IFWiki talk:Works (style guide)

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Icons, intro summary and version info

Hmph. I suppose it's fortunate that we haven't added many pages about individual games yet, since I think I want to completely rethink how a game page should look like. I want them to look at least a little bit sexy, and without any obvious graphics per game, it seems like the best way might be to have some colorful info boxes similar to those used at IF-Review.

Also, although I wanted to encourage adding pages for games not in Baf's Guide, I didn't want to discourage them entirely. Geez. Obviously we should have pages for Christminster, Curses, So Far, Galatea, etc. I just didn't want games like Zork I, Trinity, Mystery House, King's Quest I, Mindwheel, Eric the Unready, Softporn Adventure, The Coveted Mirror, etc. to be forgotten either.

I also want to see an intro summary for each game. What I mean by that is a summary of who the PC is, where he or she is, what the PC is carrying, and what immediate goal the PC has in the very earliest stage of the game. Try to keep this summary limited to information that the player would get in the first ten turns of the game so as not to be spoilery. However, one must take extra care with this. 9:05 (Adam Cadre; Z-code) has a major secret that can be revealed in the first turn of the game, but you shouldn't reveal it on its page. However, we could also have a 9:05/Spoiler page, should we want to say more about it.

I suppose I'll think about how I want to redo the Photopia page, and when done it will serve as an example of what I hope to do. Thoughts? -- David Welbourn 05:46, 4 Sep 2005 (Central Daylight Time)

  • Clarification on the version info: I assume we're only going to list versions still on the Archive and hence Baf's, right? Trawling down information for defunct versions would be difficult, to say the least. -- Maga 06:27, 27 Oct 2005 (Central Daylight Time)
    • You assume correctly. I'm not planning to make superhuman efforts to get version info, and I doubt anyone else is either. We can't document info we don't have. Only one game I would consider going all out with version info on, however, is Adventure aka Colossal Cave. There's so many different versions of that game, that it seems plausible that someone would be interested in extended version info, and there's plenty there to be confused about. -- David Welbourn 07:43, 27 Oct 2005 (Central Daylight Time)
  • Another thing: where will cruelty scale ratings fit into this, assuming we're trying to include them as a standard element? Icon row, infobox? -- Maga 22:01, 19 Nov 2005 (Central Standard Time)
    • I was planning for cruelty scale to be part of the infobox. An optional part, if I can figure out how to make a template do optional things. -- David Welbourn 22:10, 19 Nov 2005 (Central Standard Time)

Non-IF platforms

I'm not sure I understand this:

We probably don't want to bother adding similar categories for games that target non-major or non-IF platforms, such as Apple II, Commodore, MS-DOS, etc.

Why not? Would it waste too many kilobytes? That seems unlikely. Would it be too complicated? I can't see why.

After all, the Apple II, Commodore, etc. were major platforms in the 1980s, with lots of IF games. And it seems a bit arbitrary to me if some games are in a Category:Games by platform subcategory and others are not... Also, I think it's rather useful to see all the games released on a platform just by clicking on the "[Platform name] games" category -- maybe even especially if it was a minor platform with only a few IF games.

The only little problem I can see is that the "Subcategories" list of Category:Games could become too long. But that could be solved if the "[Platform name] games" pages were only in Category:Games by platform category, and not directly in Category:Games. (By the way, we could do exactly the same thing with "Games by genre", and create a "Games by language" subcategory for the "French games", "Spanish games", "Translated games", etc.)

But maybe there are problems I didn't think of! I had already begun to create categories, actually (I should have asked before; sorry for that!). Should we delete them, or continue? --Eriorg 10:32, 14 August 2006 (EST)

IMHO, creating new categories or pages that I either didn't think of or didn't particularly want to bother with can be seen as a vote that those categories or pages are something that is wanted. I'm not going to delete them because they don't fit some grand design of mine. However, you may well assume that my eyes rolled on seeing Category:Oric games and I asked myself:
  • What the heck is an Oric?
  • Are there any IF Oric games?'
  • Is anyone planning on authoring enough pages about Oric games that it warrants a category?
  • How likely is it that someone will actively search IFWiki for info on Oric games?
I'm perfectly willing to just wait and see on this issue. If, however, a year goes by and the category is empty, or is better served by an ordinary Oric games page (not a category), then expect deletions or revisions. Other people, of course, might not wait so long. -- David Welbourn 04:47, 17 August 2006 (EST)

SPAG Reviews

Does anything think it would be worthwhile to establish a format for linking to SPAG reviews on game pages? Here are some of the formats in current use:

Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, we should probably use a template, rather than manually linking to sparkynet. Second, we can't (or at least, it's nontrivial to) link to specific reviews on SPAG, only to the reviewed game section.

Here's my proposed format:

Would anyone prefer mention of which issue these reviews appeared in? (as in the second example three blocks up)

Here's how you'd use Template:Spag review:

{{spag review|a|aayela}} - reviewed by [[John Wood]] and [[C.E. Forman]]

Any other ideas?

--Mara 07:03, 8 September 2006 (EST)

Yes, I think it's a good idea to make this template for linking to SPAG reviews on game pages. Not only for standardization, but also because the SPAG website will probably be modified soon (see the editorial of SPAG #45)... If the web addresses of the SPAG reviews change because of that, I'd prefer to change only the template, rather than changing hundreds of links! (By the way, maybe we could also make templates for other webzines or IF reviews websites: IF-Review, SPAC, Baf's Guide, Reviews Exchange, Interactive Fiction Reviews Organization, etc. ?)
I also don't think it's really necessary to mention the issue (SPAG #xx) in links to reviews. (For links to interviews, it's different, because they're sorted by date.)
However, there's a problem: I prefer, especially when there are many links to reviews of a game (or competition), that these links are sorted by the name of the reviewer (see IF Comp Reviews, for instance). Anyway, that's better than having lots of links which are not sorted at all ! But I do understand it's not too ideal with SPAG reviews, because we can only link to the reviewed game section, with several reviewers... (Maybe it'll change with the new website? Could somebody ask Jimmy Maher?)

--Eriorg 08:02, 8 September 2006 (EST)

For now I've created Template:ifro review for IFRO reviews:
Usage: {{ifro review|328|Andrew Plotkin}}
Result: Review by Andrew Plotkin
I've also created Template:rgif and Template:raif to shorten links to r.*.i-f.
--Mara 10:33, 8 September 2006 (EST)

This all looks good to me, but I do have two cents to throw in the pot: 1) Mara, could you please point me to where I can read about <noinclude>, <nowiki>, etc.? And class="noprint"? Believe it or not, I had no idea those existed. 2) I think we need some page that summarizes, or at least lists the templates in use. If there's a way to make a Templates category, I don't know how to do it properly.

Oh, I already had an IFRO game template, but that merely links to the main game entry at IFRO, not an individual review. -- David Welbourn 13:23, 8 September 2006 (EST)

Yes, and I also think it's a good, or at least sane, idea to keep a link to the IFRO main game entry since it lists ratings, in addition to reviews. Also, by definition, the list at IFRO will be more up-to-date compared to the wiki.
On the topic of noinclude and includeonly: have a glance at this page over at Wikipedia. The funny thing is, I have no idea what it says.
Basically, text between includeonly tags is only inserted when you're viewing a page that includes the template; in other words, such text won't appear when viewing the template directly (which is why Template:Drama isn't listed under [[Category:Drama]], but pages that include the template are).
OTOH, text between noinclude tags is never inserted when viewing a page that includes the template; it's for text that's only relevant when explicitly viewing a particular template. It's usually used for documenting a template, from what I can tell.
AFAIK, class="noprint" is only useful for identifying text passages that are inappropriate for being printed to page (too unwieldy, won't fit on Letter/A4, etc.)
I can't find any documentation for nowiki, but it basically prevents Wiki syntax for being interpreted.
Listing templates: Good point. I believe putting [[Category:Templates]] between noinclude tags should do the trick. Haven't tested this, though.

--Mara 13:57, 8 September 2006 (EST)

Game stubs: top or bottom?

According to the Opening paragraph section of this style guide:

Any use of the stub template should probably go up here too.

Should it be changed? Because there's this comment in Template talk:Game infobox#Cruelty:

I think that the game stub templates should be moved to the bottom of game pages (to look a little nicer)

--Eriorg 14:49, 1 December 2006 (EST)

Yes, that was me changing my mind about that. I now prefer game stubs (and stubs in general) to go at the bottom of the page instead at the top. Sorry for the confusion. -- David Welbourn 12:36, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Games: reviews (and People: interviews)

There's a small problem with the way reviews of games (and also interviews of people) are handled. Now, reviews and interviews must be listed in a subsection of the "Links" section. This works fine for modern IF, because almost all reviews and interviews are on the Internet. But for c.1980s games, I'd like to list also reviews and interviews which were published in (paper) magazines and often aren't available on the Web at all.

I can think of 2 solutions; we could either:

  • (1) list these articles in the subsection of "Links", and just don't worry that they're actually not links;
  • (2) or list all the reviews (or interviews, for People), even the links, in a separate section just before or just after the "Links" section.

I'd prefer solution (2), although it'd need more changes to what's already done. But what do you think?


Also: we would then need to create (short) pages for these magazines, because otherwise it'd be too easy to confuse magazines with similar names (or just to have no idea at all what a particular magazine is). But could these pages be in Category:Publications? That category is about IF magazines, so I don't know if we can use it for magazines only partly about IF games. But maybe we could create a subcategory? --Eriorg 11:55, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Hm. I created a "See also" section on the 69,105 page when I wanted to add a ref to Twisty Little Passages. I suppose it makes sense for off-web references to have their own section, just before the "Links" section, I think. I'm not sure that "See also" was the best choice of section name, though. Do you have a preference for what we should call it?
Regarding the non-IF magazine references, perhaps there could be one page in the Publications category for all of them (eg: "Non-IF magazines") instead of lots of little pages? And you could just have a short paragraph for each one, with links to their Wikipedia and/or home URLs. And, for convenience, define a set of redirect pages to that page. I don't want the Publications category to lose its IF focus, you understand. But if you don't like that idea, then yes, I'd go with a Non-IF publications subcategory. -- David Welbourn 13:11, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Thank you for your answers! I quite like your suggestions about both publications and magazine articles.

For the section title, I don't like too much "See also", either: it's a bit vague. On Wikipedia, they apparently use "Further reading". Or "References", but according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference#Scholarship, "References" seems to be only for work cited in the main text, and "Bibliography" might be more accurate than "References" for what we need. But what's your opinion? --Eriorg 12:46, 3 December 2006 (EST)

I think I prefer "Further reading" from your suggestions. "Bibliography" is potentially misleading, since it can mean a list of publications written by a person as much as it can mean a list of publications about a topic. -- David Welbourn 20:13, 3 December 2006 (EST)

OK for "Further reading", then. --Eriorg 10:26, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Proposed new literary genres

I've been thinking it would be good to have more choices among the "literary genres." To that end, I created four new icons for four new genres: historical, superhero, western, and "role-playing."

Of these, I thought the first three would be especially be especially useful: historical, superhero, and western. However, I didn't want to add new genres without consulting more "senior" ifwiki people. Is adding these three new genres a good idea? Are my icons good enough?

I'm less sure about "role-playing," "RPG," "CRPG," "combat," or whatever it should be called. For one thing, I don't know if there's a consensus on how to define RPG. To me an RPG is any game involving stat-based or hit-point-based combat, but others may disagree. For that matter, maybe some people don't want the genre included.

Anyway, I'll think about this during the next week. If nobody replies in that time, I'll just add whichever of these genres I deem appropriate. But I'm opening this up for discussion in case other people have different ideas.

Here are the icons:

Historical genre icon.jpgSuperhero genre icon.pngWestern genre icon.pngRoleplaying genre icon.png

--Gregb 11:34, 29 September 2007 (PDT)

I think these new genres are a great idea!
The "historical" genre seems very useful to me. I wonder if a game about Greek mythology, for instance, should use this genre, or should we add a "mythological" genre?
The icons look good to me -- except maybe the "superhero" one.
About RPG: I don't know what the best name for this genre would be, but it still sounds useful. --Eriorg 12:08, 29 September 2007 (PDT)
I had reservations about the superhero icon too. Okay, then, here is a new attempt. It may not be the wiki's best icon, but I think it's better than the previous one.
Hero genre icon.png
As far as a "mythological" genre, I agree that mythological games aren't (always) part of the "historical" genre. So as far as I'm concerned, a mythological icon would be good. By the same token, however, I'm not volunteering to make one right now. --Gregb 14:43, 29 September 2007 (PDT)
On general principle, I support the new genres, and I wouldn't be adverse to seeing better drawn icons for some of the existing ones (especially the espionage one). Here's my thoughts, for what they're worth:
  • Historical - I don't know quite what would be meant by this genre; it's not a standard genre found in the bookstore or video store. Is Savoir-Faire historical? (It takes place in the 1850s.) Is Trinity historical? (It references historical events, sorta.) Is Varicella historical? (It's totally fictional, but has that whole feudal era vibe.) Is 1981 historical? (It's not that long ago, but is about real events.) Is Zork Zero historical? (It involves past events within the Zork mythos.) Is Fort Aegea historical? (You laugh, but a case could be made for it.) For most of these, the 'king' icon isn't the best of fits.
  • Superhero - I kinda like the first icon better.
  • Western - I like the cowboy boot icon a lot. I don't think there are that many Western games, but it's a well known genre outside of IF, so I have no objections.
  • RPG - I think this is more of a style genre than a literary one. The sword is fine, but I'd put at least one die (either 6- or 20-sided) behind it. I'd call it RPG, not Roleplaying, since in the context of IF, there isn't any roleplaying going on, really. The defining features are the stats calculations and luck of the dice roll. Examples I'd include: Jesus of Nazareth, Negotis, The Reliques of Tolti-Aph, The Quest (by Chlestron), and Beyond Zork. I would not include, say, Augustine, even though there's a combat system in it.
  • Mythological - Well, that's a subclass of Fantasy, I would guess. Again, I'm not quite sure where the line would be drawn. Is The Sound of One Hand Clapping mythological? Or Glossary (game)? Or is it just games that feature a member of the Greek or Roman pantheons?
-- David Welbourn 22:33, 29 September 2007 (PDT)
First of all, I got all these genres by looking at the ones on Baf's Guide. I found it helpful to consult that page as a reference, and also to do advanced searches for genre there.
  • Historical definition: Baf's Guide's definition of "historical" involves "an emphasis on recreating a historical period or periods in detail," thus including games ranging from Friar Bacon's Secret to 1981. Time-travel games like Jigsaw are also included. Baf's does not include Savoir-Faire, though, which I think could go either way. (The game is fantasy, but it has so many historical dates and details. But whatever.)
  • Historical icon: Well, hmm. It seems to me that most candidates for symbols of "historical" stuff would come from *some* historical period. I guess the alternative would be to have an icon of an hourglass or sundial or something representing time itself. If somebody wants to make such an icon, I have no problem with that.
  • Mythological: FWIW, Baf's has this genre too. But again, I'm not sure it's a large enough genre to warrant the effort of making an icon.
  • RPG icon: In principle I don't mind adding a die or dice to it. I'll have to see if I can come up with a layout that works; let me see what I can do in the coming day or two.
  • RPG definition: Would you include Necrotic Drift and Fallacy of Dawn? Those feel RPG-ish to me, just because they give you visible hit points. But I'm not a pen-and-paper RPG-player, so I'll defer to other people's judgments on this one.
  • Superhero icon: If you like the first one better, feel free to use that one. I don't know which I like better. But I don't plan to try a third time. I found this a hard genre to make an icon for. --Gregb 00:15, 30 September 2007 (PDT)
Okay, here is the new RPG icon, as promised. I think it looks okay. If anyone disagrees, I'd be more than happy to send my Photoshop original. But I hope you'll like it.
Rpg genre icon.png
--Gregb 10:51, 30 September 2007 (PDT)
I do like it! I'll go ahead and create the RPG and Western genres and categories. -- David Welbourn 14:59, 30 September 2007 (PDT)

IFDB

Should we add, in Links (General Info), links to the IFDB pages of the games, possibly with a template? And should we add, on People pages, links to IFDB member profiles? --Eriorg 11:15, 19 October 2007 (PDT)

The IFDB, I thought, wasn't official yet, and until it is, I don't think I can assume that the links to those pages are valid yet. The database could be reseeded and all our links to it would be incorrect. -- David Welbourn 16:42, 20 October 2007 (PDT)
But, hm. Seems that my info is out of date. (I'm in the middle of moving; I'm so far behind with IF stuff, I haven't played a single IF Comp game yet this year.) They're still in "beta", but live, huh? I guess that means it is okay to link to it. So, yes, we'll want to make templates to point to games and authors and reviewers too. I propose {{ifdb game}}, {{ifdb author}}, and {{ifdb reviewer}}. -- David Welbourn 16:50, 20 October 2007 (PDT)

General Info

To David Welbourn: in the "(Links) General Info" section of this style guide, you wrote: "We won't need to label this subsection explicitly." But more recently, I noticed you did label this subsection explicitly on game pages. Did you change your mind? Should we change this style guide about that? --Eriorg 08:56, 28 March 2009 (PDT)

  • I didn't change my mind. I felt that having an explicit "General Info" subsection name was optional. I am inclined to include it whenever I create a games page though, if only because that's how I made my games page generator program work. I guess that means I do prefer the label there. But I don't insist on it. -- David Welbourn 13:38, 28 March 2009 (PDT)

Game Article Starter

For those of us who only occasionally edit, it can be a pain to hand-build a new page when we run across a redlink, especially with all the information on this page. I ran across a game that doesn't have an article yet, so I was going to add a bit of information, only to find that the entire page doesn't exist yet. Kind of hard to deal with that on my android phone. :-J So, I came to the computer and made myself a "blank" (it includes information from this page, so there's actually more content than in most game articles) that follows the guidelines listed here. I might end up being the only one who uses it, but as it surprised me that there wasn't something similar to this already (that I could find, anyway), I added it as a wiki page. Not sure how to categorize it correctly without reducing its utility, so right now it shows up in a few invalid categories. If someone more familiar with the wiki system would like to edit it to make it work better in the larger scheme of things, I would not object. :-) The page is Game Article Starter. Firefairy 13:43, 8 March 2012 (PST)

Making of / Postmortem articles

Postmortem articles seem very popular these days, and I wasn't sure where these should go. I asked Eriorg, who felt that it made sense for in-depth, spoilery articles like postmortems to go in the Spoilers section, and I think that makes the most sense to me too. This is consistent with, for instance, David Welbourn having put the "Degeneracy" postmortem in the Spoilers section. I suppose if there were general, non-spoilery author's notes, those could maybe go in the General Info section, but personally I'd rather default to the Spoilers section so I can add the link without having to read the article and figure out if it's spoilery or not.

I've made a template for these links so that pages using them will be automatically added to the Author commentary category. bg (talk) 12:15, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Should We Replace Existing Game Infoboxes with Work Infoboxes?

David Welbourn-- is there any reason we shouldn't replace existing game infoboxes with work infoboxes? I.e. just replace "game" with "work" using find and replace or something? -- bg (talk) 22:30, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

  • Well, I'll probably do it eventually, but there's no immediate benefit to a mass change unless we're also willing to carefully replace all the instances of "image=|", "publisher=n/a|", "color=TBD|", "sound=TBD|", "graphics=TBD|", and "cruelty=TBD}}". That's a lot of changes for little immediate payoff. It's probably better for the short term to let the game infoboxes stay as they are until we need to change the page for any other reason anyway, which is what I've been quietly doing with the pages I've been adding cover art to. -- David Welbourn (talk) 01:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
If the preferred way to deal with unknown items in the new infobox is to leave them blank, then should the style guide be changed to no longer, for instance, say to write "TBD" if the cruelty is unknown?
I can probably write a fix for replace.py to automatically take care of getting rid of n/a, TBD, and unknown in the game infobox. (I'd be babysitting it to confirm each replacement.) I realize it's not high priority though. --bg (talk) 16:03, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
I would really prefer you didn't do a mass edit at this time. There's so many ways such a mass replace could go wrong and we don't even have a copy of the wiki yet and my time is running out; I wouldn't be available to help fix it if mistakes happened. -- David Welbourn (talk) 09:19, 27 June 2016 (UTC).