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Firefly: Smugglers Guide to the Rim

New RPG Product Reviews - 26 February 2015 - 6:32am
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
Rating: 5
There's a lot here: new rules, new places to visit and two complete adventures to play. Primarily aimed at game masters, there is a wealth of material to enhance an existing campaign or spark off a new one. It's all presented in the casual conversational style that has characterised all releases in the Firefly line, jarring for some but somehow fitting to the style of the original show.

The rules stuff is mostly to do with Reputation. What are you known for? And how well are you regarded? There's plenty of detail about how to get a good Reputation... and how easy it is to lose it. Note that Reputation only affects how NPCs view you, fellow player-characters are free to make up their own minds, no matter what the numbers say. The four 'factions' found in the 'Verse are also introduced: Alliance, Browncoats, Corporations and Criminals. Each one is a collection of assumptions (right or wrong) about the folk lumped into that category, and most people do not actually view themselves as belonging to one anyway. It mostly serves as a mechanic for determining how NPCs will react, but there is a lot of detail here to help you get a feel for how different groups think and feel. Some of it's useful, some of it may come over as rather too mechanical - but it can serve a use, perhaps as a 'rule of thumb' for determining reactions or even bringing out just how polarised society can be in the wake of a civil war. As examples, the Reputations of the characters from the show are analysed in detail. You can do the same for your own characters (or if you've chosen to play the show ones, well, it's done for you!).

There are also twelve new archetypes for those looking for new characters to play. They are grouped by faction, which may influence your choice. The notes take you through the steps from archetype outline to full-blown character, and then each one gets a full page including basic statistics, a run-down on what makes them tick and even a portrait. There are a lot of new Distinctions to choose from as well, and it is even possible to retrofit existing characters if you want. The process of adding Reputation to them is also covered here. If that wasn't enough, there are also a whole bunch more of Signature Assets that you might wish to have.

Once characters are dealt with, there's a similarly copious array of material for your ship. Different classes of vessel, history, signature assets, distinctions and customisation options - everything you need to make your ship a whole lot more than a means of transportation. There are some ready-made examples too.

Next comes the Good Shepherd's Run, a route through ten planets which are all described in sufficient detail to make a visit interesting. Notable people, what the different factions are doing, places to go... even ideas for adventures to be had there. A wealth of snippets of information to make each location come to life in your game.

This extensive section is followed by two complete adventures, All in the Family and Circling the Wagons. These are laid out in the pattern established by earlier published adventures, and both give plenty of scope for profit and trouble... or maybe that ought to be the other way around. The stakes are high. They are beautifully detailed and easy to run, although you have to edit a bit on the fly if your players have their own characters rather than the ones from the show (mine always want their own characters!). Resources are provided to help you deal with characters who do something other than the intended, seamlessly and without derailing the entire plotline. Nicely done.

There are several Appendices, including a whole lot more Chinese, some rules FAQ (and answers), maps and charts, colourful phrases typical of the various sorts of folk you might encounter, summaries of personal and ship Distinctions and a regular army of NPCs all ready to use (complete with complete character sheets).

There's a wealth of stuff here that will enhance your game - who could want more than that?"
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Apachesolr purge content(s)

New Drupal Modules - 26 February 2015 - 4:58am

This module allows an interface to remove the apachesolr indexed content(s)/
document(s) of selected bundle. Administrator/Developer can delete the
particular entity id(s)

Why This
Developer can use this module as an example to remove the apachesolr indexed

Categories: Drupal

more onion - devblog: Howto: Uninstall a field-based module.

Planet Drupal - 26 February 2015 - 3:27am

Usually when you try to uninstall a field-based module you're confronted with the following error message:

[module] is a required module and can't be disabled. Reason: Field type(s) in use - see Field list

In this blogpost I'm showing you how to uninstall such a module anyway (deleting all the stored data).

Categories: Drupal

ERPAL: These 3 questions help you to ensure satisfactory project results

Planet Drupal - 26 February 2015 - 1:51am

When you start a new project, you want your client to be happy with your solution because then you’ll get paid for what you’ve delivered. But what if your customer isn’t happy with your project results? Most likely, you won’t get paid the full amount of your order. The project setup with all the necessary agreements is one of the most critical parts of a project, and it influences the overall project's results. The good thing is that it’s not as hard as it seems to draft solid project agreements. When we at Bright Solutions start a new project, we always consider the following three questions. This provides a good basis for a robust project process that will deliver results and, ultimately, make clients happy.

1) What should you deliver and when?

This question is essential and the most important one, so I’ll devote a few words to it. Spend as much time as needed to clarify all your client’s detailed requirements and have him commit to them. This detailed agreement should already be part of your quote. Don't just talk vaguely about requirements; use mind maps, mock-ups and user stories – they’re good tools for requirements engineering. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and failed projects. I’ll give you a short example:
"We need a registration process" is a requirement, in fact. You could agree on this – but you really should elaborate the particulars to reduce the risk of change requests down the road. "We need a registration process that allows a user to enter his/her company and user name in a single-line text field and with a button to sign in via Facebook" is a much more detailed requirement! Any old process by which a user can register would fulfill the first requirement, but this may not be what your customer expects. Next, always clarify the type of contract that underlies your business relationship. There are really only two kinds:

  • Time and material: You’ll be hired for your skills and paid by the working hour, regardless of the result. Freelancers mostly work on this basis in project teams.
  • Contract for work and labor: With this sort of contract you get paid only for the results, no matter how long you spend on delivering it.

Be conscientious and don't confuse these two contract types. Take care of the details during the engineering of requirements and write them all down.

2) Who is responsible for what?

Clarify your role in the project and what kind of responsibility you’re assuming in this role. Are you a project manager, responsible for the project’s success? Are you a developer who just does the work you’re assigned? Or, are you an architect who transforms requirements into the software architecture that the developers need to do their part? This should be defined at the start of every undertaking to avoid misunderstandings during the project.

3) When will I get paid?

Last but not least you should clarify when you’ll get paid. There are several options and it should be clear which one applies. Your client won’t be happy if you just send an invoice whenever you want: you should invoice according to your agreement. This could take one of the following forms:

  • After the project is completely finished and successful (this payment modality is mostly for work-and-labor contracts)
  • At the end of a specific time period (week, month, year), based on the hours you spent on a project (mostly for time-and-material contracts)
  • After delivering pre-defined milestones


Add your payment modality to your quote to ensure that both you and your client agree on the same facts.

There’s a lot of project-related jargon floating around these days, like "agile", "fixed price", "waterfall" and "T&M". Ask 10 different people and you’ll get 11 different opinions on how these terms might apply to your projects! But my advice is: when it comes to negotiations with your client or contractor, simply focus on clarifying these three crucial questions and you’ll lay a strong foundation for your business relationship. Don’t be misled by buzzwords if you don't know exactly what they mean for you.

In upcoming blog posts I’ll share some additional information about successful project setup, management and controlling.

Business administration systems such as ERPAL for Service Providers and ERPAL Platform can help you control these agreements and automate the work of administration.

Categories: Drupal

Isovera Ideas & Insights: Tips for Success for Enterprise-level Drupal Projects

Planet Drupal - 26 February 2015 - 12:38am
I imagine Isovera isn’t the only Drupal shop noticing a gradual but unmistakable shift toward more “enterprise-level” projects. It’s a welcome trend, of course, and one that’ll only intensify as the adoption of Drupal 8 starts in earnest. But it also brings with it some unwelcome growing pains, not least of which is the discovery that many of the management tools that work perfectly fine for small- to medium-sized teams can start to break down when projects get bigger.
Categories: Drupal frontpage posts: DrupalCamp Johannesburg 2015

Planet Drupal - 26 February 2015 - 12:09am
Start:  2015-03-28 09:00 - 15:00 Africa/Johannesburg Drupalcamp or Regional Summit Organizers:  Riaan Burger Renate Ehlers mckeen_greg robin.prieschl DunnLofts dubois Jason Lewis

DrupalCamp Johannesburg 2015 will be held on Saturday the 28th of March 2015, from 09:00 until 15:00 at:

Business Connexion

Block Q
Business Connexion Park North
789 16th Road

Just off New Road, Midrand

Google Map

Attendance to DrupalCamp Johannesburg is free; Let us know you are going to be there on


Please consider sponsoring DrupalCamp Johannesburg 2015, we have very affordable options available:

Gold Sponsors: R 6 000
  • Logo on a Stage Banner.
  • Logo on a large Shark Fin.
  • 6 Vinyl (back-of-laptop) Gold Sponsor Stickers.
  • Noted, always, on website as a Gold Sponsor.
Silver Sponsors: R 3 000
  • Logo on a Stage Banner.
  • Logo on a medium Shark Fin.
  • 4 Vinyl (back-of-laptop) Silver Sponsor Stickers.
  • Noted, always, on website as a Silver Sponsor.
Individual Sponsors: R 150
  • 2 Vinyl (back-of-laptop) Individual Sponsor Stickers.
  • Noted, always, on website as an Individual Sponsor.

Because we have printed material to prepare, the deadline for confirming that you will be a sponsor and for receiving your creative (logo for landscape, ISO216) is noon the 5th of March. It's urgent to contact as soon as possible to arrange sponsorship. The deadlines are tight and it may be tough to handle a heavier load of work close to the deadline.

DASA Board

DASA Governing Board Members agreed, when we formed DASA, to always stand aside if limited sponsorship options are available and the community wishes to sponsor an event. We have only five Gold and five Silver sponsorship spots open. If the community sponsors those and board members already also booked sponsorship, the board members' sponsorship will be downgraded to the first available lower level sponsorship.

Categories: Drupal

Bits and Bobs: PTA3, Dungeonomics, Loops and more

Gnome Stew - 26 February 2015 - 12:01am

First, a bit of sad news. A great tool for visiting lots of RPG blogs has announced that the RPG Blog Alliance network is ending at the end of April. The RPGBA homepage is a great place to discover new blogs. If you’re looking to add more roleplaying blogs to your RSS feed, swing by while the great content is still easily available.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to game worlds (particularly D&D derived worlds) when you apply real world economic theories, you’ll love Emily Dresner’s column (newly relocating to Critical Hits) called Dungeonomics! It’s a fascinating source of complexity… though, for that very reason, I’d be reluctant to apply the principles to my own games. For a classic post, How the Identify Spell Destroys the World is a great example–and, dire though it is, it’s less devastating to high fantasy assumptions than many of her other articles. Sometimes a brilliant, totally unique plot emerges from following these lines of thought… like the great Modron March in Fiat Magic Reagents, the God of the Market, and Modrons. I could see the march ending or transforming a long running campaign.

The Third Edition of Primetime Adventures books has reached DED headquarters. Once the backers get their books, I’m looking forward to getting this great game back on the shelves. If you missed the kickstarter, let your friendly local gamestore know that you’d appreciate it if they kept an eye out for it. (Sophie’s suggestion, to use Hillfolk as prebuilt series pitches is intriguing… I may need to thumb through Hillfolk again.

If you like organizing your game books and accessories, particularly for travel, check out Rob Donoghue’s recent find.

I found Chris Chinn’s recent Loops vs. Grind theory post provocative. I particularly liked the following:

The difference between a loop and a grind is fun vs. boredom. When a loop is kicking off fast enough, and in the right way, you have a great reward loop.

I know that there are a number of games I’ve run, and a few more that I’ve played, where it was fun… but not fun enough to be excited when the next session rolls around. Paying attention to rewards and making sure that they’re frequent enough to keep players engaged–seems well worth keeping in mind. Read the post–it’s not particularly long, and might encourage you to accelerate your next game.

I’ve enjoyed the Kingdom one-shots that I’ve played–enjoyed them enough to run another in April. I’m also a big fan of Katherine Kurtz’s Deyrni books. She just released the last book of her Childe Morgan trilogy… and that prompted a reread. While there’s a FUDGE version of her world, I’d be very interested in trying to use Gwynedd as a setting for Kingdom. Unfortunately, I suspect it’d take a table of fans to really unlock the awesome. Still, I wouldn’t mind trying out a strongly medieval inspired short Kingdom series, with the magic/bend negotiated at the table instead of relying on twenty five years of cool books. It’s nice if you’re a long time fan, but 15 novels of research is probably too much.

While game designer contest season seems to be drawing to an end, Wizard’s open call for Adventurer Designers still has a few days left.

The world of roleplaying is a lot wider than I can keep up with. Share cool finds with us in comments!

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tales from the Rocket House: The Virtue of Rarity (or, 30d10 What?)

RPGNet - 26 February 2015 - 12:00am
Is the rarity of classic paladins a feature?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Red vs. Blue: Which Team Should You Choose? - by Jamie Madigan Blogs - 25 February 2015 - 11:10pm
Has anyone ever done research on whether playing on the red team or the blue blue gives one a mental edge in games? Yep.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Lay of the Land: A Critical Look at Dark Souls 2's DLC, Part 1 - by Ario Barzan Blogs - 25 February 2015 - 11:10pm
Dark Souls 2's DLC was a chance for the developers to hone their craft. Despite some novel ideas, though, the DLC was mostly characterized by tedium and absurdities. This is the first of three articles, each emphasizing environment and encounter design.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Make the kinds of games you can be proud of - by Phil Maxey Blogs - 25 February 2015 - 11:10pm
There are lots of choices we make as indie game developers that have lasting effects on our careers, from the platforms to the tools to the game genres we choose to spend time on. This post is about some of those choices.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What is the Purpose of Game Development? - by Elizabeth Boylan Blogs - 25 February 2015 - 11:10pm
'Know them for their fruits.' This has been my guiding principle in judging what is worth doing and not doing. As an artist and a mom, I have fallen in love with the opportunity of indie game development, yet 5 years later I witness too many kids
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Midwestern Mac, LLC: Introducing the Dramble - Raspberry Pi 2 cluster running Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 25 February 2015 - 10:08pm

Version 0.9.3 of the Dramble—running Drupal 8 on 6 Raspberry Pis

I've been tinkering with computers since I was a kid, but in the past ten or so years, mainstream computing has become more and more locked down, enclosed, lightweight, and, well, polished. I even wrote a blog post about how, nowadays, most computers are amazing. Long gone are the days when I had to worry about line voltage, IRQ settings, diagnosing bad capacitors, and replacing 40-pin cables that went bad!

But I'm always tempted back into my earlier years of more hardware-oriented hacking when I pull out one of my Raspberry Pi B+/A+ or Arduino Unos. These devices are as raw of modern computers as you can get—requiring you to actual touch the silicone chips and pins to be able to even use the devices. I've been building a temperature monitoring network that's based around a Node.js/Express app using Pis and Arduinos placed around my house. I've also been working a lot lately on a project that incorporates three of my current favorite technologies: The Raspberry Pi 2 model B (just announced earlier this month), Ansible, and Drupal!

In short, I'm building a cluster of Raspberry Pis, and designating it a 'Dramble'—a 'bramble' of Raspberry Pis running Drupal 8.

Categories: Drupal

Out & About On The Third Rock: Drupal Camp Tunis 2015 – Call to Action

Planet Drupal - 25 February 2015 - 4:27pm
Speaking to Willie Seabrook took me back to 2011-2012 when a few of us were trying to get Drupalists in Pakistan to morph into a local community, connect with the regional and global Drupal community and reap the benefits that come from the wisdom of the crowd. Willie is doing for Tunisian Drupal community what I […]
Categories: Drupal

Darren Mothersele: The Drupal Site Builder Manifesto

Planet Drupal - 25 February 2015 - 4:00pm

I wanted to get some clarity on what I mean by the term "site builder". In a general sense, it refers to the actual process of building a website, but in Drupal the term Site Builder tends to have a specific meaning. I realised that my definition may vary from others so I wanted to be precise about what I think it means, and what I think it means to be a Drupal Site Builder.

I am a developer. I studied programming languages in depth. I did research into the semantic analysis of object oriented languages. But, when it comes to Drupal, I love to be a Site Builder.

I run a Creative Coding Meetup in London. At last night's meeting I was explaining Friday's Drupal Camp training to someone. I am clear about the aims and objectives of the training, I know my material, and I've given similar trainings many times before, but, the fact I labelled it an "intermediate" and "site builder" training causes some confusion.

First of all, I realised that using the word "intermediate" doesn't really mean anything. Drupal developers (or anyone building Drupal sites) of all skill levels have benefited from this training. So, perhaps what I mean by "intermediate" is actually "not beginner". As all I am really saying is that I'm not covering the very basics of getting Drupal up and running.

The term "site builder" is more problematic, possibly because my definition of a Drupal Site Builder may be wider than what most people expect. I thought about this a lot, and what I came up with was a clear set of statements of what I think it means to be a Drupal Site Builder...

The Drupal Site Builder Manifesto

As Drupal Site Builders...

We work in a multi-disciplinary role.

We take initiative, and play a central role in the web development process.

We are usually the ones to take ownership of the final product.

We don't just “click and configure” websites. We have knowledge of all the areas involved in building a Drupal website.

We work with the rest of the team to ensure everyone is doing what they do best and contributing to the project in a meaningful way.

We may not all be trained developers, but we do appreciate how to think like a developer. We apply software development principles and Drupal best practises when creating Drupal configuation.

We may not all know how to write optimal PHP code, but we know when to build something using Drupal core or contributed modules, and when we need a custom plugin or custom module creating.

We may not all be able to produce the most stunning web designs, but because we understand how Drupal works we will work with designers to ensure their designs are consistent and well structured.

We may not all know all the latest front-end tricks, but when given well build front-end code we know how to get Drupal to generate the appropriate markup.

Most importantly, we know how to get the best results out of Drupal's building blocks, we know how to turn good designs and ideas into great websites, and we know how to build websites in a methodical, flexible, and maintainable way.

Categories: Drupal

Urban Insight: How Do You Collect Comments on a PDF on the Web?

Planet Drupal - 25 February 2015 - 2:53pm

How do you collect public comments on a web-based PDF? It should be simple. But it isn’t.

Categories: Drupal

Link to self text field formatter

New Drupal Modules - 25 February 2015 - 2:13pm

Field formatter which renders text as a link pointing to its own entity. Useful when rendering a text field as part of a view.

Categories: Drupal

JSON Fieldset

New Drupal Modules - 25 February 2015 - 1:41pm

Attach fieldgroups to an entity without creating tables for those fields, and store the data as a json string as if it was a textfield.

One of the more complex user interface issues yet to be solved is to provide groups of fields to the content manager while maintaining a sound data model. These groups of fields would generally be described as meta data for the content object being curated, and do not serve any purpose outside of the context of its parent object.

Categories: Drupal

Don't Miss: Treating 'Old Grumpy Designer' Syndrome

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 25 February 2015 - 12:47pm

In this classic feature, design consultant Alexandre Mandryka examines what happens when game designers have no clear career path, and there's no culture in the studio that helps nurture them. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Virtual patient: Avatar shows emotions as he talks to med students

Virtual Reality - Science Daily - 25 February 2015 - 12:16pm
The avatars in the Virtual Patient Project give medical students life-like practice in interviewing patients, delving into health histories and narrowing possible diagnoses. These avatars were created to not just talk to students, but to show emotions in their facial expressions.
Categories: Virtual Reality
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