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snowy

Feature request: additional keyword fields in the Dark Mod mission details for mission type and monsters

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I've enjoyed many missions in TDM and I've also been able to avoid missions that would possibly frustrate me or make me quit playing. This list is heavily responsible for my great enjoyment of TDM:
http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Fan_Missions_for_The_Dark_Mod

I use that list mainly for these 2 reasons:

  1. Check the mission type so I can easily pick indoor or outdoor missions, whatever I'm in the mood for. Nice to have.
  2. Check if the mission features monsters, because I dislike combat, jump scares and I mostly enjoy the suspense of blackjacking anything that moves. Critical for me personally.

Now if I just played through missions without looking at that wiki list, I would've probably played a lot of missions with monsters and quit a lot of missions. I wouldn't have enjoyed TDM as much as I do now. Being able to identify missions I'll likely enjoy in advance really helps a lot. Sorting and filtering are nice to have, but not necessary. The Dark Mod already shows useful missions details such as "title", "author", "release date" and "size". Would it be possible to also add fields "mission type" and "monsters yes / no" there as well, only in text?

 

Maybe you'll disagree about the monster part. Just be aware that it does make a difference to a player like me. For example: I've never played and never will play beyond the first Thief 1 mission that I've enjoyed with multiple replays, because the second mission features zombies that change the gameplay I enjoy from the first mission to something I don't enjoy. I've heard there are more great missions in that game like the first mission, but that's a loss for both me as a player and possibly the campaign authors who'd want more people to play through their entire campaign unless this choice is intentional.

Obviously horror campaigns and horror missions should feature horror. But non-horror campaigns maybe shouldn't do that if they want every player to play through the entire campaign from beginning to end. I won't play through the entire campaigns of William Steele and Shadows of Northdale in sequence because of the missions with undead, even though SoN Act 1 and William Steele's the Warrens are two of my most favorite TDM missions. That's fine by me and maybe that's also fine by the authors. If that result is unintentional and the missions become serialized into a campaign someday, just be aware that these missions might become blocking for players like me.

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There’s a ‘spiders and undead’ column already in the table on the missions page. That should help.

 

Also a mission type entry.

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The "downloadable missions" list in TDM itself would be more useful if those two fields were added in the mission details, I think.

Right now I'm only using the in-game mission download list if I already know a title I want to download, which I found out about on this forum or that wiki page. Am I the only one that does that?

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its adding the fields to the gui that might be problematic although you could use icons, spider icon for spiders in mission, zombie icon for undead, sunlight icon for day mission, moon icon for night mission, cave icon for underground mission, castle icon for castle map, mansion icon for mansion map, city icon for city map, ruin icon for ruins map, trees icon for woodland map, ship icon for boat map, etc.

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I love the icon idea, since I would bet most people just use the ingame downloader :)


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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Most players (or people in general) don't read, let alone dig around on websites for information. It'd be nice to just fire up TDM and get all the info in there. I see this idea isn't new. Does anyone know what happened to this?

 

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I remember making these mockups but I couldn't handle the code alone to do it myself, here s one of them:

Entwurf15.png

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"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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1 hour ago, SeriousToni said:

I remember making these mockups but I couldn't handle the code alone to do it myself, here s one of them:

Entwurf15.png

Great! I couldn't see your mock-ups anymore, but I did see a mock-up from Springheel that looks similar and I'm a fan of this presentation.

Consensus on a design is probably the most tricky part, unless you already have that covered. I can probably help you with the code.

Edited by snowy

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The design isn't really the first thing to worry about.  What's more important is figuring out what is involved in tracking the desired* information in the mission archive.  We can discuss design after that part is accomplished.

 

*We would also need a consensus on which information to include.  Some people want to know if there are monsters ahead of time, and other people would consider that a spoiler, for example.  Right now, anyone who wants to avoid spoilers can just not visit the wiki page.  If information is going to be put on the main download page (as opposed to "more details") then that is not so easily avoided.

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Yes absolutely. I see your point with the spoilers. Just remembered I did something there back in the day. But maybe we should put the category into the sub page then. But I also would guess that most people are not aware that they should check the wiki for additional details. It's just not convenient. 


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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7 minutes ago, SeriousToni said:

Yes absolutely. I see your point with the spoilers. Just remembered I did something there back in the day. But maybe we should put the category into the sub page then. But I also would guess that most people are not aware that they should check the wiki for additional details. It's just not convenient. 

Yes, we may want to keep some information in the "more details" section, as that would be the place you would expect more spoiler-ish information.

 

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22 minutes ago, Springheel said:

Yes, we may want to keep some information in the "more details" section, as that would be the place you would expect more spoiler-ish information.

 

The wiki mission table has the most interesting information, I think. Title, author, release date, size, EFX support, series, mission type and monster info.

Beyond that, there would be the extra info usually included in TG / T2 FM missions which might not be relevant for TDM missions, such as:

  • difficulty settings (yes / no), if yes, difficulty level names and any extra information about the difficulty levels
  • equipment store (yes / no)
  • map (yes / no)
  • auto map (yes / no)
  • custom assets (yes / no)
  • multi-language support (yes / no), if yes, which languages?
  • briefing (yes / no)
  • build time
  • story
  • mission notes
  • known bugs (if they aren't fixed)

Which information do we want to include in TDM? Which of those information fields would be considered spoilers and should be moved to the "more details" section?

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I hope someone’s going to provide all this new data. As a mission author, I’m not inclined to put in the extra time to provide it for my missions. Is a player honestly going to decide whether to play a mission or not based on whether there’s a shop? Call me grumpy, but time is short, and there it is.

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59 minutes ago, snowy said:

Beyond that, there would be the extra info usually included in TG / T2 FM missions which might not be relevant for TDM missions, such as:

...

I think these informations belong only to the wiki and also only for each author who decides if he / she wants to share that kind of data. For the ingame downloader, under "more details" there still could be a category row which displays 3 attributes at max. (the author decides if and which there are max 3 entries to set). We would have to decide if we want this no-spoiler version or the "I don't have to click each mission and then go to the details to find a mission that has a bank featuring".


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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23 minutes ago, grayman said:

I hope someone’s going to provide all this new data. As a mission author, I’m not inclined to put in the extra time to provide it for my missions. Is a player honestly going to decide whether to play a mission or not based on whether there’s a shop? Call me grumpy, but time is short, and there it is.

 

4 minutes ago, SeriousToni said:

I think these informations belong only to the wiki and also only for each author who decides if he / she wants to share that kind of data. For the ingame downloader, under "more details" there still could be a category row which displays 3 attributes at max. (the author decides if and which there are max 3 entries to set). We would have to decide if we want this no-spoiler version or the "I don't have to click each mission and then go to the details to find a mission that has a bank featuring".

Springheel said we should first have a consensus on what information to include. So first we need to know what information there could possibly be. The best source for that is the oldest source, from the TTLG mission authors. This is the information they include. We can exclude all of that, if none of the TDM mission authors want any of those fields. But then at least we can say we've excluded all those fields intentionally, not because we didn't know about them.

I think separating story and mission notes could be useful if there's anything the player should know about the mission not story related.

Maybe TTLG has this many fields and potential filters, simply because they have an insane amount of missions from authors since 1998 and it's really easy to get overwhelmed when browsing through them especially for newcomers. Also notice what's missing: there's no field for a mission rating. That's been brought up a few times here. I guess they don't need that, so we don't need one either.

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4 hours ago, snowy said:

The wiki mission table has the most interesting information, I think. Title, author, release date, size, EFX support, series, mission type and monster info.

Beyond that, there would be the extra info usually included in TG / T2 FM missions which might not be relevant for TDM missions, such as:

  • difficulty settings (yes / no), if yes, difficulty level names and any extra information about the difficulty levels
  • equipment store (yes / no)
  • map (yes / no)
  • auto map (yes / no)
  • custom assets (yes / no)
  • multi-language support (yes / no), if yes, which languages?
  • briefing (yes / no)
  • build time
  • story
  • mission notes
  • known bugs (if they aren't fixed)

Which information do we want to include in TDM? Which of those information fields would be considered spoilers and should be moved to the "more details" section?

I actually don't think any of those are especially relevant.  Most would be the same for nearly every mission (98% of missions have briefings and difficulty settings and 98% don't have equipment stores or automaps), or have other issues (a mission may have a "custom asset" that became a core asset after its release). 

I think our own wiki is the most reasonable place to look for potential extra info.

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On 8/17/2019 at 3:15 AM, Springheel said:

I actually don't think any of those are especially relevant.  Most would be the same for nearly every mission (98% of missions have briefings and difficulty settings and 98% don't have equipment stores or automaps), or have other issues (a mission may have a "custom asset" that became a core asset after its release). 

I think our own wiki is the most reasonable place to look for potential extra info.

Then I think SeriousToni's mock-up is spot-on. Having a "selected for download" check, mission title, author, series, mission type and release date in the "Downloadable Missions" list. The fields about EFX and Monsters can be added to the "Read more..." section because of space, spoilers and not being primary information for selecting a mission.

I'd still separate "Story" and "Mission Notes" fields, which are now one field in TDM. Renaming "Mission details" at the bottom of the mock-up to "Story" which is primary information and a good teaser, and placing "Mission Notes" in the "Read more..." section which could contain useful information for the player and be more spoiler-ish. I'd also like to see a tiny square screenshot either left or right of the bottom "Story" field to aid the story teaser when browsing for missions. A screenshot like an image thumbnail could be very effective for mission authors to get players to download their mission.

Here's a case for separating "Story" and "Mission Notes":
VanishedOne made a mission called "In the Black". In the spoiler-ish "Read more..." section it would show that this mission features monsters: undead. The mission notes then mention that the undead can be completely avoided. Thanks to this note, I did play, enjoy and finish this mission that I otherwise would've avoided.

Edited by snowy
Added a case for separating story and mission notes
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Then I think SeriousToni's mock-up is spot-on. Having a "selected for download" check, mission title, author, series, mission type and release date in the "Downloadable Missions" list.

 

There are a few ways that this changes the existing menu:

1.  There would be no easy way to see the list of missions you currently have selected for download (you only see the "selected for download" check for the dozen or so missions displayed).  This might be a worthwhile trade-off.  (Solvable if you could sort by any of the title fields, including Selected for Download, but I don't know how hard that would be)

2.  Currently the mission names tend to have the "Series" built into the name.  I don't love that in terms of name length, but it does ensure that missions from the same series appear in sequence in the mission list, which mappers tend to prefer.  So this field would need some discussion--what percentage of missions are part of a series, and is the field worth it if the info is already in the name?

 

I actually like having the mission notes (or at least a snippet) appear on the main menu page, as it gives the player some sense of what kind of mission it is without having to dive deeper into a separate menu.  And since that text appears next to the mission when the player is installing it anyway, there aren't going to be spoilers the mapper didn't put there on purpose.

 

Quote

Here's a case for separating "Story" and "Mission Notes":
VanishedOne made a mission called "In the Black". In the spoiler-ish "Read more..." section it would show that this mission features monsters: undead. The mission notes then mention that the undead can be completely avoided. Thanks to this note, I did play, enjoy and finish this mission that I otherwise would've avoided.

 

Currently "Mission Notes" are read directly from the mission pk4, so any changes to that setup would require changing and re-uploading all existing missions.  I don't think that's likely to happen. 

 

 

All of this discussion is a bit moot, however, without confirming the following:

1.  Is there someone with the necessary skills volunteering to take on a redesign of the download menu?  I can help with the graphic design and image files, but my gui editing skills are fairly basic.

2.  Is there someone with the necessary skills volunteering to redesign the mission archive input page to store additional information?  Greebo and taaaki are the only two people who know how that works, I think.

3.  Is there someone willing to input all the new fields for our 100+ existing missions?  It's unclear how much work this would be without knowing how much extra data is being added.

4.  Are the people who currently upload missions to the mission archive willing to add this extra data each time a new mission is released?  Goldwell and Nbohrmore are the two people who typically handle that job at the moment.  This may or may not be an issue depending on how much extra data we're talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Springheel said:

2.  Currently the mission names tend to have the "Series" built into the name.  I don't love that in terms of name length, but it does ensure that missions from the same series appear in sequence in the mission list, which mappers tend to prefer.  So this field would need some discussion--what percentage of missions are part of a series, and is the field worth it if the info is already in the name?

I don't think this is handled entirely consistently even now, otherwise I'd see e.g. Shadowcursed 1: Requiem, TP7: The Lich Queen's Demise and maybe even In a Time of Need 1: In a Time of Need.

Personally I like having some indication that missions form a series, but dislike the potential for installed missions' names to become different from what's on the downloader if an author decides Stealing the Pineapple is now Fruits of Crime 1: Stealing the Pineapple.

(On a related note, I just noticed that in my installed FM list, Shadows of Northdale ACT 2 comes before ACT I because of the shift from Roman numerals.)


Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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4 hours ago, Springheel said:

I actually like having the mission notes (or at least a snippet) appear on the main menu page, as it gives the player some sense of what kind of mission it is without having to dive deeper into a separate menu.  And since that text appears next to the mission when the player is installing it anyway, there aren't going to be spoilers the mapper didn't put there on purpose.
 

GUI Design is often about how much space you're willing to sacrifice for information and how that information displayed helps the user. Imho a bigger mission list with more general information attributes is worth more than a text snippet where you can only read a few lines and then have to click "read more", thus the bigger table for maps and their attributes. But again, that was just my way of doing it. If a text snipped is still necessary, then we'd have to shorten the space for the mission table.


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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I wasn't initially a fan of the idea, as i dislike clutter, but... SeriousToni's mockup seems to be a great idea. The mission type, and the series would really be very useful additional info. Apart from that, i don't think other things are really relevant, and, as grayman has pointed out, it'd be difficult for older missions to add.

I don't think it's very important whether or not the missions contain spiders or undead (mostly obvious through the mission description anyway...), or whether or not there is EFX reverb.

Edited by chakkman
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16 hours ago, SeriousToni said:

 If a text snipped is still necessary, then we'd have to shorten the space for the mission table. 

 

I was referring to the text you already included under "Mission Changes".  No shortening would be necessary.

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4 hours ago, Springheel said:

 

I was referring to the text you already included under "Mission Changes".  No shortening would be necessary.

Ah thank you, then I misunderstood. Thanks for clearing that up swiftly. :)


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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On 8/18/2019 at 5:57 PM, Springheel said:

All of this discussion is a bit moot, however, without confirming the following:

1.  Is there someone with the necessary skills volunteering to take on a redesign of the download menu?  I can help with the graphic design and image files, but my gui editing skills are fairly basic.

I can spend at least a few hours a week helping out with coding. Writing code is both my hobby and profession.

I have a background in AI and 11 years of professional coding experience (mainly Java, PHP and some C). These last 6 years I've also worked on interactive, responsive and animated web GUIs in JavaScript, HTML and CSS and single-page web apps. I've worked on GUIs both without and with styling systems such grid systems and re-usable styling building blocks that boost productivity.

C++ and ID Tech GUI scripting doesn't look too far off from what I'm used to. Maybe the GUI script can borrow ideas from CSS systems to make design changes easier.

This doesn't have to be a one-man job.

 

On 8/18/2019 at 5:57 PM, Springheel said:

2.  Is there someone with the necessary skills volunteering to redesign the mission archive input page to store additional information?  Greebo and taaaki are the only two people who know how that works, I think.

Is the web part also under version control? If not, Greebo or taaaki might want to do this task themselves.

 

On 8/18/2019 at 5:57 PM, Springheel said:

3.  Is there someone willing to input all the new fields for our 100+ existing missions?  It's unclear how much work this would be without knowing how much extra data is being added.

I'm also okay with doing the data entry work to add new information to the 100 existing missions to help improve the TDM GUI. If it's mostly wiki data being added, this isn't that much work.

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I would appreciate if we could sort missions by release date as that's the order I try to play them

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