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  • One of our goals is to increase the level of consistency and coherence across the many pages of the TS Wiki. To that end, there are a few items relating to Contractor pages (specifically the list of Contracts) that I would like the community to discuss. The Contract pages are some of the most widely-visited pages on the Wiki, so it is important that we do a good job with formatting them. As it stands currently, no two Contractor pages are identical in terms of formatting. The issues for discussion (for the moment):

    1. How we display "build costs". By build costs, I mean as the following:
    Build 10 Oil Well

    • Cost: 20,000 Steel, 15,000 Gravel, 30,000 Fuel


    How should this second line look? Some pages look like the above (E.g., Bobby), whereas others (e.g., Ethan) look like:
    (30,000 Fuel; 20,000 Steel; 15,000 Gravel)
    And many are some combination in between. So, the questions are:
    1a. Bullet or no bullet?
    1b. Italics or no italics?
    1c. Parentheses or no parentheses?
    1d. The word "cost" or not?


    2. Next issue: do we display the gold icon (Gold

    ) when we display the gem icon (Gems) in OR contracts. We use the gem icon, of course, do denote that this particular option requires gems (and therefore real money) to use. However, is it necessary to actually include the Gold icon for the other option? Or, is it enough to just display the Gems icon for the Gems option, with the assumption that the option without the Gems icon does not require gems?

    That's all for now! Thanks for your help.

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    • My thoughts would be as follows:

      Issue 1:
      bullet, italics, no parentheses, with the word cost. My only tweek might be if we should use a semicolon ";" instead of a comma for better visual clarity. Less gramatically correct but with the comma formating the numbers does it get confusing or is it just me?

      Issue 2:
      I like the idea of at least the gem icon to indicate the pay option for completing a contract. Adding the gold and gem icon makes it more cluttered overall in my opinion.

      Those are my thoughts on the two issues presented.

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    • Issue 1:

      • italics: yes
      • word "Cost": yes
      • parentheses/bullet: yes, but only one. I don't care which one, so let the community decide.
      • semicolon: Actually, in a case like this, it is completely grammatically correct, and even expected--as you said, to avoid confusion. In fact, I'll go make this change right now.

      Issue 2: I think the gems icon is plenty. The gold icon creates clutter.

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    • My preference for #1 is: Italics-yes; "cost"-yes; and bullet. Good call on the semicolon. Seems like we are converging. Can the Free template be made to automatically include a bullet, or does that have to be added separately?

      Issue 2: I agree, I think the gold icon is overkill if we have the gem icon.

      Another thing I just thought of: what would you guys think about combining the cost lines for contracts that have two building requirements? Instead of : Build 1 X-Building; Cost: 200 Wood

      , 300 Nails AND Build 1 Y-Building; Cost: 400 Nails, 100 Steel
      Instead: Build 1 X-Building AND 1 Y-Building, Cost: 200 Wood, 700 Nails, 100 Steel. Since you have to build both, would it be cleaner/simpler to just have one cost line summarizing the whole contract?
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    • As far as I know, there is no "Free" template. The cost template will output Free if it receives no valid input. Is that what you mean? If so, we can make it include whatever we want. It's probably a bad idea to make it include a bullet automatically, though, because Free is used elsewhere.

      As for combining the cost lines for one contract, I noticed that the editor who went through all the contract lists last night did that. In one case, it resulted in five resources that wrapped to a second line. It had four resources, a line break, the semicolon at the beginning of the second line, and the final resource. If we do decide to go that route, we'll have to figure out a way to make it look good. Currently, it doesn't.

      As for the idea itself, I think it's a good idea. It tells a player instantly what he/she needs, which she/he can compare against what the contractor has on hand. It avoids the player making math errors, too. And we even could avoid creating math errors by using {{fd}} or parser function {{#expr: to do the math for us. Slightly more complex input, but guaranteed errorless output.

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    • One more thing: We've started to use line=y in some other places around the site. Perhaps we could use cont=y or something else, so {{cost}} can create the formatting automatically without any further coding. Just a thought.

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    • Sorry for the confusion-- I typed {{cost}} , without giving it any arguments, so it literally printed out the word "Free" (As it should!) . I was just trying to say "the Cost template", but I forgot to include "nowiki" tags.

      Anyhow, I just mean that whatever we decide, bullets and all, could it all be included within {{cost}} ? But I take your point, there would be places we don't want to use a bullet, so let's not change the {{cost}} for this. Nevermind.

      As for combining all resources, point taken: Good in theory, hard to make it look nice in practice.

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    • LOL ... I usually use Template:T, like this: {{t|cost}} ... That's how it lights up blue inside, so people can go look at it if they want. Plus it's tons faster than using "nowiki" tags. ;-)

      So, back to your point. I told you in the beginning that I thought we should get {{cost}} (See what I did thurr?) to add the bullet, italics, and word "Cost" automatically. We'd need to use a different parameter, since line=y has discovered other uses, but I don't think that's a problem. I can add the other parameter quickly and painlessly, and any decent text editor, like Notepad++, can do a "replace all" to make editing the pages equally quick and painless.

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    • FWIW from a newby who comes to Contracts page almost daily:

      Use the bullet.

      Use the word "Cost"

      Use the italics

      Omit parentheses 

      Use both the Gem & Goldcoin Icons


      Keep up the excellent admin & editing work.

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    • Thetimoth, why do you prefer to see the gold icon with the gems icon? I'm just curious. The people here who think the gold icon is clutter have been here for a little while, so I'm interested to learn why a newbie thinks it should stay.

      Thanks for your input!

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    • I noticed TheRealPella's formatting question on his wall about adding the type of item on the list (see example below). Adding these descriptors after the task, or anywhere after an information clip, helps players confirm and/or clarify the game's language and style. There are, for examle, important distinctions between decorations and buildings, and their effect on the game is significantly distinct. It pays to clarify that a bench is not a building and that a cart is not a train. I vote for including that information. Granted, a year from now, it will seem like extra words, but while learning it's very helpful. Also, this wonderful language of ours has built-in stumbling blocks:  Even though you Build 3 Wooden Benches, they are not buildings.  

      example:

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    • TheRealPella wrote:
      Thetimoth, why do you prefer to see the gold icon with the gems icon? I'm just curious. The people here who think the gold icon is clutter have been here for a little while, so I'm interested to learn why a newbie thinks it should stay.

      Thanks for your input!

      Eventually, as I am acclamated to the conventions of the site and the admins editorial habits, I will look for the key words and elements, rather than reading word for word each sentence. The icon helps clarify the currency required. The word "coin" does cover the base, but the icon helps clarify and streamline. Interesting. The addition of the icon, which others call clutter, streamlines the line for me. That said, it's not a big deal. Just a personal preference.

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      • acclimated


      also -- again it seems helpful in a language barrier situation. I presume all this is translated into several languages. I also suspect some read the English version for whom it is not their first language. The icon clarifies and affirms the reader's comprehension.

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    • Thetimoth wrote:

      Eventually, as I am acclimated to the conventions of the site and the admins editorial habits, I will look for the key words and elements, rather than reading word for word each sentence. The icon helps clarify the currency required. The word "coin" does cover the base, but the icon helps clarify and streamline. Interesting. The addition of the icon, which others call clutter, streamlines the line for me. That said, it's not a big deal. Just a personal preference.

      I see.
      And I agree. It's personal preference.

      To me, the gems icon serves the "clarify and streamline" function all by itself. PixFed guarantees that no player ever needs to spend gems to complete a contract or achievement. Therefore, when a gems option is highlighted with the gems icon, it stands out. Everything else, by default, does not require gems. That's why I call the extra gold icon "clutter". The gems icon tells me everything I need to know; the gold icon gives me no additional information. ;-)

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    • Understood. 

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    • Nickembrey
      Nickembrey removed this reply because:
      00:27, March 7, 2015
      This reply has been removed
    • As for including the item's type after the name of the item ("mail cart wagons" vs just "mail cart"), I propose a middle ground: using the type's icon. So for example: Build 3 Wooden Bench Icon Shop Decoration

      . This is still cleaner than using the entire word "decoration", which is our rationale for eliminating the word, but also includes the relevant information. Personally I prefer getting rid of the word (since you can easily click the link to see full details), but I fully understand (and support) the desire to get *all* the relevant info across in a concise manner, and I think just using the item's type icon accomplishes this. How does that sound to everyone?
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    • Nickembrey wrote:

      How does that sound to everyone?

      Better question: How does that look to everyone?

      Every now and then, an idea that sounds good in theory doesn't look as good in practice. If we're going to do this, let's do it right--and only once.

      I edited Mrs. Wilma's page and applied all the changes we've discussed so far, including Nickembrey's "middle ground" idea. Go take a look, then offer an opinion. ;-)

      Pay special attention to contracts 4 and 11. Contract 11 asks for passenger wagons, and it displays the passenger wagon icon. Contract 4 asks for a train set. We have icons for locomotives and wagons, but not for sets. How do we want to deal with this?

      Edited to add: As soon as I asked the question, the answer hit me like a bolt of lightning. I copied the set logo from the Construction Yard and dropped it in there. What do y'all think?

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    • I like it. Its clean looking. The only thing I am not crazy about is the set star logo-- I think its too small and you can't even see what it says. However, I think its a great idea, so I'd like to make it work. Therefore, I increased its size from 20px to 35px. How does that look? Its a balancing act though: too small, you can't read it; too big, it just looks ridiculous. Hopefully we can find the perfect size.

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    • I think 35px is a winner. We can read the word "SET" on the star now, and the size is roughly equal to the locomotives in the "Reward" column. Most important, the star also serves as a subtle reminder that this icon will activate only when the player has assembled a complete set.

      I created Template:Set to do our dirty work for us. Simply call the template using the name of the set's infobox page, That's it! The template will create a link to the page--or a piped link if the page name includes (Set)--and add the star, and prevent any line wrapping within the link or between the link and the star. How cool is that?! :-D

      Also, I changed the header on the second column. Building, delivering, and sending are not contracts; they are objectives (game term) used to fulfill contracts. *wink*

      Finally, I gave a more consistent appearance to the Reward column by adding 1x to rewards where the player gets only one. The catch is the final reward of gems. Other contractors give gems as intermediate rewards, so the inconsistency becomes even more obvious with them.
      We could make it show (50x Gems) for consistency in the contract list, but then we'd lose consistency with all other uses of the gems icon. I think it's best to leave the "x" off the gems and just deal with it.

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    • Awesome.

      I think it is best to leave the X off of gems. My thinking is that they are resources, not "things". You wouldn't say "send 500x wood", its just send 500 wood. But that's just me.

      I like the Set star, but there is an alternative we might want to try. When you look at an assembled Set (whether Local, IT, or Depot), there's a yellow rectangle with the word "set" in black letters. Since this is a horizontally-oriented rectangle, it actually might fit in the contract tables better. See below:

      Setlogo2

      Just a thought.

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    • Well, look at you! You took a good idea and made it fantabuluscious!! :P

      Yes, that's a much better icon, all the way around. I put it into Template:Set at 30px. I think it fits quite nicely into Mrs. Wilma's page now. :-)

      Since all present agree on the format for the build cost, I might as well revise the code in {{cost}} to produce the bullet and italics. Before I do, we need to decide on one detail.

      I created the line=y parameter with the contract lists in mind. Within a day or two, though, someone discovered another use for the parameter, and it's active on several non-contractor pages. Therefore, we need a different parameter for the contract lists.

      cont=y is the only idea in my head right now. I'm open to suggestions.

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    • Fantabuluscious is indeed the best word for it. Clear, concise and consisitent. I didn't look in time to see the star icon for set. It's clear either way.

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    • Thetimoth, you can see the icon I uploaded on the image's page, under File History. It really was too big. I'm glad Nick found a much better solution.

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    • TheRealPella wrote:

      I created the line=y parameter with the contract lists in mind. Within a day or two, though, someone discovered another use for the parameter, and it's active on several non-contractor pages. Therefore, we need a different parameter for the contract lists.

      cont=y is the only idea in my head right now. I'm open to suggestions.

      bic=y (bullet, italics, cost) and you could create it such that 'bic' or 'cont' automatically includes 'line=y' as well.

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    • "blc" does has a certain relevance. It's not really intuitive, though. I think I'll stick with "cont".

      I understand where your brain is when you say that "cont" can wrap around "line" and handle both functions. I don't think the template is doing what you think it's doing. (with apologies to The Princess Bride.) ... At any rate, I'm not sure the wrapping idea is the most efficient way to do it. That kind of technical discussion is beyond the scope of this thread. If you'd like, we can start a new thread somewhere and work out how to handle this.

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    • I have another suggestion for a change I'd like to make to Contract lists: Some tasks, which require sending a Set Logo Set

      , include a note stating that a particular wagon (the Gems wagon) is not required. See for example DPL-Reward-On from Wolfgang #6. I'd like to do away with this note.

      I just don't think its necessary. My logic is as follows. The fact that the Gems

      wagon is not required isn't specific to contracts, its a general principle regarding the very concept of what a "Set" is. For a train to be considered an official "set" (and get the Logo Set icon!), you need to meet two conditions:
      • It must be "full" according to the Loco's capacity, and,
      • It must not contain any wagons that don't belong to the set.

      So, the fact that a particular wagon isn't required is simply not new information. In the DPL-Reward-On from Wolfgang #6 example, the RAe TEE II Gottardo is never required to make the RAe TEE II Logo Set , whether its as part of the Wolfgang contract or just a Local destination.

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    • I would tend to agree. The conditions of train sets for contracts are identical to the conditions for train sets throughout the game.

      At the same time, we must remember that many of our users are newer players who may not completely grasp that concept yet. As a sort of compromise, how about including a link to the Category:Train Sets page, where we explain this concept in detail? If we go with this idea, we need to decide whether to include it once on each contractor's page (immediately before the table, for example) or add a footnote to each Objective that requires sending a set.

      My preference would be the latter, simply because most users don't read everything on the page. Someone told them about the Wiki, or maybe even sent them a link to a specific contractor's page. The new user scrolls down the list to contract #24, sees that he needs to send a set, discovers in the game that one of the set's wagons can be purchased only for gems, and freaks. If there's a footnote on contract #24, we can stop half of the freaking before it starts. Of course, we don't need a separate footnote for each "Send ___ train set" in a contractor's list. One footnote with multiple references to it should do fine.

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    • Parameter cont is live. When using {{cost}} inside a contract list, simply add |cont=y as the final parameter. There is no need to add |line=y inside a contract list. (It won't hurt, but it won't help, either.)

      line=y still exists, and it still does the same thing it did before.

      line=y is active inside all cost templates. If you lost count, we have seven of them now: {{Cost}}, {{CostSam}}, {{CostAlan}}, {{CostExch}}, {{CostNoSam}}, {{CostNoAlan}}, {{CostNoExch}}

      cont=y is active only inside the mother {{cost}} template. I neither see a current need nor foresee a future need for this parameter to be active inside the daughter templates. Therefore, unless someone educates me differently, I'm not going to go to the trouble of adding it to them.

      Tomorrow, I will update the documentation for {{cost}}. Good night.

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    • While we're at it, do we even need the word COMPLETE? Again, that's redundant. If its a Logo Set, then its complete. If its incomplete, its not a Logo Set.


      Edit: I added a common footnote to DPL-Reward-On from Johann #5 and DPL-Reward-On from Johann #31. Two things with this. a) Let me know if you like the wording of the footnote. b) If we go this route, the Category:Train Sets page should be improved to state the fact that Gems

      wagons are not required to form a Logo Set
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    • By jove, he's right! How did we miss this before? D'oh!

      Long ago, in the Before Time, a set consisted of a locomotive and any number of matching wagons that was less than or equal to the loco's power. It was possible to create a set without it being complete. Contractors' objectives specified the need for complete sets, and the Wiki added emphasis.

      Just this moment, I verified in the game that the objective for Mizuki #25 no longer contains the word "complete". I think it's safe to assume that no other contract objectives do, either. Well done, Number One. Make it so.

      Concerning Johann:
      a) yes[1]
      b) no

      Adding what you propose to the Train Sets page would make us guilty of overgeneralizing. It also would make us wrong.

      As you know, Pixel has guaranteed that no contract or achievement ever will require players to spend gems. Sometimes a contract or achievement has a gems-only option, in which case a non-gems option always is provided. This is a limited guarantee, though. It's limited to contracts and achievements.

      There are many sets throughout the game that require spending gems to make them complete. A handful of them are 100% purchased with gems. You can find them in the everyday Shop. You can find them in the Special Offer, which presents cargo sets with high-power locos available only for gems, low-limit wagons available only for gold, and no-limit wagons available only for gems. This is the norm, not an exception.

      I would tread extremely lightly with any statement on the Train Sets page that is similar to what you propose. If we do it, we must make it abundantly clear that the statement applies only to sets required by contracts and achievements.[2] My advice would be not to do it at all. It opens the door for too many questions and too much confusion, especially with users whose native language doesn't match the official language of TSWiki.


      1. Just put a lowercase "s" on the final word of the footnote, please.
      2. I haven't checked, but it's possible that even this statement is inaccurate. A contractor could have a gems-required set as one option for completing an objective.
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    • P.S. Please never again type out the full file name to display the set logo inline. I altered the template so it always displays the set logo, whether or not it also displays a link to a set.

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    • P.P.S. Suppose that I am a new user of TSWiki. Further suppose that I am a human of average intelligence.

      I discover on my new favourite Wiki a page titled "Johann", which, conveniently enough, shares its name with a contractor in the game who's giving me trouble. On this "Johann" page, I find a section header that reads, "Contract list". Immediately below the aforementioned header, I find the aforementioned list.

      Given all of the above,

      • what is the probability that the caption, "Johann's Contract list", found at the top of the table, will help me?
      • what is the probability that the caption supplies information that a reasonable person would assume I do not have?
      • what is the probability that the caption provides any benefit to anyone at all?
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    • You're right; what was I thinking? Of course there are plenty of sets that require gems to complete. I was just thinking of the famous promise that game objectives (contracts, achievements) will not require gems to complete. However, this made me guilty over wayyyy overgeneralizing. OK, so no change to the Sets page.

      Next question: Do we put the footnote next to every Logo Set -related objective, or just the ones where there is some confusion? (The ones that have a Gems

      option). Going back to the Johann example, I put the footnote on Tasks 5 and 31. This is where the previous version of this note was located originally, because these are the sets that have gems options. However there is no footnote on task 30 (relating to Heavy Constructor Logo Set ) Since this has no gems option. On the one hand, we don't want to just spam the whole page with footnotes, since our objective is cleaning things up, but on the other hand, if we just place the footnote on some of the Logo Set -related tasks, we need to go through and verify which tasks need the note and which don't, creating a bit of work.

      Finally,

      • 2%
      • 1%
      • 0%
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    • Do we put the footnote next to every Logo Set -related objective, or just the ones where there is some confusion?
      Q: What's our #1 guiding principle here?
      A: Consistency.

      The footnote you added to Johann #5 and #31 is simple and generic, so it would fit just as nicely next to the name of a set without any gems wagons as it fits where it is now. Adding it to all sets also increases consistency and helps users--especially new ones--know where to go. As for "spamming" the footnotes, take a look at the Destinations table on the new Local Trains page; I invite your feedback.

      On the other hand, when people become accustomed to seeing something, they often forget it's there. If the footnote is attached to every objective that requires a train set, people may forget that they don't need the gems wagons, even though the information is directly in front of them.

      We can make strong arguments for both choices. Right now, I'm not sure which I'd prefer. Let's gather input from more people before we decide.

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    • I've been working on Charlie all day, ever since I noticed that someone tried courageously and failed just as valiantly. I got tired of typing <br /> '''OR''' <br /> and <br /> '''AND''' <br /> repeatedly, so I created {{or}} and {{and}} to do the dirty work for us. I can't imagine why we didn't think of that sooner.

      You're welcome.

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    • Nice.

      Could PF have made Charlie's likeness any skeezier-looking? I don't want that guy handing out candy to anyone.

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    • TheRealPella wrote:
      I've been working on Charlie all day, ever since I noticed that someone tried courageously and failed just as valiantly. I got tired of typing <br /> '''OR''' <br /> and <br /> '''AND''' <br /> repeatedly, so I created {{or}} and {{and}} to do the dirty work for us. I can't imagine why we didn't think of that sooner.

      You're welcome.

      I was here all day man, coulda helped but it appears you got like 4 or something contracts ahead of me

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    • Nick: LOL ... I don't see that in him. Guilty minds, perhaps? *wink*

      Eko: Not me. I'm still on contract #4. I'm just updating the page based on the comments that people leave. Some people just insist on being the first to complete a contractor. ;-)

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    • Nick, look at DPL-Reward-On from Charlie #9. What do we want to do in cases like this?

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    • Hmm. Off the top of my head, I have 2 ideas. 1) say "Cost varies" (minus the :). 2) Nothing at all, since "cost varies" doesn't really provide any information. I don't have a strong preference one way or the other though.

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    • TheRealPella wrote:
      Nick, look at DPL-Reward-On from Charlie #9. What do we want to do in cases like this?

      I'll be at #9 in like 30 minutes, I'll look into it

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    • The question, I think, was how do we express the information--the fact that the cost varies based on which items you choose.

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    • I realize that it adds no real information. I stuck it in there for consistency (and used the : for the same reason), and because some yokel is sure to ask how much it costs to build 17 decorations.

      Another idea would be to provide a footnote with minimum and maximum costs, based on the lowest and highest costs of the decorations in the contractor's shop. That's not a super easy solution, necessarily, though, because different decorations use different materials to build. There are ways around that, though. Just an idea.

      Edited to add: More to the point, though, really, is whether we want to make another modification to {{cost}} to do this automatically for us. Something like varies=y or whatever. Or another tiny template entirely. Or just hard code it, like I did in this case. Whatever works.

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    • Template:Cost now has another new parameter, qty. When a contract objective requests the player to build 2+ of something, simply enter the cost values for one of the item, then add |qty=## to the template call, where ##= the quantity required to be built. {{cost}} will do the multiplication and display the total. This helps reduce errors in maths and data entry.

      I have applied the new parameter to the appropriate contract objectives for Charlie and Mrs. Wilma.

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    • I added images of reward buildings and decorations to the contract lists for Mrs. Wilma and Johann. Take a look. Discuss.

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    • Another thought. As part of this project, we should look at the page for every loco and wagon that is part of a contract objective and update those pages, where necessary. I've already done this for Charlie.

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    • I hope this note reaches everyone who needs to get it.

      I'll be traveling out of town on business this week. I'll be completely unavailable Monday and Saturday, because I'll be driving all day. I'll check in Tuesday through Friday, and I'll be able to help with some things, but my contributions will have none of their usual frequency or regularity until Sunday, 12 Apr 2015.

      You have been warned. ;-)

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    • A FANDOM user
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