New Features on IFDB

This is a summary of recent additions and changes to the site. The list isn't comprehensive - we report only the more visible and significant changes, so you might notice some minor changes from time to time that aren't reported here.

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5 December 2008

External reviews redux: Last year, IFDB added the ability to link to game reviews on other IF-related sites, such as SPAG. Users requested this feature because it makes IFDB game listings more complete and generally makes for a more connected and integrated community of IF sites. However, it's come to our attention that some users come to IFDB primarily for its member reviews, and find the off-site links distracting. IFDB now offers a customization option to control if, when, and how you see the off-site reviews. On your Edit Profile page, in the Display Preferences section, you'll find a new Off-Site Reviews option. You can move the external reviews below the Member Reviews section, you can collapse them to mere links, and you can hide them entirely. Or you can keep the default, which leaves everything as it was, with the off-siters listed among the other Editorial Reviews. (Baf's Guide and From The Author reviews are still special, though: they'll still appear in the Editorial Reviews section at the top, regardless of your off-site review setting.)

10 October 2008

Polls: One of the original IFDB features was the Recommended List, which lets you publish lists of your favorite games, to help other people with similar interests find games they'd enjoy. IFDB has a new feature that lets you turn the tables. The new Poll feature lets you ask everyone else to offer suggestions for games you'd enjoy. You just describe what you're looking for, and then other members can vote for games that they think match your criteria.

22 June 2008

Style sheet graphics: The style sheet system now lets you customize most of the graphics on the site, including things like the "star" icons and the various form buttons. You can upload these sorts of graphics to IFDB and then refer to them from your style sheets.

10 June 2008

Style sheets: You can now create and share style sheets to customize the way IFDB looks. You can select a style sheet in your profile so that IFDB has your custom look every time you log in.

Rating-less reviews: You can now write a review without providing a "star" rating. This lets you share your thoughts on a game even if you don't want to affect its overall rating score (for example, because you haven't played enough of the game to feel you can assign a fair rating, or because you're reviewing an out-of-date version).

13 April 2008

Random lists: It's sometimes fun to browse through the database randomly, on the off chance of stumbling upon a really interesting game that you'd never have thought to look for. There are a couple of new tools for doing this. First, the regular Search page now has a "Random Order" option in the sorting controls - this lets you get a random sampling of games matching any search criteria. Second, for a really quick and effortless peek at some random lists, there's a new button on the IFDB home page for "10 Random Games", which gives you just that. And when you get to the 10 Random Games page, you'll see more links for more random lists - 10 random high-rated games, 10 random unrated games, and several others.

New rating analysis tools: The Search page now lets you search and order results by the Standard Deviation of the member ratings for games. (Standard Deviation is a statistical measure that basically tells you how closely grouped the ratings are. A low deviation means that all the ratings for a game are tightly clustered near its average rating, which implies that people largely agree. A high deviation means that the ratings are all over the place, implying that opinions on the game are more polarized.) The Search Help explains how to use this feature. The search results also now show the number of ratings for each game whenever the search terms include the "#ratings" (number of ratings) or "ratingdev" (rating standard deviation) criteria.

27 November 2007

Spoiler markups: In reviews, the new <SPOILER> tag lets you mark portions of the text as spoilers. When the text is displayed, the spoilers will be hidden and replaced with a button saying "Spoilers - click to view." Readers can reveal the hidden text clicking the button.

RSS Feeds: The "New on IFDB" list of recent updates is now available as an RSS feed. Just click the "RSS" link in the New section of the IFDB home page.

There's also a separate feed available for each game's reviews - this is linked on the game's home page. Authors might be interested in subscribing to these feeds for their own games, so that they'll be notified whenever a new review appears.

25 October 2007

External reviews: You can now add links to off-site reviews for games listed in IFDB. The link can include a star-rating and a summary, for display on the game's IFDB page.

Author profile links: Games can now be linked to their authors' IFDB profiles. Linking a game to an author profile automatically includes the game in a new list of authorship credits in the author's profile.

Full new-item history: If you want to see more than just latest few additions to IFDB, you can now go back as far as you want. Just follow the "see the full list" link in the "New on IFDB" section of the home page. (Also, Recommended Lists are now included in the news feed.)

Image copyright labeling: You can now enter copyright information when uploading an image. This is optional, and we've tried to make it as effortless as possible by providing pre-set options for the typical cases. The reason you might want to include the information is that some viewers might want to know how they can re-use an image.

Delete a game listing: You can now delete a game page, provided that you created it, that no one else has edited it, and that it doesn't have any reviews or Recommended List references. This makes it easy to remove a page that you added in error - the most common such situation is that you discover shortly after adding a game that there was already another listing for the same game.

16 October 2007

Original beta launch: I announced the site on the IF newsgroups (rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction).

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