Talk:ADVENT's Agenda (LW2)
The material present on this page can be found on the Long War 2 installation folder, specifically:
- \Config\XComLW_Activities.ini (config file, can be read with Notepad or Notepad++)
- \Script\LW_Overhaul.u (actual mod code, requires UE Explorer to read)
In addition, check this thread on the subreddit r/Xcom contains an excellent Excel spreadsheet made by sectoidfodder, who has already compiled all the relevant info: Hobbes (talk) 23:26, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
ADVENT Activities Table
I've been considering how to use tables to properly display all the activity info. I had this already on my mind I was still compiling the info since my table was getting too big but with the publication of the previous mentioned Excel table, you now have the complete picture (and saved me quite some work).
Essentially, my idea was to split the table into 2: one focusing on activities in general, with activation conditions, while the 2nd would be strictly focusing on the missions generated by activities (and this last one could be made into a template to use also in the Missions page - there's going to be a lot of info of cross-references between this page and Missions to properly explain both).
So here's a proposal for each table
- Activity Internal Name - preferable to using alternative names to avoid confusion
- Description/Objectives - to better clarify the previous field
- Missions Spawned
- Internal Name
- Mission Tree/Families
- Rebel Income
- Win or Fail/Expire
- EVAC/Force/Alert/Infiltration Modifiers
- imo, the wiki is for players who don't read the source code, ergo internal names should be avoided if at all possible. This includes the internal names for the variables that comprise the column headers; "Minimum Intel" and "Detection Rate" makes a lot more sense than "Rebel Income" and "Discovery" for instance. In fact, I don't even think internal names should be listed anywhere on the page. It may be less readable to editors and those who read the source code, but they should come second. DjinnFor (talk) 09:41, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
- IMHO, since its beginning the UFOPaedia is meant for the whole XCOM community, and that includes players, modders and everyone else not included in these categories (even Firaxis devs have used it). And since Long War was originally created by modders, to me it sounds ironic to place them second to players considering that without modders you wouldn't be playing Long War 2.
- First, this discussion to me applies to the general pages - i you want to make your own strategy tips page (plenty of those on the UFOPaedia) then I'd say you're absolutely free to use whichever terms you feel adequate but you're still going to have to explain them. If I first read something saying: "Mininum Intel: 100", I have no idea what it means unless both the terms and the value are properly explained at the end of the table or somewhere in the page. So that clarification is always required regardless of the term used being 'Rebel Income' or 'Minimum Intel'.
- Second, if we go towards non-use of internal names, then who decides which terms to use? On the general page Weapons (LW2) someone has already started using the term Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) to refer to the game's SMG. I personally disagree with PDW since I consider that Carbine would be more appropriate to use than the SMG. Who is more right, PDW or Carbine?
- The answer is that the choice between both is arbitrary and subjective, and if you allow one then you have no argument to prevent others from using their own terms, which means that you'd have general pages that would use either SMG or PDW or Carbine or even all of the terms. Which is a recipe for confusion, even if you're know something about firearms, since anyone reading might think there are 3 different game weapons called SMG, PDW and Carbine. And this is the main reason why ingame terms and internal names should be used on the general pages - so that we all agree that we don't have to spend time arguing which personal choice is better and to avoid confusing those who are almost ignorant of how LW2 works by presenting them 2 or 3 different terms for the same item. Hobbes (talk) 16:20, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
- Modders typically don't need a wiki to explain how the game works to them if they're reading the source code. It can be useful as a reference in case they forget, but they are already well-informed and are unlikely to be lost and confused in the sea of information. It's not that big of a deal when the exact same thing is called by a different name, especially when that chosen name is self-explanatory enough to make it obvious. What is important is how easily you can relate the name to the nebulous cloud of qualitative and quantitative information that the name refers to or relates to, i.e. the meaning; there's a reason behind the saying "that's just semantics".
- If you as an editor or modder already know what "COINResearch" is, and you read the term "Tactical Dark Event Research", it's obvious that the two are referring to the same thing. So if you're skimming through the wiki for the first time just to check to see what the detection rate of the mission is so you don't have to pull out the source code, it's not that big a deal that they're named differently. However, if you're a player who doesn't have any idea what COINResearch is and how it works, but you see the term "Tactical Dark Event Research", then it's easy to draw connections between what you see in game and the extra information on the wiki and build strategies.
- For instance, you might notice the min/max vigilance and alert levels (which arguably should be renamed "Strength" as that's the in-game name for the variable) and realize that ADVENT won't run tactical dark event operations in regions where XCOM has no presence at all (<3 vigilance) or where ADVENT has high presence (>8 alert). Contrast that with reading "COINResearch" and having to go look up what that actually means (hell, would you even realize how important it was to look it up in the first place?). What if you were looking for information on what spawns Dark Events and how the mechanic works, and after checking the Dark Events page (it doesn't say) and the Missions page (nope), your last desperate attempt was to skim the ADVENT Agenda page over, only to close the tab when nothing jumped out at you? Furthermore, lets say you do eventually figure it out, now you have to make sure not to confuse COINResearch with COINOps, which basically sound like the same thing. It seems a little inconsequential and trite to say this is important, but multiply that thousands of times over across the entire wiki for every sentence and every line of every table you read. Helping readers make instantaneous connections between whats on the wiki and what that actually means to them personally is...well - the basics of communication in general, really.
- The goal is to consistently communicate the maximum amount of information with the minimum number of words; too few or too many and it adds additional mental burden. You sound like a modder yourself, so think of how the important object-oriented practices of encapsulation and abstractness are meant to aid in code readability. A well-chosen name, like a good variable name, will communicate all kinds of meaning in and of itself and means that when you read it across several different pages of the wiki you still understand what's going on without having to cross reference it continuously.
- Deciding on names isn't hard. I mean, editor consensus for arbitrary names on sparsely-populated wikis basically comes down to two things: who's the first to come up with a name and stick it on the page, and who hates the name enough to want to change it months later. Obviously, if you pick a good name to begin with, nobody will want to change it. As for what constitutes "good", obviously in-game names take absolute priority. If it's referred to in a particular way by the game, then obviously players who see that name repeated in the wiki should instantly recognize all the implications of what the name refers to. Failing it being actually listed in the game somewhere, a properly chosen name should create the aforementioned instant recognition by being self-descriptive enough. That also means it should be consistent across the wiki so that if you read about something in one place and you see the name again elsewhere, you can draw the connections. So to resolve that SMG debate, the game calls them SMGs, so problem solved. No need to decide between PDW and Carbine at all.
- As for sticking a description of a particular event inside a table, that might work. If the descriptions are too long, you've defeated the purpose of using a table (the rows will be too wide and you'll have all this whitespace in every column except the description, meaning you're basically just fitting less information on the screen at once instead of more and organizing it in a more obtuse instead of less obtuse way, like for instance a regular old multi-indent list). Similarly, table aesthetics as a whole are important for guiding readers visually: thin and narrow columns typically contain inconsequential details that are there if you care, while wide columns should contain really important stuff like names or descriptions. Columns that are closer to the left should be really important information: name, description, list of spawned missions. Internal variable names are not so important, except in a particular narrow case where someone is using the wiki to teach them the source code. Priority-wise, that's a pretty narrow case, equivalent to someone trying to find out what the Alert value is. And when the source code names are so long they dominate large chunks of the horizontal table space, that violates the principle of "less important = smaller columns", especially when 50% of them are empty.
- If you want to do a page or add subsections aimed at modders, like for instance telling them where they can find functions or classes that govern specific behavior and what various variables do, then do so, but blending that into the wiki itself means abandoning the average Joe who needs to keep multiple dozens of tabs open and continuously scroll everywhere to cross-reference all the information being thrown at him because the names are an active detriment. Honestly, a "how to" guide for the Long War 2 source code sounds like a good resource page for the wiki (I could have used that for Long War 1 when the source code was a binary extract and the variable names were basically pulled out of an immutable list, let me tell you). DjinnFor (talk) 08:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)