Forum:Moving on from Graphical updates pages

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Forums: Yew Grove > Moving on from Graphical updates pages

All historical images of graphically updated models or locations are currently collected on Graphical updates pages. While the idea of dedicated, centralized galleries seems good enough in theory, I feel they don't really fulfill their role well and from my personal experience there is a number of issues that I feel could be solved by redistributing those images to specific articles about the subjects of those images instead. Some of those issues have already been mentioned in a forum thread over 4 years ago, but it doesn't seem like anything came out of it and it focused on reworking the GU pages rather than abandoning the largely flawed system anyway.

Issues with current system:

  • GU pages are relatively obscure and I feel most users are unaware of them and those that do aren't necessarily interested in going out of their way to navigate them as the topic itself is relatively niche. Unless you are really interested in the topic or happen to stumble on those pages, the images there are largely hidden from most users and of no benefit to them.
  • Since they aren't well known, the incentive to update & maintain them is getting lower, even among the few people who are aware of them and interested in the topic. Most of those pages haven't been updated in years aside from fixing links & file names.
  • They aren't particularly convenient both to navigate and update. To find what you want you have to hop through a few pages and then comb them for the specific images.
  • Having separate pages for various races while also having a separate division between monsters and NPCs (and chatheads too) makes the entire structure unnecessarily complicated & confusing.
  • The pages are very long and would be considerably longer if actually kept up to date. The current structure is also pretty clunky for cases where more than one update happened, as each intermediate stage is pointlessly duplicated.
  • GU pages contain virtually no information other than the files itself, meaning that the images lack any context.

Benefits of having those images in relevant articles:

  • All historical images of specific character, item, model or location would be immediately visible to anyone browsing respective articles, which are visited disproportionately more often than GU pages. Readers not interested enough to specifically look for those would still benefit from easily accessible trivia and those wanting to find specific images would be able to do so in a much more logical place.
  • Much higher chance that the historical images would actually be added more consistently due to bigger incentive (visible & useful to more people) and convenience – you can add those images while making other changes to the articles instead of going out of your way to specifically update GU pages. It's easier to add to the galleries, which often already exist on the pages, without unnecessary duplication of files, having to worry about missing entries or readjusting the entire table with each added entry.
  • A natural extension of the recent Update history project. Unlike the current GU pages, details could be included regarding the date, update and context of the graphical update, as well as any extra details like character being updated to new model in quest A on date/update B and in location C at date/update D. The graphical updates are often already mentioned in the Trivia and/or Update history sections so it only makes sense to actually showcase those updates too.

I understand that suggesting to get rid of a system used for over a decade might seem pretty radical, but I think it's evident that the system is flawed, largely abandoned and doesn't really benefit anyone at the moment. Having those files in articles would alleviate most of the issues and make the historical images actually visible to people using the wiki, which in turn could encourage more users to actually contribute, as we would shift from a potentially daunting system to something much more manageable on a case by case basis. If the idea gains support, the GU pages wouldn't be removed for a long time anyway, at least until all images are gradually migrated to individual articles, so there is no real urgency or heavy workload to the project and I feel it would actually be a good candidate for One Small Wiki Favour program.

Please share your thoughts (and sorry for bothering everyone with yet another niche image discussion). Mariobaryla (talk) 22:58, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Discussion[edit source]

Support general idea + request clarification - I'm supportive of the general idea of moving GU images from one primary page, to individual content articles. There was a period of time many years ago when the GU pages were much-loved and regularly updated, but at this point they're pretty sad. My guess is you won't fine a ton of disagreement on the main proposal, especially if you're willing to do a fair bit of the work (and I think it's cute OSWF fodder too).

There's an open question about how exactly we'd display the images on the content articles: do we want them to be a gallery? A separate template? Fit into the existing UH table? I think my preference would be to fit it into the existing UH table if we can make it look nice. ʞooɔ 23:12, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Support - If there's a way of matching graphical updates to update articles, I think it makes sense to add them to that section. I don't really mind what format that takes - it could be as simple as a gallery with a link to the relevant update in the captions. cqm talk 23:48, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Comment (Responding to Cook) I didn't want to jump into the "how" until I knew the general sentiment towards the idea, but my general thinking is that whatever style we end up using should be relatively straighforward and allow for additional information mentioned above, so timeframe when the model/location looked like that, additional notes, related updates. The specifics depend on how (and if) we could create synergy between those images and the Update history template. Do we add all the information to image descriptions? Do we make a separate sections that details the specifics & context of each graphical update and then just add images below as a visual reference? I don't mind the current table, but I'm not sure if it's really useful if we have only 2 or 3 images, it would be just a gallery with the arrows in between. Also while scenery and character models are pretty straightforward, location images probably need some more thinking. I'll try to come up with some more specific solutions later, for now here's just one possible example I quickly threw together. There is a lot of potential issues with it so regular gallery or bespoke template may be better, but just wanted to explain general idea. Mariobaryla (talk) 00:55, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Image Zemouregal old.png Zemouregal skeletal old.png Zemouregal (skeletal).png Zemouregal rejuvenated old.png Zemouregal rejuvenated.png Zemouregal Nadir.png
Description Skeletal Rejuvenated Nadir
Released update 29 September 2008 (Update): update 14 September 2011 (Update): patch 6 July 2015 (Update): update 14 September 2011 (Update): update 23 February 2015 (Update): update 24 April 2012 (Update):
Updated update 14 September 2011 (Update): patch 6 July 2015 (Update): N/A update 23 February 2015 (Update): N/A patch 6 July 2015 (Update):
Status X mark.svg Deprecated Yes check.svg In use[1] X mark.svg Deprecated Yes check.svg In use[2] X mark.svg Deprecated[3]
  1. ^ Defender of Varrock, Ritual of the Mahjarrat
  2. ^ Nadir, The World Wakes, Missing, Presumed Death, Dishonor among Thieves, Children of Mah
  3. ^ Currently the same as rejuvenated

Support - the graphical updates pages is not great. I think having them all on one page like that is exceptionally daunting, given that there's so much missing that it seems even more impossible to fix it.

For what it's worth I already started doing this on the OS Wiki, see the Unicorn or Gypsy Aris pages for good examples. We can pretty much generate a comprehensive set of images for all NPCs, chatheads, items, worn sprites, and objects dating back to January 2004. My goal with making this however was to make them as non-intrusive as possible, a giant table like the one above might be a bit overwhelming.

Also, I think it would be good if some consensus could be reached as to what a "graphical update" actually is. When I added the graphical updates on OSRS wiki, I included everything where there was a visible change, but excluded things which were very minor changes in shading or whatever. However, the case of Locations is one that is very vague in my opinion. Is a "graphical update" only when a location gets a complete rework, like Lumbridge, Draynor, Port Sarim in 2005, and Varrock in 2007? Or is it just when a location just visibly changes? Should new buildings like the Servants' Guild be considered a location graphical update? What about very minor changes that are still noticeable, like farming patches being added? Obviously this is just me splitting hairs, but a definitive consensus on these sorts of things would be helpful now, if there is to be an overhaul of it, to prevent future headaches. Hlwys (talk) 01:25, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Comment - I think the main reason the graphical updates pages has been neglected is that there hasn't been a viable way to expand the project. We don't have a way to get images of how things looked in the past and dates of any graphical updates are mostly unknown (even with update histories now being present on articles I don't think most updates are documented in patch notes).

That said the current pages are bad and a change to having graphical update images on individual pages would be a massive improvement for all the reasons you mentioned. I don't really like the format you've presented (sorry!) because I feel like it's not going to work for most cases and I find it visually quite confusing. I actually prefer what Hlwys has done - a simple gallery with a caption where any known dates/update could be noted. With the problems still standing about being unable to document updates more fully this is realistically the best we can do right now. We use image galleries quite a lot on pages already - so I think we should give some thought to how a "historical gallery" would go: a subsection of the main gallery? Its own section? A subsection of update history? Also would really like this to be a chance to tidy up the images. Surely they can be named better than just adding an infinite number of olds to the different versions? Could we create a new license or at least new category for graphical update images? Magic logs detail.pngIsobelJTalk page 13:07, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Comment I agree with Hlwys and Isobel that the table I put together above probably isn't the way to go, it makes adding new images unnecessarily confusing and probably wouldn't even be useful in most cases. I think having a simple gallery with a date indicating when each model (or version of area pictured) was released is probably the best way to go, I just wanted to throw some ideas around. It's probably better to just make sure each graphical update is marked in update history section (when known).

As mentioned, locations are more complex problem. I think we should definitely draw the line between intentional update to how existing stuff looks (graphical update) and new stuff being added, changing the look of the area (content update). I wouldn't consider an addition of farming patch, archaeology material cache or an agility shortcut a graphical update - although those changes should still be noted in the article. Even then there is issue of what exactly constitutes as area GU aside from proper reworks. Does updating ground textures (as is often the case recently) count? Skyboxes? Common scenery like trees or rocks? I don't think it's possible to create a claer criteria, so my thinking is that for locations we should make a separate section that would list and describe changes to specific location in details and just add a choice of images as an example/showcase. For example Mod Stu's Burth & Taverley declutter should definitely be covered in the article and some visual comparisons should be added in gallery, but at the same time I don't think we need screenshots of simple changes to ground textures or skybox over the years, as that area had a fair number of those. On the other hand if updating ground textures significantly changes how the location looks (i.e. Ice Mountain retexture with release of Arch), we probably should include this and show before/after images. Granulity is also important, if only a specific piece of scenery was updated in the area, it should probably be listed on that scenery's article rather than location one. It will also help to avoid bloating articles about cities with image of every updated pot and crate. So basically we should have a comprehensive description of what and when changed visually in the area and potential images based on common sense basis.

As for the naming convention, I think it would be best to name images after the year of release. So using the example in the table, we would have Zemouregal (skeletal, 2008).png, Zemouregal (skeletal, 2011).png etc. I think that system would be the most consistent and easy to understand. Mariobaryla (talk) 14:30, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

I like this for a naming convention - I think in an ideal world we'd use the date range the model was in use for but I doubt that would be achievable. Date the model came into use is close enough - might we need to use something more specific than just the year? I think some things may have been updated more than once in the same year - maybe month and year e.g. Zemouregal (skeletal, March 2011).png just in case? Magic logs detail.pngIsobelJTalk page 21:31, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure if there are many cases of this, but adding a month makes sense if a year is not enough, although I think in majority of situations the year should be enough. The main concern here are the location images since, unlike a singular model for NPC, item or scenery, there is a number of variables so in many cases it may be impossible to figure out when the very specific look of the area on the screenshot was added. Even if we know that the area itself was updated on a certain date, if the screenshot was taken later, it may have different skybox, lighting, some individual objects or characters might have been added or updated. etc. Ideally we should use images showing location just after the actual rework, but if the image was taken later, we should probably use the date a screenshot was taken and just add proper description/explanation in the article. As long as the naming convention is understandable and consistent this shouldn't be a big issue, considering we've been using names like old, old2 for years.Mariobaryla (talk) 22:53, 11 April 2021 (UTC)

Support - I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that table, but no ideas come to mind on how to address it differently. Plus, there's always a chance that the layout will grow on me. Badassiel 15:33, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Support - I feel a simple gallery on the subject's individual page would look better and be far more likely to be actually maintained than a big complex table or the existing graphical updates pages. We are in the position of being able to get good images and accurate dates of nearly every graphical update to items, NPCs and scenery from 2007 and earlier, but for 2008 and later we're unfortunately pretty much stuck with our existing images in whatever quality they were taken at originally. This is really only an issue for 2008-2010ish or so, which doesn't affect too much but it does affect stuff like the WGS-era Dragonkin god i wish we had better images of those. Adventurer's log Wahisietel (Talk) Quest map icon.png 18:47, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Support - I definitely support moving these onto the individual pages instead of the way they are now on the GU pages. I'm not a huge fan of the table above, I think I'd prefer a gallery bellow the existing one (using a sub-heading) but I'm open to other suggestions. Regardless of how we display them I think we need to use a template, and I'd suggest having the date and update. The template makes it easy to change all the GU pages to use dpl/smw which means they can take care of themselves, plus it would let you make other pages like all GUs from 2016, or a given update etc. Also the template lets us use ? edit links for dates/updates etc that are unknown and makes it easy to track them, and it makes sure the display will be consistent. Note that templates can be used within <gallery> tags without a problem. Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 12:58, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

Support - Seeing OS adding galleries of old models and such is something I'm jealous of because I've directed people to the GU pages before and they're a big mess. It's a big undertaking of course, but nothing OSWF can't solve. I'll echo what everyone else is saying about the way to display the information: a gallery is the most simple way and also allows for easy addition of new images. I assume we'd also list the images by chronological order. Talk to Kelsey 11:13, 13 April 2021 (UTC)