Finding Hope Amongst the Chaos - by Nicole Barelli Blogs - 5 October 2018 - 7:27am
The discussion analyse The Last of Us and God of War to see how games with dark themes can ultimately provide a story with a message of hope!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Stories Need Endings - by Gregory Pellechi Blogs - 5 October 2018 - 7:27am
Games end. Or at least they used to. Most games be they board games, card games, sports or video games have a point at which they finish. But now we have games that don’t end. So what does that mean for stories in games when they don't end?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Kliuless? Gaming Industry ICYMI #6 - by Kenneth Liu Blogs - 5 October 2018 - 7:25am
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

Why Chinese developers are making high quality ACG mobile games? - by Cheng(Orange) Qi Blogs - 5 October 2018 - 7:23am
In the past year, there have been a number of mobile games made by Chinese developers with very authentic Japanese ACG look and feel that become top grossing games in Japan and South Korea.Why they want to make such games? And why they can do so well?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Apache Solr Relation

New Drupal Modules - 5 October 2018 - 7:13am

Provides indexing of relation entities for the Apache Solr Search module.

Categories: Drupal

Seven (Plus Or Minus Two) Reasons You Should Consider Using Maps in Your Game

Gnome Stew - 5 October 2018 - 5:44am

Image courtesy of Blue Sword Games:

If you’re like most people, you’re capable of effectively keeping track of seven plus or minus two “things” at a time. This phenomenon is sometimes called “the magical number seven plus or minus two.” We can remember and juggle around seven pieces of information—numbers, words, names—and use them without too much effort. Much more than seven, and we start to lose track, dropping details and never quite picking them back up.

These “things” are chunked together in our minds in ways that make them meaningful as a unit to us, so we can remember a “cat” as “that furry thing that keeps knocking my coffee off of the table” (one “unit” of information) rather than as a collection of cat-like traits, with each trait being its own “unit”.

We’re a tool-using species—when we find ourselves reaching the limit of our abilities or our willingness to expend effort, we find ways to offload some of that work to things we make. When we’re sick of lifting things, we use levers. When we want to move farther than it’s convenient to walk, we use wheels. When we need to remember what more than seven things are, we use lists. When we need to remember where more than seven things are, we use maps. When we need to remember what more than seven things are, we use lists. When we need to remember where more than seven things are, we use maps. Share79Tweet1+11Reddit2Email

It’s tempting to think of maps as suitable only for huge set-piece battles and aggressively tactical games that linger over detailed rulings on range and movement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but having a physical representation of characters and objects in space is useful for so much more than just dungeon crawls and skirmish games. So with that in mind, here are seven (plus or minus two) reasons why you may want to inject some more maps into your game.

1. Because your players might “chunk” information differently than you do

I’m really, really bad about getting lost when I go places. Not “loses track of routes after two or three turns” bad at directions, but “ends up in the wrong ZIP code” bad. “Donner Party” bad. While I haven’t yet had to eat any of my passengers, I wouldn’t recommend myself as a partner for a road trip through any place that has bad GPS reception or barbecue restaurants with lax supply standards.

Image courtesy of Joseph Carriker:

For me, even the most basic directions are not a matter of “remember this distinct route,” but a string of relationships that require all of my attention to manage. Directions that would be a single “chunk” of information for many (maybe most) drivers instead require all of my memory to keep straight.

Your players may be having a similar problem when it comes to imagining the situations their characters are in. This isn’t necessarily just the case with battles, either. Relative positioning matters in games for everything from picking pockets to genteel but vicious cocktail parties. For some people, keeping track of where all the moving pieces are while also keeping track of the board they’re moving on is a really difficult task.

Players who are spending all of their mental energy trying to juggle what is going on in the room aren’t concentrating on adding to the game; they’re struggling just to keep up with what’s already there. A map—even a simple one—provides an easy reference for everyone at the table.

2. Because maps don’t need to be a big deal

To expand on the pickpocketing example, a “map” can be something as simple as setting up a handful of coins to represent where the party leader is standing while they distract the guard, where the guard is, and where the party thief is sneaking from to try to snag the key to the cell your bard is being held in after yet another disastrous liaison.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can sketch out a couple of lines to represent the alleyway where all of this is taking place in case the thief wants to take the roof approach. It takes seconds to draw two lines and set down three coins, but it saves time, frustration, and confusion when the dice start rolling.

3. Because it helps clarify the confusing

Your players only have the information you give them, and as anyone who has ever tried to give instructions can tell you, there are a lot of wrong ways to interpret a sentence. For instance, take the statement “there are two goblins in the corner of this room.” The GM could mean to communicate this (goblins in green):

Meanwhile, the players are imagining this:

These are two very different configurations, and the difference between them becomes very important when the party wizard says those three words every GM longs to hear:

“I cast fireball.”

4. Because creating stuff is fun

Tabletop RPGs throw a pretty long shadow—almost any skill you can think of has a place somewhere in it. Tabletop RPGs throw a pretty long shadow—almost any skill you can think of has a place somewhere in it. Share79Tweet1+11Reddit2Email

If you like woodworking, your table is likely to have some pretty neat wooden props. If you’re a writer, your game’s fiction (or your characters’ backstories) are likely to be deeper and richer for it. Even folks who do statistics for fun add to our games in ways that someone without those skills or interests couldn’t.

Maps, like props or probability curves, are a way to bring your creativity and valued skills to the table—it doesn’t take being a cartographer or an artist to add to the game, but more than a few times, making maps for games has awakened an interest in art or cartography.

5. Because it encourages players to engage the details of the environment

There are probably people out there who really enjoy listening to the GM recite lengthy, detailed descriptions of everything in a room from lighting placement to the number and types of pieces of furniture. I have never met any of these people, and I’m not entirely sure I could stay awake in their games.

Practically, there’s a limit to the number of things in the environment that are available for players to remember their characters can interact with (that limit is probably right around seven). But with the details that come with even a simple map, that list expands dramatically, limited only by the detail that the GM or players are willing to add. Tables exist to be flipped over, cupboards are filled with cutlery for hurling, and windows provide curtains for swashbuckling swings. The map provides a concrete reminder of the availability of those things, and prompts players and GMs to use them.

Image courtesy of Blue Sword Games: 6. Because it improves immersion

Theater of the mind is wonderful. I don’t want to downplay it or say that it doesn’t have its place, but not everyone has the creativity or attention necessary to see a masterpiece in every blank canvas. Having details available for players to look at and think about when the GM isn’t directly talking to them invites players to speculate about (and add to) the world that the GM is building, rather than letting their attention wander.

7. Because it encourages the GM and players to add and flesh out detail they may otherwise miss

Drawing boxes for rooms is quick, but boring.  With a few extra seconds, GMs can look at a room and think about details that a verbal description could easily gloss over. Does the room have a door (probably)? What about windows (sure)? A spike-lined pit full of snakes (always)?  With a few extra seconds, GMs can look at a room and think about details that a verbal description could easily gloss over. Does the room have a door (probably)? What about windows (sure)? A spike-lined pit full of snakes (always)? Share79Tweet1+11Reddit2Email

By seeing all the elements of a room at once, the places where more can be added become more apparent. Even better, it encourages players to add their own flourishes to the imaginary space where the game is taking place.

When players ask “is there a campfire?” if you place a coin or a die or even a piece of pocket lint to represent that fire, it becomes a persistent detail that otherwise may not have existed, and that adds to the options players have to interact with the world, improving gameplay and verisimilitude.


7+1: There are a lot of cool maps already out there, many of them free

If you’re into quickly providing lots of detail for your players to engage with in your games, there are a lot of maps already out there, ranging from the expensive but awesome, like map packs/tiles put out by Paizo and Wizards of the Coast, to cheap or free options on Patreon or DeviantArt. If you have access to a printer, you can print out and tape even the free options together to add a “wow factor” to any game. Building up a library of these gives you the option of flexibility when your players go in an unexpected direction, and provides inspiration when you’re brainstorming session ideas.

7+2: There are great tabletop crafting and mapping communities out there

There are large communities of people who make maps for fun, sometimes using specialized software and sometimes using more standard office products. If you find yourself going down a deeper rabbit hole than you expected, there’s a whole world of tabletop crafting out there. Some crafters make entire cities out of foam and paint; others use 3D printing, and at least one designer is making animated maps for display on TV screens. Here are few resources to get you started.

Final Thoughts

Maps aren’t all gridded excuses for arguments about bonus actions and five-foot steps; they can serve a variety of purposes: enriching the game world and providing clarity so that all players are operating with the same set of assumptions being only two. As a player and as a GM, I find that having visual references greatly improves the experience of everyone involved, but I’m interested to hear if your groups have a different perspective. What do you think; do maps have a place at your table?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Domain Site Logo

New Drupal Modules - 5 October 2018 - 3:45am
Categories: Drupal

Droptica: Most common mistakes made by Drupal beginners

Planet Drupal - 5 October 2018 - 3:00am
Drupal is an open-source platform that more than a million of people across the globe find useful for their content management purposes. They choose Drupal because of its flexibility, reliability, and security. However, not all of them know how to use it properly. Find out about the mistakes that Drupal beginners often make. Let’s dive deeper and analyze the examples of developer’s activity that could make Drupal ineffective and see what to do to get better results right away! Bad content structure Without the proper plan in place, your content structure can end up with a messy, incoherent experience for the site visitors. Determining a good structure from the very start increase your website performance. 
Categories: Drupal

CKEditor Excel

New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 8:05pm

Integrates the "Paste From Excel" plugin with CKEditor.

Categories: Drupal

Context Suite

New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 7:54pm

Context Suite

Categories: Drupal

ARREA-Systems: Our business solution runs on Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 4 October 2018 - 7:27pm
Our business solution runs on Drupal 8 Arrea Systems Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:27 The solution is adopted by small businesses and start-ups. We provide paid support, comprehensive cloud solution and management expertise service as well. It is a very good solution for small business that need to organize their back office and data management.
Categories: Drupal

Dcycle: HTTPS on Acquia stage environments with LetsEncrypt, semi-automated

Planet Drupal - 4 October 2018 - 5:00pm

I recently ran into a series of weird issues on my Acquia production environment which I traced back to some code I deployed which depended on my site being served security using HTTPS.

Acquia Staging environments don’t use HTTPS by default and require you to install SSL certificates using a tedious manual process, which in my opinion is outdated, because competitors such as and Pantheon support lots of automation around HTTPS using Let’s Encrypt.

Anyhow, because staging did not have HTTPS, I could not test the code, which ended up costing me an evening debugging an outage on a production environment.

I found a great blog post which explains how to set up Let’s Encrypt on Acquia environments, Installing (FREE) Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates on Acquia, by Chris at Redfin solutions, May 2, 2017. Although the process is very well documented, I made some tweaks:

  • First, I prefer using Docker-based solutions rather than install softward on my computer. So, instead of install certbot on my Mac, I opted to use the Certbot Docker Image, this has two advantages for me: first, I don’t need to install certbot on every machine I use this script on; and second, I don’t need to worry about updating certbot, as the Docker image is updated automatically. Of course, this does require that you install Docker on your machine.
  • Second, I automated everything I could. This result in this gist (a “gist” a basically a single file hosted on Github), a script which you can install locally.
Running the script

When you put the script locally on your computer (I added it to my project code), at, say ./scripts/, and run it:

  • the first time you run it, it will tell you where to put your environment information (in ./acquia-stage-letsencrypt-environments/environment-my-acquia-project-one.source, ./acquia-stage-letsencrypt-environments/environment-my-acquia-project-two.source, etc.), and what to put in those files.
  • the next time you run it, it will automate what it can and tell you exactly what you need to do manually.

I tried this and it works for creating new certs, and should work for renewals as well!

I recently ran into a series of weird issues on my Acquia production environment which I traced back to some code I deployed which depended on my site being served security using HTTPS.

Categories: Drupal

Chart Suite

New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 3:43pm

Chart Suite provides file field formatters to chart file data for tables, trees, and graphs. A variety of well-known textual file formats are supported, including comma-separated values (CSV), tab-separated values (TSV), HTML tables, and JSON tables, trees, and graphs in common array- and object-style schemas.

Categories: Drupal

Role Log

New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 1:27pm

This is a simple module to log Drupal role changes. All role changes for a user (whether made through the admin UI, Drush/Drupal Console, or programmatically) will be logged with "info" severity to the PSR-3 logging interface (aka "watchdog").

Categories: Drupal

Formatter Suite

New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 12:31pm

Formatter Suite provides a rich suite of field formatters to help present numbers, dates, times, text, images, and entity references. The included 17 field formatters compliments those available in core.

Categories: Drupal

Reminder: Tomorrow is your deadline to pitch talks for GDC 2019's Summits!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 October 2018 - 11:00am

Just a quick reminder: All submissions for GDC 2019†™s Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC), GDC Summits, and Game Career Seminar are due tomorrow (Friday, October 5th) at 11:59 pm Pacific! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Acquia Developer Center Blog: Experience Express in Darmstadt: Celebrating Drupal 8's Most Important Release Yet

Planet Drupal - 4 October 2018 - 9:52am

Though there was no DrupalCon Europe this year, the European Drupal community stepped up and organized their own conference, Drupal Europe, in Darmstadt, Germany last month. An incredibly successful gathering held in the Darmstadtium venue, a beautiful convention center in the center of this college town, Drupal Europe demonstrated the unique power that grassroots initiatives can have in our open-source community.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 4 October 2018 - 9:50am

This module is based on jQuery plugin iPicture to create interactive image walkthroughs. It can overlay tooltips and hints on top of the image, and presents rich content like HTML, photos and videos. It is easy to integrate into your site and can be customized and extended with CSS.

Categories: Drupal Drupal 8 Views Plugins (Part 2) : The display extender plugin

Planet Drupal - 4 October 2018 - 8:14am
Let's see how and why to use a views display extender plugin.
Categories: Drupal Views Plugins (Part 1) : Simple area handler plugin

Planet Drupal - 4 October 2018 - 8:14am
In this series I will show you how to make use of the new Drupal 8 Plugin system, we begin with a simple example : the views area handler plugins.
Categories: Drupal


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