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Gamasutra's Best of 2018: The top 10 game developers of the year

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 December 2018 - 5:27am

The achievements we saw from game developers, from indie to triple-A, were incredible. Here are the game developers that left an indelible mark on 2018, and pushed the art of game development forward. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

client render

New Drupal Modules - 27 December 2018 - 2:50am
Categories: Drupal

Words on a Screen: All Good Things

RPGNet - 27 December 2018 - 12:00am
Leaving a game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

OpenSense Labs: Lights, Camera and Action with Drupal

Planet Drupal - 26 December 2018 - 10:21pm
Lights, Camera and Action with Drupal Vasundhra Thu, 12/27/2018 - 11:51

Ah! those days, when copies of movies were sold in the form of DVDs, fast forwarding and rewinding through the scenes made us feel that the power is all in our hands. 

But with the evolution in technology and internet presence  (in terms of marketing a film), the need for a movie website has come a long way after witnessing a growth in streaming services.  


Setting up a movie website means understanding the goals of building it in the very first place. Be it a teaser website, production blog, or a distribution site - depending on the demand of the audience, web development is brought into action.

And nothing does a better task than Drupal. Often preferred by brands that deal with a high volume of traffic, this  CMS platform would offer you effective features and functionalities for your website.

What Does Drupal Offer Your Website With?

Choosing a Content Management System for your website is like choosing the cast for your movie. And Drupal proves to be the CMS which give the best of “all worlds”. It would provide you with an ample number of functionalities and fulfill all your customer's needs. 

Starting from:

Content Authoring 

While you are creating your movie website, there might be instances that would lead you to a situation in which you wish to edit your content or any particular page. It may be a change in the movie title or modification in the synopsis.

Drupal 8 features bring about an unusual power into the hands of content authors. With modules like WYSIWYG CKEditor, drafting and editing content have become a piece of cake.

The use of client-side editors to edit content, installing and integrating choice editor has been made even more simple. It includes HTML editors (i.e WYSIWYG), pseudo-editor (to insert markup into text area) and  flash based applications (for production of animation)

The WYSIWYG module also presents you with an abstraction layer for other Drupal modules to integrate with the editor which implies that Drupal modules can expose content editing functionality, indifferent of what editor has installed.


New Theme Engine

Just like resolutions are important for deciding the quality of a movie, a theme also plays a vital role in your website. When an individual visits your movie website, the very first thing which would attract them would be its theme. An interesting and impressive theme would never backfire when it comes to user experience.

Theme engine combines data with templates from themes and shows the final HTML result to the user  Source: Github

Drupal 8 includes a brand new theming engine called Twig, which is PHP-based, flexible, fast, and secure. It helps in creating a beautiful and functional website that has a much simpler syntax. Offering features like template inheritance, automatic escaping, variable filters, and macros to improve the development workflow. 

Responsive Designs  

According to Statista,  52.4 percent of the global web traffic is originated from mobile devices (making it half of the population) which clearly implies the importance of responsive designs. 

Responsive Designs would improve user experience which would in return portray a positive impression for your movie website. If your fans are able to easily access your website, it would more likely to increase the numbers in terms of traffic and bring out a good number of conversion rates even in the future.

Drupal 8 is mobile first in its approach. All the built-in themes that come with Drupal 8 are responsive, along with an admin theme that adapts to different screen sizes. This would allow different users to access your website at different places on various devices. A module like Breakpoint, which comes with Drupal core, resizes the website and images according to the device.

Nordisk Film Cinema is a great example of this. They wanted a responsive and a visually engaging website with cutting-edge functionalities. This was demanded so that the current and future website users have the power to easily navigate the site regardless of the device they were using. The requirement of the responsive site was also because many visitors use their smartphones to buy tickets on the go. Thus Drupal was the best choice for them. 


Security 

While you are funding for the construction of your movie website, you expect it to be secure and safe from hackers and potential viruses. Drupal has a very good track record when it comes to security, and has recognized process for investigation, verifying and publishing security problems. When it comes to security, Drupal vulnerability statistics clearly depicts security attacks that have considerably reduced over the years.

Source: Etondigital

You can easily enhance the security of your website with help of Drupal security modules like captcha (response test to determine whether a user is a human or not), password policy (enforces restrictions in users passwords), security kit (protects the website from cross-scripting, cross-site requesting, click jagging etc), two-factor authentication (provides extra security with code authentication on mobile) 

Not only this but Drupal design meets all the security standard of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). Hence, Drupal core, being highly secure, builds sites that can be patched within minutes. This lowers the risk of broken features or any error to a minimum.

Migration 

Entertainment Weekly was one of the sites that were stuck managing content across ten different WordPress VIP blogs and a large legacy Vignette site. They needed to incorporate their digital content and implement a rapid publishing solution to lower the time between publishing and going live.

An agency was approached to help migrate content and integrate editorial workflow onto a single Drupal-based solution. Migration of more than 20 years of content was all needed to be considered for the creation of the platform. Drupal was chosen because of the fact that its core consisted of the migrate module that provides API and base implementation for importing up of data. 

Similarly, at any instance of time, you might feel a need to migrate from one site to another, and that is the reason why Drupal is the hero for you. The core migrate module in Drupal 8 provides APIs and base implementation for importing data into Drupal.  


Web Hosting 

It is important to buy a web space to build your movie website in order to get it live and active on the internet. 

This is only possible with the help of web hosting. Drupal 8 provides you with many web hosting options. Which are safe to use and efficiently handles your site traffic.

So, if you want to make a better choice when it comes to web hosting companies, you can choose:

  • Pantheon
  • Liquid Web
  • InMotion
  • Bluehost
  • Site5
  • Pair
  • Omega8.CC
  • Drupion
  • Green Geeks
  • Black Mesh  
Manages Configuration

Configuration Management is an important factor of any CMS platform. In Drupal 8 configuration data is stored in files, separated from the site database, and has configuration management built into it at the file system level. Carrying configuration elements from local development to the server has been made really easy with Drupal 8.

The contributed module in Drupal 8, i.e Config Filter helps in built-in configuration management capabilities by providing an API to support different workflow which filters out or modifies configuration changes as being pushed to the configuration. 
Config Split is an another contributed module in Drupal 8 that builds on top of Config Filter that allows a difference in configuration between various environment.  

Managing configuration would allow you to establish a consistency in terms of performance and also eliminate the time to build out additional resources without worrying about the user prone errors. 

Configuration Management System in Drupal can manage things like:

  • Modules setting and states 
  • Content Types
  • Block Types
  • Permissions
  • Views
  • Theme Settings
Content Architecture 

We have reached a point where the old drupal hymn “create content first and see it later” is not enough to succeed with the content editors. Hence, Drupal is competing and replacing other CMS when it comes to content architecture. Content Editors expect full flexibility on how to create, display, approve and publish content. Modules like panels and panelizer, a distribution like panopoly and demo framework have helped in the modification of panorama in Drupal.  

One of the most important steps of building your movie website is deciding how to structure your content architecture. There are ample numbers of ways in which you can build out complex content type in Drupal 8. Here, every piece of content is an entity that stores different types of content.

Your movie website would have entities like the cast, edition, categories, review, collection and so on.

Drupal modules like views contribute largely to the whole structure of the content architecture. With this Drupal 8 feature firmly integrated with the core, the creation of pages, blocks, admins have been made easy.

Menu module in Drupal core is the static hierarchy of the content. This module allows the administration to customize the websites navigation menu. You can easily add new menus and edit the existing ones. Apart from these two, Entity reference field or link field explicitly allows the addition of link from one content item to another. 

Accessibility 

In addition to providing subtitles in multiple languages for a worldwide audience, understanding the need of closed captions and audio description have broadened the customer base to include hundreds and millions of people worldwide who have hearing loss and vision impairments. 

Making a movie accessible is not only a choice but a legal requirement as well.

Accessibility for the visually impaired community is a really important factor for creating any website. Drupal 8 has excellent support for industry standards like WAI ARAI, and with the help of screen readers and other assistive technology, Drupal is ensuring accessibility at a much bigger level.


Performance 

We all are aware of the three-second rule implemented on a website. Even the smallest change in a website page results in the modification of the traffic noticeably. Hence, speed immensely contributes to the strength and the performance of the website.

Drupal 8 caches all the entities, and helps in the speed and streaming sector to optimize the performance as it is needed. With modules like varnish and redis this task is easily achievable. These modules allow the developers to optimize the site load performance for the end-user significantly.

Drupal 8 core also consists of a module which is the Big Pipe that loads the dynamic pages quickly by loading various section of the webpage in parallel. It is done so that the end users do not have to wait for the Document Object Model (DOM) to be completely ready to start an interaction with the website. Drupal allows the user to tinker with the core. A programmer can twist out a lot of performance boost from a Drupal website. It primarily caters to the enterprise market, hence the websites are well suited and handled with a large volume of data and thousands of pages. It should be noted that a well managed Drupal website rarely goes down or slows down the procedure. 

Multilingual and Multisite Capabilities 

Drupal’s multisite feature allows the user to share a single Drupal installation site core. This is specifically useful for managing the code since each upgrade only needs to be done once. Every site would have its own database and it would also have its own configurational settings. If you have a complex site or a very different site to manage then Drupal multisite is the best option. 

Drupal is also capable of supporting and managing multiple language out-of-the-box. Which means support for the translation of the content as well as for the translation of the back-end user interface of the CMS itself. Having the support of the multilingual website means more audience. With the addition of only four modules in Drupal 8 for language support, all the monolingual and non-english website are easily translated. 


A great example of this would be Turner Broadcasting General Entertainment multi-site which is built on Drupal platform. The site consists of entertainment brands like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CNN etc. Drupal was primarily used because of its multilingual and multi-site capabilities. It successfully built enterprise-level CMS websites, and scaled to a high level of traffic and maintained availability and performance.

Getting Noticed 

Once you have a website, you need to get it noticed so that people will start visiting it. In other words, if the website ranks high it would definitely get noticed. Drupal has some set of modules which does the task pretty well. Modules like Pathauto, Meta tag, Site verification, Path Redirect, and Google Analytics help in creating URL paths and optimize search engines. 

  • Pathauto

Drupal automatically operates and generate path identity for the content without asking the users to specify the path identity. These identities are based on pattern system that uses token with the administrator.

 

  • Path redirect

Drupal allows the user to redirect from one path to another path utilizing HTTP redirect status. This would prevent the user to encounter with error 404 if the path was changed or redirected at some instance. 

 

  • Site verification

Drupal is such a user-friendly domain that it allows them to verify the site and domain ownership for a search engine. There are two types of methods which support verification - the addition of meta tags or uploading a particular file. 

  • Meta Tags

Drupal automatically grants the users with structured metadata or meta tags. These elements help the website with ranking and displaying of the site in the search engine outcomes. 

 

  • Google Analytics

Drupal is one such platform which supports web analysis. It presents the users with class web analytic capability, these capabilities make Google analytics an excellent tool for monitoring SEO results. 

Community 

Drupal community constantly updates and builds modules to expand the platform for compatibility and security reasons. In other words, Drupal is one of those platforms which checks for errors and makes it certain that the site is protected all the time. 

Drupal association has a team that looks after the security of Drupal and its module. Thus, your movie website is surely in good hands as there are people watching it all the time. By providing with several customer support features that are built in the service. Features like:

  • Forum

The user can post a question or a query which is answered by the professionals once it is seen by them.

  • Slack and online chat

The user can chat with the Drupal community which is maintained by them and handled by them.

  • Community documentation

The user can read the online documentation which is written and maintained by the Drupal community. 

  • Books

There is an ample number of user guide and manuals which presents the users with remedies and solutions. 

Case Study 

Cambridge film festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural events in the East Anglia region. Drupal was chosen to build the website. It was selected because it maps the content-rich film data into a CMS that gave them an opportunity to build a powerful film search.


As a key part of the festival’s marketing strategy, the new website was used to raise awareness, increase audiences and attract the world's best filmmakers.

Focusing on the user experience (UX), it was built fully to have a responsive website which can be viewed across all devices. It was also essential to make searching, sharing and booking online via the mobiles and tablets easy.

Although Drupal 8 was still in the process of development during the introduction of this project, the breadth of functionality and flexibility in the core was taken into consideration.

While building the theme for the Cambridge Film Festival, the advantage of the new Twig theming system was also taken. Individual pages were built in a more styled and modular way, the Twig debug mode did a great job of guiding them through the process, making file name suggestions that offered a range of options for theming elements either globally or individually.

The film search utilizes the View module as well. Using Views made the complex relationships easy to set up, and the also advanced caching which meant that even though the view was quite complicated, it loaded very quickly under most circumstances.

Wrapping Up 

Just like every movie has a happy ending ( if not then that's not the ending), bringing your site to a position where the world watches it and appreciates it is what you desire for. And attaining this task is the big climax to the entire scene. 

Thus, to grab those standing ovations working smart is the key. At OpenSense Labs, we actually sense the need of you producing a user-friendly site and thus provide services that contribute highly to your journey of constructing the website. Thereby, call us at hello@opensenselabs.com to build the desired movie website. 

blog banner blog image Drupal Drupal 8 CMS Movies Media Content Authoring Theme Engine Responsive web design Security Content migration Web hosting Content Architecture Web Accessibility Performance Optimisation Multisite Multilingual Site SEO Drupal community Movie Website User experience Film website Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Categories: Drupal

Health Check Url

New Drupal Modules - 26 December 2018 - 8:46pm

Health Check URL module is built to provide an Drupal health endpoint for all type of load balancers, this endpoint URI will say that this Drupal site is up. This URL never be cached.

Health Check URL provides five different formats of response with the combination of string & timestamp which is configurable, the endpoint is configurable which says site is not restricted use the default endpoint /health, it can have custom endpoint, Access on maintenance mode with configuration.

Features

Categories: Drupal

Entity Counter

New Drupal Modules - 26 December 2018 - 7:06pm

This module provides an entity counters based system to store statics.

Sponsors
Categories: Drupal

AutoClick

New Drupal Modules - 26 December 2018 - 6:50pm

This module allows you to trigger link's click action with JavaScript.

Sponsors
Categories: Drupal

Commerce ECPay Invoice

New Drupal Modules - 26 December 2018 - 4:32pm

目前持續在開發中,目前只有完成到立即開立的功能,捐贈發票、自然人憑證、手機載具等等功能都還有待驗證

功能

1. 建立電子發票
2. 與Drupal Commerce整合
3. 與Views做整合
4. 與Rules整合

ToDo

1. 完成捐贈發票、自然人憑證、手機載具等等流程驗證
2. 開立折讓
3. 作廢發票
4. 作廢折讓
5. 查詢發票各項資訊

適用環境

1. Drupal Commerce

Categories: Drupal

fluffy.pro. Drupal Developer's blog: Terraform: conditional operator with list values

Planet Drupal - 26 December 2018 - 1:25pm
It's not possible to use list values in a conditional operator. For example, if you try:resource "aws_elasticsearch_domain" "es_domain" {
...

vpc_options {
...
subnet_ids = [ "${var.es_zone_awareness_enabled ? list("subnet-1", "subnet-2") : list("subnet-1")}" ]
}

...
}
it will fail with "conditional operator cannot be used with list values" message. This is because terraform cannot assert that list's element types are consistent.

Read more »
Categories: Drupal

Gnome Stew Notables – DC

Gnome Stew - 26 December 2018 - 7:49am

About DC, in their own words: I’m a Black queer non-binary game designer from the SF Bay Area in California. I started designing games officially a little over a year ago. Since then, I’ve resolved to better representation for PoC, especially QTPoC in ttrpg spaces. That includes designing games based in my experiences as a QTPoC, facilitating communities, and building/supporting initiatives that assist PoC.

Find DC’s work for sale at dungeoncommandr.itch.io, on Twitter at Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work? What project are you most proud of?

About me? There’s not much to say, I think. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve always been a little weird; the kind of person that doesn’t really fit into a category. In my adult life, I’ve hopped around from job to job, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. A lot of that time has just been soul searching, which games have been a large part of. Most of my earliest memories include feasting on some kind of media. Music, comics, video games, board games, movies, books. I can’t live without good stories, and the languages we use to tell them. The project I’m most proud of is Mutants in the Night, a Forged in the Dark game that has pretty much defined my life as of late. It’s really just about being a marginalized person in the real world, but coded in a way that lets anyone take a seat at the table and experience all sorts of intersections. Mutants are a perfect allegory for marginalization, so I took it and ran to a place that major players like Marvel haven’t. My blackness made this game what it is.

What themes do you like to emphasize in game work?

Intersectionality. No one is just one thing. There’s always context. We’re people existing next to, around, and with, other people. The experiences we have shape us, and the environments we exist in. Someone can be well off financially, mentally, physically, etc, but the people around them and the influences we have on one another still shape what we know, and how we go about being human. Marginalization is the clearest cut of that, and honestly bears the most amount of value when it comes to understanding ourselves. When we draw lines in the sand for who may or may not, it’s that line that has the most to learn from. There’s a perspective there that extends one line to two, and two lines to three, and eventually you’re living in a box, afraid of being close to anything that isn’t you. Is that power, or weakness? Who is trapped and who is free? That’s where my work exists.

How did you get into games? Who did you try to emulate in your career?

I got into games because it’s what my family was into. I caught on quickly. Games are really about language and communication. People play them to, in my experience, talk to each other. Often through the context of what’s being played. When I was drawn into tabletop roleplaying games, I saw another avenue to spend time with my friends, and to be something other than a poor Black kid with no desires in the world but to spend time with people and listen to music. I wasn’t fully successful with escapism, but that’s another story for another time. I don’t try to emulate anyone other than the self that I hope to be. At least consciously. I have an amazing mentor, Avery Alder, and a lot of support from experienced designers and experienced industry folx, but I don’t try to be like any of them. Mostly because what brings me the most internal and external success is being myself, as boldly as I can be. Mutants in the Night isn’t the only game I’ve written, but it’s the only game I’ve put significant time into. Only because it’s the most realistic definition of who I am and what I aim to do in gaming, as me presently.

Do you have any advice for others getting into the industry?

My general advice is to be yourself. That means doing what makes you happy, and living what you love, when you have that choice. Community is wildly important. I have a saying. “It takes a village to be a human being.” Find people to support and who will support you. Not just in your work, but in your life. Whatever kind of work you do in the industry will challenge who you are, in my experience. A solid foundation will keep you rockin. Lastly, learn the skills outside of creating. Capitalist skills. Marketing, contract negotiation, rates and expectations and your value as a creator. Know your worth so no one can take advantage of you. They’ll try, maliciously or not.

What do you think the most important things in gaming are right now?

The stories of individuals. We’ve had “the hero’s journey” redone a million times, and people are bored as fuck. Whichever super niche story you want to tell is ten times more interesting, personal, and important right now. So make it. Other important things, accessible information! We have more now than ever. The bar is fairly low when it comes to figuring out how to start designing. The same designers who make the most popular games and hacks, in both the professional and indie spaces, are responsive and available online. Although there are definitely struggles in finding groups that fit individual safety and comfort needs, the entrance is wide open.

What’s your most meaningful gaming experience?

That’s a tough question! Playing Mutants in the Night is honestly the wildest thing in the world to me. It’s a game that I made, that I absolutely love playing. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy seeing people create their characters and the worlds they exist in, and to me that’s one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had, in or out of gaming.

What’s the most important change you could see occurring in the industry?

Definitely a movement in the better treatment of (QT)PoC. People don’t realize that we spend time using whisper networks, taking care of one another, and trying to keep one another out of horrific situations that the community at large puts us through. We’re largely underpaid, commonly used as a check mark inside of someone’s diversity box, and stuck inside situations where “white allies” are actually abusive and manipulative behind closed doors. We know who these people are, and there are tons of them. But many of these white men own their own businesses, or work for no one. They have large fanbases, a lot of money, and the ability to choose how much “diversity” they want. It’s not about what’s needed as much as what level will keep people buying their product. So the most important change I could see happening would be holding these people accountable. Watching how many (QT)PoC they actually promote, recommend, have on their shows, and put their money behind. The community pats people on the back for doing the bare minimum, because the community isn’t actually comfortable with seeing (QT)PoC succeed more than them. I know that people are going to be super upset hearing that, but go ask Chris Spivey (creator of Harlem Unbound) what kind of things people said to him when his book won awards. Then we can talk. Hold people accountable.

Anything else you want to add?

My goal is to change the world in whatever ways I can. That means being honest, making the best creations I possibly can, and living to better myself. I’m just me, and I can only do so much. But if I’m bold in what I bring to the table, it will remind people of how powerful they can be, if they choose to be.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drudesk: How to import data from a CSV file to Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 26 December 2018 - 5:17am

There is often a need to import and export content to and from your Drupal 8 website. The ability to do that lets you use the power of content in Drupal 8 more fully. One of the most popular content sources is a CSV file. For getting data from it, Drupal 8 has a number of useful contributed modules, and any cases also need customization. Our Drupal team provides smooth CSV import even for the most complex cases.

Categories: Drupal

Field Collection Table - Drupal 8

New Drupal Modules - 25 December 2018 - 9:13pm

Provides a table formatter for the Field Collection module.

This module provides both a field formatter and a widget for the Field Collection entity type.

Categories: Drupal

The Accidental Coder: Drupal 8 Quick Start Guide

Planet Drupal - 25 December 2018 - 7:09pm
Drupal 8 Quick Start Guide ayen Tue, 12/25/2018 - 22:09
Categories: Drupal

Nested Grafs

New Drupal Modules - 25 December 2018 - 5:09pm

This project adds theme suggestions for nested paragraphs.

Categories: Drupal

Grayscale: Turn your entire web page to Grayscale for no apparent reason

New Drupal Modules - 25 December 2018 - 12:51pm

Instantly turn your web site to grayscale! When installed, this module adds some nifty CSS that makes your web site lose its colors, and everything looks as if your screen comes from 1980 or you installed a useless little module.

What is the use case of this module? I honestly don't know.

Categories: Drupal

Commerce Clic

New Drupal Modules - 25 December 2018 - 2:05am

Cryptocurrency Payment Technology (https://www.clictechnology.com) integration for Drupal Commerce.

Categories: Drupal

Countdown Timer

New Drupal Modules - 25 December 2018 - 1:08am
Introduction

Create sales-generating timers for your website with Elfsight Countdown Timer. Heat up the atmosphere and create a feeling of scarcity for your items, showing how they get sold out right before the clients’ eyes. Increase urgency for purchase with time ticking down to the finish of the special offer period. Draw attention to your upcoming events and keep your audience eagerly waiting for the start with countdown timer.

Categories: Drupal

OutVoice

New Drupal Modules - 24 December 2018 - 8:41am

This set of modules connects to the OutVoice API and adds functionality for integrating with OutVoice.

Categories: Drupal

Agiledrop.com Blog: The Story of Agiledrop: Our Training Program

Planet Drupal - 24 December 2018 - 5:50am

We've started a series of blog posts that tell the story of what makes our developers successful when working with other Drupal teams. The second chapter outlines the obstacles we encountered, dealing with one of them in more detail and presenting our solution to it.

READ MORE
Categories: Drupal

Captivating Commoners

Gnome Stew - 24 December 2018 - 5:00am

Many RPGs on the market assert that the PCs are heroic in nature, thus justifying higher stats, more skills, special abilities, better resources, and so on. I have absolutely no problem with this assertion and the resulting “better” characters. However, I feel there are some roleplaying experiences left on the cutting-room floor by always having the characters be the best, brightest, and boldest of their generation.

Instead of each player creating a heroic character fresh from session zero, I propose an experiment. Let’s create some “common folk” and see what happens next. Encounters are going to have to be scaled way down, or the campaign will only survive into round three of the first combat. The challenges and tricks the GM places in front of the party will have to be tweaked for the lower (or lack of) skills and abilities.

What? Play a low-powered character? Why would anyone want to do that? Hold onto those questions and stick with me. I’ve done this a few times (as GM and player) and the stories that come out of “Baub the Torchbearer” saving the “real” hero’s rear at the end of an adventure are wonderful to have in your “No crap, there I was” collection of stories.

Character Stats

There are quite a few point-build games on the market (GURPS and Hero System being the two big ones) that already have things in place for creating commoners or lower-powered characters. Let’s set them aside for the moment. Instead, let’s look at games like D&D/Pathfinder, Cyberpunk 2020, Savage Worlds, and Fate Core where there are some assumptions of heroism baked into the character creation.

For the D&D/Pathfinder style systems, it’s pretty easy to produce a commoner. I would recommend avoiding rolling dice for the base stats, but use a common pool of numbers for all the characters. Something like: 8, 10, 10, 11, 11, and 13 would be a good start. This will produce a lower-powered character, but not an absolute weakling. It’ll also allow one stat to “shine.”

For Savage Worlds and Cyberpunk 2020, there are a certain number of default points given for the base stats. In Savage Worlds, it’s 5 points. Shift that down to 3 points, and you’ll have a useful, yet limited character. For Cyberpunk 2020, it’s as easy as creating an “average” character with 50 points to spend across the 9 stats. I’d even go as far as handing out a paltry 40 or 45 points.

With Fate Core, just modify the skills pyramid to top out at Good (or maybe even Fair) instead of Great. This would lead to one Good, two Fair, and three Average skills, with the rest being Mediocre.

Character Gear

In campaigns that I’ve run along these lines, I’ve handed out minimal cash, some beaten and battered (but not broken) gear, and just enough stuff to the PCs so they can be effective at surviving — not getting ahead, not saving the world — just surviving. Let the players use their ingenuity, imagination, and careful planning to get ahead in the world.

As an example:

 In campaigns that I’ve run along these lines, I’ve handed out minimal cash, some beaten and battered (but not broken) gear. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

In a Cyberpunk 2020 game, I had the players roll three separate d10s for their cash. The first was the number of Eurodollars they had. The second was for “dimes” and the third was for “pennies.” We treated a “0” on the die as zero, not ten. Yeah. You read that right. Not even ten bucks was the potential starting cash. I also had them roll 2d10 for how many bullets they had for their one gun. Ouch. I also went through the “Compendium of Modern Firearms (Edge of the Sword Vol. 1)” and picked out a modern (our modern, not Cyberpunk 2020 modern) handgun and gave them my picks. I also gave them some Kevlar and leather armor, but it was far from pristine. They started in Night City’s Combat Zone… just to turn the screws a little more.

If my example doesn’t sound fun, I want to let you know that this was my longest-running Cyberpunk 2020 campaign ever (a little more than a year in length with weekly games). By the end of the campaign, the PCs (all four players still with their original characters) had managed to wipe out two street gangs, neutralize a third, take over two others, and had a large (but not controlling) ownership in a megacorp. Oh. They also owned several local businesses, no longer lived in the Combat Zone, and were the “people behind the curtain” for a TV station and several radio stations to control the news about their activities.

Pretty cool, eh? All with some pocket change and a handful of bullets for an outdated gun.

Lowering Combat Risks

 I also did my best to shift encounters away from combat early on. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

How did such a lowly group of folks get from having a collective cash total of less than $40 and get all the way up there? Well, that’s a very long story, but it all started with me making sure that the combat risks they faced (especially in a deadly game like Cyberpunk 2020) weren’t super deadly. The PCs had guns. The groups they encountered early on had plenty of melee weapons, but maybe only the leader of the opposing group had a gun. This led to fun and interesting tactics as the players had to decide if they wanted to expend their precious ammo on someone that may not have enough euros on them to offset the cost of the bullet.

I also did my best to shift encounters away from combat early on. This led to more intense dialogue between the PCs and the NPCs as the players would try to get things out of opponents without resorting to fights. This was fun roleplaying all the way through. It also led to many alliances, favors owed, favors collected, enemies, truces, and ample backstabbing in the figurative sense.

The Environment

 Wherever you start the party, just make sure they are the center of the story. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

As I mentioned above, I started the Cyberpunk 2020 game in the Combat Zone. You’ll want to find a similar “lowly” setting for your group to start out in. It can be the city’s slums (or sewers?), in a small village with small problems, or on a rust-bucket of an interplanetary asteroid trawler with a leaky airlock.

Wherever you start the party, just make sure they are the center of the story. If more powerful people care about the same problems as your commoners, then it’ll be natural for the more powerful people to step up and solve the problem. This is a pitfall you want to avoid. Think about the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” The kids are the center of the action, but there are parents around. Why don’t the parents solve the issues or take charge? Because the kids are keeping things secret from the adults and going out to do their own thing. This keeping of secrets is what drives the kids’ stories instead of getting their mojo (it’s also called “agency” in literary terms) stomped on by the more potent characters in the small town.

Treatment by the Heroes

What if there are heroes in the area? Why aren’t they taking charge? What if they are aware of the issues the PCs are trying to overcome? Maybe the issue is beneath the care of the heroes in the area. Perhaps the heroes are too strapped, too busy, too missing, or too oblivious to take care of this. This is when the PCs step up and prove themselves as more heroic than the heroes.

When the party becomes noticed by the heroes, maybe there’s a reward or offering of employment from the heroes. A little something to give a boost to the party. Or… if you’re feeling especially nasty (and this is the style/theme of your game), the current heroes could be threatened by the party and try to put them down or squelch their influence.

Becoming the Hero

 Eventually, the party will rise in power, ability, scope, and renown. Share1Tweet1+11Reddit1Email

Eventually (as illustrated above in my Cyberpunk 2020 example), the party will rise in power, ability, scope, and renown. This will allow them to become the heroes and guide themselves and their allies into greater and better deeds. Perhaps there can even be spin-off campaigns where a new set of commoners under the old party can be created to rise to the top alongside (or to replace?) the old party.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on playing a member of the “common folk” portion of society? Have you done this? How did things go for you and your gaming group?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

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