A strong position is very useful to other people... It helps you identify where you are.
This week we held our last board meeting of the year, and we covered a lot a of ground. Unlike November, where we had a relatively short public meeting, this session took the full two hours to get through. We covered a lot of topics, from DrupalCon Amsterdam to updates from the Working Groups. As always, you can review the minutes, the materials, or the meeting recording to catch up on all the details. Here's a summary for you as well.Operational Update
The month of November was short given the US holiday (Thanksgiving), but we still have a number of initiatives that we managed to push significantly forward. Among them:
- Licensing Working Group: We recently put out a call for volunteers for the Licensing Working Group, whose charter was approved at the November board meeting. If you are interested in licensing issues, we hope that you will consider applying. The Licensing Working Group will play a pivotal role in helping contributors navigate what is and isn't allowed quickly and in keeping our code GPL compliant and safe.
- Social capital and the Driesnote: In Amsterdam, Dries laid out a vision for the future of contribution in our community. We also began sharing a plan for Drupal.org in 2015 at DrupalCon Amsterdam that aligns with that vision. We have been laying the groundwork over the last few months, working on commit messages and profile improvements that will make it possible to illustrate not just code contribution, but the many kinds of contribution that individuals (and soon, organizations!) make in the Drupal community.
- 2015 workplans: Association staff have been very busy preparing workplans for 2015 as well. The DrupalCon team has been rethinking food and fun at DrupalCons based on recent survey feedback. The Drupal.org team has been working on the roadmap. Our revenue team has been planning for solidifying the new revenue programs we launched this year (like Drupal Jobs) and planning for new opportunities as well.
- DrupalCon Latin America: We are all very excited to get to Bogota for DrupalCon Latin America next February. Everything is on track for this event from a logistics standpoint. We have speakers and space and now all we need are more people. We are planning for 400 people to be there and have about 90 registered so far. Normally, we would have a much higher percentage of tickets sold at this point, but with a very minimal price increase between rates, and with the holidays, we suspect we will see more registrations closer to the date of the Con.
We're coming up to a pretty pivotal time for Drupal marketing. As we near a Drupal 8 release, the Marketing and Branding Committee can help lead the community in making this the biggest Drupal release ever. In the meeting, the Board voted to approve the appointment of Gina Montoya of Blink Reaction as the new Chair of that committee. Congratualtions and thank you Gina!DrupalCon Amsterdam Wrap
Over the last few Cons, we have worked hard to collect more data about our attendees and their experience and to analyze that data to understand what's working and what's not. We looked at a LOT of data for DrupalCon Amsterdam, and shared what we learned and what we will be applying to future Cons. In short - the Con was very successful financially, but we continue to struggle to collect session evaluations and, frankly, the food was terrible. We are very sorry about that. Basically, until the last two weeks before the Con, ticket sales looked slow, so we modified the catering order to mitigate the budget loss we were facing. When the upsurge in ticket sales began, it was too late to change our box-lunch order. We will definitely be rethinking food overall. It's one of the single biggest expenses at DrupalCons, and we know it's one of the best ways to keep attendees happy. Check out the complete overview.2015 Budget and Leadership Plan Highlights
The board approved the 2015 Budget and Leadership Plan in executive session at the previous board meeting. We reviewed the highlights this month in the public board meeting. If you're interested in even more details, you can watch the recording of the webcast that we presented on Thursday, 18 December.Governance Updates Board Term Limits
The Board of Directors operate under a set of rules that govern issues like how the board is structured, the length of terms, etc. This set of rules is codified into the organization's Bylaws. Like any good governance document, and like any good governance group, it makes sense to review how the group operates and what rules might need to be changed in order to provide a better framework for governance. The Governance Committee of the board is charged with ensuring that the board is operating at its best, and making recommendations when things could work better.
In the original bylaws of the organization, terms for Class Directors (nominated and approved by the board, not community-elected seats), are set at 3 years, with a limit of 3 terms. That means that any Class Director could serve a total of 9 years on the board. This is not absolutely a problem, but we do know that board operate best when members are energetic and fully committed, and when new ideas and perspectives can be added to the mix. Nine-year terms work against both of those concepts. To solve for this, the board voted to change the bylaws and limit service to two 3-year terms, or 6 years total. A board member does have the option of taking a year off at that point and could be re-appointed after a year of downtime. We are currently updating the bylaws document to reflect this vote and will update the Association site when this work is complete.Community Elected Candidates
One other issue that has been raised by the board is preparing community-elected board members for their service on the board. This class of directors exists to provide a balance of perspective on the board, and everyone understands that many community-elected board members will likely have little board experience prior to their service. The board wants to ensure, however, that these members can jump into their term easily and figure out how to advocate for their agenda quickly. To that end, the boad agrees that it makes sense for candidates to at least have some experience with the mechanics of the Association Board. The Governence Committee recommended that a requirement of board meeting attendance would be a low-threshold to meet, and would expose candidates to how the board operates. The proposal was that, starting in the 2016 elections, candidates will need to attend a minimum of 3 board meetings, which can be tracked by Association staff.
This proposal was voted on and adopted by the board. However, I do want to note that it was not a unanimous vote; we had 2 nay votes. The point was made that currently, all board meetings are held at noon pacific on the third Wednesday of the month. That time slot is during waking hours for the US and Europe. It's early in Australia, but doable. However, anyone in Asia, in particular, can't participate in those awkward hours. The suggestion was made that we shift some of our meeting times to accomodate these other time zones if we are going to make attendance a requirement for running. There was general agreement with this sentiment, but no clear conclusion about how to actually make that happen. The board decided to call the proposal to vote now and work out the logistics of shifting board meeting schedules at a later date.Working Group Updates
Lastly, we got updates from all of the Drupal.org Working Groups: Software, Content, and Infrastructure. In addition to the work they are pursuing related to the Drupal.org roadmap, Working Groups are also reviewing their charters. With more than a year of operations under their belts, and with a full tech team on staff at the Association, it's important to take a look at how things have changed and ensure that charters are still in alignment.Goodbye 2014!
It has been a big year for the Association and the Drupal community. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Drupal community for all your support for the Association. It's a joy to come to this job every day and work together to take on the challenges and opportunities we face. Your generosity, smarts, and sense of humor makes it all that much more rewarding. I can't wait to see what we tackle together in 2015!
Flickr photo: Matt Westgate
Drupal 7 provides a file field that allows for uploading files and images to your Nodes but it is limited in functionality. The core file field only allows for uploading one file at a time and does not permit drag and drop functionality. Hower, with a few modules and a little bit of configuration we can easily provide this functionality to your site.
First download and install the following modules:
"The thought here is to provide high-level transparent goals for the audio department within a development environment, and to serve as a series of checks and balances by having a longer term strategic outlook." ...
Code that performs well should be an assumption, not a requirement. I've never had a client ask me, “will your code make my site run slower?" Clients just assume that I'm going to deliver a codebase that does not hold things up.
Free-to-play and premium games may have different business models, but they can still share similar aspirations when it comes to excellent design. Learn what F2P can learn from P2P at GDC 2015. ...
I recently picked up The Art of Ian Miller, a gorgeous book jam-packed with illustrations by one of my favorite fantasy artists.
I picked it up not only because I love Ian’s artwork and I’ll enjoy having the book in my collection, but because it gave me an idea: The “art book campaign,” a campaign built around and inspired by the contents of one or more art books.
Here’s how it works, broken down into steps with my own examples for each step.1. Buy an art book
Type an artist’s name into Amazon’s search box, browse the art section at your local Barnes and Noble, or otherwise choose a book however you like.
I went with a simple approach: I love Ian Miller’s artwork, and whenever I see one of his pieces it inspires all sorts of weird gaming ideas. I also liked that this book wasn’t limited to a specific universe (Mass Effect, Star Wars) or genre, although it’s mostly fantasy.2. Flip through it
Flip through the whole book, taking as little or as much time as you like, and jot down the first thing that springs to mind about any picture that strikes your fancy.
Don’t be constrained by trying to fit those ideas together — just let them flow. And don’t worry if you write down too many: It’s easier to connect and cut than add ideas later.
I flipped through The Art of Ian Miller once, set the book aside, and then flipped through parts of it again a week or so later. Below are the illustrations I chose, and the ideas I came up with based on them.
This guy is clearly the BBEG in my campaign.
There are dragons in this campaign.
There are titanic, mechanical war machines and slobbering, house-sized chaos beasts in this campaign.
These dudes are fearsome champions of good.
This place is important somehow.
Dream-monsters are in the campaign.3. Winnow down your ideas
Go through your list and pick your favorite elements. Move them to a new list, rewriting them if it feels right to tweak them a bit. If you like them all, keep them all.
Ignore the ideas you left behind. (Or keep them for another time, if you like.)
I liked my rough, big-picture list, so I kept them all and added tweaks:
- The BBEG is a Crawling Chaos-like beast, enormous and terrifying
- There are dragons, and they have kind of a mechanical feel
- There are titanic, mechanical war-machines and slobbering, house-sized chaos beasts
- The champions of good are flame-winged, tentacle-festooned, and terrifying; they’re constructed through magical rituals
- The Eternal City is important to the forces of good, and under constant siege by nature spirits who oppose the mechano-magical rituals that take place there
- There are dream monsters, and things that feed on dreams
Not loving what you came up with on the first pass? Take a second pass. No third pass, though — trust your instincts.
There’s a book that spawns monsters.
Dragons come out of books.
There are rat-men and poison gas is used in warfare.
Nightmares can be made flesh.
This sentient city is trying to take over the world.4. Assemble those ideas into a campaign framework
I did this as a solo exercise, but you could just as easily do it in collaboration with your group.
Here’s my second-pass list again:
- There’s a book that spawns monsters
- Dragons come out of books
- There are rat-men and poison gas is used in warfare; warfare involving non-fantasy technology is theme
- Nightmares can be made flesh
- A sentient city is trying to take over the world
Combining that list with my first list, tweaking things a bit, and doing a few minutes of noodling, here’s a first draft campaign framework for my Ian Miller art book campaign (written in about 10 minutes):
Charnuboleth, the Hell-Maelstrom, seeks to reduce the universe to chaos. On this world, it planted the seeds of the Living Abattoirs, house-sized mountains of flesh capable of crushing entire cities.
Malferak the Constructor, the deity opposed to Charnuboleth in this cosmos, in turn planted the seed of Mechos, a sentient city. As Mechos grew, it tried to combat the Living Abattoirs in different ways. First it built the War-Titans, enormous war machines powered by clockwork brains that emit poison gas through their leg-vents. The battles between the titans of flesh and the titans of metal ravaged continents, and in time Mechos went insane.
Before madness overtook it completely, it spawned a second sentient city, Libreum. Libreum wrapped technology in magic, making it easier for humanity to understand, and it communicated with humans through books. The books of Libreum are dangerous, spawning dragons, corrupting dreams, turning nightmares into reality, and teaching humanity rituals it can barely comprehend — let alone control.
But despite their many downsides, the books are effective. Over the past century humanity has summoned powerful Bleakflames, winged warriors capable of standing up to the Living Abattoirs; convinced some of the dragons to fight alongside them; and developed technology to aid their soldiers and rat-men allies alike in surviving the wastelands where the Living Abattoirs and War-Titans battle.
In this campaign, the PCs will seek out dangerous, unpredictable books that can spawn monsters, invade their dreams, and teach them powerful magics. They’ll journey to Libreum in pursuit of new weapons to use against the Living Abattoirs, breaking the spirits’ siege on this peculiar city. And they’ll work to convince more dragons to ally with humanity. In time, they’ll journey to the wastes, fight alongside rat-men, and fuse magic and technology to fight back against Charnuboleth itself.Optional: 5. Go deeper
Want more granularity, or more things to work with? Want to dive into a specific concept or place from your list and expand it further? Take additional passes and repeat steps 3 and 4 for each element you want to expand.
To keep this article a manageable length, I didn’t take this step.Optional: 6. Get all crazy
If you like, mix things up:
- Use several art books
- In a group setting, give everyone a different art book
- Choose art books for the “wrong” genre and bend the concepts to fit your desired genre
- Close your eyes, flip to 1d10 random pages, and force yourself to work with those ideas
- Return to the well by dipping back into the art book as the campaign progresses
However you choose to create an art book campaign, stay loose, be open to weird ideas — and conjunctions of ideas — and don’t hesitate to write down things that sound stupid at first.
This article is the spiritual successor to one I wrote back in 2009, The Decamer Campaign: Start with D&D’s 10 Stupidest Monsters…, and the freedom to use constraints in a positive way is an important component of both approaches — as is letting what at first seems stupid marinate until it becomes interesting.
However you approach creating an art book campaign, I hope you have fun with it — and if you’ve got suggestions for fruitful art books to use, drop them in the comments!
This module is based on jchin1968's sandbox project Block Timer.
Block Timer is a module for analyzing page block performance.
Show network files outside the web document root on site pages.
"A critical Git security vulnerability has been announced today, affecting all versions of the official Git client," GitHub says. An update is live for its services, but everyone using git should be careful. ...