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.

RSS Feed

Previous | << 1 2 3 4 5 6 >> | Next

23 September 2009

One-click sorting: IFDB finally gets with the 90s: The sorting controls on pages with sortable lists now refresh the page immediately, rather than waiting for you to click Go. (The Go button is still there for the benefit of older browsers that don't support this.)

"Show All" for long lists: In most cases where a list of results is displayed, such as search results or the list of reviews for a game, the site normally breaks up a long result list across several pages, with controls to navigate through the result set. For very long lists, such as browsing the whole database of games, this is essential, since otherwise the page would be unusably huge. For mid-sized lists, though (up to a couple hundred items, say), it's often more convenient to see the list all on one page. Most of the result lists now offer a "Show All" option to do just this. When it's available, this new button is displayed alongside the existing page navigation controls.

Exclude a rating from the average: A new review-writing option lets you omit your "star" rating from the game's average rating display. Your rating will still be shown alongside your review, but it won't be counted when the game's average rating is calculated. This is useful when you want to include a rating as a quick indication of your overall impression of the game, but when you don't think it's appropriate for your rating to count toward the game's total score. For example, suppose you've played an older version of a game that you thought was too buggy, and you're aware that the author has since released an update that supposedly fixes a lot of bugs. You might not think it's fair in this case to weigh down the game's average rating with your negative impressions from the early version, so you might choose to exclude your rating from the average.

Reviews of old versions of games: A new reviewing option lets you specifically mark your review as referring to an older version of the game. If you check this box, the system will simply add a note when your review is displayed saying that the review is for an older version. This is useful every so often when you're aware that the game has been updated since you played and you want to alert readers that your review doesn't take the updates into account.

See who's played a game: Each game's page now displays the number of members who say they've played the game, and how many wish lists the game is on. This information is displayed in a little sidebar box on the right side of the page, with the Download and RSS boxes. You can click on the listing counts to see a list of members who played or wish-listed the game (and have made their play/wish list public, of course).

Game license type search modifier: You can now search games by license type, using the license: search keyword.

Downloadable game search modifier: You can now search games by whether or not they're downloadable, using the downloadable:yes|no search keyword. A game is considered downloadable if it has at least one download link in its listing that's marked as a playable version of the game. This search is helpful if you're looking for a game to play and you want to exclude commercial games that can't be downloaded. It's also useful if you're specifically looking for a particular commercial game and you want to exclude any freeware games with similar titles.

Negative search modifiers: You can now perform a search that excludes items that match a modifier keyword. To do this, just put a hyphen "-" in front of the modifier keyword. For example, to search for games with any license types except "commercial" and "demo", you'd enter -license:commercial -license:demo into the game search box.

Sort games by rating count: When searching or browsing games, you can now sort the list according to the number of member ratings each game has. (This was previously possible when you explicitly searched by number of rating using the "#ratings" search operator, but these sorting options are now available all the time.)

Publication date display: The Game Details section for a game's home page now includes the full publication date for a game (with month and day), if it's available. In the past, only the year was displayed. (The Edit Game form lets you enter a full date or just a year; the latter option is to accommodate older games whose exact publication dates are unknown.) The Edit form, by the way, has a related minor upgrade as well. In the past, if you did exercise the just-a-year option, the system acted as though you'd entered January 1 of that year. Now, it actually distinguishes between full dates and year-only dates - e.g., it treats "1990" and "1-Jan-1990" as distinct entries now.

Publication date sorting: When searching or browsing games, sorting by earliest publication first now sorts games with unknown publication dates to the end of the list. This makes it easier to find the earliest published games.

"Not Interested" lists: There's a new checkbox on each game's page that lets you say that you're not interested in the game. This is the opposite of the Wish List checkbox; it tells IFDB (and other members) that you're aware of the game but aren't interested in playing it. The main point of this isn't to cast aspersions on the game. Rather, it tells the recommendation engine to exclude the game from its suggestions. It indicates that you've already looked at the game and decided that you're not interested, so there's no need to help you "discover" it through future recommendations. As with your Played List and Wish List, you can control whether or not your Not Interested is publicly viewable, via the Edit Profile page.

Hyperlinks in reviews, game descriptions, profiles, etc: You can now freely use active hyperlinks (<A HREF="target"> tags) anywhere that the system accepts HTML formatting codes. This applies to most of the longer text fields, such as the main text for a review, game description, user profile, or comment. Hyperlinks have been intentionally disabled til now out of concern about spam. Now that IFDB has been on-line a couple of years, though, it looks like those fears might have been overblown, so we're going to try enabling links to see what happens. Note that you can only use simple HREF links to http://, ftp://, and similar targets. To prevent malicious code insertion, no javascript links are allowed, and no other <A> tag attributes besides HREF are allowed.

Recommended List editor improvements: Creating and editing Recommended Lists is now faster and easier, thanks to some enhancements to the editor. The editor now uses a javascript popup for selecting games as you add entries to the list. This is quicker and more intuitive than the old process, which involved going through a separate confirmation page to select the games you intended from a list of matching titles. The new game selector uses the full IFDB search engine, which is better at finding the right matching title than the old list editor's stripped-down search function. The new editor is also more compact visually, and faster to load, thanks to the elimination of the game cover art while editing the list.

14 January 2009

Accessibility improvements: We've made a few small changes to improve accessibility for sight-impaired users. In particular, some of the input controls that were formerly operable only via the mouse can now be accessed with the keyboard. Some of the changes are automatic, but a few require alternative versions of the controls, which you'll have to specifically select through your profile preferences. To do this, go to the Edit Profile page, scroll down to the Display Preferences section, and check the box labeled "Use accessible controls". (Currently, the only control that varies according to the accessibility setting is the "Star" control for entering game ratings. In accessible mode, this uses an ordinary drop-down list rather than the roll-over star image that's used by default.)

Previous | << 1 2 3 4 5 6 >> | Next