#1 Edited by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

Sorry it's been so long since a new one of these! We're at that time of year where we plan for E3 and it eats up all of my time. That, and I've been out of the office and sick. These will be returning on a regular weekly basis now though!

Features of Note Since the Last Time, Like, Three Weeks Ago

New Homepage Design

Much more straightforward!

We've rolled out a new homepage design, which features a few big changes:

  • Our promotional space (the Kubrick) is now split into three sections, so we can feature more content up at the top of the page
  • We've condensed the three-column layout into two columns, which makes it much easier to read the page and find the news stories and videos that our members are looking for
  • We're now promoting our reviews in a much more prominent way
  • We've got a more streamlined calendar of upcoming video content
  • We now have dedicated sections to promoting popular articles and videos

New Notifications System

We've completely rewritten our notifications system, which means the following things:

  • You now have much more granular control over what sorts of notifications and emails you receive, through your profile settings page
  • Game updates that appear in your notifications panel and page now feature boxart
  • Notifications and emails now send much faster than before
  • This change has fixed many of the outstanding issues with notifications that have been reported
The Big Grid of Notifications Settings

Known Issues

  • Notification emails now look like junk, but we're working on changing that
  • Game update notifications are still comically unhelpful. "An article has been posted for Watch Dogs" isn't super great, yeah. We're on that too!
  • You can get a notification for @mentioning yourself, which is pretty useless
  • You can get a notification for receiving a private message, which is also pretty dumb since the PM count is like, right next to the notifications count
  • Some users seem to be unable to save changes to the Big Grid of Notifications Settings pictured above
  • Notifications counts are sometimes jumping around

If you're experiencing other issues with notifications, please post here in this thread.

New Gamespace Design

We've also updated our gamespace design to make it a bit easier to grok, and align it a bit more with our learnings from our new homepage.

Now one column thinner, and 33% easier to read!

We're Automatically Locking Inactive Forum Threads

You may have noticed that starting a couple weeks ago, inactive forum threads were totes being locked en masse. This is by design, so as to prevent dead forum threads from being resurrected and thereafter, in general, being a nuisance to everyone.

If a general forum thread has not had one or more replies for more than 14 days, it is now automatically locked. Please note that this does not apply to game forums--just boards like System Wars, Games Discussion, Nintendo Discussion, etc.

Profile Feeds Now Feature Pagination

Previously, profile feeds only contained a maximum of 25 updates, which is not super hot, especially since you can get game updates in your feed now.

We've now completely rebuilt our user feeds system, and now support pagination through the "Show Me More" button, and store up to 100 updates.

Our long-term goal is to eliminate the maximum number entirely (or to at least make it much higher), but we want to make sure that our system can handle everything so we're starting at 100 and will push that higher.

Other Changes

Please note that this isn't intended to be a list of ALL the changes we make (we work on a lot more than this, srsly), but rather a list of changes that will directly affect or be seen by our members.

  • Made a cosmetic change to turn "Ordered" and "Unordered" Stacks into "Ranked" and "Unranked" Stacks, which is a little bit easier to understand
  • Fixed a bug that prevented you from re-rating a game and assigning a lower score than you had previously given it
  • Fixed a bug that prevented you from reading a member review :(
  • Made a change to our Autoplay Next Video feature so that if you pause the video you're watching once the 10 second countdown has triggered, it also pauses the countdown. We've also adjusted the opacity of the countdown strip so you can see what's happening beneath it much better!
  • We've drastically improved the quality of our game popularity data, which will noticeably improve the games featured on our Top Games lists, as well as the New Games page
#2 Edited by s_h_a_d_o (1294 posts) -

Groovy.

Can we maybe do something about killing off (or an option to turn off) the feed updates for when followed users post an image?

#3 Posted by AtheistPreacher (1112 posts) -

Guys, thanks. This is really a big improvement. It addresses some of my major complaints about the original redesign. I'm particularly pleased that more news items can now be loaded on the same page ("+ Show Me More"). That's the best change from where I'm sitting. More content at the top is likewise nice, there was a lot of wasted space up there. And yes, two columns is better than three. It's less tablet-y and more functional for home PC users. Why go for a tablet redesign of the site when everyone and their mother hates Windows 8?

If I could make a few suggestions:

1. Notifications. Currently if you click on "Notifications," it brings you to a page with only the updates that you had not yet viewed (for me right now there are only three)... they also only have the little game icon and a title. However, "Feed" seems to give the same information, but going further back, and in a larger format with more info per item. So isn't the "Notifications" page superfluous? Why not just take people right to the "Feed" page when they click on "Notifications"? It has the same information, but more of it.

2. Tracked games/Stacks. You guys have gone a long way toward rehabilitating the useless "stacks" to be more like the old tracked games system (which was the best on the net). But there are at least three lingering issues: 1) Stacks can be larger than 100 (my "Games I Own" is at 675), but when you click on a stack larger than 100, it will only display the first hundred, and there is no way to load the other games or even page over to them. Obviously that needs to change. 2) You've added sortable categories, which is awesome, but you've missed one important one: platform/system. We should really be able to sort those stacks by the hardware they're played on (we should also be able to sort by release date and then platform, etc.). 3) Sorting by Gamespot Score doesn't actually work (it may not work for "My Score" either, but I haven't rated any of my games yet, so I'm not sure).

But really, good progress here. The big redesign made the site more pretty but less functional. With updates like this one, you've added a lot of that functionality back. And if you can address the issues I listed above, then pretty much all the old features I cared about will be back.

#4 Posted by Randolph (10520 posts) -

Improving stacks is not a good use of resources. It's still an eyesore, and flawed on a fundamental level as a needless replacement of what used to be the best collection system on the net. You can't make stacks not suck. The best thing you can do with stacks is do away with them and make sure that terrible mistake is never made again, by never allowing who ever came up with that idea to ever go near a website design ever again for the rest of their lives.

#5 Posted by konvikt_17 (22235 posts) -

any idea when you guys are gonna implement these few features:

1. a way to know if you have read/posted in a thread or not. like the blue, green, and red dots the old site had. and the pencil.

2. a way to go the the first unread post in a thread.

key features we have all been waiting for since day one. why these features werent implemented at launch baffle me.

#6 Edited by RobotOpBuddy (65065 posts) -
@konvikt_17 said:

any idea when you guys are gonna implement these few features:

1. a way to know if you have read/posted in a thread or not. like the blue, green, and red dots the old site had. and the pencil.

2. a way to go the the first unread post in a thread.

key features we have all been waiting for since day one. why these features werent implemented at launch baffle me.

I have no idea on what's happening with #1, but with #2 - there are post anchors already (looking at the visible page source they're actually using div IDs for this for some, and standard anchors for others - href+name in the same part at that), though the overlay of the navbar inconveniently covers over the top part of the post (so it needs offsetting - which can be done via CSS (or JS/JQuery to modify the scrolling position directly) in a variety of ways for normal anchors, whether or not they'll work as intended with GS's specific setup is unclear without testing however.) in addition the recent discussion links on the main forum page are currently using different (older) anchors which do not work. The working ones are of the form #js-message-{number} where the number is either the post ID or the post number in the thread (for instance this one will be post number 6 in the thread - so either 6 or it's post ID (which I won't know until after it's posted) in the anchor would work, however simply #6 as an anchor won't work - it has to be #js-message-6 or #js-message-{postID} instead.

Of course, they don't jump to 1st unread, but beyond a back-end system to store the appropriate values for that to your account if there's not one already in place (and it's quite possible there isn't on the new site, which could cause quite a noticeable delay in getting #2 fully up and running - incidentally, that same system could be used to implement #1, which leads me to believe there isn't one in place atm) much of the groundwork for that is already done or in progress.

There's one other issue with anchors - the anchors on forum pages are equal to the reply count..which isn't always accurate (sometimes loses track of post counts for some reason, possibly related to deleted posts - which may or may not fix itself for non-mod/staff users), and more importantly doesn't count the 1st post in a thread, even if within the thread itself it is counted (which is the case for all non-poll threads) - which offsets the anchor to one post earlier than it should be. This means that anchors using post number are often (but not always) off by one atm - it does have the advantage of the correct post not being partially covered by the overlay however. Of course, when the reply counter is incorrect it can be off by a larger amount of posts as well. The postID ones are reliable in their functionality, despite the overlay awkwardness with the navbar.

#7 Posted by HackerXtreme (10 posts) -

What about the old videos pre-2008 that won't play at all? This has been a problem even before the relaunch of the site.

#8 Posted by SolidSnake35 (58109 posts) -

Someone cast those anchors already or there'll be a mutiny.

#9 Posted by CrimsonBrute (23552 posts) -

2c8.jpg@LarkAnderson

#10 Posted by GeminiEntity (1182 posts) -

@LarkAnderson:

Game notifications are not working for me at all. Been like this all month, and this new update didn't fix it for me. My settings are all correct btw.

#11 Edited by Gammit10 (2267 posts) -

While I really enjoy this work, when will my "Games I Own" stack be fixed? Any ETA?

#12 Edited by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@s_h_a_d_o said:

Groovy.

Can we maybe do something about killing off (or an option to turn off) the feed updates for when followed users post an image?

In a future update, we plan to consolidate similar updates (as Fuse used to do) so multiple image posts, etc. don't flood your feed. We'll also be adding in content type filters to the feed itself so you can narrow in on the specific type of updates you're interested in.

#13 Edited by s_h_a_d_o (1294 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

In a future update, we plan to consolidate similar updates (as Fuse used to do) so multiple image posts, etc. don't flood your feed. We'll also be adding in content type filters to the feed itself so you can narrow in on the specific type of updates you're interested in.

:P

#14 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@AtheistPreacher said:

Guys, thanks. This is really a big improvement. It addresses some of my major complaints about the original redesign. I'm particularly pleased that more news items can now be loaded on the same page ("+ Show Me More"). That's the best change from where I'm sitting. More content at the top is likewise nice, there was a lot of wasted space up there. And yes, two columns is better than three. It's less tablet-y and more functional for home PC users. Why go for a tablet redesign of the site when everyone and their mother hates Windows 8?

If I could make a few suggestions:

1. Notifications. Currently if you click on "Notifications," it brings you to a page with only the updates that you had not yet viewed (for me right now there are only three)... they also only have the little game icon and a title. However, "Feed" seems to give the same information, but going further back, and in a larger format with more info per item. So isn't the "Notifications" page superfluous? Why not just take people right to the "Feed" page when they click on "Notifications"? It has the same information, but more of it.

2. Tracked games/Stacks. You guys have gone a long way toward rehabilitating the useless "stacks" to be more like the old tracked games system (which was the best on the net). But there are at least three lingering issues: 1) Stacks can be larger than 100 (my "Games I Own" is at 675), but when you click on a stack larger than 100, it will only display the first hundred, and there is no way to load the other games or even page over to them. Obviously that needs to change. 2) You've added sortable categories, which is awesome, but you've missed one important one: platform/system. We should really be able to sort those stacks by the hardware they're played on (we should also be able to sort by release date and then platform, etc.). 3) Sorting by Gamespot Score doesn't actually work (it may not work for "My Score" either, but I haven't rated any of my games yet, so I'm not sure).

But really, good progress here. The big redesign made the site more pretty but less functional. With updates like this one, you've added a lot of that functionality back. And if you can address the issues I listed above, then pretty much all the old features I cared about will be back.

The notifications page still needs some work, and I agree that it seems duplicative of the profile feed, but my desire is to have a notifications panel/page that operates similarly to Facebook's, in that it keeps track of unread notifications.

A fix for the bug that causes Stacks to be truncated at 100 is being worked on, and we will address the sorting issues with GameSpot Score/My Score as well.

As for sorting Stacks by platform, it'll be a while before we can address that. Our games database is now organized by game title, first and foremost (which is why you can add, for example, Borderlands 2 to a Stack, but not Borderlands 2 on the PC). We'll get to this at some point, but we have other things we need to work out first, unfortunately.

Thanks for the feedback!

#15 Edited by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@Randolph said:

Improving stacks is not a good use of resources. It's still an eyesore, and flawed on a fundamental level as a needless replacement of what used to be the best collection system on the net. You can't make stacks not suck. The best thing you can do with stacks is do away with them and make sure that terrible mistake is never made again, by never allowing who ever came up with that idea to ever go near a website design ever again for the rest of their lives.

#16 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@konvikt_17 said:

any idea when you guys are gonna implement these few features:

1. a way to know if you have read/posted in a thread or not. like the blue, green, and red dots the old site had. and the pencil.

2. a way to go the the first unread post in a thread.

key features we have all been waiting for since day one. why these features werent implemented at launch baffle me.

We've already discussed how we could do this, but after E3 we'll look into this further.

#17 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@HackerXtreme said:

What about the old videos pre-2008 that won't play at all? This has been a problem even before the relaunch of the site.

This was because, when we made the decision to move over to FLV (and later, MP4), we didn't re-encode our entire video library due to its size. This is something that we'll be fixing this year, though, in the meanwhile, I'll make sure that these busted videos are hidden from the site so that you don't land on a video page that plays a 30s ad and then...nothing, which is obviously super frustrating.

Thanks!

#18 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@crimsonbrute: Thanks!

#19 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@GeminiEntity said:

@LarkAnderson:

Game notifications are not working for me at all. Been like this all month, and this new update didn't fix it for me. My settings are all correct btw.

You're not receiving any on-site notifications for articles or videos posted for games that you follow at all? A casual look at the list of games you're following shows a lot of games that are older, and thus won't cause notifications to trigger, but you should have seen a couple of notifications for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday.

Can you post a screenshot of your notifications page scrolled down to around 10:30am PT yesterday?

Thanks!

#20 Edited by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@Gammit10 said:

While I really enjoy this work, when will my "Games I Own" stack be fixed? Any ETA?

We're working on a fix for this issue for release in the next week or two.

Thanks!

#21 Posted by Gammit10 (2267 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

@Gammit10 said:

While I really enjoy this work, when will my "Games I Own" stack be fixed? Any ETA?

We're working on a fix for this issue for release in the next week or two.

Thanks!

Great news, and I appreciate the communication.

#22 Edited by GeminiEntity (1182 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

@GeminiEntity said:

@LarkAnderson:

Game notifications are not working for me at all. Been like this all month, and this new update didn't fix it for me. My settings are all correct btw.

You're not receiving any on-site notifications for articles or videos posted for games that you follow at all? A casual look at the list of games you're following shows a lot of games that are older, and thus won't cause notifications to trigger, but you should have seen a couple of notifications for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday.

Can you post a screenshot of your notifications page scrolled down to around 10:30am PT yesterday?

Thanks!

Today I finally did get one game related notification along with your post notification. In the picture is the bottom, as nothing else is there.

#23 Edited by HowlPendragon (30 posts) -

@LarkAnderson The new notification options seem to be interfering with being able to update my settings.

I attempted to update my avatar but a prompt next to Someone comments on my review or blog pops up saying "Please select an item from the list"

When I click on said drop-down list no options appear to be selectable, thus preventing me from updating anything.

#24 Edited by BattleSpectre (6128 posts) -

@HowlPendragon said:

@LarkAnderson The new notification options seem to be interfering with being able to update my settings.

I attempted to update my avatar but a prompt next to Someone comments on my review or blog pops up saying "Please select an item from the list"

When I click on said drop-down list no options appear to be selectable, thus preventing me from updating anything.

Same thing happening here. Also another thing I'd like to report (not sure if it's just me) when I post in a thread, sometimes my post won't appear and then after about 5 minutes it'll suddenly appear in the thread. Not too big of a deal but just letting you know.

#25 Edited by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@HowlPendragon said:

@LarkAnderson The new notification options seem to be interfering with being able to update my settings.

I attempted to update my avatar but a prompt next to Someone comments on my review or blog pops up saying "Please select an item from the list"

When I click on said drop-down list no options appear to be selectable, thus preventing me from updating anything.

One of our hotfixes yesterday broke the settings page, but we should hopefully have a fix in for this tomorrow. Sorry!

#27 Posted by GeminiEntity (1182 posts) -

@LarkAnderson:

Still not receiving anything for Amazing Spiderman 2. I did receive something for Superman Returns despite not following it.

#28 Posted by Perth2008 (198 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

@Randolph said:

Improving stacks is not a good use of resources. It's still an eyesore, and flawed on a fundamental level as a needless replacement of what used to be the best collection system on the net. You can't make stacks not suck. The best thing you can do with stacks is do away with them and make sure that terrible mistake is never made again, by never allowing who ever came up with that idea to ever go near a website design ever again for the rest of their lives.

I'm not sure responding with a doggie picture addresses the legitimate concern raised by @Randolph about how the web (re) design time should be allocated. What wasn't broken (the popular user's tabular game collection database) didn't need to be fixed. And what is broken (stacks) should be abandoned. The customer (us users) may not always be right, but we are about stacks.

#29 Posted by GeminiEntity (1182 posts) -

At least Stacks are better than the following list which still has no sorting options at all, along with the following feature itself being rather hit and miss.

#30 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@Perth2008: What is it about Stacks makes them broken? There are a couple bugs that are being worked on, but after a lot of change they are now just about as functional as our old lists system was.

#31 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@GeminiEntity: The following page is getting a huge (and much needed) upgrade in the future.

We'll look into your problem of not receiving game updates--you didn't get one for the Amazing Spider-Man 2's review published yesterday?

#32 Posted by GeminiEntity (1182 posts) -

@LarkAnderson:

That's good to hear, just a few sorting options would be a nice welcome.

I didn't get anything about The Amazing Spiderman 2 review, and nothing about Wolfenstein The New Order either which had some news recently. I did however get updates for Metal Gear Rising and Killer is Dead. Almost seems like I can get updates for games that are mentioned along with other games, but when it's specifically just that game I get nothing for it. Either that or new gen/PS4 games are just not working for me.

Thanks.

#33 Edited by Gammit10 (2267 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

@Perth2008: What is it about Stacks makes them broken? There are a couple bugs that are being worked on, but after a lot of change they are now just about as functional as our old lists system was.

With the "Games I own," I click edit, can select a game by putting a check-mark in the game's box, but then I can't click "Remove" or anything like that. The only clickable box/button is Exit Editing.

#34 Posted by LarkAnderson (1766 posts) -

@Gammit10: What browser and version are you using, and on what platform?

Thanks!

#35 Posted by Gammit10 (2267 posts) -

@LarkAnderson said:

@Gammit10: What browser and version are you using, and on what platform?

Thanks!

Both Chrome and IE 11 (latest 32-bit versions) on Win 7 Pro 64-bit and Win 8 64-bit. Also IE 11 64-bit on Win 7 Pro 64-bit.