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This thread was archived on 11 July 2015 by Liquidhelium.

Hi everyone! I and a few other people have been working on creating new, interactive, personalized skill training guides for buyable skills. I wanted to get the wiki's feedback on the guides, and see if anyone is interested in helping make them.

For reference, the buyable skills are Fletching, Herblore, Smithing, Cooking, Firemaking, Crafting, Construction, Prayer (sort of) and Summoning (sort of). It's often not clear what the best way to train those skills is, because it often relies heavily on the prices of items, which change. Consequently, they're often some of the most-used training guides and skill calculators. But our training guides and calculators are still pretty bad and inconsistent.

My grand plan for buyable skill training guides is to use a "master" data object that contains every training method for each skill (for example, Module:Skill guide/Fletching/data), and Lua to generate each of the following:

  1. A "normal" skill calculator where users can input their current experience and goal experience, and it will tell them how many of each item they need to make to reach that goal. The kind of thing that a lot of other fansites have. See Calculator:Skillcalc for this implemented for Fletching.
  2. An "efficiency" skill calculator that uses the "mathematical" concept of efficiency to create a table of the most efficient methods at a given time value. See Calculator:Skilleff for this implemented for Fletching.
  3. The biggest piece is what I call personalized skill training guides. In these, the user inputs their current experience, goal experience and their time value, and the output is a personalized guide that will get them to their goal in the minimum amount of time, accounting for the cost of the training method. You can see this in action at Calculator:Skilltest, and if you want interactivity, put importScript("User:Cook Me Plox/calc.js") in either your personal JS, or just in your developer console. This lets you ignore and unignore methods in your training guide.
  4. Finally, I want to replace the "methods" part of the skill training guides with a dynamically generated list of some of these methods, although I'm not yet sure what the constraints on that will be. That can come later.

Once we have the code for generating the calculators and guides, the main work involved in this will be making a list of all of the methods, figuring out how many you can make per hour, and then writing a little bit about each method.

So my questions for everyone are:

  • Does this seem useful? Do you think people would use it for training buyable skills?
  • Is the terminology clear? What needs more explanation?
  • Are these intuitive to use? Do they look nice?
  • Do these calculators load their results fast enough? Is one second enough of a problem?
  • Do you think it's going to be useful to have paragraphs about the methods?
  • Any other feedback?
What's left to do
  • Write out paragraphs for each method (instead of just lorem ipsum), or decide whether that's useful to have
  • Have TyBot auto-update certain price pages
  • Use localStorage to store a user's guide
  • Add support for permanent links
  • Make sorting by time work
  • Add more explanatory stuff
  • Add support for modifiers
  • Add support for bonus xp
  • Possibly add a progress bar
  • Possibly make it more visually appealing
  • Try to profile the code and see where the speed can be improved

ʞooɔ 22:18, April 4, 2015 (UTC)

Discussion

Comment - I think users will think it'll be more friendly if the time box was more elaborated, such as "days:__ hours:__ minutes:__", instead of a generic 300000ms (I believe) box. The box itself could use some of the wiki colors, maybe fill up the page to look like "oh wow, it's being used by many people", but that could be done at the end. Except that, looks and works very good! Nice work :). — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 22:33, April 4, 2015 (UTC)

The box itself could use some of the wiki colors, maybe fill up the page to look like "oh wow, it's being used by many people"
U wot? That makes 0 sense. MolMan 22:34, April 4, 2015 (UTC)
I meant add some blue in there! :p. — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 22:35, April 4, 2015 (UTC)
That still makes 0 sense with the rest of what you said. MolMan 22:36, April 4, 2015 (UTC)
Nvm :/. — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 22:39, April 4, 2015 (UTC)
The time value is in terms of money, not milliseconds. It's 3 million coins per hour. Clearly that needs some sort of explanation. ʞooɔ 22:42, April 4, 2015 (UTC)
Oh oh ohoh oh. Oops! All good then! — Jr Mime (talk) [VSTF] 22:44, April 4, 2015 (UTC)

Comment - I think you mixed up practicality and xp on efficiency? Actually, I don't see XP anywhere. I think all numbers should be right aligned so that comparing them is easier, probably best to do this with CSS. I'd like to see practicality on the normal skill calc, too. e.g. Hydrix bolts will literally never work. MolMan 22:24, April 4, 2015 (UTC)

Fixed the practicality/xp swap. Numbers can be right-aligned, although they're already not monospace. I'm okay with adding a practicality field for the normal skill calc but I'd prefer it be set to the minimum by default. ʞooɔ 22:42, April 4, 2015 (UTC)

Question - I am not a smart man so this may be a dumb question. BUTT, is efficiency time spent doing a low cost method versus time spent making money and then doing a high cost method? In other words, do the proposed skill guides take into account how quickly the individual can make money? If so, then I support this. 124.184.16.245 06:59, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

MFW I am not logged in. And what happened to the minor edit tick box? 124.184.16.245 07:00, April 5, 2015 (UTC)
You can see how efficiency is calculated at Efficiency. And yes, it does take into account how fast someone can make money. It's an adjusted GP/XP, given a specific time money value. If your time is worth 3 million coins an hour, you could spend that hour making 3 million coins, or you could spend it making magic shieldbows, which would make you 116,600 coins an hour and get you 242,475 experience. Essentially, you're giving up (3,000,000 - 116,600) coins to get 242,475 experience, which gives it an adjusted GP/XP of -(3,000,000 - 116,600)/242475 = -11.89. And the minor edit box disappears if you're not logged in. ʞooɔ 07:39, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Question - In the case you're not available, and there's new methods released, how would people update this? Not everyone knows how to code, and that's also a problem if a bug is found and no one knows how to fix. --Jlun2 (talk)

The goal is to make it so that any modifications can be done through the data page (Module:Skill guide/Fletching/data). With sufficient instructions, I think most people will be able to figure out how to edit that. I don't like making it so hard, but it's a restriction we have to live with if we want technically complex features. ʞooɔ 12:41, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Comment - I'm really REALLY digging Calculator:Skilltest. I have a feeling it will become very useful to anyone once all data for all skills is implemented. To answer your questions:

  • It does seem very useful to me, and I do have a feeling that it will help people to train these skills.
  • Terminology is mostly clear. I am still very befuzzled about the "practicality" thing; that word, combined with a numerical value, tells me literally nothing.
  • They look fine to me.
  • I am on a terribly slow connection at the time of testing and writing this, and the calculators are fast enough for me.
  • If the paragraphs are referring to Calculator:Skilltest, then definitely keep them in there. Some user-friendly text next to a table full of data would be appreciated.

Keep up the good work. Lily of the valley ThePsionic White Rabbit 11:40, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Practicality has a tooltip in the training method boxes, but I still need to add one to the calculator. Thankfully Gaz modified Q's calculator script to support HTML in the labels, which makes it way easier. ʞooɔ 12:41, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Comment - After having a play around with each of the calculators, I really like the idea that they're proposing, and I would definitely like to see them become an addition to the wiki. Dissecting your questions from the proposal:

  • Does this seem useful? Do you think people would use it for training buyable skills? - Without a shadow of doubt. I found the regular fletching calculator and the final fletching calculator the most useful options. I feel that the first efficiency calculator could be integrated into the final path-making calculator with the use of a check box that asks if a user would like a path automatically built for their goal. Perhaps it may be worth adding checkboxes to certain options if they're not feasible for players? For example, I set a goal from 1-120, and it offered onyx bolts as an option, one that I wouldn't pursue if I were using the calculator for this goal.
  • Is the terminology clear? What needs more explanation? - I'd like time value and efficiency to be described at the top of the page before the calculator, just in case it confuses people who are not familiar with those concepts.
  • Are these intuitive to use? Do they look nice? - I think the final calculator is fantastic, I guess the above applies for this.
  • Do these calculators load their results fast enough? Is one second enough of a problem? - People have traversed multiple webpages just to get a result from these calculators. I would wait far longer if needed for my result.
  • Do you think it's going to be useful to have paragraphs about the methods? - If we have the manpower to do such a thing, absolutely.
  • Any other feedback? - Nothing of significance at this time. Broav pet Rhys Talk Completionist cape 11:46, April 5, 2015 (UTC)
If you do importScript("User:Cook Me Plox/calc.js") in your personal JS or your console, it'll make it so you can click the red Xs and exclude or unexclude methods. Is that what you mean for the checkboxes? ʞooɔ 12:41, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Stuff - As mentioned above, (Cook and) I made a number of changes to the calc script at MediaWiki:Common.js/calc.js in support of this (though the additions are generic enough to be used anywhere - and should, particularly point 2 and 4). As a summary:

  • Now supports HTML in the labels
  • Added checkbox type for simple yes/no fields
  • Added a semihidden type for inter-script stuff
  • Old hiscores type replaced by a clearer lookup mechanic
  • Entire thing fixed up using code quality checking tools (JSHint and JSLint)

A test thing can be found at User:Gaz Lloyd/Sandbox 2, but the template isn't specifically designed to use it properly; its mostly to show the fields in use in the form.

I don't have a lot of notes on the calculators right now, but certainly skillcalc's colours are too strong- the links/text are hard to see . I'd make them more pastel, say #d5ffd5 link - #f9fd92 link - #ffd8dd link for example. Quest Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 18:37, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

Pastel gets my automatic support. Lily of the valley ThePsionic White Rabbit 18:39, April 5, 2015 (UTC)
Changing link colors to #0044FF should fix all contrast issues without looking bad at all (regardless of what fetus says); CSS MolMan 16:29, April 19, 2015 (UTC)
I added it to common.css, so all existing calculators using this sort of thing should swap from row backgrounds to classes (which I am slowly doing): sg-green link, sg-yellow link, and sg-red link. Feel free to talk about exact colours and update the classes as required. Quest Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 16:47, April 19, 2015 (UTC)
Changed link colors as well to placeholder placeholder placeholder instead of those excessively bright colors --Iiii I I I 16:50, June 9, 2015 (UTC)
Are there any limits to what HTML can be added to the labels? I'm wondering if we've inadvertently opened up a security weakness with this. cqm 06:43, 20 Apr 2015 (UTC)
Anything that works inside a <label> tag. Should probably be fixed. Quest Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 15:43, April 21, 2015 (UTC)

Dear Cook My Socks,

  • For Calculator:Skillcalc:
    • Could you add a dropdown that lets the user choose between inputting level/XP?
    • I can't read the blue links against the background colors; maybe go with something more muted
  • For Calculator:Skilleff:
    • Could you explain what time value and min. practicality are (with something like the [?] from Calculator:Skilltest, a link to efficiency, or just a few sentences from the article)?
    • Is there a reason the default values are 3000000 and 6?
  • For Calculator:Skilltest:
    • It seems redundant to have both the table at the top and subsections with a paragraph and another table with similar information
    • I tried rearranging the table (left out the tooltips because I couldn't be bothered)
  • Could you add the lookup button you have on Calculator:Skilltest to Calculator:Combat level?

--Iiii I I I 22:53, April 5, 2015 (UTC)

  • Dropdown for Level/XP is possible. Not quite sure where it would fit in the interface.
  • Background colors should be better now.
  • Added explanation for the terminology on Skilleff.
  • No particular reason for the defaults. They seemed reasonable.
  • I envisioned the table at the top as being a sort of table of contents, with individual sections for each method below. Without any details written about them it looks less like that, but that's the goal.
  • I'll try implementing your table and see how it looks.
  • Added to the combat calculator.
ʞooɔ 01:02, April 6, 2015 (UTC)

Comment - Did we get any new feedback from that Reddit post that would be valuable to be posted here? If so, do it. MolMan 13:23, April 8, 2015 (UTC)

Comment - I've created a sortof mock up of a Fletching guide which would incorporate Calculator:Skilltest in my sandbox. The "methods" section is where the calculator would go. The small descriptions are what would replace the lorem ipsum filler in the current calculator. Basically I am commenting because at the moment I am struggling to see what should be written here that would be helpful to someone using the guide; at least for Fletching, the methods seem self-explanatory. I would like to see what other people think could be useful to add here or if we think that an explanation of each method if needed at all. Magic logs detailIsobelJRaw rocktail detail 19:41, April 28, 2015 (UTC)

Certainly for almost all fletching it'd be pretty basic text - some other skills I can see being more complex. The methods should mention assumptions, if any (all the numbers for 'x per hour', number bought and number sold usually have some sort of assumption attached), any prep work needed (equipping skill outfits if relevant, setting up presets and action bar, etc), and probably most importantly the exact methods and tips for the method (e.g. "The unfinished bolts should be placed on your action bar. They can then be finished by pressing the associated keybind for the slot used and then pressing space. This will fletch 15 sets of 10 bolts before needing to be repeated.")
I think something like herblore may get a longer explanation, take for example making overloads. That method can talk about the assumptions of having made (or not made) extremes beforehand, usage of scroll of cleansing and portawells, preset setup (and mention of having two presets if using your own portawells - 4 overload sets and 4 overload sets + a portawell), which outfits to wear (factory vs botanist), portawell placement, the exact method, and so on. Quest Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 18:13, April 29, 2015 (UTC)

My thoughts I like this for the most part. (Semi nonserious addition I would like to see) Option to convert the time required into ticks. --Yayepicyay (talk) 02:51, May 12, 2015 (UTC) More notes when I tested your example fletching calculator it says I need -69 hours to make the money. I am lvl 85 and it recommends making onyx bolts. There probably should be a limit in there for methods that make money that prevents the time to earn money from being negative. Other than that though seems like a nice concept. --Yayepicyay (talk) 02:40, May 16, 2015 (UTC)

Closed - Feedback has been given, discussion has died. --LiquidTalk 22:48, July 11, 2015 (UTC)

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