Have A Quick Story Framework

Gnome Stew - 30 November 2018 - 3:00am

I am in the car on my way home from Thanksgiving at my parent’s house. It is the second leg of the trip, and I am now a passenger. We are due home in about two hours, just in time for me to run Scum & Villainy for my Sunday evening group. That was when the text came in.

I am not feeling well. I need to waive off tonight.

Blown Session. Time to initiate Blown Session Protocol.

I texted the other players in my group, and everyone wanted to play something; a backup game. That was fine. I had just finished reading Beach Patrol, and I was down for some Baywatch action. The only thing is, I had no session prepped. The book had an adventure idea generator, but it comes up with a premise, which is good, but I also needed a bit more structure in terms of scenes, beats, etc.

So I opened my phone, clicked on OneNote and started writing some quick session notes, using a pretty standard story framework that is my go to when I am improvising games.

What is a Story Framework?

A story framework is a narrative structure, a formula of sorts, that tells a story. Which means that it has a start, a middle, and an ending, as well as some number of scenes. It is not an actual story but rather a framework that you can adapt to create a story, or in this case a gaming session.

There are numerous frameworks for stories but the one that most people who were educated in the US know is Freytag’s Pyramid.

This is a simple structure but very effective. Basically, the story starts, some things happen to build up to the climax, and then things start to resolve in the wake of the climax, and the story ends.

If you want to really jump into the rabbit hole when it comes to plot structures, check out Plotto by William Cook.

Using a Story Framework

So what is the deal with story frameworks? It has to do with prepping sessions. When we prep a session, we use some kind of framework to lay out our encounters and how the plot of the session will unfold.

So if you are doing traditional prep, this often takes the form of an outline. We sit down and outline how we think the session will go, and then write our notes. Often when we are doing this, we are using some kind of framework either intentionally or unintentionally.  These frameworks make prepping your game faster because they are known structures that you can employ.

 Where these frameworks really shine is when you are doing a low/no-prep game. Because if you know one or more of these structures, you can quickly come up with a session on the fly… Share9Tweet3+11Reddit1EmailWhere these frameworks really shine is when you are doing a low/no-prep game. Because if you know one or more of these structures, you can quickly come up with a session on the fly, using the structure to give some shape to your session. Often what I do, when I run a no-prep game such as Action Movie World or Beach Patrol, is that I use a framework to write myself a quick outline in my notebook or on an index card, as the players are making characters. This then gives me an idea of where my game can go, which helps when you are improvising, because you have some idea of where the story can go — making your contributions to the story more focused.

My Go-to Framework

The framework that I have committed to memory, and the one that I use the most when I am improvising sessions, is this:

  1. Opening to show how cool the characters are
  2. Introduce the Problem
  3. Goal 1
  4. Goal 2
  5. Goal 3 (optional – based on time)
  6. Showdown
  7. Aftermath

In this structure, there are multiple goals that the players must achieve in order to be able to confront the cause of the problem in the showdown (climax).

Quick Example:

It’s a game of Rockerboys and Vending Machines and the characters are trying to extract a Singer from a nightclub. So my outline would be:

  1. Opening scene at their home bar where they get the job
  2. Problem: Scouting the Nightclub
  3. Goal: Getting into the Nightclub
  4. Goal: Getting past security to get to the back of the nightclub
  5. Goal: Getting to the Singer to extract her
  6. Showdown: Extraction & Opposition
  7. Aftermath: Delivering the Singer and getting paid.

That right there is all I need for a few hours of play. Now when it comes to running the game, we may deviate wildly from this initial outline, but at least I had a starting point for the game.

Elaborating on the Framework

So I am in the car with two hours until I get home, so I have some time to work up a slightly more complex story for Beach Patrol. So, I take the basic framework but I decide to have two plots going on during the session.

A-Plot: A calendar photo shoot is taking place on the beach and creating issues.

Possible encounters:

  • A model that can’t swim
  • Heavy crowds watching
  • Stalker following one of the Models
  • Dangerous shooting setup that endangers beachgoers

B-Plot: A new version of Ecstasy has hit the beach and is causing a lot of teens to get into trouble.

Possible encounters:

  • Drowning victim
  • Sex on the beach
  • User falling off the cliff in Lovers Cove
  • Drug deal going down on the beach

Then I adapt my standard framework a bit to look like this:

  1. Opening: Briefing at HQ
  2. Goal: A-Plot encounter
  3. Goal: B-Plot encounter
  4. Goal: A-Plot encounter
  5. Goal: Resolve B-Plot
  6. Showdown: Emergency A and B-Plot
  7. Aftermath: End of Shift

In this case, I am weaving the A and B plot in alternating scenes, and then in scene 5 I look to close up the B Plot, but I bring back some elements of it in the Showdown.

For the Goals, I pulled from the list of possible encounters, based on what felt right at the time. But I decided that the showdown would be a boat rescue situation where the drug dealers crash their boat into the model’s photo shoot out in the ocean, and there are all sorts of people who need to be rescued.

Blown Session Protocol – Engaged

Thirty minutes after I received that text, I had brainstormed and created a genre-fitting adventure for a game that I was running for the first time. We played that night and had a blast. The models were rescued and the drug dealers captured. The Beach is safe once again.

Having a go-to story framework, one that you are comfortable with, is a great tool for any GM, but especially for improv GMs. It helps with coming up with a game with little or no time to prep, and when you have more time, you can elaborate and subvert the structure to make more varied plots.

Do you have a go-to story framework that you use in your games? Are you now thinking of making one? What are some of your favorite frameworks?

Categories: Game Theory & Design


New Drupal Modules - 30 November 2018 - 1:23am
Categories: Drupal

OpenSense Labs: Extract the power of Predictive UX with Drupal

Planet Drupal - 29 November 2018 - 10:54pm
Extract the power of Predictive UX with Drupal Shankar Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:24

Perhaps it is not very surprising that in an age of austerity and a climate of fear about child abuse, new technology is being sought by social workers for help. The Guardian, news media, revealed that local authorities in the UK have been using machine learning and predictive modelling to intervene before children were referred to social services. For instance, local councils are building ‘predictive analytics’ systems for leveraging cornucopia of data on hundreds of people for constructing computer models in an effort to predict child abuse and intervene before it can happen.

Power of predictive analytics can be extracted not only for social issues like child abuse but for a superabundance of areas in different industries. One such area is the web user experience where implementation of predictive analytics can be very essential. Predictive user experience (UX) can help usher in a plenitude of betterment. But how did predictive analytics came into being?

Destination 1689

Contemporary Analysis states that the history of predictive analytics takes us back to 1689. While the rise of predictive analytics has been attributed to technological advances like Hadoop and MapReduce, it has been in use for centuries.

One of the first applications of predictive analytics can be witnessed in the times when shipping and trade were prominent.

One of the first applications of predictive analytics can be witnessed in the times when shipping and trade were prominent. Lloyd’s of London, one of the first insurance and reinsurance markets, was a catalyst for the distribution of important information required for underwriting. And the name underwriting itself took birth from London insurance market. In exchange for a premium, bankers would accept the risk on a given sea voyage and write their names underneath the risk information that is written on one Lloyd’s slip developed for this purpose.

Lloyd’s coffee house was established in 1689 by Edward Lloyd. He was well-known among the sailors, merchants and ship owners as he shared reliable shipping news which helped in discussing deals including insurance.

Technological advancements in the 20th century and 21st century have given impetus to predictive analytics as can be seen through the following compilation by FICO.

Source: FICOPredictive Analytics and User Experience: A Detailed Look

IBM states that predictive analytics brings together advanced analytics capabilities comprising of ad-hoc analysis, predictive modelling, data mining, text analytics, optimisation, real-time scoring and machine learning. Enterprises can utilise these tools in order to discover patterns in data and forecast events.

Predictive Analytics is a form of advanced analytics which examines data or content to answer the question “What is going to happen?” or more precisely, “What is likely to happen?”, and is characterized by techniques such as regression analysis, forecasting, multivariate statistics, pattern matching, predictive modelling, and forecasting. - Gartner

A statistical representation of data compiled by Statista delineates that predictive analytics is only going to grow and its market share will keep expanding in the coming years.

Predictive analytics revenues/market size worldwide, from 2016 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista

A Personalisation Pulse Check report from Accenture found that 65% of customers were more likely to shop at a store or online business that sent relevant and personalized promotions. So, instead of resulting in alterations to the user interface, applying a predictive analytics algorithm to UX design presents the users with relevant information. For instance, a user who has recently bought a costly mobile phone from an e-commerce site might be willing to buy a cover to protect it from dust and scratches. Hence, that user would receive a recommendation to purchase a cover. The e-commerce site might also recommend other accessories like headphones, memory cards or antivirus software.

How does Predictive Analytics Work?

Following are the capabilities of predictive analytics according to a compilation by IBM:

  • Statistical analysis and visualisation: It addresses the overall analytical process including planning, data collection, analysis, reporting and deployment.
  • Predictive modelling: It leverages the power of model-building, evaluation and automation capabilities.
  • Linear regression: Linear regression analysis helps in predicting the value of a variable on the basis of the value of another variable.
  • Logistic regression: It is also known as the logit model which is used for predictive analytics and modelling and is also utilised for application in machine learning.
Leveraging Predictive Models in UX Design

Data will drive the UX in the future. Patterns that derive data make for a terrific predictive engine. This helps in forecasting a user’s intent by compiling numerous predictors that together influence conversions.

Data will drive the UX in the future

With the help of predictive analytics in UX design, conversation rates can be improved. For instance, recommendation systems leverage data such as consumer interest and purchasing behaviour which is then applied via a predictive model for generating a listicle of recommended items. 

Amazon, e-commerce giant, utilises an item-item collaborative filtering algorithm for suggesting products. This helps in displaying the books to a bookworm and baby toys to a new mother. Quantum Interface, which is a startup in Austin Texas, has built a predictive user interface with the help of natural user interface (NUI) principles. This utilises the directional vectors - speed, time and angle change - for forecasting user’s intent.

Implementing Predictive UX with Drupal

Predictive UX adapts content based on a user’s previous choices just like web personalisation does. But predictive UX extracts the power of machine learning and statistical techniques for making informed decisions on the user’s behalf.

While modern technology is oscillating from mobile-first to AI-first, predictive UX is the next huge thing which is going to be a trend-setter. It is meritorious as it helps users reduce the cognitive load because coercing users to make too many decisions will propel them to take the easy way out.

Drupal provides different ways of implementing predictive UX:

Acquia Lift

Acquia Lift Connector, a Drupal module, offers integration with the Acquia Lift service and an improved user experience for web personalisation, testing and targeting directly on the front end of your website.

It leverages machine learning to automatically recommend content based on what a user is currently looking at or has looked in the past. It has a drag-and-drop feature for developing, previewing and launching personalisations and has a customer data repository for providing a single view of customers.

It has the feature of real-time adaptive targeting that refines segments while A/B helps in keeping the users engrossed with the content that resonates.

ApachePrediction IO

Bay Area Drupal Camp 2018 has a session where a demonstration showed how predictive UX helps users decide. It was geared towards both UX designers and developers. It talked about how machine learning powers predictive UX and the ways of implementing it using Drupal.

It exhibited a Drupal 8 site which had a list of restaurants that could be sorted by proximity. That means you can check out the nearest restaurant and order food. When users log in to this site, they see top recommendations customised to them.

There are some interesting things happening behind-the-scenes to show the recommendations. An API query is being sent to the machine learning server which, in return, shows a ranked list of recommendations. So, when users go to a restaurant and order food, all that data is sent to the event server through the API which is how data is being collected. Here, the Apache PredictionIO server, which is an open source machine learning stack, offers simple commands to train and deploy engine.

Gazing into the future of UX

UX Collective says that the future of UX is effulgent in the coming years. Demand for pixel perfect usable and delightful UX is sky-high especially when digital transformation endeavours underway globally. Following graphical representation shows the top design-driven organisations against all of Standard and Poor’s (S&P) index.

Source: Job Trends Report: The Job Market for UX/UI Designers

It further states that UX design will consist of more formal studies:

  • Study of cognitive neuroscience and human behaviour
  • Study of ethics
  • Artificial Intelligence advances, generated and unsupervised machine learning-based system interactions, predictive UX, personalised robotic services and so on

User experience will always be an integral component of any sector in any industry. While web personalisation is a sure-shot way of improving digital web experience, disrupting technologies like machine learning take it to another level. Leveraging machine learning algorithms, predictive UX can forecast user choices and help them decide. Implementing predictive UX is a praiseworthy solution to offer users an unprecedented digital experience.

When it comes to Drupal development, OpenSense Labs has been making steadfast in its objectives of embracing innovative technologies that can be implemented with Drupal’s robust framework.

Contact us at to implement predictive UX with Drupal.

blog banner blog image Predictive UX Drupal 8 Machine Learning Predictive Analytics Predictive Modelling User Experience Web user experience Digital user experience Customer experience UX web personalisation Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Categories: Drupal

User Reference Node Access

New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 10:11pm

Restricts node access to users referenced through a user reference field.

Allows options to control node access for both referenced users and node author:

Categories: Drupal

HashiCorp Vault - AppRole Authentication

New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 7:21pm

AppRole authentication provider for HashiCorp Vault suite.

Project introduction and documentation to come.

AppRole documentation -


Development of this module takes place on GitHub.

Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 12:40pm

Markdown WYSIWYG Editor integration for Toast UI Editor

Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 12:31pm

Triggers a build hook on any service provider that supports it, options to trigger are:

  • User Interaction - Execute Via toolbar element
  • Automatic - Execute via cron
  • Automatic - Execute Node Update

Categories: Drupal

Making it easier to transform freeform 2D sketching into 3D Models

Virtual Reality - Science Daily - 29 November 2018 - 8:41am
A new computational approach, built on data-driven techniques, is making it possible to turn simple 2D sketch into a realistic 3D shape, with little or no user input necessary.
Categories: Virtual Reality

Jeff Geerling's Blog: Analyzing a MySQL slow query log with pt-query-digest

Planet Drupal - 29 November 2018 - 8:02am

There are times when you may notice your MySQL or MariaDB database server getting very slow. Usually, it's a very stressful time, as it means your site or application is also getting very slow since the underlying database is slow. And then when you dig in, you notice that logs are filling up—and in MySQL's case, the slow query log is often a canary in a coal mine which can indicate potential performance issues (or highlight active performance issues).

But—assuming you have the slow query log enabled—have you ever grabbed a copy of the log and dug into it? It can be extremely daunting. It's literally a list of query metrics (time, how long the query took, how long it locked the table), then the raw slow query itself. How do you know which query takes the longest time? And is there one sort-of slow query that is actually the worst, just because it's being run hundreds of times per minute?

Categories: Drupal

Hello World Block

New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 7:35am
Categories: Drupal

Indie Marketing: Highlights & Data of Summoners Fate at Dreamhack 2018 - by Ross Przybylski Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 7:23am
Indie dev Ross Przybylski shares his marketing strategy, budget, event highlights and data of his Dreamhack Atlanta 2018 showcase of Summoners Fate.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Jakub Kasztalsk, Unbound Creations: Developing a Sequel - by Jessica Paek Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 7:22am
We got a chance to talk to Jakub Kasztalski from Unbound Creations about developing a sequel and incorporating community feedback.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tweet Star: Turning Tweets into Puzzles - by Olin Olmstead Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 7:21am
A word game with an endless supply of crowdsourced puzzles. This is a design analysis for this fascinating and unique puzzle game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Kliuless? #13: Is Artifact Pay-to-Win or Pay-to-Lose? - by Kenneth Liu Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 7:20am
Each week I compile a gaming industry insights newsletter that I share with other Rioters, including Riot’s senior leadership. This edition is the public version that I publish broadly every week as well. Opinions are mine.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Things To Consider Before Signing a Public Relations or Influencer Agency To Promote Your Video Game - by Corey Wade Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 7:18am
This post serves as a basic guide to give publishers, developers, and studios a better understanding of the PR and influencer process by addressing some questions to consider before getting started.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #54 – Book Learnin’

Gnome Stew - 29 November 2018 - 5:13am

Join Ang, J.T., and Senda for some tips to help you learn to play a game right out of the book without someone to teach you! Will our gnomes learn enough to avoid the stew?

Download: Gnomecast #54 – Book Learnin’

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Check out Gnome Stew Merch, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

Follow Senda at @IdellaMithlynnd on Twitter and find her on her other podcasts Panda’s Talking Games and She’s a Super Geek.

Follow J.T. at @jtevans on Twitter, J.T. Evans on Facebook and at his website

Follow Ang at @orikes13 on Twitter and find her in the Misdirected Mark Google+ Community.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Onix codelists client

New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 3:33am

A client to communicate with the onix codelists API

This is probably only useful if you want to find out what different codes mean by having their codelist code. Or something similar.

Categories: Drupal

Tips To Speed Up The Development Process - by Antonio Torres Blogs - 29 November 2018 - 3:06am
Far too little has been said or done about the counter-productive development practices in the video game industry. It is possible to improve game development and provide for the welfare of developers at the same time.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Easy Google Analytics Counter

New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 2:57am

Module get pageview data from Google analytics.

Getting Started

After install and configure module new column is been created on node_field_data
with name pageview. This column ready to using from views as field, filter and sort data.


Module needs the google/apiclient v2 library. If you install module with composer
the library will download also.

Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 29 November 2018 - 12:42am
Let users submit their consent.

This module uses the GPLv2 licensed OIL.js framework by Axel Springer SE.
The compiled OIL.js version contains several MIT-licensed third party libraries which are listed at as dependencies. For more information about OIL have a look at

Categories: Drupal


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