View topic - The new download page is awful


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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 14:02 
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Joined: 28 Jul 2008, 05:51
Location: Australia
I just re-downloaded Spring and noticed the new downloads page.

My very first impression was total confusion.

I could see the installer link halfway down the page but before it really sunk in (due largely to the poor choice of OS icons) my eye was drawn to a bright green box that says:

If you just want to get ready to play, you want this:
Games Downloads

Ok, so I want to "play". Click it.

So instead of going to the time tested main installer I now get a choice of:

Gundam RTS
Kernel Panic
Spring 1944 (Outdated!)

* The first link goes straight to a win32 installer with no further explanation of the game.
* The last link is marked outdated (it actually isn't).

Then it gets worse. Below that I read:
"For more Spring games, check out the Games page. Please note that some of them will require you to have the engine installed in order to work, as well as some maps, as they don't come with their own installer."

So I have 4 choices, none of them with descriptions. One of them outdated and one pointing to yet another page of choices.

Next I have an option to download lobbies. One is not cross-platform and both come with the main installer anyway. Again no explanation of why I need either.

I also have something called 'rapid' again with no explanation except it's for "advanced linux users".

I have a final choice that apparently requires me to go back to the page I just came from to get the "engine installer".

Is it just me or is this totally fucked?

Now I know it's a wiki but before I go and get into an edit war with the people who created this page can I please have some discussion / consensus here on what we're trying to achieve.

If the aim is to get new players this page is FAIL. If the aim is to get people playing other games/mods this page is FAIL. If the aim is to totally confuse newcomers to the point they don't even bother it's WIN.

And for the record,
this is how it's done.

PS. I know there's an effort inside the community to move towards every game having its own installer but if this is how it's going to be done I have to say I'm totally against it (and this is coming from a potential game author). Has enough discussion really been put into:

a.) The extreme difficulties of maintaining cross-platform installers for each and every game when the engine itself struggles in this respect.
b.) The sheer duplication of effort and resources required to download and install multiple games via independent installers.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 15:33 
Engines Of War Developer

Joined: 09 Jun 2005, 22:39
Location: Germany, the EU
Check this out: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=23488 .

Overall, I'd tend to disagree (though the multi-routing is a bad thing, for sure).

I think it comes down to intended target audience. I think general opinion was that offering new players the barebones installer is a bad idea.
Perhaps a better solution would be for the frontpage "Download and Play" link to point at GamesDownloads (rather than the current Download page), and make the green Games-download box less prominent on the "Engine Download" page ?

The root of the problem lies deeper of course, with this site attempting to be all things to all people...

Edit: What I mean is that the sites you showcase all have a clearly defined product they're offering. At least to me, this doesn't seem to be the case for us/ springrts.com.

Edit 2: JohannesH seems to agree with you.


Last edited by SeanHeron on 23 Aug 2010, 16:29, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 15:47 
Tournaments Moderator
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Joined: 08 Dec 2007, 17:39
Location: UK - England
About the icons...
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 17:04 
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Joined: 28 Jul 2008, 05:51
Location: Australia
I was just looking at the Games page.

To be perfectly frank it makes the GamesDownload as redundant as it is awful. My proposed solution to the current mess is quite simple and elegant:

1.) Use the correct OS icons. There is absolutely no genuine legal risk in doing so. At the very worst we could be asked to desist at which point alternate icons can be used.

2.) Seperate the main downloads page into CLEAR and UNAMBIGOUS sections that explain in plain language the distinction and purpose of the engine, games, lobbies, maps and tools. Each section to provide an overview and link to specific page dedicated to that topic and available downloads. Each section MUST answer the following questions:

WHAT is it?
WHY do I need it?
HOW do I get it?

ie:

ENGINE
The Spring engine provides a foundation for developers to write Real Time Strategy (RTS) games like the Unreal and Torque Engines do for FPS games. Games written for Spring are primarily written in the Lua programming language and generally do not need to be compiled to run. This makes Spring an excellent base for cross-platform RTS development, fast prototyping and demos. Spring is licensed under the open-source GPL and is free for personal and commercial purposes.

Download the engine if you want to either develop a Spring game or play an existing game that doesn't include the engine (see Games below).

Windows
Download Stable Spring Engine For Windows (2K,XP,Vista,W7): Installer or Zip File

Linux
Linux Instructions (Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, Centos, Mandrake, Others): Source Code

MacOSX
The MacOSX port requires further development. Please assist if you can.

GAMES
A number of excellent singleplayer and multiplayer games have already been written for the Spring Engine. You will generally want at least one game to actually play or test the engine.

Game Information and Downloads


MAPS
Maps define the 3D terrain and features used in a Game. Maps are interchangeable between Games. Some games bundle a default set of maps, others require them to be downloaded seperately.

Map Information and Downloads

LOBBIES
Lobbies assist you to find games and connect with other players. All lobbies are compatible with each other and the majority of Spring Games so which lobby you chose is really a personal choice based on aesthetics, features and operating system support. Most lobbies include built-in downloading of Games and Maps.

The engine installer and some games come with lobbies included so only download a lobby if you are sure you don't have one or you are building Spring from source.

Lobby Information and Downloads


TOOLS
There are a number of third party tools to assist with playing and developing Spring games and content.

Tools Page
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 17:06 
Server Owner & Developer
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Joined: 19 May 2006, 18:13
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Imo download page is fine. Nubs wont read wall of text.

Atm its easy to find the "primary" download (engine with lobbies) - and thats all that matters.

From there they are able to get into game.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 17:13 
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Joined: 28 Jul 2008, 05:51
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I agree nubs won't read a lot of text. I suggest being concise and to the point, illustrating with images where necessary.

I couldn't disagree more that the primary download is obvious. It WAS obvious before but the bright green "Go Here to Play" message and the unfamiliar icons and lack of clear product names and definitions completely ruins it.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 17:24 
Spring Developer
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Joined: 22 Sep 2007, 08:51
i agree though, that it is bad for non-windows users, as the games page only possibly gets you to windows installers, and it is therefore bad to redirect all users there with the green box.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 18:44 
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Joined: 23 Oct 2004, 00:43
I think the problem is that the "Spring Engine Updates" download doesn't make it clear that this installs the full engine stand-alone, and if you want to go piecemeal install and fetch your own lobbies and whatnot, you should start with that.

I still think the CA team needs to bundle a stand-alone SD+Engine package. SD seems to be the most focussed on getting players from download-to-play in the least number of steps.
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PostPosted: 23 Aug 2010, 20:13 
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Yeah.
It's in todo but other devs think there is no point until pathing and other engine issues are fixed.
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PostPosted: 27 Aug 2010, 07:10 
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Licho wrote:
Imo download page is fine. Nubs wont read wall of text.

Atm its easy to find the "primary" download (engine with lobbies) - and thats all that matters.

From there they are able to get into game.


Big bright text that says "GAMES ARE HERE" isn't a wall of text and nubs will read it. You don't have to be a design genius to see that the page in its current form is sadly lacking and it's not at all clear to the nub user how to get started with Spring. Whenever I introduce someone to spring, i still have to walk them through step-by-step, it's far from self-explanatory.
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PostPosted: 27 Aug 2010, 08:58 
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What are you talking about hobo joe, are you telling me you don't actually see big bright text games are here??
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PostPosted: 28 Aug 2010, 05:34 
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Licho wrote:
What are you talking about hobo joe, are you telling me you don't actually see big bright text games are here??


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