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Topic: Hey guys, my project the vgdb (Read 5001 times) previous topic - next topic

  • Radnen
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Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Guys, so I've been off and on for the past two weeks because my brother and I came up with this crazy idea of creating an online database of video games. Sure there are similar sites out there but we feel that they don't do gaming culture justice. So, my brother and I set out to use the latest web technologies to try and make it happen. Here is our current progress report.



We believed that presentation, readability, performance, and navigability are key. So, I implemented a breadcrumb, the ability to view games by series, game identities via a 180*180 sized tile that represents the game, and so on. What I wanted was to personalize the vgdb to each individual game, and to you. The website is going to be heavily media-driven and I'll need all the space I can get to store the data. I'm expecting to use 80GB';s by the first year and 512GB's by the end of it's third or fourth years. It doesn't sound like a lot, but god knows how it will be used by it's members, I can easily see terabytes of space once user screenshots and videos are added to the mix (hopefully sites like youtube can reduce the load).



The end result can be spectacular. This website was not made for older browsers. It is however fully responsive and can work on mobile smart phones.



The site is still largely incomplete, there is just so much to work on it can get overwhelming. Each game page is specially curated, and I'm hoping on making tools for the community so people can get their hands dirty in editing the content. I didn't decide to use a CMS because I wanted full control over the data and how it gets processed, plus I'm running a different stack utilizing a different set of technologies.



If you are web-knowledgeable then here is where things get interesting. The website is ran in pure JavaScript. There is no PHP, .NET, or Java to speak of. It's a server stack called the MEAN stack. That means I use these technologies: MongoDB for the database backend which basically stores items as JSON. The benefit of this is that the data can be stored however you want. (Don't worry it's schema-able, so I can define a normalized data structure for each document collection). E is for Express the Node-ran Server side routing engine. This allows me to define a RESTful Api for data modification and collection by the client. A is for Angular a client-side templating engine. Now, don't get worried about that, in fact Angular is good for sites like this whose content often changes and is loaded in dynamically. A client-side templating engine means less overall html is loaded all the time, and less work that has to be done. Also, Angular makes sure there is a very small template to load, and all of the rendering logic happens on your computer, which is peanuts to render rather than the server to render for everybody (even with caching!). And finally the server is Node.js. Yep, for better or for worse this is what a pure-JS setup looks like. There are no hits casting between some other language and JS, by keeping everything to one lean setup I'm hoping the site can be fast, responsive and most importantly scalable. All these technologies claim to be scalable, and I'll try to put that to the test.

I'm hoping to someday run a kickstarter, but I'm uncertain. My father wants to me to get a job, but what if... this becomes my job? I was hoping to add features to it so at some point a user can have a power-account that grants them access to more features/increased bandwidth for uploading screenshots or videos of their favorite games and even get featured on games pages. It's still a long ways off, but what I'm hoping is that my prototype (designed by my brother, and coded by me) will get us somewhere. Plus ad revenue, that's always a consideration (even if disliked).

You can't demo it right now, it's on localhost and I don't know of a web service right now that I can trust and run both my custom server setup and host my data. I'm likely going to run my own server, or when the time comes to find a home for it (meaning I'll need to factor in external server costs). So, tell me what you think? Am I going crazy???
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #1
Well, it really looks slick! No joke, it looks really nice. Makes me want to click the links on the image.  ;D

So this is like an online game encyclopedia?

How detailed will it be for each game? I'd assume somewhere between a cursory explanation like Wikipedia and something like Game Faqs?

Is this focused on documenting a game, or about the culture and influence of it (again, I assume some combo of the two)?

Can anyone submit a game, or edit/update a game's information?

The biggest issue I could imagine is the shear level of information needed for a site like this. When I see a site that claims to be a database of info for something I'm interested in, but I can clearly see it's really incomplete (even if it has the info I was looking for), I mentally write it off. A lack of information can be catalytic, people don't want to browse sparse sites, even if they would look at all the same pages on a fuller site.
  • Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 05:25:37 am by Flying Jester

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #2

So this is like an online game encyclopedia?


Yes. It's also mobile friendly, which other video game related hubs strictly are not.


How detailed will it be for each game? I'd assume somewhere between a cursory explanation like Wikipedia and something like Game Faqs?


As much or as little, the default game submit form has whatever's needed for a fairly decent quick-look, but then can be further edited on the games main page.


Is this focused on documenting a game, or about the culture and influence of it (again, I assume some combo of the two)?


A combo of the two. I want people to visit the vgdb the same way they visit imdb: resolving a dispute, trivia, polls, trailers. Basically an honest to goodness hub of all things gaming with a slight emphasis on preserving gaming's history.


Can anyone submit a game, or edit/update a game's information?


The submission process has layers to it. A member can submit a game page to be reviewed, and once accepted would get passed on to the site as an entry. If the demand raises it becomes full-blown wiki-like editing without a review process. If someone sabotages a page it can be locked and fixed by a moderator. Admins have full control over each page and are in essentially edit mode all the time (which of course can be toggled).


The biggest issue I could imagine is the shear level of information needed for a site like this. When I see a site that claims to be a database of info for something I'm interested in, but I can clearly see it's really incomplete (even if it has the info I was looking for), I mentally write it off. A lack of information can be catalytic, people don't want to browse sparse sites, even if they would look at all the same pages on a fuller site.


I'm really hoping the community helps with that! I don't want there to be much of a barrier of entry to edit game pages. Maybe initially but once I flesh out further the editing features, really anyone can edit a game page.

The historical content can be edited freely by anyone, however media such as images and movies must be curated by a higher-level dev team (for now). I can't have anybody adding images anywhere... I really don't know how Wikipedia can keep so, so much content in check! It must be nightmarish. But once many mods get added hopefully some editing restrictions will subside and proper content management can occur, but that's still a long ways off. The site is basically in alpha 0.0.1!

BTW, those screenshots also don't show you the animations (no we didn't get carried away with them, the animations are minor and make the site seem more rooted).
  • Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 06:22:26 am by Radnen
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  • N E O
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #3
As a web developer myself, I'm a huge fan of leveraging existing technologies to make awesome websites like this happen! If there was a way I could be involved in the future I'd love to talk with you about it.

To play devil's advocate for a second, though, what would set this apart from a site like the museum-like MobyGames or wider scope game sites like IGN or GameSpot? If those sites spent the time and money to refresh their interfaces for a cleaner, more modern user experience in any way similar to your plan, why should someone visit a site with the (admittedly WAY easier to remember) name of VGDB that currently has no history or reputation but a lot of similarities and may attempt to combine the functions of Moby, IGN/GameSpot, possibly GameFAQs and one or two other pretty well known game sites? Is it the centralized aspect of it? The curation (apparently Chrome's dictionary doesn't like that word) aspect? The massive scope? The IMDB-like functionality that other sites don't yet seem to have (except maybe Bitmob/GamesBeat)?

Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #4
Perhaps no reputation isn't a bad thing. I've always considered MobyGames very sparse, difficult to read, and hard to navigate. GameFaqs is awesome, but it tends to not have too much cultural and influential information. Of course, sometimes I see quite the opposite form GameFaqs. And I have never really used MobyGames, just because of how I perceive it. Maybe it's changed? I don't know, I never gave it a second chance.

I would say a wider starting scope is of benefit. If it turns out that one aspect is more valued later, then in a generative site like this, that will likely become the most substantive feature.

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #5
GameSpot doesn't... scale too well to the mobile phone even with their new layout. True, a bigger company can do it to their existing database, but they aren't. Secretly I wouldn't mind say, if CBS interactive acquired us like they do half the sites mentioned (GameFaq's, Metacritic, GameSpot, GiantBomb to name a few). I think a lot of ideas usually get stopped because it's always these little issues like "someones beaten us to it! It's better over there, it takes too much time", I think to be successful it first has to be done, and done well. I don't want to quit, quitting is for those who aren't successful. If every idea was shut out because of some wimpy excuse we'd get nowhere as a society, I feel this is something that ought to be done... If I can do it.

Even those services I listed have incomplete game info, making Wikipedia really the one and only true games resource... which is fine, but really? That's all there is out there? A comprehensive easily readable, mobile friendly, with a low barrier of entry games catalogue is sorely missing on the internet. I hope to fill that niche and fill it right.

We are obviously more than some of the other so-called games database sites out there which are basically a single search bar. Imdb isn't just some search bar and neither will the Vgdb.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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  • Mooch
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #6
This...could be big. If you get a decent host, and some advertisements going, you could be poised to make some major scratch.

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #7
So guys, vgdb.com is a domain name that's already taken. They also call themselves the video games database, but their site is not up, and I don't know who owns them or if it's more than just some hobby site.

I was thinking that I could suggest some names and see what you guys think. Well, here it goes: (these all have valid .com domain names)

1. thatgamedb.com
2. thatvideogamesdatabase.com
3. thegamersdatabase.com
4. thegamingcoalition.com
5. videogamingdb.com
6. vgencyclopedia.com

That's it! If you have a winning recommendation you'll get 10% of the company (kidding... maybe depends how good).
  • Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 01:14:27 am by Radnen
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #8
I vote for videogamedb.com!

Can I have one share?  ;D

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #9
Flying Jester, that name has already been taken: http://whois.net/whois/videogamedb.com

I realized blank pages can be misleading too so I went to a proper domain checker to see if the actual name has been registered or not. And dang did I realize there were just so many sleeper sites out there.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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  • DaVince
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #10
This is crazy, but it might also just be what the gaming community need right now. Make sure to think long and hard about what features will really set it apart; what will make people want to use it more than anything else. For example, like how you can have discussion and progress tracking on games on Gamefaqs (though they don't do it particularly well). Make sure there's something really unique, really useful, to prevent it from becoming "just another games database".

Design is pretty awesome, by the way. Hope you'll have a light variant on it at some point, too.

Also interesting that you're using JS, JS and more JS. Does the site still at least function in some way or another if scripts are disabled, though? Or heck, does that even matter much in this day and age? (I guess it does; people using NoScript deliberately for their own safety and stuff)

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #11

Also interesting that you're using JS, JS and more JS. Does the site still at least function in some way or another if scripts are disabled, though? Or heck, does that even matter much in this day and age? (I guess it does; people using NoScript deliberately for their own safety and stuff)


Impossible sadly, only less than 2% have JS turned off and Angular needs to be on as well as other things like jquery. I cannot continue creating the website with NoScript in mind; it simply would not work. So, sadly I'll have to throw up a banner if you have js turned off, because JS is needed.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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  • Rahkiin
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #12
It seems the forums don't like me and hide MANY unread.... oh wait. It seems I had general topic collapsed :/

First, the design looks very very nice!
And I would really love an IMDB for Video Games. And then make it like IMDB too: so good searching, list of reviews, polls, lists, Wishlists, New releases, future releases, and star ratings.
You really NEED 'related video games' (data mining required).

Also add social stuff (Twitter,Facebook G+) and links to Steam, XBLive, and so on. Maybe some of them even have APIs to pull some data. (If the license allows that) to create game pages with nearly no content.
I think it is better when I would find a game on it but with no icons, screenshots, ratings or any other metadata, than to Not find the game at all.

About the domain: try to contact the owner of the domain and ask what their plans are and see if you can buy it. Talk about how bad/sad it is for the internet to have empty domains and do not talk about making money of the domain. Tell them you are hobby-ist so they don't go asking millions.
I once wanted to buy jarvix.com, and they called me for an offer of 500,000$ lol.

Good luck!

  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #13

Also add social stuff (Twitter,Facebook G+) and links to Steam, XBLive, and so on. Maybe some of them even have APIs to pull some data. (If the license allows that) to create game pages with nearly no content.


Yeah, I wanted to add a metacritic thing, but I don't see a public license to do so anywhere. Some sites will charge you to use them as a middleman to metacritic's api. So, I'm not certain about all that. :/
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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  • Radnen
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Re: Hey guys, my project the vgdb
Reply #14
So... I have a day job now and have no more time to get back to this. Let's just say this project helped me get that job. :P

So, I don't know what will come of it anymore.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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