Design Flow: UI and Neighbors

Gnome Stew - 29 September 2017 - 3:00am

For the past few months, I have been wrestling with this small but annoying problem in the Hydro Hacker playbooks. It is a section of the playbook that defines your relationships with the other players. When I run this at conventions or in playtest groups, players always fill the section out incorrectly. Over several iterations of playbooks I have tried to refine this section so that it would be more intuitive, but it has not panned out.  Then in talking to one of the Developers (Senda), she gave me an idea that changed how I was looking at the problem – and with that, a better design appeared. Here’s what happened . . . 


Nearly every Powered by the Apocalypse game has some kind of relationship mechanics, be it Hx in Apocalypse World, Bonds in Dungeon World, or Strings in Monsterhearts. I wanted something very similar for Hydro Hacker Operatives (H2O). In H2O, I created Neighbors. The idea is that in a group of friends, you can group your relationships into a few levels of intensity:

  • Tight – you are close friends; besties
  • Cool – you like the person more than average
  • Neutral – they are fine but not the first person you would hang with
  • Putting up with – the person that uses more energy than they give

Each character has a number of spots in each of those categories so they can be Tight with a person, Cool with 2, Putting up with 1 and Neutral with everyone else.

There are more mechanics that surround this, including how to change those values in and out of play, and how you always return to a homeostasis between stories.

The important part to take away is that during character creation you have to put your fellow characters into those spots.

The Grid

My initial approach to the user interface (UI) was focused on the Neighbors ranking: Tight, Cool, Neutral, Putting up with. I designed a simple table that looked like this . . . 

I was going to explain what the Neighbors grid meant, but I think that will defeat my point. Clearly there are some problems with this design, and for me it was super intuitive, but as it turns out there are reasons why we playtest . . . 

What Went Wrong in Play

The trick in playtesting is not to jump at every potential problem someone brings up, but at the same time watch for trends. If you are explaining the same thing over and over . . . you have a problem. So the first few times I had people filling out the grid wrong, I noted it but waited.

Then I got some amazing advice from a fellow game designer, Jason Pitre. He told me that I should collect all the playbooks after the playtest and see how the players wrote on them – that it would identify problems. So the next playtest I ran, I did—and he was right.

What I saw was a lot of cross-outs and eraser marks on the page—clearly people were filling it out, then hearing me explain it, then fixing what they wrote. So it was a problem. I then tried to make some small fixes for clarity and came up with . . . 

Here I tried to label the columns and note that you could have an infinite number people you were neutral with. I took it to playtesting, and it was better, but I still found people getting it wrong. This was not the right design, but I did not know what else to do.

A New Perspective

I was doing a playtest/convention game at the QCC and we got to the Neighbors section. This time I was careful to explain (which is not what you want to have to do), and the players did something that had not happened before; In addition to their relationship slot, they decided to also create relationships between one another—two players were siblings, two were rivals, etc.

After that game, it dawned on me that there was another way that I could display this information and also give players a place to list their relationships. I could base the section on the Characters and not the Neighbor levels.

A New Design

I went back to the drawing board, and this is what I have come up with . . . 

In this design, there is a line for each player in the game (in truth you likely won’t have six people in your game). Then you just circle the intensity, and now you have a place to define a relationship.

My hope for this is two-fold: One, it will make more sense how to assign the Neighbor levels; and two, it will encourage the group to create relationships between the characters which will further strengthen their connections in game.

Back To Playtesting

I have started to show the design to my playtesters, and I will be trying it out at Metatopia to see how it works.

I will let you know . . . 

Have you ever encountered something on a character sheet that was not intuitive to fill out? How did you figure it out? Did you make your own sheets?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

ADCI Solutions: OOP in Drupal 8 and how to use it to create a custom module

Planet Drupal - 29 September 2017 - 2:44am

Drupal newbie? Or maybe you are a mature developer that’s in charge of training the youth? Then keep on reading!

The following article was written based on the experience of our junior developer Sophia. In a short term she had to learn the Drupal 8 specifics and be able to write custom modules in Drupal 8.

We’re going to examine the main OOP features that were implemented in Drupal 8 and create a module. Code samples are included.


Check this tutorial on writing a module in Drupal 8



Categories: Drupal

Commerce China Payments

New Drupal Modules - 29 September 2017 - 1:47am
Integrates with Alipay and WeChat Pay
Categories: Drupal

Promet Source: Picture Module: Building Responsive Images in Drupal 7

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 11:30pm
In 2017, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, a phenomenal increase from just 35% in 2011 (source: Pew Research Center Mobile Fact Sheet). And we are not just talking about a single screen size here! There are a multitude of screen sizes to consider from different versions of iPhones, android. And outside of smartphones, you probably want to consider iPads, tablets, desktops, tvs, to name a few.
Categories: Drupal

Drupal Modules: The One Percent: Drupal Modules: The One Percent — Linked Field (video tutorial)

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 8:17pm
Drupal Modules: The One Percent — Linked Field (video tutorial) NonProfit Thu, 09/28/2017 - 22:17 Episode 37

Here is where we seek to bring awareness to Drupal modules running on less than 1% of reporting sites. Today we'll consider Linked Field, a module which will allow you to easily wrap a link around another field.

Categories: Drupal

Bay Area Drupal Camp: Session Schedule Posted, Training Classes Open for Registration!

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 6:05pm
Session Schedule Posted, Training Classes Open for Registration! Anne Thu, 09/28/2017 - 6:05pm Sessions Lineup Now Posted!

Ready yourselves, fellow adventurers -- this year’s session and speaker lineup have been revealed! There will be sessions spanning the worlds of development, design, strategy, project management, technology communities and everything in between.

A hearty thank you to all the valiant souls who submitted over 187 session proposals, your contributions, year after year, are what make BADCamp excellent. And for those whose hearts still burn to speak, there will be BoF opportunities throughout the event.

Drupal Training Classes

Are you prepared to gain mastery of your Drupal Skills? BADCamp has two full days of Drupal Training offered from some of the most talented leaders in the Drupal community.

Join the masters on Wednesday and Thursday while they unfold the magic. This year BADCamp offers skills training in DevOps, theming, module development, content strategy, and much more!

BADCamp has historically provided a completely free training thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our sponsors. However, this year we must charge a nominal fee of $25 to cover operating expenses as we are short on sponsorship funding. We sincerely apologize for this short notice. We needed to find ways at the last minute to break even.

This was a really difficult decision for the BADCamp organizers to make.

If you can't afford the $25 or its super complicated to get funding, please reach out to the BADCamp organizers via the contact form and we will help! We have already had generous attendees offer to donate extra seats in the classes.

Sign up for the BADCamp 2017 newsletter to stay in touch (bottom of Homepage).

Do you think BADCamp is awesome?

BADCamp is 100% volunteer run and 100% funded by our sponsors and the support of our local community. Thank you for your support.

Would you have been willing to pay for your ticket?  If so, then you can give back to the camp by purchasing an individual sponsorship at the level most comfortable for you. As our thanks, we will be handing out some awesome BADCamp swag as our thanks.

We need your help!

BADCamp is 100% volunteer driven and we need your hands! We need stout hearts to volunteer and help set up, tear down, give directions and so much more!  If you are able to help us, please sign up on our Volunteer Form.


A BIG thanks to our sponsors, especially Acquia & Pantheon, who have committed and supported us. Without them, this magical event wouldn’t be possible. Interested in sponsoring BADCamp? Contact or

Drupal Planet
Categories: Drupal

Moshe Weitzman: Porting Commands to Drush 9

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 5:00pm

Drush 9 features a deep rewrite of our app, both user facing and internals. We created and open sourced AnnotatedCommand (example), OutputFormatters, and Config. We leveraged Symfony Console for our CLI fundamentals. For details on Drush9, see the video or slides from our Drupalcon Vienna presentation.

Categories: Drupal

Preferred Language Prompt

New Drupal Modules - 28 September 2017 - 3:58pm

Preferred Language Prompt (PLP) provides a way to funnel users from content in a non-preferred language to the translation of that content that matches their preferred language.


This module only works with the URL Language negotiation method. Within that, it should work with both path prefix and subdomain.

Categories: Drupal

Dragons Conquer America: The Coatli Stone Quickstart

New RPG Product Reviews - 28 September 2017 - 3:55pm
Publisher: Burning Games
Rating: 5
Dragons Conquer America tells stories of 16th-century New World warfare glazed with a heaping helping of magic, myths, and monsters. Using the RPC25 system to resolve conflicts with a standard deck of playing cards, DCA positions itself as a narrative-first game that offers just enough mechanical granularity to remain tactically engaging.

The beta edition quick start package includes most rules for character abilities and conflict resolution as well as a number of NPC statlines and a simple three-act adventure with which to cut your table’s teeth. All of this is couched in a lovely layout sporting unique a Mesopotamian flair, giving DCA style without compromising readability. If nothing else, the gorgeous full-page art, solid NPC illustrations, and expertly designed layout make DCA a joy to read on its aesthetic merits alone. Fortunately, there is plenty else to praise.

**Basic Mechanics**
The structure of DCA’s conflict resolution system is simple enough: players maintain a hand of cards, representing their characters’ stamina reserves, while the GM flips cards up from a deck to generate numerical thresholds for the players to challenge. Playing cards from your hand as a player is a tactical decision on multiple fronts. A play that corresponds with the situation a hand -- a Conflict card in a sword fight or an Exploration card while scrambling up a stone temple wall -- results in a redraw (and further bonuses besides if that category is also the character’s Affinity).

However, the number of the card is all that truly matters when calculating the degree of success, and so players must choose somewhat frequently between a comfortable margin of success and the loss of a card, or a more narrow margin or even failure but retention of a card. Furthermore, they must decide whether or not to play multiple cards in a conflict, evaluating this decision in both the short and long term as well. This decision point is recurrent, but is just complex enough to add a degree of tactical depth without slowing play down.

Most Abilities and Skills are simple, almost always granting Advantages and Disadvantages to allies or enemies, which function as simple +3/-3 modifiers to the total value compared in the resolution step. This keeps the game’s focus on the elegant card resolution mechanic, rather than miring gameplay down in minutiae and granularity. NPC stats are equally snappy, with GMs merely drawing cards equal to the NPC’s level, adding them up, adding the appropriate Skill value, and presenting the target number.

Magic is simple enough, with only Christian Miracles laid out in the book. Put simply, characters gain Spirit by performing appropriate actions such as prayer, conversion, and (of course) slaying wicked apostates, then spend that Spirit to cast spells, such as Miracles. The Christian powerset for this system has an interesting sub-mechanic of Corruption, wherein priests who draw too deeply from the well of God’s power might find themselves accidentally imbibing Satan’s strength instead. Gaining and losing Corruption in this way will make for a fun side arc.

There is one truly daring mechanic in the game: Prejudice. Player Characters must select a number of Prejudices, such as Xenophobia, Elistism, Classism, etc. at generation and cope with the consequences during gameplay. The authors go out of their way to delineate this system as option, but it’s nonetheless impressive in the simplicity of its implementation: your characters grew up in imperfect environments and must grow as people or be held back by their Prejudices. There is a Skill, Tolerance, that allows one to resist and eventually completely remove these Prejudices from one’s sheet, creating a natural character arc towards tolerance.

**Sample Adventure**
The adventure presented is nothing to write home about. It competently touches upon the major types of confrontation -- Conflict, Social, Exploration, and Divine -- without lingering on any for too long, gives an overview of the Spanish vs. Native conflict, and allows the players several choice points to align themselves with either or neither side of the conflict. There are some good twists and turns in there, but I won’t spoil those -- play it!

Dragons Conquer America has great potential for success, and if the editing and mechanics are tightened up to a professional level, it will likely become another indie gem. There are hints of Shadowrun-meets-7th-Sea in here, peppered with a healthy dose of Dragonlance. Give the Dragons Conquer America Quick Start, The Coatli Stone, a try as a one-shot; if nothing else, it’s worth the time just to flex the card mechanic.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Plaid Hat Games Posts October Release Dates

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 September 2017 - 3:00pm
We’re just a couple days away from October. That means a whole new set of releases coming soon from Plaid Hat Games. But what, exactly, is coming out? And when will it be available? All your questions will be answered. (well… those two questions, at least… But not, like, anything really metaphysical… You’re gonna have […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Jacob Rockowitz: What "About" the Webform module and the Drupal Community?

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 2:32pm

For the past year, I’ve been experimenting with how to integrate content within the user interface of the Webform module with a goal of improving the overall user experience. These experiments include adding inline videos, help documentation, a "How can we help you?" menu, and promotions. As I work towards a stable release, it’s time to document the lessons that I’ve learned from these experiments and decide on a final approach.

The Webform module makes it easy to build feature-rich, powerful, and flexible forms. Within this user interface, I’m aiming to provide users with user experience that helps them understand the Webform module and the Drupal community.

Providing help and documentation is a requirement for all software, including Open Source. The open source nature of Drupal led me to have three primary requirements:

  • Make users feel comfortable and supported when using the Webform module.
  • Promote the Drupal community to new and existing members. 
  • Raise awareness of my work. 

Making users comfortable

The most immediate way to make someone comfortable is to start a conversation - to talk to them, to ask questions and to listen. Early on, as part of the Webform modules development, I started producing video tutorials and demos to provide a show-n-tell experience. At the end of more recent videos, I promote myself using the question, "How can I help you?".

Overall, I’m happy with how the videos have been received by the Drupal community and I think this feature is going to remain AS-IS. Once the Webform module has a release candidate, I’m going to redo all the screencasts and apply some of...Read More

Categories: Drupal

Views Condition

New Drupal Modules - 28 September 2017 - 2:09pm

This provides a condition based on if the page is a view page. For example, you can use it to specify that the page title block should only show on a view page.

Similar modules
Categories: Drupal

Corvus Belli Previews The Dice From Aristeia

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 September 2017 - 2:00pm
I think it’s safe to say that most miniatures games out there use dice of some kind. Sure, there are those that go for some other method, but the fairly tried-and-true method of randomization comes from little plastic polyhedrons bouncing across the table. Aristeia is no different. But Corvus Belli has decided not to use […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video: Designing EVE Online's intelligent music system

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 September 2017 - 1:47pm

At GDC 2016, CCP Games' Baldur Baldursson (and Erkitonlist founder Kjartan Olafsson) explain how soundtrack of EVE Online was designed to intelligently complement the actions a player takes. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Alkemy Kickstarter Campaign Running Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 September 2017 - 1:00pm
Alchemist Miniatures has a clear goal in sight: get Alkemy onto as many gaming tables as possible. They’ve been working steadily toward that goal for quite some time now. The next stage of it is upon us. They are looking to fund a new starter set for the game over on Kickstarter. If you’ve been […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Get a job: Schell games is hiring a Game Producer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 September 2017 - 12:25pm

Schell Games is looking for a Game Producer to join it in developing VR and AR games, location-based based experiences, and social games. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

MTech, LLC: Running custom migrations via a Web UI

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 12:01pm
Running custom migrations via a Web UI

The Migrate API is almost stable and the majority of its basic functions and ways that folks interface with it are are to see the state of a migration, execute (import) a migration, or revert (rollback) a migration. However, until now, you had to all this via a command line interface (Drush or Drupal Console). The community has been working hard to get all these functions to run through a web user interface (UI).

Here we'll discuss some of the various options for running a migration via a web UI. There are several options that we are aware in various levels of stability.

Edys Meza Thu, 09/28/2017 - 13:01
Categories: Drupal

Paizo and Ninja Division Launch Starfinder Miniatures Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 September 2017 - 12:00pm
Starfinder lets you take a rules set you know (Pathfinder, in case you somehow didn’t know) and head out into the stars. Well, while there may be literally thousands of minis out there for your fantasy RPG games, the market is decidedly smaller for sci-fi games. Paizo and Ninja Division are looking to fix that […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


New Drupal Modules - 28 September 2017 - 11:36am

The official Drupal plugin,built by raychat.

Chat with visitors to your website in real-time , make them loyal customer .

Raychat is a free customer messaging platform . Chat with your customers and make them a loyal customer. With raychat you can sell and support as a team. Look what your visitors are writing in real-time, where are they from and it gives you analytics from users behavior on your website, allowing you to respond faster than light.

Categories: Drupal

Nextide Blog: Maestro D8 Concepts Part 3: Logical Loopbacks & Regeneration

Planet Drupal - 28 September 2017 - 11:04am
Loopbacks and Regeneration

Since 2003, Maestro had the concept of "Regeneration".  Regeneration for Maestro on Drupal 7 was a rather nebulous concept if you didn't understand the complexities that exist within the original engine.  Most administrators would simply check the regeneration option to "on" and the option to "recreate all in production tasks" and never worry about what it actually meant.  Simply put, as a human reading a workflow diagram, we can understand when a logic condition causes a loop-back over already executed tasks. However, for a machine to detect when we're looping-back over already executed tasks produces a set of logical issues that are not easily overcome.

Categories: Drupal


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