Reducing the number of categories

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Sanqui
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Reducing the number of categories

Post by Sanqui »

Hey,
I think the number of categories on the mod portal is too high. People are often not sure which one to choose because their mod fits multiple, and few people actually browse the categories. As a part of a wider discoverability improvement plan, I propose the following new categories:
  • Overhaul - large total conversion mods
  • Content - mods introducing new content into the game
  • Tweaks - small changes concering balance or gameplay
  • Utilities - mods concerning GUI, language, and various tools which don't change gameplay
  • Scenarios - scenarios, maps, and puzzles
  • Libraries - lua libraries for use by other mods
  • Internal - submods that are parts of a larger mod (not shown, for mod developers)
Please let me know if these look about right to you :)
ovo

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disentius
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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by disentius »

Good initiative:)
I think the categories Library and Internal can be joined. Non-modmaking players do not need to search on libraries.

FuryoftheStars
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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by FuryoftheStars »

Hmm, hard decision. I can see the appeal to both methods.

With the current method, I have often at times used like the Oil or Train filters to find mods that are specifically about that. But, there are a lot of categories and they're really not all encompassing as is, nor are there general categories for mods that stretch across more than one category.

On the other hand, I know many people feel overwhelmed when presented with multiple decisions, so the reduced category counts would be beneficial to them, and would help those with mods that don't neatly fit into one of the existing categories. However, this would make it harder to search for mods on specific subjects, especially if that subject can have multiple terms that may or may not be used in it (ie, trains, locomotives, cargo wagons, rails, etc). This is also assuming the searcher can handle singular vs plural terms, even ones where the word actually changes spelling vs just having an "s" added to it.

I think adding the categories as suggested in the OP is certainly good, but I'm not sure about it being at the expense of removing the existing.

Honestly, if it were me, I'd probably set it up as a category and subcategory system.
  • Categories would be as presented in the OP, general encompassing terms. Modders would only be able to select 1 category for their mod.
  • Subcategories would be like the existing list, more specific pieces. Modders would be able to select multiple of these for their mod.
I would then clean up the category buttons at the top and consolidate them into 2 drop downs, a "Category" and "Subcategory". It'd make it cleaner/neater, and potentially not seem as overwhelming. Then users searching for mods can just filter on a category, and if they want the finer level, the subcategory.
(Edit: As pointed out by someone else, the "subcategories" I mention above may be more appropriately named "tags".)

disentius wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:53 am
I think the categories Library and Internal can be joined. Non-modmaking players do not need to search on libraries.
I agree with this.
Last edited by FuryoftheStars on Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by Loewchen »

I think there are in essence three problems with the current categories:
  • large overlap (Non-Game-changing/Utility/Helper Mods/Blueprints)
  • unnecessary distinction (Oil)
  • ambiguity (Balancing, Environment)
My problem with the proposed categories is, that it completely removes the ability to distinguish the type of gameplay changed/feature added. From the perspective of someone looking for a mod that e.g.: makes combat more challenging/adds logistic challenges/changes map generation/adds more powerful weapons... They would all end up searching in the same pool of mods: The categories "Content" and "Tweaks".

I'd instead propose to summarize existing categories e.g.: weapons+enemies+defense = Combat, Oil+mining+Power Production = Production, etc... Some will be tricky but I believe it is possible and those categories will be way more useful for those actually looking for mods.

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by orzelek »

Looking at the list I'd still have no idea where to put RSO. It's not an Overhaul or Content mod but I think it might chage to much to be considered a Tweaks mod.

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by ickputzdirwech »

I think this is a good idea and the categories make sense to me. Imo the biggest issue with the current system is that you can't add more than one category. I would suggest that tags get added. They could be things like trains, oil, weapons, mining etc (the categories you want to get rid of basically). Overhaul mods could then have multiple tags that give an overview which part of the gameplay they change.
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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by Hornwitser »

I find the idea that you can categorize mods into exactly one of a set of categories to be rather problematic. What category would you put a mod that adds content, tweaks existing gameplay, adds utilities, and scenarios, and act as a library for other mods to use?

There simply doesn't exist a set of categories which are both usefully specific enough for finding content from them and are also all mutually exclusive. As a modder I feel like I'm forced to choose whatever is the least wrong category to put my mod into rather than the categories that fit my mod. As a player I feel like I can't search through mods using the categories because while I might be looking for a weapons mod, the mod I'd want may have been categorized as an enemies mod since it's got more enemy content. I also can't use the categories to get an idea of what content a mod has by looking at its category since more than half of its content might better fit other categories and the author of the mod chose whichever category fit the most content in the mod.

Will you please consider using tags instead of categories? The crucial difference being that a mod can have multiple tags instead of exactly one. That way when you see a mod tagged Defence, Weapons, Armor, and Enemies you can easily tell the broad overview of what content it has. And when you search for weapons you'll find all the mods that add weapons instead of just the mods that only adds weapons.

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by Xorimuth »

FuryoftheStars wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 4:38 pm
Honestly, if it were me, I'd probably set it up as a category and subcategory system.
  • Categories would be as presented in the OP, general encompassing terms. Modders would only be able to select 1 category for their mod.
  • Subcategories would be like the existing list, more specific pieces. Modders would be able to select multiple of these for their mod.
I would then clean up the category buttons at the top and consolidate them into 2 drop downs, a "Category" and "Subcategory". It'd make it cleaner/neater, and potentially not seem as overwhelming. Then users searching for mods can just filter on a category, and if they want the finer level, the subcategory.
Agreed, although your subcategories would be better being called 'tags'. Having both categories and tags could work but I'm inclined to say that it would be redundant, and the mod portal would be better off with just tags.

I personally like the distinction between Libraries and Internal, but they should both be equally hidden or deprioritised from trending/popular/etc.

Another issue I have is with the Scenarios category. Scenarios have a precise in-game meaning (a pre-defined map with control-stage scripting), whereas a mod like https://mods.factorio.com/mod/TheFloorIsLavaRevival could be described similarly but doesn't actually contain a scenario. I'm not sure if the name should be changed so that it can encompass both actual scenarios and pseudo-scenarios, or if the latter should have its own category?

If you are not switching to tags then I think that list looks great. It seems to me that mods would rarely fall into 2 categories from the list that you've mentioned, as one is often a superset of the other. Where would you expect https://mods.factorio.com/mod/DiscoScience or other graphics-only mods to go? Presumably Utilities but I wonder if a new category would be appropriate.

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by FuryoftheStars »

Xorimuth wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:01 pm
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 4:38 pm
Honestly, if it were me, I'd probably set it up as a category and subcategory system.
  • Categories would be as presented in the OP, general encompassing terms. Modders would only be able to select 1 category for their mod.
  • Subcategories would be like the existing list, more specific pieces. Modders would be able to select multiple of these for their mod.
I would then clean up the category buttons at the top and consolidate them into 2 drop downs, a "Category" and "Subcategory". It'd make it cleaner/neater, and potentially not seem as overwhelming. Then users searching for mods can just filter on a category, and if they want the finer level, the subcategory.
Agreed, although your subcategories would be better being called 'tags'. Having both categories and tags could work but I'm inclined to say that it would be redundant, and the mod portal would be better off with just tags.
Ah, so is that what kids these days are calling it? ;P lol Yes, agreed, if that's the more appropriate term, then it should be tags. :)
Xorimuth wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:01 pm
If you are not switching to tags then I think that list looks great. It seems to me that mods would rarely fall into 2 categories from the list that you've mentioned, as one is often a superset of the other. Where would you expect https://mods.factorio.com/mod/DiscoScience or other graphics-only mods to go? Presumably Utilities but I wonder if a new category would be appropriate.
Hmm, maybe a "Graphics Only"?

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by vjbone »

tags>categories
tags+categories= better

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Re: Reducing the number of categories

Post by UkcsAlias »

Loewchen wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 5:13 pm
  • ambiguity (Balancing, Environment)
Even though balancing can mean many things, there are still key elements that take place in them, which often can be handled using tags:
Infinite resources is a balance aspect, just like removing it on oil. These are very clear balance changes. Adjusting biter damage and having more late game biters is again a balancing aspect. Its down to tags to identify the change on that.

Easier/Harder on that wouldnt even describe it because certain changes that some might find easier can create other conflicts: infinite resources with heavy polution modifiers can cause an excessive amount of biters to attack. Especialy when you only have a mining rate of 10%, as that generates a lot of polution for the resources, while restricting expansion speed a lot. Balancing covers such mods perfectly as its the only tag that realy shows what it does.

For the example you gave, you would end up with tags like logistics, combat, map generation, enemies, weapons. Which is fine. And yes, i am aware that combat is most likely going to be combined with enemies and weapons a lot on that. But thats exactly why tags works. Some want all combat modifiers, some only new weapons or better biters.

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