Project management suggestions

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This article contains links to the BioWare Social Network (BSN), which is now closed.

These links should be replaced with working links where possible, and tutorials edited to remove reliance on BSN.

This page is intended as a collaborative repository for suggestions on how to improve the social site. Create a new section for each specific suggestion or related group of suggestions. Feel free to discuss them to some extent on this page, but bear in mind that discussions should be refactored every once in a while into a summary of the idea - the purpose of this page is to consolidate discussion into a more easily-referenced form.

See social site suggestions for other subject areas.

Project "progress" status

It is too hard to tell if a project is done or in progress or abandoned.

There is no filter option or way to mark your project as completed and ready for use. It would be nice if projects could be given a completion attribute (i.e. planning, building, alpha testing, beta testing, released, etc).

Given that many players have no interest in pre-release marketing and discussion, search could usefully default to "released". Search for "not released" would also be helpful, if there are to be many status categories as suggested above.

Abandoned projects clutter up the list enormously. Projects should be automatically disabled or flagged if there is no activity in them for some threshold criteria length of time and they remain incomplete/never started.

I'd throw in that it should be activity from the project owner themselves, since here's a good example of a popular long abandoned project that still has people posting comments all the time - The owner has already so much as said in the comments that they now hate the game and have abandoned it. Yet the project is now more like a petition than anything else I suppose.

We also need a stronger separation between public projects and internal build team discussion. A Work-In-Progress (WIP) category would be one way of doing that. It should allow builders to discuss issues confidentially and share files without cluttering up the public project listings. A team might well need both a public project and a WIP project. WIP is not the same as the various Builder-to-Builder categories currently available, because the latter are for marketing and releases to the wider builder community.

If the WIP category is approved there should be no mechanical constraint on the file types that can be shared there unless there is some major security concern. In addition to the many valid DAO file types builders need to share all sorts of graphics, office documents, html, xml etc so having a defined list is just a problem waiting to happen.

Other project filter options

Advanced Filter Options button. Currently the drop-down boxes for filtering are all independent of one another. If you want to browse in the groups there are 4 lists. Would be nice to have an advanced filtering options button that will pop up a little dialog box where you can make all your selections at once and then say GO!

  • Filter or order by rating (e.g. 8+) would be essential (assuming a rating system is introduced) - separate from other order options.
  • Filter by sub-category (see below) would be important.
  • Filter by language (not all modules will be in English).
  • Would be nice to be able to filter out completely all those projects with fewer than X members.
  • Would be nice to be able to filter out completely all those projects that haven't had any activity at all (not even downloads) for X days.
  • For playable modules, filter by start level.
  • I would also like to see the author of the project without opening it up.

When you click on projects the list can only be viewed 10 items at a time, which is way too few.

Redundant filters: Some of the drop down options are not something anybody would be interested in listing them by or are duplicated by others (e.g. popularity? most views? what is the difference between those two?). Ordering by most views is unlikely to generate a significantly different ordering than sorting by last updated or popularity. All the older projects are likely to have more views than the any of the newer ones, so ordering by create date isn't going to be significantly different than ordering by most views. This isn't a major problem, frankly more options are better than fewer, but the ones you really need (which projects are "the best" and which are "not worth the effort", which are done which are still in progress) aren't there.

Rating projects

Problems with the current rating system

  • The modules that have been around the longest will have the most "+" while a brand new awesome module may never get noticed. This encourages builders to do a rush job just so they can be one of the first ones out there. Perhaps a weighted rating system, so that a very large/old mod can sit up their with a brand new smaller mod of equal caliber that just hasn't garnered the high amount of ratings yet.
  • Excellent niche offerings are very hard to find. For example, builder assets are never going to get as many approvals as playable modules, because there are more players than builders. Search by category helps up to a point, but ultimately "popular" doesn't always mean "good".
  • Provide a checkbox on a project that a host can check when he/she considers the content "done" and ready to be ranked with the others. This would allow you to post work-in-progress downloads to gather feedback, without the concern of getting low ranks because it is not done yet.
  • Once you have given a project a "+", there is no way to remove that again, even if you discover later that the project didn't deserve it at all.

Variation and changes to the current rating system

  • Have two ways to rate projects -- one similar to the NWVault's rating system (is it a good idea, do people like it, etc), and another where people could rate the "buggyness" or "stability" or "ease of setup" type things about the project.?
  • Or perhaps just a screen with two or three categories to rate that get computed into some overall rating (e.g. Design/Idea 1-10, Stability/Ease of Use 1-10, Something Else 1-10). For me it would be far more useful to be able to filter and sort on these kinds of peer judged criteria than by "most views" or a generic "popularity" with unclear basis.
  • Maybe projects need a sex rating system similar to what hollywood does (e.g. G, PG, PG13...XXX).
  • Make an adult category. Let's face it, they tend to be some of the first and most abundant mods made on any game (even those without a proper toolset). Sometimes you just don't want to have to look at the index screen shots of all of the "Witches Gone Feral" mods when you're trying to find a mod to fix your crossbow.
  • NWVault has a rating system where you give a 0-10 score, but the rating is hidden for ranking purposes until a specific minimum number of people have rated the project. The average number may be meaningless - in NWNvault, an absurdly high percentage of modules have a rating above 9.0, but still the relative ranking is pretty good - a module with a high score and a high download count is probably worth looking at...
  • The NWVault rating system is good, but any competent statistician will tell you that the sample size is far too small to make detailed judgements on the results. So, anything voted 9+ is probably good - a very useful thing to know - but being #1 in the rankings rather than #10 is probably meaningless. I'm not sure what the latest research says about these things, but I suspect a slightly simpler system would be better - for example, a scale 1-10 (with no .25 intervals) and no guidelines on what the scores mean. NWVault calculates the average ranking by a complicated algorithm, which is open to troll voting. IMO it would be fairer to rank on the median score. It's useful to see a histogram of the scores, too, e.g. Some people dismiss the voting system as a measure of how many friends you have, but I think that's too cynical - as long as you just see it as a way of sorting sheep from goats, and nothing more.
  • if you intend to keep a simple voting system. Please give us the ability to remove a "+" and I am also in favore of a "-" button to push junk out of the way.(CID-78)

Download counting

You cannot update a file without losing the download count - it gets reset back to zero. This would need to be fixed - the ideal solution would be to count the number of people downloading files from the project, but at the very least allow people to update files without losing the download count. As it is, the download count is pointless and actually discourages builders from updating their files.

Project classification

  • If a project got incorrectly classified originally, or if a more appropriate category is added later, there is no way to re-classify the project. Allow module owners to change the category of their projects.
  • The list of classifications is a mess, with builder-to-builder and builder-to-player categories mixed up. Also, the categories are not well chosen - the NWN modules category is just a pointless waste of space and several categories seem to be missing.
    • Add more project categories (areas, scripts, machinima, tutorials, music, and so on)
    • Separate builder-to-player content from builder-to-builder content. The biggest hurdle to mod creation is creating levels, so a level category would be particularly useful.
    • Separate Work-in-Progress (WIP) content so that a project team can share files and discussion internally. This is not the same as builder-to-builder which is about delivering finished assets to the wider builder community. This category has special privacy needs and can be excluded from searches.

Categories to potentially remove or change:

  • NWN module
  • It is a bit confusing to have "Dragon Age Addons" as well as "DA Gameplay mods", as to most people those categories overlap. Maybe "campaigns" and "extensions" would be clearer.
  • Replace the one-big-list project page with a splash page with links to separate categories. Include an "all mods" button so we can still get to the huge list if we want to. And allow mods to be in more than one category.

The list of project categories, in order, at the time of writing is

  • Dragon Age addons
  • NWN Modules
  • Builder - DA Mods
  • Builder - DA Textures
  • DA Playable Modules
  • Builder - DA Utilities
  • Builder - DA VO files
  • DA Gameplay Mods
  • DA Item/Armor/Weapon Mods
  • DA Character Mods

Whether or not these names are final, and even though it may not be all that relevant at the moment, I think the list should be sorted either by category or game, in alphabetical order, and that games only be represented in their short form. E.g.

  • ...
  • Modules - DA(:O)
  • Modules - NWN
  • ...
  • Textures - DA(:O)
  • ...


  • ...
  • DA(:O) - Modules
  • DA(:O) - Textures
  • DA(:O) - Utilities (what are those anyway?)
  • DA(:O) - VO Files
  • ...
  • NWN - Modules
  • ...

It would be worth looking at NWVault categories. Over time, some of them have become meaningless, but sub-categories like RPG, Hack & Slash etc are still useful. Language will be vital information for community modules!

Don't forget the ability to reassign a projects category at any time. especially so that old projects can benefit from new addons.

BioWare could also have a better definition for what belongs in each category and allow people to flag a project that doesn't match the category it was posted in.

Alternative approach to classification: tags instead of categories

Too many/too unspecific categories can cause similar projects to be categorized differently because they fit under too many categories. I would suggest only a very general level of categorization and leave the specifics to tags. For instance, allow only a single category for game modules but let the author assign Gameplay, Item, and Character (and any other) tags as applicable.

Two things that would definitely have to be considered for such a solution are:

  • if the tags are gathered in one global list, some tags will not make any sense whatsoever for certain projects. On the other hand, category exclusive lists seems like a lot of database bloat, and what do you do when the tag(s) you're looking for are not (yet) in the category your project is in?
  • if only the author can assign tags, risk of vandalism is greatly reduced, not to say eliminated. Meanwhile, allowing all users to add/remove tags to/from projects greatly increases the likelihood of the average project being more appropriately categorized (tagged).

Subscribed projects view

Under View, add "Subscribed projects" - once I have found projects that are sufficiently interesting to want to follow them, I want to be able to find them again easily. Not everyone knows of

Project Comments

The comments on Projects is horrible. If they can be made so you can have more than 10 per page and be able to jump to any page in the comments they'd be much better.

Please show the latest comments first. Currently when you go to view comments under a project, it shows the very first comments. It is supposed to show the newest comments first. In the case of a project that has 190 comments, for example, that means one has to click Next Page 19 times!

or simply give us a Last page >> and << First Page on Projects and Groups.

Captchas in project forums

Could we drop having to solve a captcha to post in a project forum? It ties into the problem above about the comment system, which is all the captcha system probably reinforces, and seems kind of pointless given how somebody could just spam up the comments anyway.

Extend valid file types for projects

I created (what is now) a DA Playable Modules project. In addition to uploading the module (DAZIP) file I want to upload the builder-to-builder (DADBDATA) file and the art resources (in this case just LVL files) so that the community could see how we made the module. However the valid types for a DA Playable Modules project do not allow these file types. I am loathe to made another project simply to accommodate these additional file types so I am requesting the project's file types be extended to allow all extensions associated with Dragon Age and ZIP/RAR in addition to the ones already allowed.

See: Little Red Riding Hood Redux for the example

Number of files for projects

The limit of 10 files per project isn't appropriate for WIP projects, which will need considerably more.

Can we have a Delete File button, too?

Project/Group "Discussions"

Project and Group discussion areas should be replaced with full "Forum" functionality. The owner of the Group/Project should have the ability to assign Moderators. They should be able to set up Forum Areas, Sticky Posts, Moderate, and do all other things that a Moderator might otherwise be able to do. This would allow for a lot more flexibility and "site stickiness" for groups of people that do things together. Also, any upgrades to the forums functionality could be added to this construct at the same time, thereby eliminating the need for two sets of codebase for what is virtually the same activity.

If this is not possible, the closer we can get, the better.

Seeking Help

BUG - The Browse Groups filter doesn't always work. For example, the Crown of Creation group [1] is seeking help in four categories, but it only shows up in Browse Groups for the first category, Cinematics.

Also, searching for Friends by proficiency doesn't work at all.

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This issue has been recorded in BioWare's internal tracking system.

Reference number: 216207 -BryanDerksen