The messy display of multiversionlanguage releases

Posted in

#1 by yorhel
2021-04-15 at 14:45
< report >I'm talking about cases like One Night, Hot Springs: digital releases which are available in multiple languages, but where the individual translations have not all been part of the initial release but rather have been added over time. Right now we add a new release every time a new language has been added, so that we properly keep track of the release dates for each translation. But since each updated release also includes all previous languages and because multi-language releases are duplicated on the VN page, we end up with a much too long listing on the VN page. There's a few solutions:

A) Beliar has suggested to solve this problem by merging all these different entries into a single release, but with a way to specify the release date separately for each language. The release page would then look something like this and the listing would be nicely cleaned up like this.

B) A simpler approach is to just get rid of the release duplication in the listing altogether and group releases by multiple languages. That looks a bit messier, but at least it's an improvement over the status quo.

C) Even simpler yet, just get rid of the language grouping.

To be honest, I don't really like any of the solutions. My biggest objection to (A) is that is complicates release semantics quite a bit. This is most visible in the search function, i.e. what does this mean when there's a release where English was added after 2014? Or a more challenging version. The proper interpretation of a release with multiple release dates is to treat every date as a seperate sub-release, where the sub-release inherits all information from the main release and all languages from the sub-releases released on the same date or before it. I'm not confident I can update the search function to use that interpretation in a performant way, nor am I too happy with the complexity if I do somehow manage it. Querying for things like "What is the first release in the database available in English?" will also become much less obvious.

More broadly speaking, I've been wanting to somehow merge the functionality of the release tab into the release listing on the VN page, so we have a single proper overview of all releases with some filters you can apply. In that sense, option (C) with filters seems like a more reasonable approach, but it does kind of lack in terms of giving a nice and quick overview.

Just dumping this out here because I'm an Indecisive Protagonist and curious for feedback. Surely someone out there must have a brilliant idea on how to organize messy release information. :)
#2 by beliar
2021-04-15 at 15:01
< report >Why I advocate for the A solution, is because it looks visually most comprehensive to a casual user. We can clearly see the language, the date and the release. The list maintains its coherence even if there are multiple different releases, like an all-ages, 18+ and console releases.

B is another kind of mess, only it's messy horizontally, instead of vertically. The languages are not immediately apparent, and you have to spend time actually reading them. Moreover, if there are multiple different releases, it will still look messy and counterintuitive.

C looks better and is a possibility, but I personally still don't like all the flags conflated into a single point. Not sure how others feel about it.
#3 by kumiko1
2021-04-15 at 15:03
< report >Isn't the most natural way to just treat the update adding a new language translation as a patch? So you can easily see when each new language was released without adding new entries in the other languages every time.
#4 by beliar
2021-04-15 at 15:41
< report >It's not really intuitive, as a visitor to the db might think these are separate patches he needs to dl, instead of a new build with integrated new languages.
#5 by vario
2021-04-15 at 16:41
< report >A definitely looks the best if I can judge simply by this.
#6 by npzmzfg
2021-04-15 at 17:16
< report >Putting aside the complexity of the data model and potential performance issues, I am greatly in favor of (A), as it is a straight up improvement in terms of readability.

(B) and (C) on the other hand would make it harder to find language relevant information, so I am strongly opposed to those. Your own example for (B) already shows how you would need to make use of a browser search function to find all the subsections relevant to you, while VNs with a lot of distinct releases (e.g. Kara no Shoujo or Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~) would end up as one very long and hard to read list under (C).

With regards to your two search examples, I believe that part of the difficulty is that we conflate release dates and update dates. To answer what your query means, we need to clarify what you are searching for: Do you want pre-2015 releases that included English support on launch/that were later (or will be) updated to include English support or do you want releases released with/updated to include English support prior to 2015? Currently your search means the latter, both both are queries one might want to perform.

It seems to me that if can filter by release dates (which is what we have now) and by language addition dates (which I assume to include the original release date), then both of your queries become easy to express/interpret, provided that you clarify what you actually want.
#7 by naiohoras
2021-04-15 at 17:19
< report >imho I prefer C from all. with some tweaks it can look much better. I would suggest to move the language icons to the most left and perhaps add strips to differentiate between release

although, I do have another solution beside the ABC. mostly, it's the same as the current looks, but we treat the language grouping as tabs instead. here's a quick photoshop to represent how it looks link . it would be better if we can see the other releases without reloadiing the page, just simply switching the language tab.Last modified on 2021-04-15 at 17:21
#8 by barfboy
2021-04-15 at 18:52
< report >Why are you trying to change the releases? Just change the games. If everything were only released in English every time we wouldn't be in this mess.
#9 by mutsuki
2021-04-15 at 19:14
< report >go go type a go go
#10 by beliar
2021-04-15 at 19:25
< report >
Why are you trying to change the releases? Just change the games. If everything were only released in English every time we wouldn't be in this mess.
Guys, hide the infinity gauntlet! Barfboy wants to eliminate half of all VN releases!
#11 by mrkew
2021-04-15 at 19:49
< report >B and C look ultra ugly. But I expect a language/flag would not change its position if it was actually implemented, as it does in the B and C example pics. That makes it very confusing to look at, but if it got fixed, it might be better.
#12 by donkeyskin
2021-04-15 at 23:47
< report >A's release list is the most pretty but with the least inclusive language information at first glance.
B & C are the most useful but uglier.

I think C might be the way to go but it's too cluttered and we could get rid of all the in-between releases.
Maybe something like this + A's release page might be useful.

In the release list I got rid of all the redundant releases. The information I kept are the original release date and the most up to date one (in a new column), since users should be interested in getting the newest release of a particular language (& also because the previous language releases are overwritten on itch.io and Steam).
Users could also sort releases either by 'original date' or 'last updated on' column.

Since I got rid of all the in-between releases, A's release page with the information of the different languages release dates is very much needed.
So what I mean is we have only one release that gets continuously updated in such instances. In the edit page, in the language field you should add a date field for languages added after the original release date (these dates should not be typed in the 'notes' section).

On top of the release list we could also add a language filter. This way, one could be able to only show English releases with just a click if there are too many flags at first glance.

An issue with my idea happens when there are different updates in a release other than languages added (example: upgrading resolution size) :(
#13 by myopius
2021-04-16 at 04:23
< report >The current set of releases for One Night, Hot Springs doesn't align with how d3 defines a release as a product: they aren't actually multiple products, they're one product which has been updated to include more content in the form of languages. And normally, updates to releases wouldn't result in an alteration of the release date. But I understand that additional releases with fresh dates are currently the best way to alert people to many new translations in the languages they care about. To accommodate people like this, one possible solution would be a combination of (A) and (B) which eliminates all but 2 releases. The result would look like this on the VN page:
English & Japanese - 1 release for Android dated 2018-02-27
- The release page will list 2 dates, 2018-02-27 for English and 2018-02-27 for Japanese.
English & Japanese & Spanish & Korean & [etc.] - 1 release for Windows/Linux/Mac dated 2018-02-27
- Notice that the VN page only shows the earliest date (2018-02-27).
- The release page will list all the dates for each language.
- When searching for releases, or looking at Upcoming Releases/Just Released, the release will turn up multiple times for each date and language, to make sure people can notice new releases in a language.Last modified on 2021-04-16 at 07:15
#14 by beliar
2021-04-16 at 06:11
< report >Actually, Myopius, this IS the current policy. When a release received a significant update (and language addition is considered a significant update), the release is duplicated. The purpose of this thread is to change that.
#15 by myopius
2021-04-16 at 07:14
< report >@14 Bad word choice on my part; edited to clarify just now.
#16 by yorhel
2021-04-16 at 08:41
< report >From the point of view of data modelling: releases are intended to uniquely identify an exact version of a product, so that you can precisely keep track of which release(s) you have. For physical releases we're doing quite alright on that front, with the different JAN = different release policy. But for digital releases, identifying each and every version is near impossible, with every web store having slight differences and regular updates/fixes being quite common. So we're more lax with digital releases and often merge minor changes into a single entry. We don't do this for language additions as that clearly doesn't constitute a minor change, and as I mentioned before I'm inclined to keep it that way as it simplifies searching purposes. The only reason this discussion came up in the first place is because the display of such releases is a mess. Changing the data model (option A) can help with improving the display, but I believe the data model is kind of alright still, hence me looking for alternatives.

To answer what your query means, we need to clarify what you are searching for: Do you want pre-2015 releases that included English support on launch/that were later (or will be) updated to include English support or do you want releases released with/updated to include English support prior to 2015?
Releases are "updates" of a visual novel entry, in a sense, so the distinction in those questions is already handled by having separate entries for VNs and releases. By adding "updates" to releases we'd be adding a senseless third level (Visual Novels -> Releases -> Updates/sub-releases).

My screenshot of option C was indeed something quickly hacked together, I'll see if I can improve that a bit based on the suggestions in this thread.
#17 by kumiko1
2021-04-16 at 11:45
< report >
It's not really intuitive, as a visitor to the db might think these are separate patches he needs to dl, instead of a new build with integrated new languages.
Well you can call them "Update" instead of "Patch" if you want to make explicit the distinction between official updates and unofficial patches.

If anything I feel like the current system is unintuitive since people will think the VN has a bunch of different releases instead of 1 release with a bunch of updates, not distinguishing between updates and actual new releases seems needlessly confusing. I thought that was what the Patch property was for.
#18 by lucumo
2021-04-16 at 13:27
< report >Could always allow users to filter out languages. That way, they don't have to see releases they don't care about.
Also, for multiple releases there is always the option of a drop-down menu if developer/publisher, platform and medium are the same for another release of the same language. Basically, you see the initial release with an indicator that there are more releases by the same developer/publisher etc combo, you click on the expand arrow (or whatever) and the menu opens showing all other releases.
#19 by yorhel
2021-04-20 at 08:55
< report >Cleaning up and aligning the language flags does make it look pretty nice. For comparison, here's what Utawarerumono's releases look like with that view.

Before throwing this live, I'll play with a quick-select language filter so you can still easily get an overview of all releases for a single language - that's what the default view would otherwise lack compared to the status quo.
#20 by naiohoras
2021-04-20 at 09:25
< report >dat Utawarerumono's releases... why didn't you make the flags all left-aligned? it looks messy imho.

EDIT: while you're at it. can I request a screeshot of how it looks like if you remove the strips? curious if it will look better or worseLast modified on 2021-04-20 at 09:42
#21 by npzmzfg
2021-04-20 at 09:29
< report >I can't say that I am a huge fan of this change, since I think it makes it harder to read overall for games like Utawarerumono, but it could maybe be improved a bit by moving the flag column next to the platforms columns. See this quick-and-dirty photoshop of your Utawarerumono example: link

This makes the sort-order column the left-most column, which is generally what you expect, and it places the (IMO) more important information in closer proximity (language, platform, etc.), making it possible to pick out releases at a glance. While the release date information is useful, you generally do not try to find releases based on the date. And when you do, it is typically when looking for the first or last release matching some criteria (language or platform), in which case you don't actually need to see the exact date at a glance but can rely on the sort order while looking at the other columns.

The age-rating and flag columns could perhaps also be swapped in my photoshop (so you have Date, Languages, Rating, Platforms, ...), but I don't have strong feelings about that.


While you are working on this, it might also make sense to look at combining the Publishers field into a fewer number of lines. One Night, Hot Springs also exemplifies why this could be useful, since there are just two pairs of publishers accounting for 13 different languages/rows.Last modified on 2021-04-20 at 09:33
#22 by beliar
2021-04-20 at 09:49
< report >I think I'm in agreement with npzmzfg here. While also not a huge fan of this at first glance, date/language/rating/platform would be an improvement I think.
#23 by yorhel
2021-04-20 at 10:28
< report >If the primary feedback is that the column order is wrong, I take that as a sign we're getting somewhere. :D

with stripes and without. The extra language icons in the header are for quick filtering (which won't work as well if the language icons aren't aligned that way).
#24 by naiohoras
2021-04-20 at 11:01
< report >
The extra language icons in the header are for quick filtering (which won't work as well if the language icons aren't aligned that way).
I see. oh well, it looks better now with the new column order.

about the stripes, i think I prefer it without. it's just a slight difference but it looks somewhat cleaner.Last modified on 2021-04-20 at 11:02
#25 by mrkew
2021-04-20 at 11:16
< report >Always with stripes