HELP WANTED: Derived games

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druellan
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by druellan » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:42 pm

BTW, not to make an offtopic, but to point out that we have a similar situation with the Timex, games. For example Planetoids for the ZX Spectrum https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... 96&id=3755 amd Plantetoids for the Timex Sinclair https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... id=4000058 On some cases the game is the same, on other, the loader or the loading screen is different, and on some small cases the game has some tweak to make it compatible or use the special hardware (joysticks, sound, etc).
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by 8BitAG » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:50 am

I'm sure that @Einar Saukas is fed up of my posts about 'Rays'/'Yellow Door' by now... :)

But...

After discussing whether we should merge Rays & Yellow Door over at CASA, which was what I requested to do on here too, I think I will rescind my request.

NOT because I think that Rays & Yellow Door are in any way different enough to warrant two separate entries. They are definitely not. They are the same game.

BUT it's because of this C&VG review, which is linked to on the Rays database page...

https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/mag.php ... 17&page=67

This review is of a pre-release version of Rays which is pretty different to the version of Rays/Yellow Door which we currently hold in the archives.

It absolutely slates the game. Moaning about the colour scheme and various issues with objects/puzzles that AREN'T EVEN in Rays/Yellow Door. Even the plot/objective is slightly different to "released" version of Rays.

It sounds (unsurprisingly) like this game got a pretty comprehensive rewrite before it was released. Dumping a whole load of puzzles, and expanding the amount of 'rays' that needed to be found from four up to eight.

The existence of that pre-release (but reviewed) version of 'Rays' is enough to justify an separate entry for me. Even though it is MIA and does not exist in the database. We do need to write up some notes to mention that alternate version on the game page, though.

That C&VG review is also interesting because it mentions that fact that 'Rays' would have originally been released on the A-side of a tape that had a three-part adventure called 'Doors' on the B-Side.

This 'Doors' would have consisted of Green Door, Black Door, and Blue Door.

Green Door is a known Tartan game in the Doors series and the description matches the plot/puzzles.

Black Door is not a known game but the description suggests that was actually the game that was released as Red Door (which was similarly Egyptian themed).

Blue Door is an unknown game. It's plot mentions Bluebeard, who does not appear in any of the Tartan titles. It's possible that this game was not completed (or even started) when Rays got reviewed in C&VG. The C&VG review mentions he was not given any of these Doors games.

So... I guess that review is the earliest mention of Green Door, a mention & also-known-as for Red Door, and a lost/missing/unfinished game for Blue Door.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by StooB » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:46 pm

Einar Saukas wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:54 pm
Treble Champions or Treble Chance
Treble Chance doesn't exist. The review of "Treble Chance" in Sinclair User is referred to by E&J as the review of "Treble Champions" in their letter of complaint to Crash.

The tzx on the Treble Chance page is just a saved Treble Champions game into it's second season with the names changed.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by Einar Saukas » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:09 pm

Juan F. Ramirez wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:12 pm
And what about Frank N Stein Rebooted?

https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... id=26834

Should be included as derived? I think you know much about this story ;)
Frank N Stein and Frank N Stein Re-booted look so similar because they use the same in-game graphics, with minor differences. But they are quite different underneath. The player speed was changed (in comparison to enemies), affecting the way existing levels were solved, also certain levels were modified and several more levels added. In both games, the gameplay alternates between more puzzle-oriented "odd" levels and more action-oriented "even" levels, but "even" levels didn't offer any challenge in the old game. The mechanic of these levels were redesigned in the new game. Other details were also changed, because the game code was completely rewritten. Thus the differences were more extensive than just an upgraded version.

I'm starting to consider that the term "derived games" is misleading. Perhaps I should have called it "upgraded games"?

The criteria currently adopted in ZXDB is as follows:
  • If a game has only cosmetic changes (different loading screen or title), it's just considered a different release of the same game, stored under the same ID (for instance Phantis/Game Over 2). Also subtle (hard to notice) internal differences fall into this category (for instance bugfixes in Erbe's re-release of Bruce Lee).
  • If the game is an upgraded version with noticeable differences (usually as an attempt to make it more attractive), then it's considered a "derived" (or "upgraded"?) game with a new ID (for instance Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Jnr, Sorcery and Sorcery+).
  • If the game has such extensive changes that it offers a new gameplay experience (usually using the same code base but providing new levels), then it's considered a "sequel" (for instance Uridium and Uridium+, Vallation and Vallation 128K).
There's also the case of a new title that only offers new levels, but requires the original game to be executed. In this case, it's classified as an "Add-on pack that depends on" another title.

All these categories above refer to games updated by the same people responsible for the original. In case of a game modified by others, it's considered a "mod" regardless of how much was changed.

Makes sense?
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by Einar Saukas » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:15 pm

druellan wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:38 pm
Perhaps Tau Ceti https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... 96&id=5155 and Tau Ceti Special Edition https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... 96&id=5155 ?
Tau Ceti Special Edition has a lot more content so I'm inclined to keep it classified as "sequel".
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by Einar Saukas » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:23 pm

druellan wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:42 pm
BTW, not to make an offtopic, but to point out that we have a similar situation with the Timex, games. For example Planetoids for the ZX Spectrum https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... 96&id=3755 amd Plantetoids for the Timex Sinclair https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... id=4000058 On some cases the game is the same, on other, the loader or the loading screen is different, and on some small cases the game has some tweak to make it compatible or use the special hardware (joysticks, sound, etc).
That's because Martijn considered Timex machines as a different platform. Perhaps we can reconsider this classification in the future, but I don't think this should be a priority now. There are many other things to improve first.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by StooB » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:15 am

Einar Saukas wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:15 pm
Tau Ceti Special Edition has a lot more content so I'm inclined to keep it classified as "sequel".
"Sequel" doesn't seem the right term to use, especially for a game like Tau Ceti which actually has a sequel.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by 8BitAG » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:22 am

It's an 'enhanced' version, rather than a sequel.

The criteria listed above have not been consistently applied across the existing database. There will be a lot of extra entries in the database if these are the rules for adding separate entries for games. And a lot of work involved in splitting/duplicating entries and separating out game files.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by Einar Saukas » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:16 pm

8BitAG wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:50 am
I'm sure that @Einar Saukas is fed up of my posts about 'Rays'/'Yellow Door' by now... :)
Certainly not. It's just I'm struggling to find enough time to deal with more time-consuming discussions like this, but I certainly won't put it aside.

8BitAG wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:47 pm
There seems no real reason why Rays gets two entries and Crisis at Christmas only one!
I agree. For consistency, we should either split Crisis/White Door, or merge Rays/Yellow Door.

I'm more inclined to split Crisis/White Door, for technical reasons. In the Door series, it would look better to list "White Door" instead of "Crisis at Christmas", but as a single entry there's no way to indicate that a certain game should not be listed by its original title. In a compilation, the screenshots are currently taken from "Crisis at Christmas" instead of "White Door", because there's no way to indicate that the version in a certain compilation looks more like a certain re-release instead of its original release.

Is that OK?

8BitAG wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:22 am
The criteria listed above have not been consistently applied across the existing database. There will be a lot of extra entries in the database if these are the rules for adding separate entries for games. And a lot of work involved in splitting/duplicating entries and separating out game files.
Actually I agree my definition was far from perfect. I was trying to figure out a rational rule to fit how games are already stored, instead of the other way around. But if someone would like to propose a better rule (that wouldn't require re-organizing everything), please post it here.

For the record, I don't mind proposals to move around lots of content already in the archive. I just think we shouldn't spend time moving existing content now, while there's still so much more content not stored in ZXDB yet. Our priority should be adding to ZXDB everything that's missing first, and fixing incorrect data along the way, before we can afford to dedicate considerable to major changes based on subjective preferences. Notice I'm not saying it as criticism, all suggestions posted here to improve current organization are valid and very much welcome. I'm merely explaining the reason I would rather avoid doing them now, that's all.

But if I don't want to reclassify existing entries now, why am I spending time with "derived" entries? It's because one of the "problems" I'm fixing in ZXDB, is all the unstructured information imported from Martijn's WoS into multiple "comments" fields. For instance:

https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/index.p ... id=1000297

For now, my idea is to organize these comments, replacing references to other games with proper structured references. And postpone for later other more time-demanding changes.

I blame myself for not posting recently the ZXDB roadmap that I have in mind. My apologies! I will rectify this situation soon.
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Re: HELP WANTED: Derived games

Post by Einar Saukas » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:41 pm

jpablo wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:44 pm
Though it's not the same case, I was wondering if El Mundo Perdido could be split from People from Sirius by creating a new entry and using the new derived relation.

I've always thought that the current re-release relation falls a bit short, but it is essentially the same game anyway - certainly not a mod by any means!
According to these links below, it's the same game with different load screen and music. I'm not sure if it's worth it to add a separate entry?

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_mundo_ ... ideojuego)
http://computeremuzone.com/ficha.php?id=622
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