There are a lot of people who come here and learn to code by modding existing carts, and personally I think iterating on someone else's project is a fantastic way to learn stuff (I do it too), so I'd never want to discourage it, but sometimes it floods the BBS too, especially when someone does a workshop or class where everyone does it.
Could we get a Mods category under Cartridges?
That also might let you curate that kind of cartridge a little better, since a lot of them are only slightly different from the original, or indeed might not even work properly, and don't really belong in Splore, even though it's useful for junior programmers to share their work with each other here on the BBS and bounce ideas back and forth and so on.
I agree that there needs to be some structural change to accommodate carts like this, but I'd like to split it differently. I think the central issue is noise, and so we should sort by noisiness. There are other carts in a similar boat, like tweetcarts, tiny doodles, and completed game making tutorials all of which authors might otherwise feel shy to post. Conversely, some mods should still be "Releases" -- for example, total conversions and completely new level sets.
[EDIT: Just to clarify, noise is not a bad thing! I love thumbing through a mess of carts, and that's an important part of PICO-8. The issue is just being able to choose when to do so].
"Collaboration" and later "Jam" were meant to catch higher-frequency carts like this, but I didn't do a very good job explaining them (or even to properly understand them myself). I think all of these categories need to be collapsed back into a single, noisy post-whatever-you-want category.
So, what I'd propose is broadening the meaning of "Jam" and putting everything that is not a release or work in progress in there. There could even be a community tag (next to "spam", "requires devkit") which means "this should be in jam". Cartridges posted in thread replies would also show up in splore's Jam category, so things like posts in the tweetcart thread would show up.
The forum categories would look like this:
Cartridges: Releases | Work in Progress | Jam
Community: Collaboration | Chat | Dev Blogs
Snippets: Code | GFX | SFX / Music
Support: Tutorials | Workshop | Bugs
The name "Jam" might be a bit misleading, because it doesn't mean "games made for a Game Jam". But most jam cart authors don't seem confused by that, and it could be clarified in the interface / cart posting flow better. It's still quite relevant to Game Jam games though, as many of them might feel not at home in Releases (Glorious Train Wrecks), or the author might want to keep working on them and promote them to "Releases" later on, the way that the WIP -> Releases [ -> Featured] cartridge lifecycle works.
I would also like mods to be specially taggable as mods though -- and to formalize the process of forking carts in general. It would be nice to show the parent cartridge to a user when it's a mod, and to view all mods of a particular cartridge.
I feel like "noise", as you describe it, is a very wooly category? Like, my Rain Gif cart is very small in scope, but a great deal of polish and design work when into designing the rain parameters, the rain drawing function, the color palettes, the UI elements, and the sound effects - I would be pretty worried about it being flagged as noise by people who don't see any of that work.
> So, what I'd propose is broadening the meaning of "Jam" and putting everything that is not a release or work in progress in there.
I strongly disagree with this. Mods and jams are very different things.
> The name "Jam" might be a bit misleading, because it doesn't mean "games made for a Game Jam".
Not just a bit misleading. No one is going to put their modded cart in a Jam category. Jam means Game Jam.
> But most jam cart authors don't seem confused by that
I really think you're underestimating the confusion that will result.
Also, I think "Experimental" might be another good category. Something where R&D is the norm, people trying stuff but not necessarily intending to publish anything final. By default nothing in "Experimental" would go into Splore. Note this would be different from WIP, since WIP is intended to be released.
Agree with Felice - highly confusing.
I’d even say that collaboration, jam categories are not useful.
There is no jam really being hosted on the bbs - showing off jam carts can safely go to wip or release.
Collaboration is the same - what is the difference with wip? what feature does collaboration brings to deserve its own category?
"Jam" I can see as a category, since there don't tend to be very many game jams going on at any one moment, so it will usually just be "Jam of the Day".
"Collaboration" though, yeah, without any way to actually integrate your team on the BBS, it doesn't really help much and just introduces an unclear category to the reader.
I like the idea of linking Mods to their inspiration carts via tags, especially since people might get code from one cart and music from another, etc. I'd recommend looking into how MediaMolecule's Dreams handles that network of linkage, though that might be too involved for Pico-8.
If we're talking about a forum restructure, can I suggest that categories be sorted by use case? Sometimes you just want to look at some cool graphics effects, sometimes you want to play a game, sometimes you want to see all the releases for the latest game jam, etc. I'd say have an All tab that just shows everything for discoverability, and then individual tabs for when you want something specific, like this:
> All | Tutorials | Games | WIPs | GFX | Mods | Jams | Music | Art | Tools | For Fun
Then let people tag any and all categories that apply when they submit a cart, and let users search/filter via checkboxes. Pico-8 has expanded to many categories of Releases now, I think the underlying concern here is that things are only viewable as a mish-mash. Options for categories like this would also help people collab, if you're looking for music or art or a cool background effect for your menu.
Just to add to my above comment (because I'm aware that some of those categories already exist in other places): I think that there's a big chunk of cartridges that are tutorials or music or GFX "releases". While the snippet library and tutorial posts are worth having, they kind of have the opposite problem of getting buried in a place where people don't discover them much, because they aren't finished cartridges for a more casual audience. I want the same tags, but for those.
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