEC PC Engine SuperGrafx". 

 

#5 Tiered levels of database moderators. The lowest tier would be the same as the current "moderator". Medium tier moderator would be unlocked at x8 the current requirement for accepted changes to the DB. This would give double the voting power on any change you submit, and anyone moderating your change would see "Submitted by a veteran moderator". Top tier moderators would have previously mentioned perks, but would only be selected by Launchbox staff from the pool of Medium level moderators. These elite would be able to flag "correct" values (as mentioned above in #1), as invalid with only 3 votes required from top tier moderators before it is accepted as invalid. They could also see which user submitted the changes, and have the option to submit a request to ban the user from suggesting changes. Finally, both medium tier and top tier moderators would have access to an exclusive forum section to congregate and also to suggest database changes/features to Launchbox Staff. 

 

#6 FIX Fan-Art. I think everyone can agree that at the very least, fan-art submitted should be relevant to the game or sequels to the game on the same console. However this is currently a moderation nightmare, and is heavily influenced by personal bias since no fan-art is "correct". The real question we should ask ourselves is what benefits does fan-art add, and is it worth it compared to an optional fan-art internet scrape upon import? Some fanart from the entire series can be fine, but this could potentially spoil later sequels or even events in the current game (dead characters, betrayals, ect). I don't know how this slipped through the cracks, but personally on my setup any game that has "taz" in it displays fan-art of the Tasmanian devil character for me. Basically, either require fan-art to be specific to the game/sequence of games, or remove it.

My solution is that I think we could do without fan-art. *EDIT: I don't mean reconstructions, those should definitely stay* It has no real quality standards so it leaves many high-quality fan-art submissions next to DeviantArt MS-paint fanart. It has no real moderation standards so it bogs down moderation. Seeing as there is no real limit on how much fan-art is "enough", it will constantly take up an ever-increasing amount of database space, increasing import times, but adding little to the experience or even degrading it at times (Tasmanian devil / spoilers). I'm sure many would be mad at the "loss of a feature" but an alternative could be that fan-art would optionally be scraped from the web as an import option. 

 

@Jason Carr @Lordmonkus @neil9000 @Zombeaver @DOS76

Edited by Codeman
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I have nothing to do with the database stuff but if it were put to a vote I would vote for this.

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I know I'm not a mod here, but I would personally be happy to fix fanart on metroid and zelda games. I have a huge collection of game relevant fanart, and can pick out my favourites.

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I just spoke to Jason about this and it's something that is on the radar but it's not a priority for now. He is aware and it will hopefully get looked at sometime soonish but for now buttoning up Launchbox Next and a few of the poll items are at the top of the priority list.

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When it comes to fanart I'm in two mind of it. I like the idea of there being good fanart backgrounds, but yeah, too much rubbish gets added as fanart. There are also a good argument for fanart boxart at times when a game (like prototype etc) does not have one, but again I think a certain standard needs to be met.
I just don't know how and who would set that standard, and yeah, moderating it is a nightmare.
Also it is worth noting that like any artwork to download, it is optional and can be disabled when importing your games if one does not like them, so yeah... just not sure what the best solution is to be honest :/

Regarding the rest though I think it makes perfect sense. Certain things on the database are just correct as is and we don't need them changed, unless some new information comes out (suddenly it is discovered that game X actually came out on a different date than first thought etc.).

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Re: #2 Protect "complete" Platforms from duplicate/invalid games.

I think this needs to be implemented very carefully, I come from a heavy C64 background where there are many instances of multiple games having the exact same name. Not that this isn't already something of a problem, but a solution would need to be put in play to allow for this.

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Personally I think the database entry could definitely use some reworking. I think the data fields for platform, developer, publisher, genre for example should all be drop down menus so that every entry is completely uniform.

The one thing I definitely do not agree with is the removal of all of the fan art. I know I've personally spent a lot of time making boxart reconstructions because the only available boxart was too damaged and there were no better alternatives other than doing reconstructions. I think there's more than enough options on which fan art to download or not download that this isn't really a problem anyways.

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I agree with your take on Fan Art. From a C64 perspective Fan Art needs to stay. So many C64 titles were and still are put out without actual boxes that Fan Art is a necessity.

 

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So why not just add those boxes to Box-Front like all the other boxes? Why keep it separate? Aside from the Fanart Backgrounds, I have no use for any of the fanart or reconstructed folders. 

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43 minutes ago, Styphelus said:

So why not just add those boxes to Box-Front like all the other boxes? Why keep it separate? Aside from the Fanart Backgrounds, I have no use for any of the fanart or reconstructed folders. 

It comes down to a matter of accuracy and a lot of people want to know what is official art and what isn't and like to keep those separate.

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22 hours ago, voicesinthedark said:

It comes down to a matter of accuracy and a lot of people want to know what is official art and what isn't and like to keep those separate.

Makes sense, however, as someone who created some of the box packs and wheels for hyperspin/emumovies and are now being used by launchbox in it's database, I can tell you that a lot of the box art work is recreated.  Systems like the NES, SNES, Genesis, 32X, Virtual boy, Gameboy sets and so one have a lot of recreated covers.  I did some of them myself. Even some of the flyers for systems like Naomi, Atomiswave and AAE have some I made up because they didn't exist. We make it look as accurate as we can and no one ever notices it. So what now? What's real and what's not? 

Edited by Styphelus

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