Advanced Rating – How to get the feeling of a game

Video game developers from EA, Valve and Blizzard to Bluehole inc, strive, day and night to make the best video games they can. The increasing complexity of video games not just in terms of technological advances but also a rapidly evolving industry is a major contributing factor to some big-time flops we see every now and then. Of course we see technical issues on release, bugs, server-side down-time but more often than not, the game’s content will miss the mark.

To a creative artist, developer or animator looking to better themselves, where are the references? Where is the list of successful video games where “animations” played a key part? You couldn’t gain such deep information in single score out of 100. We have an opportunity here.

Those who remember our previous “Advanced Rating” system will know it was far from perfect. Instead of rating the game with a single number, you could rate specific aspects out of 10; Graphics, Music etc. We scrapped it for no other reason than it cluttered the page and didn’t produce any real quality data, however, the feedback we got suggested there was a need for something more than just a single number rating. So imagine, how could we make this better, how could we improve on what was there before. We could add more data types; “Soundscape”, “Number of bugs”, “Replayability” but these options wouldn’t suit every game and would therefore produce a skewed rating.

Old prototype showing sliders

In this discussion, our glorious members & keepers discussed their vision of the rating system and commented on the prototype demonstrated above. One concern was that if a user was able to submit new “things” to rate, it would get out of control. One way around this is to make submitted things unique to each game, so you won’t see the same labels everywhere. Another way is a validation process where each new label is accepted by staff.
Difficulty was discussed but ultimately is not something that is good or bad, it just is what it is. Perhaps difficulty should have it’s own system.

jktomas dropped the bomb when he mentioned a pros and cons table. I’d seen it before but was skeptical at how this could be used to achieve measurable, usable data. The conversation kind of died off but the idea bugged me occasionally for the rest of the year.

Judging by ye olde trello ticket, it’s time to take a step back and think about what we’re trying to achieve. We want a reader to get a feeling for the game at a glance and/or communicate their feelings using structured data.

What do we want…

  • Every game is unique so the advanced rating must be specific for it.
  • Room to breathe. As games expand and change, it must change with them to allow for new “things” to judge.
  • Easy to use. Fun to use.
  • Telling. It must simply portray the positive and negative entities of the game at a glance.
  • Technically accessible. The data must be constructed in a way that is usable. For example, creating a list of games where Music played a key factor in it’s success.


Recent Prototype

In this recent prototype you can see the popularity of each label and with a glance see the strongest and weakest points of a game. A more active user can pick which labels they agree with or add their own contributions to the table.

There’s some very solid information to be gathered here and with enough data, it can feed into personalisation & recommendation algorithms and of course, each label can get it’s own page/top list. Cool!

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