Chris J Davis
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For my final year project in Software Engineering at uni, I've decided I'm going to design and produce a piece of software that not only stores information about users' collections, but also keeps track of win/loss statistics for each player in a particular gaming group and can even recommend games based on past performance and preferences of players who have turned up to the gaming session.

So I have a survey below regarding what users might want from such a piece of software. The questions are quite open, so please feel free to discuss and respond to them in any way you see fit. All responses are greatly appreciated!

1) A primary function of the software will be to simply catalogue a player's collection of games. Regarding this area of the software:

- what information about a game do you think it would be important to keep track of in the software? Obvious items would be the game's title, typical playing length and the number of players it accommodates. Are there any others you feel would be important?

- it may be possible to allow the software to import a BGG user's collection from the BGG database. Do you feel this would be an essential function for the software to have, or would you still be happy with the software even if you had to enter collection details manually?

- the software will be designed for use on desktops/laptops (as opposed to mobile devices); do you feel it would be important to allow functionality for multiple users, or would one user per installation be sufficient? Are there any multi-user functions you might find desirable?

2) Another function of the software will be to keep track of players' wins and losses and generate statistics reports. Regarding this area of the software:

- Apart from the basic numbers of games won and lost, what other statistics would you find it interesting for the software to report on? For example, "percentage of games won with a weight of X or higher", "number of games won where player Y was also playing". What kinds of reports would you like to see?

3) The software will also be capable of suggesting games to users based on the players present at the current gaming session. Regarding this area of the software:

- What factors would you like to see the software make ranked suggestions based on?

- Of the above factors, which should be "hard" limits (factors the software cannot contravene, such as player numbers and playing time), and which should be "soft" limits (factors the software will use only to determine game recommendation ranking)?

- Is there any other functionality you would like to see in this area of the software?

4) Finally, some questions about other similar software you might have used:

- Is there anything you have seen in other similar software that you have used that you have particularly liked and think should be included here?

- Is there anything you have seen in other similar software that you have used that you have particularly disliked and think should be excluded here?

- Is there anything that you feel has been missing from other similar software up until this point that you would like to see included?

- Are there any other functions you think might be interesting to include, or any other comments that you would like to make about the project in general?

Many thanks to anyone who helps by responding!

Chris.
 
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Flying Arrow
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming
Re: University Final Year Project - "Game Tracker" - some questions on user requirements...
If you want the software to actually be used, importing a user's BGG collection is a must.
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FlyingArrow wrote:
If you want the software to actually be used, importing a user's BGG collection is a must.


Absolutely. If you imagine a gamer with a decent collection is going to bother duplicating all that data just to mimic features already on BGG, you're wrong.

What I want is to record in better ways what I did and did not like about a game. I frequently play unusual games and there's some aspect I like and want to try that game again, but under different circumstances. For example, with more or fewer players. Or for example, with players that like blind-bidding or whatever.

There's a gap in my appreciation of my games, and BGG doesn't fill that gap. The gap is a nuance in why I liked or disliked a game. It's easy to recall games I hated on first play and never want to touch again. And it's equally obvious which games I love and will play again anytime. It's that middle ground where I liked it but am not sure why, or liked some aspect of it, or liked the game but not with those people.

I want to have a different form of metrics to record against a game. But I cannot put my finger on what those metrics would be. But the output would be to remind me of games I want to play again, but under different conditions. When those conditions arise, it should say, play game X or Y but not Z.

Cheers,
Jon.
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Also, it must be drag and drop. I am fed up with keyboards and typing and drop down menus. I'd like a group of nuances around the game and drag and drop them against the game. So things like Play Again Soon, or Play With 4 Players, or Don't Play With Newbies. User-defined nuances. Maybe have a Yes place and a No place on the game to drop. So the nuance is Play With Newbies and I can drop it on Yes or on No. Maybe some nuances can be dropped on both.
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Dicky P
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I'll think on this a bit more for other items but one thing which would be really good to have on the statistical side is some sort of ELO ranking for each player/for each game, and which deals properly with multi player games and perhaps some weighting on points differentials..

Import from BGG is a must (perhaps also data import from other spreadsheets/csv files).

Good luck

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Chris J Davis
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EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Also, it must be drag and drop. I am fed up with keyboards and typing and drop down menus. I'd like a group of nuances around the game and drag and drop them against the game. So things like Play Again Soon, or Play With 4 Players, or Don't Play With Newbies. User-defined nuances. Maybe have a Yes place and a No place on the game to drop. So the nuance is Play With Newbies and I can drop it on Yes or on No. Maybe some nuances can be dropped on both.


I'm afraid this will probably be a little outside my ability. I have no great specialisation in GUIs, so the program will be written using standard Java Swing elements which, unfortunately, means text boxes and drop-down menus.
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Nathan Ramsay
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I've labelled my answers to match your paragraphs.

1.1. The question is, what do we want to remember about the games we played. The answer is our rating out of 10. That's the only thing we have time for and the only thing that's simple enough, with getting into specific game mechanics.

1.2. Yes it would be essential tiport BGG info. Gamers spend hours building heir BGG portfolio, and they won't want to replicate that for your program.

1.3. One-user-per-installation would cover 97% of the people who use BGG.

2.1. If you already have win and player stats, then there is no end to the types of stats you could show us ... as long as they're sorted to show us the best or worst. I would like to see the top 10 in these categories: opponents who crush you, opponents you crush, games you rock at, games you suck at, games you love but suck at (i.e ones that I rate 10 but have low wins), games you love and rock at, games you hate but rock at. In all occasions, when listing the games you should see more stats than you ask for (e.g. if I'm listing all my top 10 rated games I should also see my win/loss ratios so that I cna pick trends).

3.1. Face it, this question relies on filling out too much info about games played. Most people I know rate the game and record their wins/losses.

3.2. This means the only hard limits should be your ratings of games. If I rate a game as a 10/10, then I should be recommended 10/10 games from other people who rated this game 10/10. Personally, I can predict whether I'l like a game based on: co-op, num of players, time, BGG rating, and mechanics ... but tabulating these attributes and getting people to type them all in would be too hard.

4.1. I make my own excel sheet to record games, as it's simple and customisable.

4.2. In BGG, you have to search for each game individually, to add a "play". I would much prefer a spreadsheet view where you can list many new plays simultaneously.

4.3. Just good varied stats, like those mentoined in 2.1.

4.4. No.

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Alessio Serafini
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yo Chris,

I would say that one thing I find lacking in BGG otherwise excellent game collection database is a field to report customised information about a user's copy (e.g., "rules missing, replaced with colour printout", or 1 red cube missing, still playable, that sort of thing)

I use the Comments field at the moment, which is not quite the proper one

I know it's incredibly anal-retentive, but we're talking "collectors" here...

also, I wish there were a field about location (my games are spread over 6 rooms, 3 houses, 2 countries...)
 
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- Sleeves: which you can use / which you use.
- Attach/store pdf of the rules, faq etc.
 
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Lloyd
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- what information about a game do you think it would be important to keep track of in the software? Obvious items would be the game's title, typical playing length and the number of players it accommodates. Are there any others you feel would be important?

Rather than how many it accommodates, I'd rather see how many it is best with/recommended with.

- it may be possible to allow the software to import a BGG user's collection from the BGG database. Do you feel this would be an essential function for the software to have, or would you still be happy with the software even if you had to enter collection details manually?

Port or nothing. The ability to port multiple users' collections would be massive as you can then use it to determine what games they should bring with them, based on the preferences of who will then be gaming.

- Apart from the basic numbers of games won and lost, what other statistics would you find it interesting for the software to report on? For example, "percentage of games won with a weight of X or higher", "number of games won where player Y was also playing". What kinds of reports would you like to see?

Pretty much what Nathan said above. Also, hidden things (like video game achievements), so if I've lost 5 times in a row to someone and the. Log a win, I get a pop-up saying 'Achievement - Streak broken' or somesuch.

- What factors would you like to see the software make ranked suggestions based on?

Exclude games ranked below x by any players present. Rank by mean rating. Ability to exclude specific mechanics/themes.

- Of the above factors, which should be "hard" limits (factors the software cannot contravene, such as player numbers and playing time), and which should be "soft" limits (factors the software will use only to determine game recommendation ranking)?

Mechanics/theme soft. All others hard.

- Is there any other functionality you would like to see in this area of the software?

Ease of use/speed. If it takes more than 40 seconds to log a play, winner (& location), then I probably won't use it.
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