Newsfeeds

6 Steps To A Successful Game Launch - by Edward Wills

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:54pm
Having a successful game launch is crucial to making your game a success. In this article, I look at 6 steps to help you along the way.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Maps to the Stars (of development) - by John Szczepaniak

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:54pm
Project yourself astrally through space and time, and imagine what it was like standing inside a game developer's studio from the past
Categories: Game Theory & Design

This Week in Video Game Blogging: Getting Closer - by Critical Distance

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:54pm
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zoya Street on mechanics of traversal and closeness.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Three Factors Driving China's Indie Revolution - by Hao Wu

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:50pm
There are very few indie games coming out of China but that's about to change thanks to three factors that are invigorating China's indie dev community.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

So you want to start an indie studio? - by Jeremy Lam

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:50pm
The points to consider when starting your indie studio.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Why beta testers are so valuable - examples from real life - by Tuomo Eskola

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:50pm
At Halkologic Games we find beta testing to be extremely valuable. Today I will show you with examples why so.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

VR resources - by James Binns

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:50pm
With Oculus Rift and HTC Vive now launched developers may find the following resources useful...
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Player profiling in practice - by Kevin Hutchinson

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 13 April 2016 - 10:50pm
While player modelling has seen its use in games, player profiling is relatively new and many of its uses are still being explored. This article aims to give the reader an overview of the ways player profiles can be used and created.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

DrupalOnWindows: Drupal 8 performance: the Supercache module

Planet Drupal - 13 April 2016 - 10:00pm
Language English

The Supercache module is the result of an attempt to improve Drupal 8 efficiency when dealing with cache tag management and other design issues with several caching components that make it a pain to deal with Drupal 8 based applications that change a lot. 

An out of the box Drupal 8 install will issue about 2,100 database statements for a simple task such as performing a log in and creating two articles.

More articles...
Categories: Drupal

Texas Creative: Update Extended Module: Drupal Updates...No Regressions!

Planet Drupal - 13 April 2016 - 1:30pm

Avoid common pitfalls when updating Drupal modules. The new Update Extended module takes the guesswork out of a few tricky situations where regressions can slip into your site and break working functionality, especially when using a dev release.

Read More
Categories: Drupal

Get a job: Demiurge Studios is hiring a Senior Software Engineer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 April 2016 - 1:19pm

Owned by SEGA Networks, Cambridge-based studio Demiurge is on the hunt for an experienced software engineer to take a senior role on development of games for mobile and PC. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Charting the course of a multiplayer game's fall from grace

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 April 2016 - 1:02pm

No multiplayer game lasts forever, but some last longer than most. So why does the community for a game like Guns of Icarus Online fade, and what can game developers learn from the process? ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

3C Web Services: Super Login module for Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 13 April 2016 - 11:25am

A tell-tale sign that a website is a Drupal site is the login page. If you go to WEBSITE_URL/user of most Drupal websites the login form that you're presented with is almost always the default and very Drupal-looking login. Now there's an easy way to change that on Drupal 8.

Categories: Drupal

Webform Quiz

New Drupal Modules - 13 April 2016 - 10:49am

Webform quiz is a simple module that utilizes webform and webform's api to create simple quizzes.

Webform Quiz will likely be kept simple. Using just the built in components that webform offers.

Categories: Drupal

FFW Agency: Great Examples Of Distributed Content Management In Higher Education

Planet Drupal - 13 April 2016 - 10:47am
Great Examples Of Distributed Content Management In Higher Education hank.vanzile Wed, 04/13/2016 - 17:47

In the first post in this series, What Is Distributed Content Management?, I defined two perspectives on that term: the distributed management of content and the management of distributed content.  While doing so, I used the example of a large university and the need to consider both aspects of Distributed Content Management as part of an effective digital strategy for higher education.  In today’s post I’ll develop that concept a bit further so we can discuss a few use cases in detail.

 

Setting The Scene

 

To ensure we’re all on the same page, imagine a large university.  For fun, let’s call it “Drupal University.”  Similar to many higher education institutions, the academic programs at Drupal University are split into multiple schools (let’s say 7) and each of those schools house a number of departments.  Some of the smaller schools may only have 3 to 5 departments, but others, such as Humanities or the Medical School, may have upwards of 25.  And let’s not forget that each of those departments is responsible for a number of different academic programs.  Toss in the requisite assortment of research labs, student organizations and administrative departments - you can see how quickly our college’s web presence gets complex!  At this scale we’re likely dealing with hundreds of different websites, all of which have requirements around content.  It’s the perfect platform for Distributed Content Management! Let’s explore a few use cases that might pop up.  Don’t worry, we’ll start with an easy one.

 

 

Use Case 1: Publishing Workflows For Individual Websites

 

For the web platform at Drupal University, this strategy is obvious.  Unless they employ an absurdly enormous central communications team, large universities simply must distribute their content production.  This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing open the gates!  Consideration of a content approval workflow is a critical part of the content strategy for any organization that employs Distributed Content Management.  Publishing workflows, whether manual or automated, must be tailored not only to the university, but to each school, department or group that’s in charge of a website.  Content to be published on the undergrad admissions websites likely requires significantly more oversight than the blog of an 8-person research lab.  The Medical School, with its 25 departments, probably has its own marketing and communications departments while a smaller school fights for the attention of centralized resources.  This is definitely a case where one size doesn’t fit all.  

 

Use Case 2: Sharing Content Out - Centralized Content On A Distributed Web Platform

 

Even the most decentralized universities have content that is centrally produced.  In some cases it may be easiest to just hyperlink to that content in its original location; however, consider, a news story about a student winning a prestigious award.  That story,  produced by the Communications Department for the News section of the college’s main website, may be reposted in its entirety in numerous strategically advantageous places: the homepage of the student’s academic program, the websites for her research lab, a site run by Admissions, another targeted at alumni.  Copying and pasting becomes a less efficient option the further content is distributed - more so when you consider the possibility of edits and possible unpublishing.  In later blog posts, I’ll discuss some of the techniques and products organizations are using to efficiently share content across numerous websites.

 

Use Case 3: Sharing Content In - Decentralized Websites As Points Of Origin

 

Another interesting use case presents itself when we consider distributed websites as the starting point for content creation.  Most universities maintain a central calendar of events, whether on a main website or in an Event Management System.  In a well-formed distributed content model, with an an appropriate CMS like Drupal, the same metadata that allows visitors to filter events - audience, department, program, etc. - can be easily used to syndicate those events to various websites.  Unfortunately, the same level of consideration is not always given to the publishing of new events.  Because central event calendars feed information to the entire college, they are often protected systems, editable only by a subset of users with appropriate permissions.  Content managers who are generally empowered to manage their own content may not have the same access to do so, or, in cases where they do have permission, find themselves needing to enter content into an entirely different system to get it published to their site.  But why should this be the case?  By extending the same technologies that allow websites to receive events from a central calendar, we can enable content managers to publish events to the calendar from within the same website they usually manage.  (The same content approval and publishing workflow considerations apply, of course.)

 

Use Case 4: Integrating With Controlled Content Systems

 

At the far end of the Distributed Content Management spectrum are systems that need to publish consistent, controlled content to websites with no possibility for discrepancies across multiple sites.  A common case of this in higher education would be a Course Catalog System (Acalog, SmartCatalog, CourseLeaf, etc.).  One of the primary jobs of these systems is to integrate with the university’s Student Information System, providing the canonical description of a course, its contents, credits, costs, etc.  If a university chooses to publish course descriptions on individual program sites, eliminating user error and neglect - mistakes made through copying and pasting, older content not being updated, etc. - is of great importance.  As such, determining a strategy for directly integrating with these systems, rather than relying on a standard approach to decentralized content management, must be an important part of a university’s content strategy.

 

What’s Next?

 

In my next post I’ll continue exploring use cases for Distributed Content Management but switch our focus to the pharmaceutical industry.  Thoughts or questions?  Reach out in the comments below or tweet them to me at @HankVanZile.

 

Tagged with Comments
Categories: Drupal

Shedding light in the dark tunnel of game innovation

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 April 2016 - 10:02am

"If we look to games that have done something new, at the system level, we can draw lessons that help us approach this difficult challenge. Following is a rubric of four questions that can provide a framework for creating new games." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mediacurrent: Build your QA Department- Part 1: Laying a Foundation

Planet Drupal - 13 April 2016 - 9:11am
About me

With 15 years of experience in the Information Technology field, and 10 of those years focused on leadership, I’ve learned first hand the value of investing in people and setting them up for success. Before joining Mediacurrent, I started a QA department from scratch and grew it to its current size. Prior to that, I built an IT team. If you're an incoming leader, here's how to start building your own QA/IT department.

Categories: Drupal

An Eye for an Eye (3.0)

New RPG Product Reviews - 13 April 2016 - 8:34am
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Rating: 5
This is a neat little adventure to throw into your campaign some time after your party has thwarted the evil plots of someone who managed to get away from them, or just have proven themselves a bit of a nusiance to someone... and what party doesn't manage to put backs up at least somewhere that they go in your campaign world? For this adventure concerns vengeance, vengeance wreaked against the party when they have managed to irritate the wrong people once too often.

The first part of the product describes the members of the Council of Wrath, a bunch of mercenaries who specialise in vengeance. You pay them, they'll deal with whoever has annoyed you. They are a well-developed bunch of ruffians, with varied and complimentary skills honed to their preferred line of business.

A few running notes are supplied to aid the DM, particularly in the opening phase, when the Council runs a surveillance operation on the party to determine exactly what they will be up against prior to determining the best opportunity to attack. Very paranoid parties might pick up on this, but it's unlikely - these guys are good at what they do. They also make sure they have an escape plan ready during the final stages of their investigation, when they attempt to engage the party in conversation, often asking about past exploits - it all sounds like casual conversation in a bar to the unwary.

In the next phase, they really show their professionalism, convincing some other group to take the party on just so they can watch them in action. You can draft in whoever you feel are appropriate, but some additional NPCs are provided in case you do not have suitable ones of your own. Their next move is just as impressive - they kidnap someone the party is known to value as an insurance policy... or to use as bait. And only then do they mount their attack, generally trying to draw the party into an ambush, possibly as they try to rescue whoever got kidnapped.

Should the party survive, it's likely they will want to know what was going on, and ways for them to accomplish this are also provided.

This is a neat idea, impressively presented. Keep it handy for when the need to take the party down a peg or two arises...
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Proj4PHP

New Drupal Modules - 13 April 2016 - 6:29am

Provides a drupal module to load the proj4php library with the Libraries API.

Uses the X Autoload module to autoload the PSR-4 classes of the proj4php library.

Categories: Drupal

Throw A Bounty Board At Your Players (Not Literally)

Gnome Stew - 13 April 2016 - 1:04am

 

Life happenings caused two of my players to miss a session. We moved on with the rest of the group, but the main plot mission had them interacting with a big player in the world and being teleported to another location far far away. We ran a small session with just the two players who were missing from the main game, and it went about as well as expected with only one religious cult springing up in the wake of their actions. The side game was fun, but I had a heck of a time getting the two players to buy into the plot without the rest of the group there. I didn’t really want to explore deep character plotlines without the whole group there to support and be the audience for the PC plotlines to explore. Later, I realized the perfect solution to the conundrum of player buy-in for side missions – The Bounty Board.

Translating The Bounty Board From Video Games

 Later, I realized the perfect solution to the conundrum of player buy-in for side missions – The Bounty Board.   After the game I was thinking that it would have been great if my players had the option of picking up a side quest that they wanted to do for that session, the same way I was selecting the quick missions I wanted to undertake from the Bounty Board in the video game I was currently playing. They could look through the available side quests that weren’t tied to the main story, grab the one or two that looked like they were promising and fun, and I could run the mini-scenario with the few notes I had on them. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this would be a cool tool for when we needed a fallback game, plus it is a pretty simple idea to integrate.

How To Integrate A Bounty Board Into Your Game
  • Write a few (5 or 6) bounties that will be posted to the “board” in the appropriate format. They could be scrolls on a town board, forum posts for jobs, a list of things that the local bartender knows about the criminal element and the jobs they need done, a police blotter, etc. Plan different focuses for the missions and keep them fairly diverse (social missions, monster hunting missions, treasure finding missions) and telegraph what the essence of the mission will be in the write up.
  • Prep however much you feel you need to be able to run these missions on the fly. Map them to published adventures, write them up in 3-3-3 format, use a super useful book for that kind of thing…, or just plan to wing it based on the mission description and however you feel at the time.
  • Make the actual Bounty Board a physical thing so that you can hand it to the players when you introduce the concept. Index cards or a cheap cork board or just a print out will be fine. This gives the players the knowledge that it is always there in a physical, and fairly static, format for them to go to when they want to.
  • Let them know that whenever there are people missing, you didn’t get a chance to prep things, or you just want a change of pace, the players can ask you to pull out the Bounty Board so they can pick a mission. You can play it as a flashback or an event not happening at the same time as the current story, or just fit it in if your plot has room for it.
  • Play the mini game and wrap it up by the end of the session, ready to move on to the next one when ready.
The Hidden Beauty Of The Bounty Board Concept

The Bounty Board concept is an element that is very meta to the game, and this puts it in the unique position of being able to generate a lot of player buy-in from the get go. Because there are multiple options, the choice is in the players hands as to what kind of mission they are going to pursue. If they’re feeling more social, they’ll pursue the one that has a lead in to dealing with the child of nobles who ran away to be with their forbidden love. If they just want to kill some things, they’ll pick the one that has monster hunting or eliminating the 9th street toughs. This creates a large amount of player buy-in without you having to lift a finger to make it happen. They chose the side quest and you run it.

Just deliver on what you promise in the listed bounty mission. Some surprises and twists are fine, but if you promise monster killing in a side mission it shouldn’t turn into a political intrigue game half-way through the one-shot. Chances are if you are using this concept to fill in the gaps because some players are missing, the mission chosen fits the play style of the players who are present.  They’ve already bought in to the core concept.

Another hidden beauty of the Bounty Board as a way for players to choose their missions is that the initial buy-in means you don’t have to spend as much time sowing seeds to lead the players into it and trying to make it feel “unique”. “Eliminate a group of Orcs plaguing the roads” type of missions are pretty standard for fantasy style games, and if you have reason to run one, you often have to give players a reason to care about something that is so common. If they’ve bought into that concept because they chose it off the Bounty Board, then you don’t have to spend as much effort making it seem like a unique and worthy mission to fit in with the story. Instead, you can focus on elements that actually make it unique like the personality of the lead Orc or the incredible labyrinth of traps they have set up around their camp and the tactical fight you planned — the elements the players will actually interact with in pursuit of completing their goal.

I’m going to whip out the Bounty Board for my group during their next game to let them know that a lighter session or side session is more in their hands. What do you do when you’re missing players or you need a break from the main story? Do you use modular options like this? As a player, do you find yourself wanting to jump into side missions during a game?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

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