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WV | Plot Database

Development board for ME3Explorer tools. Please try to keep discussions for each tool inside its own thread.

Re: Plot Database

Postby FemShep » 02 Apr 2016, 00:44

I'll look into adding the date column this weekend. But it's sunny out and I got new biking clothes, so I don't think I'll be near a computer too much this weekend 8-)
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Re: Plot Database

Postby Kinkojiro » 03 Apr 2016, 15:20

Just to give my 2c on this worthy endeavour. Simpler would be better.

I would drop the seperate columns for ME1->ME2 and ME2->ME3 conversions. Just have one column for ME3 units (as all ME2 are the same) and a column for the ME1 bools (which should be only ME3 (10k-17679 minus 10k) filled automatically (i.e. add a ME1 bool and it fills the ME3 column or visa versa).

The main reason is there are so many duplications. For example quite often missions have bools for "mission done", journal mission done, etc. Just because ME2 has someone who is councillor in one bool and ME3 has a duplicate in another bool is not really important. Both sets of bools should be listed under there relevant ME3 number, as this works 100% of the time with ME2 and ME1 with the exception of the filled ME1 bools. Otherwise it is just confusing. At most a note is needed saying "also duplicated at 1556".

For the categories I would stick to just one (90% of cases the mission, otherwise "Normandy", "Love interest" etc.). Then you have description, then notes. At most a second is needed if this is checked in a conversation I guess.

If we make this too complicated I suspect people won't use it. Most of the type idiosyncracies should be in the notes. If you go to use a bool then the note saying broken will be just as effective as having a column that only has a few broken bools ticked. Columns are really only useful if you want to sort on them, and I can't think of a situation that I would want to sort on a broken bool column.

Any hope this is useful. An improvement to the plot manager is very welcome.
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Re: Plot Database

Postby giftfish » 03 Apr 2016, 19:07

@Kinkojiro --

Thanks for responding I got your PM on the TM forum, but have been pretty busy this weekend :)

From your feedback it looks like we sort of have different ideas about the tool, but there's a couple things I'm a little confused about from the first part of your response.

Kinkojiro wrote:I would drop the seperate columns for ME1->ME2 and ME2->ME3 conversions. Just have one column for ME3 units (as all ME2 are the same) and a column for the ME1 bools (which should be only ME3 (10k-17679 minus 10k) filled automatically (i.e. add a ME1 bool and it fills the ME3 column or visa versa).

Not sure what you mean by the italicized statement. Are you saying you think every plot should be assigned to ME3, even when it's actually set in ME2 or ME1?

Right now we have a "Game" column that is sortable. This is nice feature to have, since it allows the modder to sort the plots by game they appear in. This takes the place of the previous tab system, and is a basic way of organizing the plots that I think is smart to retain. Right now there are about 520 plots in the default DB and I haven't even exhausted all the online resources, nor have I added many of my own. I see it entirely possible that the default DB may eventually have 5-10K entries; being able to sort by game, character, mission, etc will be important. I can't tell from your explanation if you think this column should be omitted or...?

Also, there's not separate ME1/ME3 column (see underlined text). They are the same column, which is "Game". Do you mean "row"? If so, I really don't want more than 1 row for the same plot, as that's going to get confusing. Each plot should only have a single entry (row). This is the entire reason why I decided we should implement the special 2 columns for ME1.


Kinkojiro wrote:The main reason is there are so many duplications. For example quite often missions have bools for "mission done", journal mission done, etc. Just because ME2 has someone who is councillor in one bool and ME3 has a duplicate in another bool is not really important. Both sets of bools should be listed under there relevant ME3 number, as this works 100% of the time with ME2 and ME1 with the exception of the filled ME1 bools. Otherwise it is just confusing. At most a note is needed saying "also duplicated at 1556".

I agree that not every plot needs to be added to the DB, but really, that's up to the user. If they want to add and keep track of the plots for "mission done" and "journal mission done", well, then that's their right and prerogative. I certainly won't be adding both to the default DB, lol.

However, the rest of your line of reasoning seems problematic to me. It feels like you are thinking about the tool solely from an ME3 modding perspective. So, maybe I haven't made clear that this isn't supposed to only be an ME3 modding tool. This is a modding tool for all 3 games. More modding tools are being developed for ME1/2, and we have to plan for them continuing to be developed. Therefore, the DB has to be laid out in the context of a modder using it to mod any game in the trilogy, regardless of which games they have already played and may/may not be familiar with. Basically, I don't think it's a good idea for it to be quite so "ME3-centric".

For example, your statement in italics is true for ME3, but certainly not true for ME1/2. In those cases the bool set in the game that's being modded must be the bool checked. If I create a mod for ME1 and need to check on a bool for Ashley, then I need the ME1 bool for it and not ME3's (or ME2's) version of that bool. A logical way for me to track this bool in the DB would be to search for Ashley, and then sort the results by game and focus on ME1.

Kinkojiro wrote:For the categories I would stick to just one (90% of cases the mission, otherwise "Normandy", "Love interest" etc.). Then you have description, then notes. At most a second is needed if this is checked in a conversation I guess.

If we make this too complicated I suspect people won't use it. Most of the type idiosyncracies should be in the notes. If you go to use a bool then the note saying broken will be just as effective as having a column that only has a few broken bools ticked. Columns are really only useful if you want to sort on them, and I can't think of a situation that I would want to sort on a broken bool column.

As I continue to play with the tool, I'm convinced two categories is the minimum, but I'm still considering 3 and even 4. The more columns there are, the more visible and sortable the plot data is. It also makes data entry fast and easy the more discrete things are. If we cram all the details into a single description field, that data isn't sortable at all and then we have to resort to fuller explanations.

Conversations are definitely problematic. 99% of BO and TM's modded content is outside of missions, so as I'm considering the GUI of this tool, missions are not what I'm focusing on, though they are certainly on my radar. But, it's not just convos that are the problem. There are things like Achievements. Emails. GAW. Almost everything I've mocked up so far needs a second category. Character - Shepard - Alignment - Renegade - 0+. That's a very logical way to sort the information and that's 4 columns of categories and 1 of State/Value. Or, Email - Kaidan - Grab a Beer? - 0-2. There we have 3 categories. Here's a good mission one that needs 4, as well: Mission - Stop the Collectors - Crew Casualties - 0-4. And, a convo that's not on a mission: Conversation - Sam - R2 - Paragon Interrupt.

Maybe we should try an exercise to help wrap my brain around your method. I feel like I'm not understanding the advantage, and that might just be b/c I've gotten used to looking at it in "my" way. How would you sort the above examples (using a "-" to indicate a separate column)?

My perspective is that use of "Notes" should be more of the exception to the rule. It's there if you need it, but much of the time will be empty. The more information is packed into the Notes field, the less visible and sortable it is.

There are a couple reasons I wanted "Broken" pulled into its own column:

  • VIsibility -- It's very important to know if a plot is broken, as it can't be used for modding... or it needs to be fixed, if possible. The modder needs to easily tell if something is broken. Burying it in the Notes means there's a greater chance of missing it, especially if there's a bunch of other stuff there.
  • Data Entry -- Ticking a column just makes data entry that much easier. Notes can then be provided, but don't have to be.

------

Jeez, that was a bit of a book. Sorry about that >.<
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