Sorry for the late reply, but real life quite owns me at the moment. First of all, this is great input, so thanks again.
TerokNor wrote:I can think of many possible cases where a user will most likely not know which exact GE to select.
You are right that this is a serious problem. Even more so, I think that users not knowing which GE to select may come in lesser numbers than users not willing to do the research. But nonetheless, we need such generics for the unknown technical setup case alone, so we need to deal with its outcome as well.
On the social side, if we introduce such generic GEs, they will be heavily used by people who want to enter their game releases quickly. So we kind of open the flood gates with this. But as I wrote in my blog post about the GE model, Oregami shall not become an expert-only project, so this is okay. The deeper research and use of the GE model is for the experts, and with the generic GEs, both sides may be happier.
On a crazy note, we could even turn this from a bug to a feature, and let new users choose from the generics ONLY. This way, the transition from another site may be easier, because the GE model looks familiar then to the newbie. If we recognize the newbie being ready for the next level, or he/she finds the switch all by himself, we can show him/her the rabbit hole.
OTOH,we should make it very clear from the beginning, that Oregami has some kind of a scientific approach behind it, and serious contributing to Oregami will have quite a learning curve.
Another possibility would be to make the learning curve steep by continous back and forth with an approver, with the generic GEs being kind of a last resort. But IMHO this puts too much burden on the approvers, and turns off too many newbies, so is not a good idea. And when speaking about contributors leaving, we obviously need a better way to deal with abandoned submissions than MobyGames. I don't know the current amount of days, before Moby deletes a submission sent back to a contributor, but deleting is a no-go to me. Instead, we should open up the submission for other people to take over and complete.
On the technical side, your suggestion of intoducing a HWP called "Unknown hardware" and a SWP called "Unknown software" seems good to go to me.
TerokNor wrote:Next thought: separating GEs for the same hardware by OS (i.e. "DOS PC" and "MS Windows PC") solves certain problems as discussed earlier. However, it will also lead to some bloat.
This was one of the main reasons why Iggy voted for an all-inclusive Microsoft-PC GE, spanning many, many decades of game development. I think we need to draw the line between DOS and Windows, because things have to end somewhere, and an all-inclusive GE would be too big to handle well.
But if we decide to draw this line, we need to do it with consequence, even if that means that every PC release of this time becomes a multi-platform release in our GE model. This may be bloat, yes, but imagine a user interested in the Windows platform only, and another one interested in the DOS platform only. For both, we need the distinction.
On a more general bloat note, we have similar problems with multi-platform OSs like Linux. Here we need many different GEs for every supported processor family (Linux@ARM, Linux@x86, Linux@WhatNot). So, if a game is released "for Linux", it may theoretically run on every of these Linux@ GEs. For this type of game documentation nightmare, I invented the GEGs, the Gaming Environment Groups, where we exemplary would collect all the Linux@ GEs within a Linux GEG. The user should then be able to switch his views and searches to GEG-based, taking away a lot of complexity. With a GEG, we would even be able to realize Iggy's dream of a joint Microsoft@x86 platform.
TerokNor wrote:And let me throw one really strange example into the mix: The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard. The box says "Windows 95". The game requires a 32-bit Windows (i.e. Win 95 or above) to install. Once installed, however, the game itself is 100% pure DOS (i.e. it runs in Win9x' DOS mode)- copy it to a DOS machine and it will run fine. So is this a "DOS PC" or a "MS Windows PC" game?
This is clearly a Windows game only, because it was released for this GE.
The DOS roots of this game are a case for our cross-platform compatibility model, please see the Gameboy Color example (Black/White mode) in my blog post about the GE model (quite down below). We would connect the two GEs "DOS PC" and "Windows PC" with a game-specific upward compatibility (which means that games released for Windows run under DOS under certain circumstances). Then, the users could enter DOS compatiblity information for Redguard, stating that one only needs to copy the files over to make it work.
Also, this reminds me a bit of emulator releases, where a game developed for an ancient GE is released for a newer GE using an emulator. Maybe, we even could treat such cases similar to emulator releases, because the game can only be played using the DOS emulator built into Windows after installation.
Just to give some perspective, an emulator release, in the Oregami data model, shall be connected to both the release group for the new and the old GE, so people can see that this game was re-released when browsing through the releases for the original GE. For Redguard, this would mean a new release group for DOS PC being created, although the game was never officially released for this GE.
So much for now, still thinking about the other issues.