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The Ethical Compromises of Paid Reviews - by Michael Heron

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:02am
There is always a danger that a reviewer succumbs to a conflict of interest. Even in a hobbyist review press, ethical dangerous abound. This article discusses some compromises that come from accepting payment from publishers for reviews.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Posts New Legacy of Dragonholt Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 31 October 2017 - 7:00am
While much of the adventures in Legacy of Dragonholt take place out in the wilderness of Terrinoth, there’s also plenty to do in the city, itself. Urban adventures will be just as important to the ever-evolving story in the game. I mean, you gotta get supplies and sell your loot, after all. In this preview, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How the ESRB is Promoting Children's Gambling - by Ramin Shokrizade

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 6:49am
The ESRB recently declared that "elements of chance" in today's games are not gambling. No regulation is required and parents don't need to know about it. Here Ramin Shokrizade explains what an "element of chance" really means.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Annertech: #DrupalCampDublin 2017 - a retrospective

Planet Drupal - 31 October 2017 - 6:29am
#DrupalCampDublin 2017 - a retrospective

Over the past number of years, Drupal Camp Dublin was becoming more of a showcase/case study event where different speakers display work they had been doing on various websites. This year, we (the Drupal Ireland Association, of which I was chairperson) decided to "go back to our roots" and do two things: create a developer conference for developers, and engage more people from outside of Ireland.

Categories: Drupal

Z-Man Games Posts Through the Desert Rules

Tabletop Gaming News - 31 October 2017 - 6:00am
Z-Man Games is updating the classic Dr. Reneir Knizia game, Through the Desert. The game’s getting a bit of a facelift, but also a bit of a rules combing. So, many of you have played the older version, and I’m sure you’re wondering what’s changing. Z-Man is helping out with that, as they’ve posted up […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Next Previous Active Trial

New Drupal Modules - 31 October 2017 - 5:09am

This project covers navigation for all menu levels

Categories: Drupal

Valuebound: Configure Apache Solr with Drupal for better content search

Planet Drupal - 31 October 2017 - 4:20am

There have been times when clients are not very satisfied with the default Drupal search as quite a few times it is unable to meet their requirement especially when you need specific search control beyond core e.g. facets and related content. In order to resolve this issue and make search fast for end customers, we can use Apache Solr - an open source enterprise search platform - and configure it with our Drupal site.

In one of our previous blog post, we have discussed “How To Create Custom SOLR Search With Autocomplete In Drupal 7”. Note, before creating custom Solr search,…

Categories: Drupal

Now I See, Cold, It Was Them He Loved: Ten Candles And Winter Terror

Gnome Stew - 31 October 2017 - 3:56am

“Now I see, cold, it was them he loved.
Where is he now? Tonight my heart froze.”
-excerpt from “Crust on Fresh Snow” by Rolf Jacobsen

“Winter is coming”
-virtually every character in Game of Thrones

In the winter of 2015 I experienced two life-changing texts that sucked me into enjoying horror as a genre. The first was when I purchased my PlayStation 4 and got Until Dawn on sale with it. The second was when my friends and I saw Krampus in theaters. Until Dawn lured me in with steamy young melodrama and the tease of alpine horror. Krampus felt like a campy “are they serious?” popcorn flick. Over the course of both stories, I saw that easy fun twist and create anxiety that was thrilling to jump at. Both titles are now winter traditions, and I revel in playing & watching them multiple times a year, but never during spring or summer. In fact, it’s only during the colder months that I feel a pull towards horror at all. These things are true: the world is dark and we are alive. 

These things are true: the world is dark and we are alive. These words start off every scene in Stephen Dewey’s horror game, Ten Candles. For those unfamiliar, Ten Candles is a game of tragic horror, with every character finding their end in the final scene, exploring a darkened world with no sun or stars, and facing off against a nebulous Them who are always coming. You play in a completely darkened room lit only by ten candles which you progressively extinguish through play, and with each light gone, They get stronger. As you play, you also burn aspects of your character, yes literally burn them to ash, lit by candle flame, while you sit at the table. It’s bleak, terrifying, and one of my favorite games ever written.

I’ve played Ten Candles in the spring and summer: once in Chicago visiting friends while our host serenaded us with cosmic metal and made spicy sausage stew, and once on the balcony of a sketchy high rise hotel in St. Louis, MO as a thunderstorm raged and the St. Louis Arch rose above us like a portal to hell. Both games were fun and heavy, but they pale in comparison to playing Ten Candles in winter.

Preparing to play Ten Candles on a frozen winter night, complete with grisly props

Riverhouse Games is named after a real house on the bank of the Mississippi river just outside of Minneapolis, MN, where I would visit to spend time with close friends and run games. Minnesota winters can be harsh, with windchill hitting 40 degrees below zero and blizzards that take fleets of plows hours or, in some extreme cases, days to fully clear.

“These things are true: the world is dark, and we are alive.” I intoned last year, running Ten Candles for the first time as we sat inside a toasty room in the Riverhouse, with glass windows iced around the edges. The sun had gone down hours ago and the light of the full moon bounced off of the snow which blanketed everything in sight. More than eight inches had dropped over the evening and it was still coming down in muffling clumps. Other than the flow of the river outside, with the occasional creak as chunks of ice cracked into the stone banking, or off of each other, the world lay blanketed in a white silence. A friend’s family owns a small taxidermy business up north, so the room was adorned with odd skulls and bones, centered on a nexus where ten lit candles flickered in the stale warm air of the room. We made our own winter terror, surrounded by set decorations, and staged on the same snow in which our characters would soon die.

Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis, MN is a great (and appropriately spooky) place to run games

 

I don’t know what it is, but as soon as that first frost hits, I feel a need in my bones to run Ten Candles. Like all roleplaying games, it can have silly moments, the best horror always has a joke here or there to cut the anxiety like a knife and refresh the scene. And, like the other semi-silly titles I enjoy every year, it’s becoming another winter horror tradition and takes its place next to Until Dawn and Krampus. I’ve already played my first game of the season, a one-on-one game after hours at a volunteer bookstore, with the echoes of a reading room holding two people skittered over the flames as the chilled wind blew through the city around us and we made our winter terror tale. I can’t wait until the snow falls (which may be a while still as we hit an uncharacteristically balmy 75 degrees up here while I write this) and I can bust out my tea lights and cackle out “the world is dark, and we are alive.”

What do you think? I’m definitely interested in padding out my roster of frozen fear if you have further recommendations. Do you have any winter terror traditions?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hi, I'm your friendly North American Unreal Engine Evangelist! - by Christian Allen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 3:30am
Christian Allen joins Epic Games as the Unreal Engine Evangelist for North America.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Multidomain Facebook Pixel

New Drupal Modules - 31 October 2017 - 2:31am
Categories: Drupal

Amazee Labs: Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 1

Planet Drupal - 31 October 2017 - 2:00am
Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 1

A few weeks ago I published a call for feedback on a project I've begun to assess agile practices in our industry (Take the Amazee Agile Agency Survey 2017). I would like to share a preliminary overview of the results I have received for the Amazee Agile Agency survey so far. Twenty-five individuals have completed the survey to date, so I have decided to extend the deadline a few more days, to November 5th, in order to gather more responses. Thanks to everyone who has participated so far! 

Josef Dabernig Tue, 10/31/2017 - 10:00 Initial Observations Popular Methodologies

Given the initial survey results, Scrum (or a Scrum hybrid or variant) is the most widespread development process used by agencies. Many teams consider it their top priority in order to deliver a successful project. Following Scrum as methods most use by agencies are Kanban or Waterfall.

ScrumBan (a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban) has not been widely adopted.  

In addition to those processes presented, Holocracy, Extreme Programming or DSDM have also been mentioned.

At Amazee, we began using Scrum to deliver projects a little over two years ago and have made great progress on it since then. In the last year, we also started a maintenance team which uses Kanban. Just recently, we began evaluating ScrumBan as a way of integrating our maintenance team with one of our project teams.

Project Teams 

Agencies ranging in sizes from 1-5 people to over 100 people have responded to the survey. Of those surveyed, the most common team size for project work are, in order from most common to least common:

  • three people or fewer
  • five people
  • four people
  • six people  

In terms of co-located or working remotely, team location varied wildly, but skewed towards 'mostly co-located' with some degree of remote. More than 50% of agencies form a new team with the launch of a new project, followed by stable teams which deliver multiple projects at the same time. Following multiple-project delivery are stable teams which deliver one project at a time.

At Amazee, we started out spinning up a new team with each new project, but soon realized that the constant starting and stopping of mid-sized projects was too disruptive. These days, we use stable teams to deliver multiple projects.

Sprints

Most teams surveyed deliver in two-week sprints. The remaining 33% of respondants deliver anywhere from single-day sprints to month-long sprints.

Team Integration

Frontend and backend developers are usually specialized but mostly work together on one team.

DevOps, QA/Testing, as well as the Scrum Master role, are shown in all variations of integrated or totally separate teams.

UX & Design are split, with this role either in a separate team (or external resource) or as part of a stable team. 

At Amazee, we try to hire T-shaped experts that can work across most disciplines on a team. For example, a Frontend developer may also have experience with backend tasks, which can help alleviate work silos and ticket bottlenecks. 

Staying Connected

Most agency teams rely on written communication to stay connected. This can take the form of tickets or via a chat tool such as Slack.

The majority of teams hold team meetings and 1-on-1 meetings, while fewer teams communicate mainly via blogs, wikis or even pull requests.

The majority of standups last fifteen minutes while some are only 5-10 minutes.

At Amazee, our hubs differ. Our Zurich office holds a company-wide standup that takes about ten minutes, followed by a team-specific standup that takes another ten minutes. Our Austin office holds a company-wide standup, which includes a client, which lasts about fifteen minutes. 

Splitting up the Work 

Many agencies vary in their approach to defininig, writing, reviewing, and estimating tasks and tickets. For most agencies, the project team is involved in each step of the ticket creation process. In others, creating tickets falls to the client, project manager, or product owner. In most cases, a technical lead is involved in the high-level ticket creation and the team is brought in for estimations. 

The most common approach to estimating ticket is time based (hours, days, weeks) followed by story points (t-shirt sizes, fibonacci sequence) 

Client Communication 

When it comes to meetings between the team and the client, the top mentioned options where 'less frequently' followed by 'more or once per week' and 'every two weeks'.

At Amazee, depending on the project size, our teams meet weekly or bi-weekly with the client. Clients are encouraged to talk directly with the team via Slack. We'd like to offer a daily standup with some clients, but haven't figured out how to do this easily as usually a team works on multiple projects at the same time. 

Delivery Practices

Most teams surveyed deliver rolling deployments, pushing code whenever necessary.

Peer reviews / code reviews have been named equally “somewhat in use” as well considered “very important”.

While the majority of agencies considers user testing very important, for automated testing the majority still tends only towards “somewhat in use”.

While a number of agencies have pair programming somewhat in use, Mob programming is mostly unknown.

The majority of teams consider automated deployments / continuous integration very important.

When it comes to story mapping, most agencies are unfamiliar. Those which do implement this tool, however, consider it very important.

At Amazee, peer review for every ticket is a normal part of our development flow. Our developers implement pair programming whenever necessary. This is an excellent practice for sharing knowledge and increasing the team's technical confidence. We are actively exploring story mapping. 

Take our Survey

This initial post is just a taste of the information I have collected, there is a lot more to be shared. Besides the numerical data, I am especially excited about the free-form responses which give valuable insights into the tangible, real-world decisions that are being taken in agencies to define daily agency life.

Before sharing a deeper analysis and the full, anonymous, survey results, I wanted to share this preliminary data to give an idea of what’s coming in. I hope this information is helpful in determining industry alignment or to find inspiration for what to try next.

Our Agile Agency survey will remain open until Sunday, November 5th at midnight UTC -7. After the survey closes, I will tabulate the results and prepare Part 2 of this series where I look forward to sharing my findings.  

Categories: Drupal

PayPal Promotions and Insights

New Drupal Modules - 31 October 2017 - 12:48am

Helps increase sales through the power of PayPal shopping data with targeted promotions

Categories: Drupal

ADCI Solutions: Cloud hosting platforms. Part one: Pantheon

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 11:52pm

The story of your life: you are searching for a hosting because you need to share code between teammates and show an intermediate result to a client. You don’t need too much: an SSH access, Git, and Drush. You also would like to have a simple and convenient administration panel and have isolated environments and technical domains.

 

We know what hostings do have all these features. Let's talk about Pantheon that allows you to start a new Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 project in a few clicks.

 

Observe Pantheon

 

Categories: Drupal

Devs can now peruse the talks and data from Twitch's inaugural Dev Day

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 30 October 2017 - 3:58pm

This month Twitch took a swing at hosting a Developer Day ahead of its annual TwitchCon event, and now the fruits of that labor are available online for curious devs to peruse at their leisure. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dog Might Games Announces Countdown: Action Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 3:00pm
I love a good ’80s action flick. They’re just so over-the-top crazy, you simply have to smile, even if the plots are strange, the clothing odd, and the one-liners could often use some work. Countdown: Action Edition looks to bring everything you love about 80s action movies and put it on your tabletop. There’s a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Museum Rush Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 2:00pm
I always get a rush when I got to a museum. I mean, there’s just so many cool things to see! Granted, some people want to see that stuff, but don’t want to go to the museum. So they decide to take it for themselves. Thankfully, security’s there to keep the priceless objects where they […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Monday Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 1:00pm
Mondays are generally considered pretty rough. You’re ripped from the weekend and tossed back into the work week as far from another weekend as possible. But Wyrd does their best to soften the blow with their regular previews. They’ve decided to give us another look at the upcoming Above the Law book. This time around, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mediacurrent: 7 Ways to Evaluate the Security and Stability of Drupal Contrib Modules

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 12:59pm

Keeping up with Drupal security updates is key to protecting your site, but assessing contrib module security before implementation is just as important. In a new guest post on the Pantheon blog, Mediacurrent Senior Drupal Developers David Younker and Joshua Boltz share a practical guide for sizing up the security of contrib modules.

Try this 7-Step Security Inspection 

To ensure a safe and solid foundation for your Drupal site, consider this 7-point assessment:

1. Has the module maintainer opted in to the security coverage?

Categories: Drupal

Dead Sprint Zombie Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 12:00pm
While just about any time is a good time for zombies, this week is a particularly good one for them. Now, besides a bullet to the brain, the best way to get away from a zombie is to just run. Rule #1: cardio, and all that. Well, in Dead Sprint, you’re looking to get away […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Monday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 11:00am
It’s a frosty, frigid morning here in Atlanta. I know most Southerners think that anything below 60F is “freezing” but it literally was freezing this morning (as evidenced by having to scrape frost off my windshield before driving into the office). So while there might be frost on the pumpkins, it’s still Halloween Eve. And […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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