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“Game Over, Man” – Aliens: Colonial Marines class action over? - by Zachary Strebeck

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 May 2015 - 10:39pm
Game lawyer Zachary Strebeck looks at the Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit and explains how and why the legal action against Gearbox may not be going forward.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

BizDev Diaries: Managing 150+ Meetings for Twelve Companies Without Losing My Mind (Part 3 of 3) - by Jay Powell

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 May 2015 - 10:39pm
The final post in our series looking back at GDC and how we arranged and managed meetings for a set of clients with a wide variety of needs and services.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How To Create Mobile Optimised Outlines in Unity - by Greg Kyth

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 12 May 2015 - 10:39pm
This post looks at one method to create a mobile friendly outline for your 3D unity game without high performance costs that Unity's built in tools can cause.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Midwestern Mac, LLC: Thoughts on the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 10:16pm

After taking the trifecta of Acquia Developer Certification (General, Back-end, Front-end) exams and earned a new black 'Grand Master' sticker, I decided to complete the gauntlet and take the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam at DrupalCon LA.

Categories: Drupal

ThinkDrop Consulting: Continuous Deployment, Integration, Testing & Delivery with Open DevShop

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 4:34pm

Well before "DevOps" was a thing, and long before DevShop existed, was "CI". Continuous Integration is a critical part of successful software development.  As a web CMS, Drupal has lagged a bit behind in joining up with this world of CI.

One of the reasons that we don't see CI being used as much as we'd like is that it is hard to setup, and even harder to maintain long term.  Wiring up your version control systems to your servers and running tests on a continual basis takes some serious knowledge and experience. There are a lot of tools to try and make it easier, like Jenkins, but there is still a lot of setup and jerry-rigging needed to make everything flow smoothly from git push to test runs to QA analysis and acceptance.

Setup is one thing, keeping things running smoothly is another entirely. With a home-spun continuous integration system, the system operators are usually the only ones who know how it works. This can become a real challenge as people move to new jobs or have other responsibilities.

This is one of the reasons why we created DevShop: to make it ridiculously easy to setup and keep up a CI environment. DevShop's mission is to have everything you need out of the box, with as little setup, or at least as simple a setup process as possible.

Continuous Deployment

DevShop has always had Continuous Deployment: When a developer pushes code to the version control repository, it is deployed to any environment configured to follow that branch.  This is usually done on the main development branch, typically called master, and the environment is typically been called dev.

However for the last few years, DevShop has had the ability to host unlimited "branch environments".  This means that individual developers can work on their code on separate branches, and each one can get it's own copy of the site up and running on that branch.  This reduces the chances for conflicts between multiple developers and helps reduce the time needed to debug problems in the code because if you find a problem, you know what branch it came from.  

We've found that having branch environments is a much more productive way to code than a shared dev environment on the master branch.

Pull Request Environments

DevShop has been able to react to GitHub Pull Requests by creating a new environment since last year.  Each project can be configured to either clone an environment or run a fresh install every time a Pull Request is created. It will even tear down the environment when the Pull Request is closed.

Developers have less management to do using Pull Request environments: They don't need access to DevShop at all.  Everything is fully automated.

This method is even better than setting up branch environments, since Pull Requests are more than just code: anyone on the team can comment on every Pull Request, offering advice or asking questions about the proposed code.  Users can even comment on individual lines of code, making the peer review process smoother than ever by letting teams communicate directly on the code..

Continuous Testing

Recently we've added built-in behat testing to DevShop: When a "Test" task is triggered, the logs are saved to the server and displayed to users through the web interface in real time.   The pass or fail result is then displayed in the environment user interface as green or red, respectively, along with the full test results with each step highlighted with Pass, Fail, or Skipped.

This gives developers instant feedback on the state of their code, and, because it is running in an online environment, others can review the site and the test results along with them.  

The future of DevShop testing is to incorporate even more tests, like PHPUnit, CodeSniffer, and PHP Mess Detectors.  Having a common interface for all of these tests will help teams detect problems early and efficiently.

Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration can mean different things to different people.  In this context I am referring to the full integration of version control, environments, tests, and notifications to users.  By tying all of these things together, you can close the feedback look and accelerate software development dramatically.

GitHub, the most popular git host in the world, got to be that way in part by providing an extremely robust API that can be used to setup continuous integration systems. Each repository can have "Post commit receive" webhooks setup that will notify various systems that new code is available.

The "Deployments" API" allows your systems to notify github (and other systems) that code was deployed to certain environments.  The "Commit Status" API can be used to flag individual commits with a Pass, Fail, or Pending status.  This shows up in the web interface as a a green check, a red X, or an orange circle both on the commit and on each open Pull Request in the repository.  A failing commit will notify developers that they should "Merge with Caution", making it much less likely that code reviewers will merge bad code.

DevShop now leverages both the Deployments and the Commit status APIs for Pull Request environments.

Deployments are listed right in line with the commit logs of a pull request, and give the team direct links to the environments created by devshop.

Commit Statuses display not only a pass or fail status, but also link directy to test results, giving developers the instant feedback needed to respond quickly to issues.

Continuous Notification

An important part of any CI system is the notifications.  Without them, developers and their teams don't know that there is anything for them to do. GitHub has great integration with just about any chat service, and now so does DevShop.  

When your CI system is integrated with a chat service, the entire team gets visibility into the progress and status of the project.  New commits pushed notify others that there is new work to pull, and test notifications alert everyone to the passing or failing of those code pushes. Having immediate feedback on these types of things in crucial for maintaining a speedy development pace.

Continuous Delivery

With all of the pieces in place, you can start to think about Continuous Delivery.  Continuous Delivery is the act of "going live" with your code on a continuous basis, or at least very often.

DevShop allows your live environment to track a branch or a tag.  If tracking a tag, you must manually go in and deploy a new tag when you are ready to release your code.

If tracking a branch, however, your code will deploy as soon as it is pushed to that branch.  Deploy hooks ensure all of the appropriate things run after the code drop, such as update.php and cache clearing.  This is what makes continuous delivery possible.

If using Pull Requests for development, you can use GitHub's Merge button to deploy to live if you setup your production environment to track your main branch.  With the Commit Status and Deployment APIs, you can be sure that not only did the tests pass but the site looks good with the new code.

Merging to deploy to live is a great way to work.  You no longer need to access devshop to deploy a new tagged release, and you no longer need to manually merge code, hoping that everything works.

If it's green, it's working.  If your tests are robust enough, you can guarantee that the new code works.

If your tests are so complete that you start to reach 100% code coverage, you can start thinking about true continuous delivery: Tests Pass? Automatically merge to live and deploy.  This requires that your tests are amazing and reliable, but it is possible.

DevShop doesn't have the ability out of the box to setup true continuous delivery, but it would not take too much work.  You could use the hosting task status hook to fire off a merge using GitHub's API.

As more people start to use Continuous Delivery, we can work on incorporating that into the devshop process.

All wrapped up in a Bow

With DevShop, you will spend (much) less time on your support systems so you can focus on your websites.  We hope to continue to find ways to improve the development process and incorporate them directly into the platform.

We encourage everyone to embrace continuous integration principles on their projects, whether it is using DevShop or not.  Not only does efficiency go up, but code quality and morale does too.  

If you are a software developer, having tests in place will change your life. Everyone involved in the project, from clients to quality assurance folks to the dev team, will sleep better at night.

Tags: devshopcontinuous integrationPlanet Drupal
Categories: Drupal

Drupal core announcements: Drupal 8 beta 11 on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 3:56pm

The next beta release for Drupal 8 will be beta 11! (Read more about beta releases.) The beta is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

To ensure a reliable release window for the beta, there will be a Drupal 8 commit freeze from 00:00 to 23:30 UTC on May 27.

Categories: Drupal

Fight 215

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 2:47pm

This module adds a countdown banner for the Fight 215 campaign to every page, and also provides blocks which you can enable with graphics linking to Fight215.org.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act expires on June 1st, 2015. By reauthorizing Section 215, the US Congress would extend the mass surveillance of millions of phone records for another five years.

Categories: Drupal

BigVideo

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 1:18pm

The BigVideo module provide the ability for attach background video to site pages.

Warning
Please note what you need adapt site theme for use background videos.

Requirements
This module requires the following modules and libraries:

* Modules
- Libraries (https://drupal.org/project/libraries)
- Video.js (https://www.drupal.org/project/videojs)
- jQuery Update (https://www.drupal.org/project/jquery_update)

* Libraries
- BigVideo.js (https://github.com/dfcb/BigVideo.js)
- Video.js (https://github.com/videojs/video.js)
- ImagesLoaded (https://github.com/desandro/imagesloaded)

Categories: Drupal

Amazee Labs: DrupalCon Los Angeles - Day 1: Dawn of the Drupalistas

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 11:15am
DrupalCon Los Angeles - Day 1: Dawn of the Drupalistas

Yesterday, just shortly after the sun sprung up and sparked southern California’s beautiful coastal lines, the doors of LA’s Convention Center opened. Welcoming with it, a first wave of eager Drupalistas and surrounding them by its air conditioned walls. And for the subsequent days that are surely to follow, it will continue to receive and house those, transforming it, to the home of DrupalCon 2015.

To some of us, this day began just like two previous iterations in the past, with the Drupal 8 Training for Drupalistas. And like the preceding ones before, the turn out was again, lovely. A fresh batch of new ambitious students took their seats and embarked on a cinematic journey, led by our resident training director, Diana Montalion.

From lively exchanges of know-how, to focused, almost silent moments, the classroom experienced a day of captivating performances. And in-between those, pupils were given hourly breaks to take a breath and pick from a variety of delicious beverages (there were cookies!) and the oh so essential, mandatory coffee.

After a wholesome feast around noon-ish, the reins were passed on to Jason, who expertly guided the keen students through the inner workings of Drupal 8’s translation system. Shortly thereafter, Kathryn took over to introduce them to the beautiful side of Drupal 8 (theming!) before finally ending again within Diana’s experienced hands.

Meanwhile, the lower floor saw a much more handy development: the exhibition hall of large, empty at first, but slowly building up to a small but respectable miniature city of brands. Replacing muffled sounds of classroom keyboards with the repeating cracks of rising booths, only to be broken apart by the occasional clash of shouty staff members.

Thus the day drew to an end, and our students were being led on their way, charged with knowledge and filled with cookies. The building emptied its walls again to prepare for tomorrow, when at dawn, the drupalistas will rise again.

Categories: Drupal

Square Enix sees profit during transitional year

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 12 May 2015 - 10:18am

The publisher released fewer major console games, but profits actually rose thanks to that -- as catalog sales and MMO and smartphone games performed well. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Jim Birch: Dude, Where are my Templates? Using the Drupal 7 Theme Developer to find the way.

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 10:11am

The first line of the description of the Drupal Theme Developer Module says that it is "Firebug for Drupal themeing".  I couldn't agree more.  This is the ultimate tool when you need to find out which theme hook, or which template file to modify based on your design and layout needs.

It is a finicky module though, it doesn't work with the latest version of one of it's dependencies, simplehtmldom API, and when turned on it can break your layout. 

Note that this module injects markers into the DOM to do its magic. This may cause some themes to behave erratically and less capable browsers may make it worse (especially IE)/. Enable it when needed, and disable it afterwards.

To ensure I install the correct branch of the modules, and to speed up enabling and disabling, I set up some aliases in my local/development computer's .bash_profile:

Read more

Categories: Drupal

Nikro: Moldcamp 2015 - Session Submissions!

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 6:56am

If you haven't heard yet, we've announced earlier that Moldcamp 2015 is on it's way! Second edition of the Drupal Camp hosted by a small country in the Eastern Europe - Moldova.

Tags: 
Categories: Drupal

Drupalize.Me: Installing and Configuring Dreditor

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 6:02am

With DrupalCon Los Angeles underway we thought it might be a good time to introduce (or reintroduce) folks to [Dreditor](https://dreditor.org/) (short for "Drupal editor"). Dreditor is a collection of user scripts, which alter browser behavior on specific pages on the drupal.org domain. The features of dreditor are mostly helpful in the issue queue and during the patch review process.

We have a video [Installing and using Dreditor](https://drupalize.me/videos/installing-and-using-dreditor) if you'd like to follow along, but since recording installation of Dreditor is even easier. Let's take a look at the changes, and how we can use this powerful tool to make interacting with the issue queue easier.

Categories: Drupal

Cocomore: MySQL - Setup

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 5:58am

When setting up a MySQL Server there are a lot of things to consider. Most requirements depend on the intended usage of the system.

read more

Categories: Drupal

Shadowrun: Lockdown

New RPG Product Reviews - 12 May 2015 - 5:46am
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Rating: 5
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/05/12/tabletop-review-shadowrun-lockdown/

Shadowrun Lockdown is the tabletop tie-in to the new Shadowrun video game, Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown. For those of you finding Shadowrun Chronicles to be too much of a mess to play through, or prefer the tabletop game to video games, this is the probably your best way to experience the storyline. Oddly enough, there are three ways to pick up Lockdown. The first is by purchasing it as a $9.99 add-on to Shadowrun Chronicles through your Steam account. This was, until this weekend, the only way to get Lockdown. $9.99 sounds like a fantastic deal for a Shadowrun PDF, especially since CGL, along with Games Workshop and Onyx Path Publishing, tend to have the highest prices for their digital release. It’s not unusual for a 32-40 page supplement for Shadowrun to cost five bucks, so ten bucks for a full sourcebook – that might be the best deal the game has ever seen. Unfortunately, to get that $9.99 price tag, you do have to buy a $39.99 video game that is almost unplayable at times due to server issues (It’s getting fixed. Honest!). This is why I tend to refuse to buy online only video games, because they eventually shut down or don’t work well from the get-go. In essence, you’re just renting an online RPG, and god forbid it comes with a monthly fee to boot. Anyway, the only other way to get Lockdown is if you splurge for the SEVENTY DOLLAR “RPG SUPER DELUXE PACK” version of Shadowrun Chronicles and holy crap, it’s not worth that price tag. My advice is that, as good as Lockdown is, wait for a Steam sale and by the basic version of Shadowrun Chronicles and get the sourcebook that way. The cost for it will probably be reduced on that sale as well. Your last option is to purchase the book directly through DriveThruRPG.com… for $25. That’s a huge increase from the Steam price, but you also don’t have to buy a forty dollar video game to boot. So $25 for just the book, or $50 for the book and a video game. Again, waiting for a Steam sale is probably your best bet, as you’ll end up getting both for the same price as the DriveThru only options. You probably won’t have to wait long for a sale with the reviews Shadowrun Chronicles has gotten. However, Lockdown is arguably the best release for 5e so far, so it just depends on if you’re willing to play the waiting game or not.

I’ll be honest, I tend to LOVE Shadowrun, but Fifth Edition hasn’t done it for me. Oh, it hasn’t been the mechanics, although I know some people would love to play Edition Wars over that. It hasn’t been the writing. I honestly feel that Shadowrun has the best overall team of writers in the business right now. For me, it’s been the metaplot… which is telling, as it’s usually the best part of Shadowrun. Like a lot of people, I find the current CFD (a nanotech based “disease” where AI takes over carbon based lifeforms) to be terribly done. It has some potential, but quickly became the worst storyline in Shadowrun history. Yes, worse than the Aztlan-Amazonia war… which was something I didn’t think could be possible. Stolen Souls was horrible, and from looking at reviews from people besides myself and fan commentary across the net, my opinion on CFD seems to be the majority (It’s totally okay if you actually like the CFD metaplot though. It’s all opinion. I will not fault someone for liking something I hate or vice versa.) I’ve found it to be so bad I’ve stopped buying/reviewing Shadowrun releases for about a year. I get too many other review requests on a weekly basis, and I’d rather do something that slag on a game I otherwise love (and the poor authors stuck with some bad storylines).

However, Shadowrun is stuck churning out this part of the metaplot because they’ve backed themselves into a corner with it. It was Shadowrun‘s Roman Reigns. They put all their money on this one storyline and when the audience gave it a collective thumbs down, they weren’t really prepared for what that reaction. Unlike the WWE which hotshotted the title to Seth Rollins, CGL decided to run with the ball anyway and see if they could take their feces sandwich and make it the tastiest pile of poop they could. A good writer can’t salvage every bad editorial decision (Behold comics books as a great example), but they can make the bitter pill easier to swallow. Thankfully, CGL has the best collection of fiction writers in the industry right now (except for Fire and Frost and Hell on Water. Those are the exceptions) and that’s exactly what has happened here with Lockdown. This book takes the worst aspect of Shadowrun right now in CFD and even adds the things people have said would make the concept even stupider like going from a third rate cyber Invasion of the Body Snatchers to a third rate cyber Night of the Living Dead (We already have Shedim. We didn’t need nano-zombies). Yet somehow, the entire Lockdown sourcebook not only works, but it works really well. Perhaps it is because Lockdown is extremely isolated and closed off rather than being a world-wide epidemic. Perhaps because it is video-gamey and it’s easier to accept tons of two-dimensional cannon fodder in this. Perhaps it’s just the quality of the writing. Most likely, it is a combination of all things, but for the first time Shadowrun‘s CFD is tolerable. Who knows, this might finally be the catalyst to jettison it from the Metaplot (thank Cthulhu) and actually have me willing to review Shadowrun full time again.

So now, let’s talk Lockdown proper. Like any Shadowrun release. If you’ve played the video game Boston Lockdown, then you have some idea of what you’ll find in this sourcebook. For those who haven’t played the game, Lockdown essentially does to Boston, MA what Bug City did to Chicago, IL. This is a huge game changer for Shadowrun as essentially, the Boston metro area is quarantined with no way in or out. Yes, even runners and Megacorps are finding entry and/or escape extremely hard, but it needs to be. CFD is running amok, there are three powerful dragons in the mix and although there are supply drops, Boston is essentially what you see in a post-apocalyptic game. Granted, if people wanted a post-apocalyptic RPG, they’d be playing something else, but it does work here. More importantly, it still feels like Shadowrun even though you are in an isolated location. You’d be surprised how many runs you can get out of a situation like this.

Scattered throughout the book are occasional pieces of fiction. They’re entertaining and set the tone for the section that follows each one. The common character in all of the fiction pieces is a runner named A.J. who shows up as the narrator for actual section of the book later. However, A.J.’s narration section is apparently posthumous so reading fiction featuring him after this point is a little odd. You’ll also notice that the book is not laid out chronologically. This can be a bit odd, especially for those who haven’t picked up the tabletop version of Shadowrun before and just got this with their game purchase. Being a long-time fan of Shadowrun, I knew the score, who everyone was and what was going on, but the layout of the book could have been a LOT more newcomer friendly. Being newcomer-friendly has always a weak spot with CGL’s version of Shadowrun, and so this is no exception. The book does assume you are EXTREMELY familiar with Shadowrun. and especially Fifth Edition which takes place during the 2070s. Again, this is not a problem for longtime tabletop gamers. However, newcomers or those that are only used to the previous video games for the PC, SNES, Sega Genesis and Sega-CD, will probably be quite lost, especially since those games take place during the 2050s and use first and/or second edition Shadowrun rules. It’s okay though. Most of CGL’s version of Shadowrun sourcebooks and supplements take the form of Jackpoint narratives – which is essentially a chat room where runners get together and swap stories, secrets and snark. As such most of the book reads like short inter-connected fiction stories rather than a manual of mechanics and rules. So at least newcomers will get a level of entertainment rather than a bunch of jargon and rules. Those are almost always towards the back of a book, making for easy use in an actual gaming session. So if you’re new to Shadowrun and you like the world and writing style of Lockdown but you feel you are missing something, you are. Considering getting the core rulebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition to get a really strong overlay of the Sixth World and the mechanics that run the game. God knows Shadowrun Chronicles doesn’t really play like the tabletop game – which is neither bad nor good. I just don’t want you to think it’s a straight rules-port.

Lockdown begins with “A Runner’s Guide to Boston” which some of you might remember from the truly terrible Boston Adventures PDF, which comes with some versions of Shadowrun Chronicles. I was pretty cruel to that PDF because it did so many things horribly wrong and was littered with typos from beginning to end. Here in Lockdown you get that same section cleaned up, formatter correctly and edited. Yes, there are still a lot of typos and grammatical mistakes in Lockdown. It’s a CGL book and admittedly, they have some of the worst editing in the industry but oh man, is there a night and day difference between Boston Adventures and Lockdown.

Besides the part of “A Runner’s Guide to Boston” that is in both Boston tie-ins, the Lockdown version adds Jackpoint commentary and a lot more content. You get an overview of the Megacorps and how they are dealing with the Boston situation, along with some AA and non-profit organization. There’s also a long section on the local medical scene. This is especially noteworthy due to all the mishaps and carnage going on in Boston at this time. Hopefully you have that platinum Doc Wagon card in Boston chummer. You’ll also get a quick overview of the political mover and shakers in the metro area, a look at what the local dragons like Damon, Celedyr and others are up to, and even the local gang scene, be it small-time thuggery or large scale organization.

I have to say I loved this whole part of the book. It was well written and fun, without a dry or dull moment to be had. More importantly, it was the first time I’ve laughed at out at an official CGL release for Shadowrun. Unless you count the April Fools 2013 release, Rigger 4, which was fantastic. There were two very funny moments to be had in the Jackpoint commentary. Lockdown reminded me of the one thing I miss most about the FASA era of Shadowrun and that was the wonderful sense of humour the game had. CGL’s Shadowrun is closer to Warhammer 40K‘s GRIMDARK in tone and worldview than first and second edition’s scathing satire and dry wit. As much as I enjoy CGL’s take on Shadowrun, things like Lockdown and the Harebrained Schemes 2050 era videogames remind that the Sixth World didn’t use to be pure doom and gloom. Things like Rigger 4 show that the SR4/5e team is capable of some great comedy. It just isn’t something that ever really occurs in an official release anymore. So yes, two laugh out loud moments make the Shadowrun‘s zombie (CFD) apocalypse the funniest release CGL has put out for Shadowrun, and that’s a really odd thing to say when you think about it.

The next section is “Lockdown Timeline” and it’s here where you start to get a semblance of substance regarding what it going on in Boston. In the previous section, things were just hinted at vaguely. Here you get actual names, dates and events. I think Lockdown would have flowed better if this was first, especially for newcomers, who will be lost with the allusions and assumptions. Still, it’s a well written section and vets of Shadowrun will probably appreciate spoilers of events gradually being unfolded. In this way, Lockdown does read like a novel stated in medias res, which is somewhat uncommon for a gaming sourcebook. As the source book goes on, you get more and more concrete data, which allows a GM to share the first part of Lockdown without giving any spoilers while also not having to spend hours setting up the backstory.

From there we getting “Locking the Hub,” which is more Jackpoint commentary but this time it’s on what (lies) the media is telling the general public compared to what runners and the Megacorps know. You get a very detailed look at security around the QZ (Quarantined Zone) with a pretty stark look at how insanely hard it will be to get in or out of Boston once drek goes down. From there you get a rundown of what Miles Lanier(!) knows about the incident and a lot of dirty laundry the Megacorps don’t want the average person (or any person really) to know about. Eight different top top top top top secret projects are named, along with what corporations are to blame for them. Fun stuff. “Who’s Inside” gives you a list of major NPCs that are in the QZ. Dragons, corp heads and even Tommy Talon show up in Boston, although the latter appears to be a bad fake. From there we move to “Street Legends of Boston,” which is ten pages that covers twenty-four+ runners in the QZ for your GM to throw at you, be they ally or antagonist.

The longest section in Lockdown is “Inside the QZ: A Wanderer’s Guide.” This takes up nearly fifty pages and is a district by district look at the Boston metropolis, told from the point of view of two characters. It’s an excellent read and by far, the highlight of the book. I do miss the old city guides for games that were so prolific in the 90s, especially the 2e Vampire: The Masquerade “By Night books. This was probably the best look at a single contained area in Shadowrun since titles like Bug City, Tir Tairngire: The Land of Promise and California Free State. I would love to see more city guides for 5e, especially with the writing staff they currently have. A new pure Tir book, a look at the Carribean, parts of France, Bhutan, and so many other places would make for fantastic sourcebooks. Seattle, Denver, Berlin, Hong Kong, London and the like and been kind of done to death. There’s more to Shadowrun then those five cities and this “Wanderer’s Guide is exactly the type of thing I’d like to see more often for the Sixth World. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it’s a great read, gives you some interesting information about the area, a look at the movers and shakers in the QZ and most importantly, a metric ton of plot threads for a GM to use with their gaming group.

This brings us to the four adventures in this sourcebook. All four work best as a mini campaign with your runners trapped inside Boston during the “epidemic,” but there is no reason why you can’t pick and choose from the collection if you don’t like some of them. The first adventure is “Beantown Bound,” and as you can imagine, it’s about your runners going to Boston. This run is before the Quarantine occurs though. It’s a completely separate mission. It just happens that drek hits the fan while you are in the middle of this mission. “Beantown Bound” makes a great intro adventure to a Boston based campaign and even nets you a nice NPC henchmen/Runner in training or an ally in Knight Errant if you play your cards the right. “Beantown Bound” is laid out nicely, using the Shadowrun MissionsLockdown or played Shadowrun Chronicles, it’ll be a huge swerve to find themselves trapped in the QZ. Even if they have played the video game or read parts of this book, playing a parallel adventure to the events of the game is always fun. Look at Green Ronin’s Dragon Age and how decently that sold.

The next adventure is “Trainyard Troubles.” Here’s you’ll be working for the Megacorp MCT or the mob (depending on how “Beantown Bound” ended), trying to clear out a gang from the trainyards. Unfortunately the gang isn’t a straight forward group of punks with pikes, chains and Ares guns, but what run ever goes as smoothly as planned, am I right? This adventure gives you your first taste of CFD head cases, but it’s also got a single scene that might be a trigger for some gamers. Remember, QZ + CFD = no real laws or rules and so some people get even more depraved that ever. As such the runner can stop or ignore a kidnapper/rapist. The scene is just kind of in there as an aside/sidequest and has no real bearing on the rest of the adventure, so if you’re not comfortable running it, or some of your players might dislike the experience, you can excise it with null sweat. There is also the possibility of running into some CFD sufferers that aren’t so bad for body snatching AIs and a young child in distress…that well, my team murdered pretty quickly because they felt it was obviously a CFD setup. Was it? That’s for them to live with.

Adventure numero three is “Digging Deeper.” This is a set of six “events” that are really short adventures bundled together as one connected piece. There are potentially three more “sequels” that can occur based on your actions. Essentially you break into the MIT and T Containment Zone to retrieve something and after the words gets around of your success, many other organizations are interested in hiring you for very similar missions. Because you’re hitting the same target over and over, there is a lot of room for comedy, and repeat NPCs. We had a lot of fun with this one, but admittedly, we ran parts of it for laughs, almost like a sitcom due to “AGAIN? REALLY? We just took ten steps out of the location.”

The final adventure is “Bringing Down the House.” This is not only the last adventure, but it’s the most important one as your team decides who gets all sorts of damming information about the outbreak (and who caused) it. This means your choice determines what the general populace learns and what Megacorp gets hit badly (if any). Your choices to give the info include Knight Errant (your original hirer), Aegis Cognito, Ares, Aztechnology (boo!), EVO (just as big a boo as Aztech this time around), Horizon, Lone Star, Mitsuhama, Monobe International, Neo Net (another big boo!), Renraku, Saeder-Krupp, Shiawase, Wuxing, and Zeta-Impchem. Obviously, the more evil the company or the more they were behind the events that lead to the QZ, the more they are offering your team for the info. There are a few exceptions to this rule but remember, in Shadowrun if the money is too good to be true, it usually is. My players were torn between Monobe and Mitsuhama. Either choice ensured that two vile companies would get hurt severely (one perhaps destroyed altogether!) and provide the public with a lot of actual knowledge instead of media hype. What can I say, my players are white hats, more or less. In the end, my players went with Monobe since they offered twice as much money (and a special awesome bonus) in addition to ensure an ending as close as possible to “bad guys get theirs.” I’m not trying to influence the vote amongst SR fans to ensure one of these two corps win, but really, these do have the most story potential for the writers, and I’d love to see what they do with the result if either Japancorp wins.

The final section of the book is “Game Information.” If you’ve been waiting for mechanics, stats, gameplay and lists of things, you finally get it here on page 198. You get nearly thirty pages of content, which is pretty good for a Shadowrun book. Personally, I prefer the narrative, but if I didn’t enjoy the mechanics, I’d just buy the only novels from the 90s. In this section you’ll find a lot of info on CFD, although much of it is a rehash from Stolen Souls. There are some very interesting new options that a CFD sufferer can use in-game. We do finally get an answer for two quasi-cures, both of which are interesting. The game still strongly insists you don’t get a PC CFD though, which makes sense as it’s obvious CGL is still trying to work themselves out of the corner they boxed themselves into with Stolen Souls. There are also some new drugs, cyberware, devices, weapons and the like to use in your campaign. Everyone will love the “Crazy-Repller!” There are also discussions on a new dragon oriented ley line around Salem, Noice in the matrix and a trove of NPCs for use in your game. There isn’t a lot for a crunch fan compared to the amount of narrative in Lockdown, but what is here is pretty nice.

So there you go: Lockdown is easily the best gaming release for Shadowrun this year. It’s better than the video game it is a tie-in for (although give Cliffhanger a chance to fix the issues. Had the game been a non-online affair, it would actually be quite nice) and it’s relatively cheap for a CGL sourcebook. Now, is it worth getting the video game and the sourcebook for $50 or should you just get the book on its own? That’s up to you. Again, the Steam summer sale will probably see Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown with a nice discount, so you might want to get it then. No matter what though, you really should get Lockdown if you’re a fan of the current tabletop game. I’d love to see more city books like this in the future.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Scald Dailymotion

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 4:28am

Scald Dailymotion is a video provider for the Scald module.

Categories: Drupal

Scald Vimeo

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 4:14am

Scald Vimeo is a video provider for the Scald module.

Categories: Drupal

ERPAL: Manage agile projects with structure and control

Planet Drupal - 12 May 2015 - 3:45am

In the previous part of our blog series, we talked about unrealistic budgets and deadlines. Today our focus is on structure and control in agile projects.

In software development, there’s a lot of conjuring and experimentation going on with agile projects, and many homemade definitions for the word "agile" are floating around. But agile only means that one reacts to changing project requirements, and is thus flexible during development, with the result being a software product that really provides value when used.

In large projects that extend over a longer period of time, conditions change; it’s natural. In order to maintain the defined project objectives despite these new conditions, the existing requirements need to be checked. To achieve this, it’s necessary to know what’s already been implemented and what’s still outstanding. Scrum and agile approach do not imply that:

  • there’s no planning in advance,
  • there’s no concept, or that
  • there aren’t any acceptances.

An agile project follows the same rules as I’ve described earlier, but changes are allowed. As always, you have to consider that unplanned things cannot be controlled. Often, the billing procedures are controversial. I’ve already written a post on this topic: Agile work at a fixed price. The very concept of an agile project provides a framework within which to move and control changes. This framework ensures that a path that was possibly set wrong from the start – that won’t lead to the defined target – simply is not taken. If the plan in an agile project doesn’t exist in the form of a concept, the current status of the project can’t be determined and evaluated.

 

Other blog posts of this series:

6 steps to avoiding unrealistic budgets and deadlines in projects

6 rules to follow to promote communication in projects

3 things to consider when creating project specifications

Agile projects for a fixed price? Yes you can!

Setting objectives in projects with these 3 rules

These 3 questions help you to ensure satisfactory project results

Categories: Drupal

Scald YouTube

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 1:35am

Scald Youtube is a video provider for the Scald module.

Categories: Drupal

Online Theme Editor

New Drupal Modules - 12 May 2015 - 1:05am
Categories: Drupal
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