View Full Version : Improved World Map on GameSalesCharts.Com (core mechanic highlighting and more)

James C. Smith
10-22-2007, 08:58 AM
I am working on a beta version of a new “World Map” (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap) for www.game-sales-charts.com. You can’t get to it from the normal web site yet. This beta is only available from http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap

My favorite new future is the ability to highlight all the games with a particular core play mechanic. For example, highlight all the hidden object games or all the click management games. This is amazing to see and fun to play with.

Here is a screen shot showing that new ability in action:
http://www.game-sales-charts.com/temp/worldmapbeta.jpg (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap)

The new version has a few other key features:
Highlight all games with particular play mechanic
Select which portals to show (or not show)
Select how many ranks (columns) to view. The default is the top 10 but you can just show the top 5 if that is all that you care about and you want a more manage sized display. Or you can see the top 20 or 30 for the sites that show that much data.
Select how aggressively to shorten the game names to try to make them fit on the screen
Select how many days back to go when showing each game’s momentum (recent movement)

There are some features form the original world map that don’t work yet:
The portal names are not linked to the actual portals
The game names are not linked to the game’s detail/history
There is no navigation to get to other parts of the web site

There are also many things I hope to add but didn’t do yet including:
A simple way to navigate to other days (yesterday, last week, last month)
Highlight tags other than core play mechanic (theme, sequel, licensed, features, mechanic sub categories)
Highlight by companies (developer/publisher/distributer)
Show more information about each game (in a tool tip or in a box at the bottom of the page or by clicking though to a new page?)
Clean up the style
Show momentum in a more graphical way
Make core mechanic be check boxes so that highlighting can be “locked” and persist for more than just a hover. This could allow you to see all the “hidden object” games even if you have to scroll. Or it could allow you to highlight both hidden object and click management at the same time (to see what it looks like when 85% of the squares are highlighted)
Try t o make the URLs more friendly

As you can see, this is a beta (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap) and needs a lot of work. It doesn’t even do everything the current world map ( http://www.game-sales-charts.com/cms/index.php?option=com_dbquery&Itemid=33&task=ExecuteQuery&qid=38) does. This is a complete rewrite in a new framework where I have a lot more control but I haven’t implemented everything yet. Even with some of the old features missing, the new features are VERY powerful and cool.

I would love to get suggestions and other feedback while the new re-write is still in progress.

PS: I would also love to get suggestions on other portals to track and better sources for the portals I do track. For example, where can I get the top 20 for Real Arcade rather than just the top 10? I am looking for a URL not a way to do it in their client.

Ryan Clark
10-22-2007, 02:11 PM
Thanks very much for your work on this, James. I've used the old world map quite often!

The single most useful feature for me would be the ability to step backward/forward in time. I see you already have this on your "to do" list, which I think is great!

Another suggestion I have would be to add a highlight option for "time on the chart". You could highlight games that have been up for 1 week or more, 2 weeks or more, 3, 4, etc.

10-23-2007, 04:50 AM
If each game entry was an actual link to the game, thus I could quickly check to see what a game is like.

James C. Smith
10-25-2007, 09:20 PM
I got some date navigation working on the beta world map (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap/). It’s not fancy but it works. You can type a date in to the option (or the URL) or use the links above the chart to go to previous or next day or week or month.

Here is a URL that shows the World map for April 2005 (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap/?date=2005-04-01). when we has Match 3, Breakout and mahjong games at the top of the charts. (I only have data for three portals back then)

Or here is one from 2006 (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap/?date=2006-07-10) when match 3 was stick neck and neck with click management and hidden object

Ryan Clark
10-26-2007, 09:45 AM
Awesome; thanks, James!

So very useful. I owe you a beer.

James C. Smith
10-26-2007, 12:11 PM
I find it really fun to take a trip and the way back machine and look at all the different points in history. You have always been able to access this historical data on Game-Sales-Charts.com in the "Day By Day" chart but it only showed one portal at a time. The "day by day" chart is great for watching how individual games rise and fall over time on a portal. But this new view provided by the "world map" is a whole new way to look at that historic data. You see a one day slice of the all the portals in one view. The new core mechanic highlighting makes it easily easy to grock. I have wasted a lot of time just scrolling though the data week by week looking at the patterns and trends.

James C. Smith
11-08-2007, 08:43 AM
I implemented a game detail page on the new beta site. Now when you view the World Map (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap) every game name is a clickable link that takes you to page that tells you about that games history. For example, Ricochet Infinity links to

where it tells you that Ricochet Infinity is also known as, Rebound Infinity, it has many tags including breakout (Core Mechanic), space (Theme) and sequel (Business). It also show the release date of the game on each portal that released it and how many days it was in each portal’s top 10 list. This is very similar to the game detail page that is on the non-beta site except this one actually tells you the name of the games, the AKAs, is formatted a little nice, and has a much more readable URL.

I am slowly re-implementing every feature of the old Game-Sales-Charts.com using a new framework what is much more flexible so that I can customize the pages more and make them more interactive.

11-08-2007, 09:28 AM
The single most useful feature for me would be the ability to step backward/forward in time.
I too would like to be able to step forward in time. This would save me much guesswork and allow me to focus on only profitable products. I am looking forward to this feature very much! Btw, how is the Hyperfluxcapacitator work progressing?

11-08-2007, 09:45 AM
Thank you James for such a great and useful site!

James C. Smith
11-08-2007, 09:52 PM
I too would like to be able to step forward in time. This would save me much guesswork and allow me to focus on only profitable products. I am looking forward to this feature very much! Btw, how is the Hyperfluxcapacitator work progressing?

Obviously this doesn’t let you look into the future. Stepping forward in time is only meaningful when looking at the past. It won’t let you step forward to a date in the future. But I had toyed with the idea of making up silly names if you tried to go into the future. It could show “Luxor 5, Dinner Dash Flow in Space, Mystery Case File: Iraq, Funeral Home Mania, and Ricochet Infinity Plus One”

James C. Smith
11-08-2007, 09:55 PM
The World Map can now estimate the top games for a range of dates. This answers question like, “What were the most popular games in 2006?” or “What were the most popular core play mechanics in Q1 of 2007?” You don’t get one answer for all portals combined, instead you get an answer for each portal. But the grid layout of the World Map, and the interactive highlighting, makes it easy to visualize any one game or core mechanic across all the portals at once. Having this type of visualization for a date range, rather than just a single day, is very powerful. This is similar to the “top games” chart on the non-beta site which uses a scoring system to rank all the games on any one portal in any specified date range. But now this data can be presented much more graphically for many portals at once.

Here is an example link that shows the most popular games for the first 10 month of 2007.


James C. Smith
02-07-2008, 10:10 PM
I have made a few more enhancements to the BETA version of Game-Sales-Charts.com.

One minor change is that I started collecting Top 10 lists and Release dates from several Mac games sites including MacGameStore and the Mac sections of Game House, Big Fish and Reflexive. (in case you didn’t notice, Reflexive launched a Mac games section today.) Here is the current top 10 on 4 Mac sites (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/&BigFish_Mac=on&GameHouse_Mac=on&MacGameStore=on&Reflexive_Mac=on) and here are the new releases for Mac (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/newreleases?days=12&BigFish_Mac=on&GameHouse_Mac=on&MacGameStore=on&Reflexive_Mac=on)

The biggest change I have made to Game-Sales-Charts.com is a new BETA page that shows the New Releases (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/newreleases) on many portals at once.
http://www.game-sales-charts.com/temp/beta-new-releases.jpg (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/newreleases?date=2008-02-07&days=8&namelen=25&BigFish=on&MSN=on&Pogo=on&Real=on&Reflexive=on)
This will be a replacement for the World Wide What's New This Week (http://www.game-sales-charts.com/cms/index.php?option=com_dbquery&Itemid=33&task=ExecuteQuery&qid=50) chart currently on the site. This new page has options to show or hide any portals you like, show any number of recent days you like (defaults to the last 8 days) and lets you navigate to other dates in history. Plus it has the ability to highly games by core play mechanic just like the BETA World Map does. So now you can easy see all the Hidden Object games that were released this week.

The New Releases page can also display information from a single portal in a wall calendar type layout.
http://www.game-sales-charts.com/temp/beta-calendar-bigfish.jpg (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/newreleases?date=2008-02-07&days=60&namelen=25&BigFish=on)
Here you can see 60 days of new releases on Big Fish and stats showing 13 new match 3 games, 8 click managements games (all highlighted), 7 adventure games and so on. This calendar type layout is automatically activated any time you select a single portal. When multiple portals are selected you get a row for each portal like you see in the first image at the top of this post.

Games names are always clickable in the New Releases (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/newreleases) chart and the World Map ( http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap). They always take you to a game detail page that tells you about that games history on every portal.
http://www.game-sales-charts.com/temp/beta-detail-azkend.jpg (http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/detail/azkend.html)
This game detail page has been upgraded to list all the tags assigned to the game and show some extra columns. You have always been able to see how many days a game was in the top 10 on any portal. But now “Best Rank” column will say how high a game got even if it didn’t make the top 10. In this case we see that Azkend never made it into Reflexive’s top 10, but it did make it up to #30 in Reflexive’s top 100. Obviously this data is only shown for portals that publish more than 10 games in their top sellers lists. Finally, there a new column to show a game’s current rank in all the top sellers lists. I find that I check this one a lot for new games that I care a lot about. It will show you ranks that are hard to see on the World Map ( http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap) since the World Map ( http://beta.game-sales-charts.com/games/worldmap) usually only shows the top 10 but the Game Detail will tell you a games current rank within the top 100.

James C. Smith
02-07-2008, 10:17 PM
I have also been hard at work tagging all the games with Core Play Mechanics. In the past I tagged every game that made it into a top 10 list on a major casual portal. Now I am trying to tag every game released on the majors. This gives you a very different picture. The top 10 on Big Fish is usually at least half full of Hidden Object games. If you only look at the Top 10, you would think that is most of what they release. But the New Releases list (with the new tagging) revels that they actually release more Match 3 games than any other type.

I have tagged most of the new releases in the past 6 months for Real, Big Fish and Reflexive. But if you look at the last 365 days you will see about 50 “unknown” games on the Game A Day portals. I still have lots of work to do just to fill in all of 2007. But there is already enough done to paint a very good picture. What I am fining is that the new releases on most portals is much more diverse than most people give the industry credit for. Many people complain that most casual games are just clones of I-Spy (hidden object) and Dinner Dash (click management) with very little experimentation. The truth is, many unique games are made with many different play mechanics and many of the major casual portals launch them. But you only hear about the hidden object and click management games because those are usually the ones that sell the most.