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Several sites have this really nice standardized format to describe games; which imho greatly helps in readability and getting particular info quickly - as an example, see the right hand box of this Portal page on wikipedia.

There are a lot of different parameters to games, and most will only be interested in a few of them. Its not really that important for a site where most visitors are expected to know & be playing the game in question beforehand, but has situational use. For e.g., I may come across a question & answer that piques my interest about a game, and want to quickly look up the year it was made (so I can guesstimate on graphics quality and hardware reqs), category and publisher.

Do we have some sort of a standardized template for this when editing tag wikis? If not, could the community come up with something for those who are interested in updating this info? I realize we're unlikely to get custom layout for this element, but surely a lot can be done within the SE formatting options to make content more presentable.

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I think this is a superb idea, having a standard template for tag wikis and/or excerpts can lead to a more professional-looking site.

My suggestion for excerpts is a single sentence that only exhibits factual information about the game, without flavor text or story/gameplay description - I think the main purpose of the excerpt would be to unambiguously identify a game and give unfamiliar readers a basic idea about what it is:

$fullname is a $genre game released by $authors in $year for $platforms [$series_information]

Where $fullname is the complete game name and $series_information is only added if it isn't obvious from the full game name. On the other hand, we should probably be expressive about the $genre name, to be friendly to newbies (everybody knows what RTS is, but what is a MMOA? We better just write everything out).

Examples:

  • StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a real-time strategy game released by Blizzard in 2010 for Windows and Mac.

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a first/third-person view role-playing game released by Bethesda Softworks in 2011 for Windows, XBox 360 and PS3.

  • Sid Meier's Civilization 5 is a turn-based strategy game released by Firaxis in 2011 for Windows and Mac.

  • DragonVale is a breeding simulation game released by Backflip Studios on 2012 for iOS.

This may look short, but remember where this appears - in the small hover window, in the suggestion box when adding tags to a question, in the busy tag pages... it really shouldn't be too long.

I don't have any concrete ideas for full tag wiki suggestions, though.

  • I'd prefer shorthand for genres in the excerpt, we can always prefer the longhand version in the wiki instead. Especially consider games with multiple genres and that 'excerpt' implies brevity (to me atleast) – Alok Aug 3 '12 at 22:09
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    For the wiki bodies I think it's most important to remember that we should write from a NPOV as much as possible, we don't just copy/paste from elsewhere, and that we include information about how to use the tag. Many tag wiki suggestions offer a wikipedia-like summary of the game's information without actually informing as to how we should be using the tag on the site. For most games, it's fairly straightforward, but for differentiating between stuff like [gamename-series] and [gamename], use distinction is more important. – FAE Aug 4 '12 at 0:24
  • For excerpts, the full name of the game is redundant, as it is already the name of the tag. IMO, it should only be included if the full name is significantly different from the tag name (such as when it is abbreviated or truncated). – Brant Aug 5 '12 at 21:36
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    @BrQAnt I disagree: I find that it's actually uncommon for the full name of a game to be used as a tag name. 3 out of my 4 samples above demonstrate it. Whether or not it's useful to provide the full name is debatable, but I think it's good for searchability and disambiguating. – Oak Aug 5 '12 at 21:46
  • @Oak Yeah, I kind of realized that after I posted. :) – Brant Aug 6 '12 at 0:52
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Since there seems to be some interest in the idea, some opinions on this. For want of a better term, I'll refer to this as a 'game card' until someone corrects me.

Submission Rules

Accept good edits even if they don't follow format: I'd rather see some wiki than nothing at all, so a policy of being forgiving when populating it would be preferred. Of course, only take stuff that improves the status quo.

Allow incomplete entries: Maybe someone is unsure of the genre, too lazy to google for the publisher or year etc. - others can contribute to missing parts later in a CW fashion.

A form to generate the markup for the game card would be awesome, I've heard of StackApps but not looked into what they are exactly

Wiki

The 'game card' section should be the last section in the wiki, because

  • it serves for visual scraping of specific info quickly
  • on this site, it has a lower importance than other elements (see e.g. FAE's comment re. how to use the tag)

Information to include

  • Game name, full or otherwise; with series info if applicable.
  • Common alternate names by which it is known along with context (e.g. FF4 -> FF2 in US etc.)
  • Release Date, or year if the exact date is unknown
  • Publisher and actual studio (EA/Bullfrog, Activision/Blizzard etc.: gamers want to know which part of a huge mega-company made that game, as reputation matters a lot)
  • Platforms on which it is available: this of course has PC, PS3 et al.; but should it also include Steam or other distribution platforms?
  • Cost - free, freemium, pay2win, one-time fee, recurring subscription etc. More important for MMOs, and of course the actual names will differ but my point is that 'free but with cash shop' should also be differentiated into its various dissimilar subdomains. Mention multiple cost types if applicable (e.g. EQ2 paid & free)

Information to EXCLUDE

  • People involved (writer, composer etc.): Yes, this is in the wikipedia example linked in question. It only makes sense imho for famous game personalities (Carmack, Mechner etc.) but these can be mentioned elsewhere in the wiki, as its not a field applicable to all games.
  • Version (latest patch, earliest release etc.) or other ephemeral info

Structure of the Wiki

[Optional, iff there is tag usage below] A brief description, ideally just 1 or 2 lines; possibly a cut-down version of the excerpt.

How to use the tag. We can't do this without explaining what it is for, hence the tiny preface above.

More detailed game information including any notable features (started a new genre, created by someone famous ...)

Game Card with standardized fields & data

Wiki Excerpt

  • Use shorthands wherever possible; genre, company (official only, EA but not ActiBlizz) etc.
  • Main focus here is for a short intro, so I am unsure if this needs a standard format, though guidelines for people who don't know what to put here would be great (even better if its automatically derived from the game card info).

Potential format with 2 elements:

  1. Brief description of the game or series; including the common name (e.g. Morrowind not The Elder Scrolls : Morrowind), genre and company.
  2. Notes on tag usage, including list of common alternate tags that may apply better in some cases.

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