||FiringSquad Products Official Launch
August 30, 2004
Summary: Ever noticed that "Products" link at the top navigation bar? Well, FiringSquad has officially launched it - giving users the ability to view web reviews, user reviews, specs and much more. Pongky will cover all the bases in what you need to know about FS Products, and its useful features. Just read on, anyone who's cool does!
| Introduction||Page:: ( 1 / 3 )|
FiringSquad is proud to officially launch our FiringSquad Products section. Why, may you ask, did we create such a tool for our readers? We felt that there was no single resource on the 'net where a user can do their complete product research - whether it be to find specific information for a product, view the product's image, or read up on the reviews for the product. Our aim is to collate the most complete, comprehensive and accurate database of products that a hardcore gamer such as yourself would find invaluable.
Even though the section has been live for the last five or six months in the background (not many users know it exists yet), we have decided to officially launch and announce it, giving it better exposure and really push the content contained therein. With more than 4500 hardware products and counting, our Products database will likely have information on the item you are looking for whether it be LCD monitors, ATX cases, speakers, video cards, or even heat sinks. On the games side, however, we chose not to cover every game on the planet, but only the games that we hardcore gamers would care about, that's why titles like Pokemon, Deer Hunter or Backyard Football don't reside in our database.
In FS Products, we've combined the following features into one convenient bite-sized section on our site:
1. Product information, features and specs
2. FiringSquad's summary or quick take, or link to FiringSquad's article when applicable
3. Web Reviews and Averages / Web Reviews browser
4. User Reviews and Averages / Ability to comment on each others' reviews
5. Product Manufacturer's links for hardware
6. Game genre, publisher and developer links for games
6. Link to the Product's Official page
7. Links to screenshots for games or photo galleries for hardware
8. An image of the product or packaging, in high-resolution when available
9. An ability for users to submit Web reviews to be approved by FS Admin
10. View products by genre, rating, and platform for games
11. View products by category, manufacturer, sub-category for hardware
We will go over most of these features in the following pages of this in-depth article.
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Where are “Products”
Where, may you ask, will you find references to our Products section?
Homepage: Scroll down after the latest articles and FS Forums teaser, then you will find a set of Featured Products, some popular games and hardware will be shown here, giving you a quick glance of what is available.
Article Pages: Whenever an article is connected to a product, for example, a review of a game or piece of hardware, on the top of the left-hand-side column, there will be a way for you to read others' reviews, as well as post a user review of your own. Also there is a blurb from the latest user review here. In addition, in the top article navigation bar, there will also be a link to the products section via the :"Product Info" link.
An example of this would be the Doom 3 review.
Main Navigation Bar: The most convenient method to visit the Products section. Just take a look at the top of any page on the site, and there lies the "Products" link, in between the "Forums" and “Media” links.
Search: Located on every page on the site, you can enter a product name or model number in the Search box, and the results page will try to find what you searched for. For example, if you search for ‘ASUS’, you will get a results page filled with ASUS-related articles as well as products made by ASUS.
So, let’s take a look at a sample products page.
| Product Page De-mystified||Page:: ( 2 / 3 )|
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Click to view the FS Products main page. Here you can see the featured items, as well as view the breakdowns of products by categories or by manufacturers. Also, you can view the latest products inserted into the database as well as the latest user reviews displayed on the right-hand-side column.
From here, you can ‘drill down’ to the category or platform that you are interested in. Or, you can use the “Product Search” product-specific feature, to help find a certain product you have in mind. Also, if you don’t see a game or hardware product in our database, you can also Submit it via our submit tool by clicking on “Submit it” near the search feature. Someone at FS will approve and/or edit your submission and give you credit once it is approved.
Let’s take an example of the category page such as this one which is category “Video Cards: ATI”. The top portion is the featured products in this category. Notice a light-blue bar below the featured products, this is the sub-category selector. You can ‘drill down’ further to find the cards you are looking for, such as Radeon 9600 series, or Radeon 9800XT and so forth.
Below the sub-category selector (if applicable), lies the listings of hardware in this particular category, giving you three random products from each manufacturer. You can click “View Remaining … “ link to view the rest of the products by the manufacturer.
Here are some examples of a product page: Hardware Product / Game Product.
The layout of the page is simple, the main content of the page is in the center column. The user reviews average is available on the top of the right-hand-side column. In the main column, a thumbnailed image of the product is visible. On the left side are links to FiringSquad articles and galleries, as well as the specifications and FiringSquad's summary or quick take.
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On the right are the product image (high-resolution version are usually available when clicking on the thumbnail), the web reviews snippet, and the "Info Box". The Info Box holds information about the product in question. The web reviews snippet shows a maximum of three web reviews that other sites have written about this product. To start to read some of those reviews, you can click on the blurbs and it will take you to a “Web Reviews Browser” where you can click through the set of reviews for a given product, all in a framed window.
Below the product name and category display, is the navigation bar, similar to one found in the article pages, but is a little different. This is the best way to navigate to the pages related to this product. When available, this bar will have links to:
1. Product Info (current page)
2. FiringSquad Article
3. Web Reviews – a listing of all the online review articles related to this product
4. User Review – a listing of all user reviews ( it will display +User Review if there are no reviews yet
5. Image Gallery – a screenshot or photo gallery related to this product
6. Forum Thread – if a forum thread has been started for this specific product, this will be clickable
We feel that community is very important to our readers. The ability to write user reviews and comment on those reviews is a good way to get feedback and share your opinions. The product page will show the latest three user reviews, as well as the total number of reviews and average score between them. Here’s Doom 3’s product page. Clicking on to view the rest of the user reviews, will take you here, where you can browse all the user reviews as well as post comments on any of them. You can order the listings by date, author or user rating.
If a product has web reviews attached to it, then the “Web Reviews” link will be clickable. You can view the list of web reviews all in one page, or read the reviews sequentially in our reviews browser, just by clicking on a blurb in any web review and then use the navigation button to traverse through. We collate reviews from hundreds of reputable online hardware and game review sites, to give you a comprehensive and un-biased average rating on a given product.
Furthermore, you can submit web reviews on a certain product. If you know another site has a review on a given product, you can submit it by clicking on “ADD+ WEB REVIEW”. You will need the URL, numerical rating and a text blurb from the review’s conclusion to use as the quote.
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When available, a screenshots gallery or a photo gallery (usually one from an article) will be linked from the product page. Here you can see close-up images of the hardware and also if a game is worth playing or not. We can never have too many screenshots!
| Coverage and Conclusions||Page:: ( 3 / 3 )|
What products are covered?
For hardware products, we try to cover most of the categories that one would ever need. Also, we chose items that are likely to have web reviews, and thus, are more popular. Some obscure manufacturers and categories have been excluded, such as webcams or floppy drives, because face it, those are unrelated to our gaming needs and who wants to read reviews about those products?
We primarily focus (based on the number of products listed in the categories) on motherboards, ATX cases, CPU heat sink / fans, Video Cards, System RAM, speakers and LCD monitors. If a major manufacturer has made it in the last 2 years or so and they have it listed on their website, we most likely have it in our database.
On the other hand, games are more tricky to cover. We exclude games that us hardcore gamer would shun, such as Barbie as Rapunzel, Big Mutha Truckers and cutesy Kirby-type games, and focusing on the ‘mainstream’ games such as Warcraft III, Doom 3 and Far Cry. It is virtually impossible to cover all of games. Besides, quality versus quantity in this case rings true.
Conclusions and the Future
So, now that we’ve given you a run-down on FS Products and its features in this in-depth article, we hope you can now fully take advantage of the content we have in our products database. At the least, we hope you now know that it exists, and that you can refer to it whenever you need. Some features we will be working on are: Quick Rate feature, for users to post their ratings without having to write an actual review and also links to enable purchasing the product.
In summary, FS Products allow you to write and view user reviews, view screenshots and photos, visit product’s official site, view products by category and manufacturers, view high resolution images of products, and browse and submit web reviews. Basically it ties all relevant content on FiringSquad into one product and its page.
We are always striving to improve FS Products by adding features and inserting more products, to make it the most complete single resource there is on the web. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions to improve the Products section, please let us know (you can contact me directly by clicking on my name, and using the quick contact form). For now, you can always post your feedback in our news comments – and yes, we always read those.