Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criterion?

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Dugi
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Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criterion?

Post by Dugi » March 11th, 2014, 11:03 pm

I was greatly surprised by this. And it ruined my faith that with some edits in the system, people will select add-ons according to meaningful criteria.

I have uploaded my campaign three days after that the 1.12 add-on server was open, and it was maybe the thirtieth add-on added. It was therefore initially the thirtieth most downloaded add-on. Because it was a campaign and it was quite popular on 1.10 and 1.11, it was slowly getting higher on the ladder of popularity. Nothing interesting so far.

Then I made an update that changed the add-on picture among many other things that are negligible on larger scale. The original add-on image was the usual assassin sprite, nothing interesting, I had it there for over three years. But because I have learned something about ImagePathFunctionWML, I found using a basic sprite with no modifications boring. I have decided to create something more fanciful, fusing two sprites, a lot of halos, some projectiles and a sword cropped from another sprite together, adding some transparency and colouring. The result looks cool, though the version on the add-ons server isn't the final one (it even shows an error in Terminal/Command Prompt).

The result of adding that cool add-on image was unexpected. It started getting like twice as many downloads than before, and in less than a week, it became the most downloaded add-on, and the gap is increasing quite quickly (it was fourth a today morning). There's almost no doubt that the cause is the nice picture.

I am not trying to brag about this victory of mine, the point of this rant was that the rule that books are judged by their covers applies also here. It's right that I am a bit happy that my add-on is the most downloaded, but it is no attestation of quality. Just an attestation of quality of a picture whose code I wrote in a bit more than an hour.

To sum up:
Image

A side note: I have written a guide/tutorial how to create fancy add-on icons.
Last edited by Dugi on March 12th, 2014, 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymissimus
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Anonymissimus » March 11th, 2014, 11:16 pm

Dugi wrote:A side note: if somebody wants to learn how to create cool add-on pictures without using custom files that don't work on other computers, just ask.
The most important rule is to not use any images which are in the addon itsself but only in core instead, because that would result in "image not found" on any client which doesn't have the addon installed. Many, many addons feature this problem.
Other than that, one can just copy the [campaign]'s icon="abc" into one's _server.pbl after working it out.
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tekelili
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by tekelili » March 11th, 2014, 11:22 pm

Congrats dugi. Btw I am not surprised a nice picture can highly increase downloads (after all... I worked several years as publicity creative :lol:). If a image says to potential consumer: "developer invested more work in this detail", with no much other criteria to evaluate add ons quality before download, it is very likely he expects more work invested inside add on details. The trick is so succesfull that most "mass-culture creations" invest every year more and more in publicity and less and less in final product quality :x
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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zookeeper
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by zookeeper » March 12th, 2014, 8:38 am

Well, since there's basically nothing else to go by, it's not surprising that the image is what counts. If the image stands out and clearly looks like the author put more work/thought into it than anyone else, and the description doesn't make it sound completely stupid, picking that one is pretty much your best bet.

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Dugi
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Dugi » March 12th, 2014, 6:15 pm

Anonymissimus wrote:Other than that, one can just copy the [campaign]'s icon="abc" into one's _server.pbl after working it out.
That is indeed true, campaign icon is a quick way to do that, but most people don't seem to bother.

Anyway, I have created a guide how to make such icons, posted it on the wiki and added a link to it in PblWML near the warning that custom files shouldn't be used. Add-on authors will probably find it, PblWML can't be learned by reading other people's add-ons.

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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Dragoicho » March 13th, 2014, 1:06 am

I choose add-ons based on their version. I don't really wanna try something that has 1 scenario and is alpha version 0.0.1. LotI is great, bravo, thanks for the game.

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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Velensk » March 13th, 2014, 4:13 pm

It's really the same problem that comes with anything where a lot of people are propagating materials. There ends up being a lot of stuff to sort through and so people end up finding faster ways to sort at the cost of better.

There are a lot of add-ons out there. I don't particularly blame people for not wanting to click 'read description' for every single one. Personally, I suspect that one of the biggest draws to an add-on is the number of times it's been downloaded. But after that, I suspect that most people filter by looking around for the type of add-on they want looking for ones that look interesting (and a fancy icon helps) and then reading the description. If the description doesn't turn them off they try it.
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by TheBladeRoden » March 14th, 2014, 12:50 pm

Wee what fun! (actually it was a little grueling)
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Andrettin
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Andrettin » March 19th, 2014, 6:43 am

Velensk wrote:There are a lot of add-ons out there. I don't particularly blame people for not wanting to click 'read description' for every single one.
Perhaps if the description could be accessed by right-clicking on the add-on, then it would become more practical to check it out and more people would do it.

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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by shadowm » March 20th, 2014, 5:43 am

This looks good and all, but since wesnoth_addon_manager doesn’t understand most image path functions, add-ons in the web index using this without providing an appropriate base are displayed as though they didn’t have an icon.

Not that anyone cares about that.
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Dugi
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Dugi » March 20th, 2014, 7:58 am

@shadowm
I know about that, by the way, but as far as I know, only a very few people use the web index. The fact that my campaign already has 30% more downloads than the second add-on proves my words.

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shadowm
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by shadowm » March 20th, 2014, 8:58 am

Dugi wrote:@shadowm
I know about that, by the way, but as far as I know, only a very few people use the web index. The fact that my campaign already has 30% more downloads than the second add-on proves my words.
Downloads done through the web index do not contribute to the add-on download counters.
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Dugi
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by Dugi » March 20th, 2014, 2:53 pm

I didn't know that. But because most users don't know where the userdata folder is, it's quite unlikely that more than a few are doing it this way (I was doing this in the past because I had unstable internet and a download through the client had a better chance not to fail than a download through the browser).

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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by DranKof » April 3rd, 2014, 6:10 pm

I think the system of making custom icons without people having to download custom icons is fantastic.

1) I think the wiki page "http://wiki.wesnoth.org/PblWML" should be updated to reflect the existence of the guide made by Dugi (and the possibility of custom icons) (are normal people allowed to edit those pages ourselves? I don't mean to just be asking people to do work instead of doing it myself, but I'm always worried I'll get in trouble).

2) As this system is fantastic, I think it should also be officially aided by:
- the addition of a black and white or transparent and white 8x8 font next to the current magenta background one in Vanilla Wesnoth. The current seems to limit the possible color combinations to mostly green text.
- [AND/OR] a less verbose way of doing said text (like a command to directly "write" text of whatever color to whatever point, eg. ~STR("Whoa!",50,8,255,0,0,64) (str,x,y,r,g,b,o).

My two cents.

Cheers to Dugi for the discovery, and Shadowm too for a great tool for picture editing!

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shadowm
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Re: Add-on image: the most important add-on selection criter

Post by shadowm » April 3rd, 2014, 6:28 pm

DranKof wrote:1) I think the wiki page "http://wiki.wesnoth.org/PblWML" should be updated to reflect the existence of the guide made by Dugi (and the possibility of custom icons) (are normal people allowed to edit those pages ourselves? I don't mean to just be asking people to do work instead of doing it myself, but I'm always worried I'll get in trouble).
The “possibility of custom icons” is not actually specific to the Add-ons Manager list, and it’s merely a consequence of UI dialogs taking advantage of our image caching facilities. It’s probably worth noting that Elvish Pillager’s Era of High Sorcery is one of the first add-ons to use this. It’s also worth noting that abusing image path functions like this results in an increased number of one-time image cache entries taking up RAM. Most cache entries will probably be RLE-compressed, so this shouldn’t be a problem as long as the raw pixmaps compress well with that strategy.

The guide is now linked at the bottom of the page near the examples section. The first reference portion of the page should remain as such for readability.

Finally, everyone who registers a wiki account can edit wiki pages that aren’t protected. In our wiki, protected pages are very rare.
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

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