In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane.
Use typed objects for your Drupal entities.
This module provides a simple way to treat you existing entities like typed objects. This will allow you to have a more maintainable and easier to debug codebase.
In the first two installments of this series we looked at a general introduction to creating WOW with Drupal and adding some "Technical Wow". Today's let's tackle ...Creating Wow - Aesthetic
This is part 3 of a 5 part series. Read the rest of the series here.
What do you do when there’s a disconnect between what the player thinks they can do and what the GM knows they can do?The player is absolutely certain he’s facing an insurmountable challenge. More enemies than he and his companions can handle are pounding down the gate, and there’s no way to attack them before they burst in and overwhelm his crew. He hesitates, torn and unsure what to do in this obvious no-win situation. On the other side of the table, the GM is confused. She knows his stats make him more than capable of climbing the wall so he can rain death down on the invaders before they get inside the courtyard. Not to mention, most of the enemies are minions, meant to be squishy and reinforce how epic the heroes are.
What do you do when there’s a disconnect between what the player thinks they can do and what the GM knows they can do?
A few weeks ago, I talked about how GMs can help find the ‘Essence of Awesome’ for their players. This subject is similar, but it comes from a far more basic place. Usually this only happens with people that aren’t used to playing together much, if at all. While it can make for an uncomfortable introduction to a new group, it’s a fairly common problem in convention games. When the players and the GM are on different pages about what’s expected in a game, it can make for a very frustrating experience on both sides of the table. It may not happen often, but it’s a good issue for GMs to be aware of so they know how to adapt and adjust to get everyone on the same page.
In the opening example, the player hadn’t played D&D in quite some time and was coming at his choices from a very old-school perspective. The last time he had played regularly, if something wasn’t explicitly stated in the rules, you simply couldn’t do it. He assumed that he couldn’t jump up onto the wall because it was something he couldn’t do in one of his previous games. The GM, on the other hand, was aiming for a fun action adventure with the PCs performing epic acts of heroism. Or at least something close to that. When faced with this situation, she just plainly pointed out to the player that he was playing an epic hero capable of great things and that it was an easy roll for him to get up on the wall. Once he understood that, he stopped being so hesitant and got up on the wall to start taking out the enemies on the other side of the gate.
Of course, the opposite can happen too.
Several years ago, I was in a fantasy game at Origins where the GM took great care in setting up the scenario. The game opened with the PCs returning to their employer with an artifact they had been hired to retrieve. Before they could get their payment, a much more experienced and accomplished party was allowed to jump line and go in ahead of them. Behind closed doors, but obvious to a PC that was spying on the other room with clairvoyance, those experienced adventurers were slaughtered with the wave of a hand, leaving the artifact they had brought back to be picked up from their disposable corpses without a single gold piece being spent.
The entire adventure was supposed to be the PCs fleeing from their employer and trying to foil his nefarious plans. The idea of retreating was absolutely foreign to this group of players, though. Despite the GM consistently rewarding bennies/plot points to the one player who was saying ‘Let’s get out of here!’ the other PCs insisted on busting into the bad guy’s office and trying to fight him right then and there. The GM honestly did his best to get the PCs to run without explicitly stating it. In the end, the entire party was wiped out, creating a forty minute TPK that wasn’t fun for anyone at the table. (As a note, the GM immediately offered to run a different game for anyone who wanted to stick around since they had paid for a four hour game. The two most stubborn players left, but everyone else stayed for what turned out to be a really good game.)
So what’s a GM to do? If the players are expecting the game to be one thing but the GM intended something else, how do you get everyone playing the same game?
Encourage Them To Just Do It – Like the first example, sometimes just pointing out how easy a task is will be enough to get the player to start treating the game like an adventure story instead of a logic puzzle. There’s a place for logic puzzles in gaming, but if you’re looking for action and adventure, you might need to nudge your players in the right direction. If they’re used to playing games with a slightly more adversarial role for the GM, it may take a little extra work, but it’ll be worth the effort.
Are You Sure You Want To Do That? – On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the players are doing crazy, stupid actions that are going to get them killed, a simple and skeptical question is often enough to make most players hesitate. “Are you sure?” is a tool many of the GMs I admire employ very well. You don’t need to give away the plot of the game, but sometimes the players may not pick up on more subtle clues that would have told them they’re biting off more than they can chew.
Be Clear and Up Front About It – Worse comes to worse, have an out of game conversation to set expectations. Whether you’re switching to another system that requires a slightly different style of play or you want to change up the tone of your game, it is sometimes necessary to just let the players know what you’re going for with the game.
Give Them What They Want – Of course, it’s also good to keep an open mind. If you realize the game the players think they’re going to play sounds like fun, there’s nothing wrong with setting aside the game you thought you were going to run for the one the game turns into.
Have you ever sat down to a table and realized that two different games were being played, even if only momentarily? I’d be curious to hear how it was dealt with and how the game turned out.
Can you help Fuzion take the Drupal 8 integration module that was developed as part of 2014 Google Summer of Code and get it working with the most recent version of Drupal 8 and publicly available for testing?
Getting CiviCRM ready for Drupal 8 was always going to be a task with many stages. Thanks to the funding from the Google Summer of Code 2014 in August last year Torrance, was able to get CiviCRM functioning well on what was then the latest alpha of Drupal 8. Highlights of this work included a native, Drupal-side installer for CiviCRM, Views integration using CiviCRM to discover the database schema (cutting the Views module from 15,000 lines to code to under 2,000), and a set of integration tests for both CiviCRM and Views.
But as Drupal 8 has continued active development, many core APIs have changed and ….. the integration has regressed.
Lots of these changes are relatively minor: during alpha there were still plenty of structured arrays hanging around which have now mostly been moved into well defined interfaces; or similarly plenty of hard dependencies on object classes have been abstracted into interfaces. There’s also been a few slightly more significant code changes, with several hooks that were still hanging around having been pulled into the new plugin system for example.
Drupal 8 is now at beta 6 and is becoming much more stable; APIs have settled down and the code churn is much reduced. Now is a good time to work through the existing Drupal 8 integration code, update function signatures to match the new interfaces, and get CiviCRM working correctly on Drupal 8.
By getting through this next tranche of work we can set the ground for thorough testing of the module in the lead up for Drupal 8.0 final.
Fuzion is proposing to fund 1 hour for every 4 hours funded for the next tranche of 50 hours of work (our estimate for getting Drupal and CiviCRM playing nicely enough that we can get this pushed out). So yes we are looking for others in the CiviCRM community to chip in and help fund this important work to make sure CiviCRM is set for Drupal 8.
Can you help us push on with this next stage so we can get the integration available for public testing? If so please drop by this page and chip in.
NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference is nearly upon us! We’re gearing up to ship out to Austin, and we’re putting the finishing touches on Drupal Day. This is one of our favorite events of the year, as it’s when we get to meet up with many of our nonprofit partners, learn about new organizations and their causes, and share our expertise with the folks that need it to further their missions. We’re especially excited about the Drupal Day we’ve been coordinating for the last several months.
What’s Drupal Day? Well, the name pretty much gives it away, but specifically, it’s a full-day, pre-conference event that we’ve been organizing for the past few years. It’s full of Drupal trainings, discussions, and nonprofit technology staff sharing their successes with their community. Breakout session topics vary from content strategy, accessibility, fundraising, CRMs, design, and more, all led by Drupal experts. The day concludes with our keynote presentation on the future of Drupal and Drupal 8 by Zack Rosen, CEO of Pantheon. All Drupal Day attendees and speakers are invited to join us for a sponsored Happy Hour at the Brass House that evening. Want to stay in the loop on Twitter? Look for the hashtag #15NTCDrupal. Of course, Drupal Day wouldn’t be possible without the help of its co-sponsors, Aten Design, Forum One, Gorton Studios, Message Agency, and Zivtech.
That’s not all we’re up to, though. This year, you can find the ThinkShout team at booth #301 in the Science Fair on Wednesday and Thursday. Our friends at MailChimp couldn’t attend the NTC this year, but they made sure you wouldn’t go home empty handed. Stop by our booth for your NTC MailChimp swag, and come talk to us about how we’re integrating Drupal with MailChimp. We’ve also got a few ThinkShout goodies we’ll be handing out, so be sure to stop by. We’re happy to discuss just about anything under the sun.
This has been a big year so far for ThinkShout’s open source contributions. We’re particularly thrilled about our recent release of RedHen Raiser, the first peer-to-peer fundraising tool built on Drupal and RedHen. This is something we’re very excited to share with the nonprofit world, and we’d love to talk to you more about it at our booth.
You'll also be able to see some of the ThinkShout team in action as part of the NTC programming. On Thursday, March 5th, catch Lev Tsypin on the panel "Sync All the Things! How Progressive Nerds are Changing the Future of Political Data and Integration" at 3:30 p.m. On Friday, March 6th at 10:30 a.m., Brett Meyer will be co-leading the session “Content Strategy 101” with Katie Carrus from the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Brett will also be co-leading the session “Managing a Tech Project (Or Two or Three)” with Lisa Goddard from the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Melissa Barber and Brian Pickett from North Peak Solutions on March 5th at 1:30 p.m.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ThinkShout for our real time updates. Feel free to tweet us questions, or just say hi! (You can totally do that in person, too.) We’ll see you in Austin!
In this classic feature, Will Luton deconstructs the original collectible card game, Magic the Gathering, and the important lessons it holds for today's video game designers. ...
Building a successful company is really hard. It is hard no matter where you are in the world, but the difficulty is magnified in Europe, where people are divided by geography, regulation, language and cultural prejudice. If governments can provide European startups a competitive advantage, that could come a long way in helping to offset some of the disadvantages. In this post, I'm sharing some rough ideas for what governments could do to encourage a thriving startups ecosystem. It's my contribution to the Belgian startup manifesto (#bestartupmanifesto).
- Governments shouldn't obsess too much about making it easier to incorporate a company; while it is certainly nice when governments cut red tape, great entrepreneurs aren't going to be held back by some extra paperwork. Getting a company off the ground is by no means the most difficult part of the journey.
- Governments shouldn't decide what companies deserve funding or don't deserve funding. They will never be the best investors. Governments should play towards their strength, which is creating leverage for all instead for just a few.
- Governments can do quite a bit to extend a startup's runway (to compensate for the lack of funding available in Belgium). Relatively simple tax benefits result in less need for venture capital:
- No corporate income taxes on your company for the first 3 years or until 1 million EUR in annual revenue.
- No employee income tax or social security contributions for the first 3 years or until you hit 10 employees. Make hiring talent as cheap as possible; two employees for the price of one. (The cost of hiring an employee would effectively be the net income for the employee. The employee would still get a regular salary and social benefits.)
- Loosen regulations on hiring and firing employees. Three months notice periods shackle the growth of startups. Governments can provide more flexibility for startups to hire and fire fast; two week notice periods for both incoming and outgoing employees. Employees who join a startup are comfortable with this level of job insecurity.
- Create "innovation hubs" that make neighborhoods more attractive to early-stage technology companies. Concentrate as many technology startups as possible in fun neighborhoods. Provide rent subsidies, free wifi and make sure there are great coffee shops.
- Build a culture of entrepreneurship. The biggest thing holding back a thriving startup community is not regulation, language, or geography, but a cultural prejudice against both failure and success. Governments can play a critical role in shaping the country's culture and creating an entrepreneurial environment where both failures and successes are celebrated, and where people are encouraged to better oneself economically through hard work and risk taking. In the end, entrepreneurship is a state of mind.