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Gnome Stew Notables – Laura Simpson

Gnome Stew - 20 June 2018 - 6:18am

 

Welcome to the next installment of our Gnome Spotlight: Notables series. The notables series is a look at game developers in the gaming industry doing good work. The series will focus on female game creators and game creators of color primarily, and each entry will be a short bio and interview. We’ve currently got a group of authors and guest authors interviewing game creators and hope to bring you many more entries in the series as it continues on. If you’ve got a suggestion for someone we should be doing a notables article on, send us a note at headgnome@gnomestew.com. – Head Gnome John

Meet Laura

Laura Simpson is both a game and user experience designer, who designs compelling and creative games. In 2017 she concluded a successful Kickstarter supporting Companions’ Tale, a storytelling and mapmaking game that builds up the mythos of a hero from the perspectives of the people and world around them. She also authored the nanogame “Driving to Reunion” for the #Feminism anthology. Laura co-created and shares the Sweet Potato Press imprint with Dev Purkayastha. Sweet Potato Press, as described on its website, creates games that “tell surprising, memorable stories from a variety of perspectives.”

Her works include: Companions’ Tale, “Driving to Reunion”

Talking With Laura

Note: This is an abridged version of the full interview. Some questions were added after the fact to divide the interview up more and promote readability.

Question 1: Could you start off by telling me a little bit about yourself and how you got into game design?

I’m Laura Simpson. I’m a game designer, and also a user experience designer. That combination really informs how I approach game design and they just kind of inform each other. I’ve been a gamer most of my life. I would say that, I was that kid running around saying, let’s play pretend. I got an Atari when I was five, and every new generation up until—when my parents wouldn’t buy them for me anymore, then I’d buy them for myself. And I would make up games. I was really interested in games and technology, so I played a lot of various online based games, like stuff in Prodigy (an online service that predates the Internet in the 90s), like Mad Maze, a RPG on Prodigy. I was really excited about what type of emergent narrative you could get out of those sort of games. I played a lot of MUDs and MUSHs in the mid to late ’90s. Instead of hanging out and having fun in the outside world, it was like, I’m going to have some fun on the internet with these randos.

Question 2: So how do you think that influenced your game design now?

I think that the way that a lot of those MUDs and MUSHs were structured was a big influence for me. It made me really think about how to make it fun for everyone. Sometimes you’d just be sitting in a room by yourself, essentially, and then someone would join, and you had a lot of … A lot of the communities, you had control over your own narrative, and there was a lot of talk about, what does it mean when someone tries to force a narrative onto you?

I got really used to the idea of autonomy. I would put the effort into introducing myself. My first experience with Vampire Masquerade was through a MUSH and thinking really carefully about how I interacted in the world and the environment around me. Even though there wasn’t a ton to really reinforce the environment.

But I think that all of this really kind of informed me, and I had a really strong concept of wanting to play games, wanting to play with other people, wanting to have a good time.

Question 3: What other experiences have influenced you as a gamer and designer?

I went to Smith, a women’s college. I was a part of this science fiction and fantasy society, even though the organization wasn’t explicitly about gaming, I attended during a time when there were many members who wanted to game.

And that was a huge deal to me. One of my first GMs was a woman. I eventually GMed some games myself, and we were really encouraging, even when it went badly, we were really encouraging.

There was just a lot of room to be interested in gaming, to read game books, and just to be an ecstatic fan.

I think that the timing of being there really meant a lot for me in terms of growing into gaming, being able to have access to people who were interested in it, passionate about it. There was one particular [first year] woman in my senior year who was like, “I’ve ran games for all my friends throughout my high school years.” And we had this incredible game of Big Eyes, Small Mouth. She really introduced a lot of structure in the thematic arcs, and all the women in the game, we all got to be mighty, big heroes. It felt great.

In this close-knit community, there was an opportunity to explore. We were all between 18-22 and we were trying to figure ourselves out. It was a fruitful time to explore different social dynamics and expression. You’re growing so much during that time, and you’re also trying to figure out what it means to navigate a game, and a game table.

It was an opportunity to be really flexible about what kind of gaming that you do.

Question 4: So how did you move, then, from playing and all these games to designing and making your own?

After college, I had a gap when I wasn’t playing with other people in-person. I was mostly doing online gaming. World of Warcraft had come out, so I was playing that, as well as other RPGs, like various Final Fantasies. I moved to Florida to complete a second bachelors in fine art. In my senior year I discovered a passion for new media and electronic art. I took a game design class, but I did not do a game design for my thesis.

Also around that time, I met some indie gamers in New York. It was totally different from what I was doing before. I was playing really small, intimate games where I was actually sitting at the table with the person who might have written the game.

With all those things on my periphery, I realized I wanted to stay in the know of what’s going on with tabletop roleplaying games. I started thinking: what else can I do? What do I feel comfortable doing? What kind of topics do I want to take on?

I started reading a lot more, and socializing with all these indie game designers. They had different ideas for games that astounded me. It felt similar to the design process involved in a strong community of practice.

The community also reminded me of art. There’s a lot of exploration and sharing concepts you want people to engage with. There’s an adage in both design school and art school: in design, you’re solving problems, whereas in art, you’re creating them. Then, in gaming, you’re doing both. You’re engaging people and creating the situation for them to think about and react to. The players have to come up with ways to comprehend what’s going on and contextualize it, because everyone has different experiences. I find that exciting.

Then I got into user experience design, which developed into a design practice where I can think about each aspect of the experience I want someone to have, such as the table atmosphere or the type of play I want to see or encourage.

The experience expands beyond the game’s genre or the type of play taking place. It includes safety concerns and the questions I want someone to think about at the table. For example, what does it mean to have an unreliable narrator, and accept their humanity? In Companions’ Tale—it’s all about questioning what exactly makes a hero a hero, and humanizing this person. It is also about understanding that there’s not a single ownership of the truth, and expanding the meanings of archetypes.

Question 5: Do you want to explain a little bit about what Companions’ Tale is?

I describe it as a map making story game that tells the hero’s journey through the perspective of the hero’s companions.

The hero is not a playable character, nor are they represented by any type of face card. The hero is not necessarily like the heroes in Hollywood blockbusters; they are a person who has done some acts others consider heroic.

In this game players are not only telling the story about this person who’s a hero, they’re telling these stories about the companions, the people who occupy all these different roles that are important to this hero’s life. In the course of play, each player has a lot of autonomy over who the companions are, how they see themselves, and how they see the hero. Each person has their individual spotlight and moment to share their truth and importance. No one says, “No, the hero really wouldn’t have done that.” It’s really important to allow someone to say, “I am the mentor of the hero,” and they tell a story about [their time] with the hero.

The only thing that the players do not have is power over their face. I commissioned a set of 20 cards that all have different faces, different ages, different backgrounds. They’re all different potential faces of the companions. Any of those faces can be any of those companions.

Question 6: Why is that?

At first, I had the cards face up, giving players a limited choice. Then, during an early playtest with an alpha of the game, a player drew the lover card and looked at the faces. They chose a young light-skinned woman who looked very feminine and said, “Oh, this looks like the lover.” So I asked them what they meant by that. I don’t want to reinforce these sort of ideas. I want people to actually challenge themselves.

I decided in this one moment, that the companion’s face is not something players are going to choose, because every single one of these face cards could be someone’s lover. There’s not a limit on who you can be in love with. And the same thing for any of these other roles.

Question 7: Do you enjoy playtesting?

Playtesting makes me super happy because you have an opportunity to put together something and see what happens. I love it when players point out something that’s not working, because it’s an opportunity. It lets me take that mechanic, that rule set, or the way I laid something out, and make it better. That’s really important.

Question 8: So what is your advice for play testing, then? What advice would you give someone who wants to be better at play testing?

As a user experience designer, I design software. One part of being a user experience designer is writing scripts for when doing usability tests with software. The idea behind scripts is that they take away the pressure of having to remember what to say.

When you’re playtesting, think about the things you want to test, what makes sense to test within the timeframe you have, and how you want feedback. Some people want to give feedback as it goes. Other people want to get to a certain point, and then get feedback.

Experiences will vary. If you’re unsure the first time you playtest, tweak your process a little and try again. You don’t have to have one single way of testing.

Don’t be afraid to change your plan if it’s not working or stop people mid-game. If you’re doing a playtest, you want people to have fun, but you’re really there to gather information so that your full game is fun.

I tend to say, “Okay, so I’d like to do this type of scenario,” and I set it up. I’m not there to GM; I’m testing whether specific mechanics, the ordering, and game works. I think people get caught up this idea that they’re playing a game for recreational purposes, but during a playtest, the focus is really about testing. Players will understand.

Question 9: Where you think gaming in general is going, and where do you hope it goes?

I think that gaming is becoming more inclusive. At first, when I went to conventions, I would sometimes feel a little sad and lonely. Now I meet all of these wildly different people who are really excited and passionate. It’s way broader than I ever thought it’d be.

There’s also so much room for making different types of games. I love that there’s so many different types of games and creators. I think that that variety is going to continue growing and improve even more. The resources are out there.

Kickstarter is also, in many ways, creating more equal, even ground. It’s not perfect, but it allows people to take a concept and reach people that would otherwise never hear of it.

Gaming is also mainstream. It’s not weird to be gaming. It’s incredible. We’re not so niche anymore. I love that there’s so many different people, and I love meeting people who are interested in playing all kinds of games.

Question 10: All right, I have one last question, unrelated to gaming entirely. What are some books, TV shows, or songs that you think people should check out?

I know it requires a subscription, but you should watch Star Trek Discovery. It’s amazing. I think some people go in expecting Next Generation, but it’s not. The genre has moved on. A lot of other space-oriented entertainment has happened since then. I think it’s completely worth the subscription.

As for reading, look up N. K. Jemisin. You should read all of N. K. Jemisin without exception, no caveats. I adore all of her work. She is incredible. The Dreamblood Duology has such lush and incredible writing, you could smell the air just reading it. So, yes, all of it. I recommend all of her work.

Thanks for joining us for this entry in the notables series.  You can find more in the series here: and please feel free to drop us any suggestions for people we should interview at headgnome@gnomestew.com.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Announces Launch Date for Next Star Wars: Destiny Release

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 June 2018 - 6:00am
When a new release is announced, everyone wants to know, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure… but when can I get it?” For those that have been waiting for Way of the Force, the next Star Wars: Destiny set to drop, your wait is almost over. It’ll be hitting North American retailers on July 5th, with the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Commerce BTCPay

New Drupal Modules - 20 June 2018 - 4:35am

This module provides a Drupal Commerce 2.x payment plugin for BTCPay Server. This allows you to accept cryptocurrencies without a 3rd party intermediary by becoming your own payment processor. The module BitPay invoice API compatible.

Categories: Drupal

Vardot: Moving from Sharepoint to Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 20 June 2018 - 3:10am
Ahmed Jarrar June 20, 2018

SharePoint is Microsoft’s entry in the crowded Content Management Systems (CMS) market. As a Microsoft product, SharePoint is tightly integrated with Windows and the .NET framework. It has enjoyed considerable success in the intranet world, but as a public-facing enterprise website builder, not so much.

The first part of this post discusses the migration of corporate websites from SharePoint to Drupal 8. The second part addresses the role that SharePoint can play post-migration, in a co-existing relationship between SharePoint and Drupal.

 

Migration Benefits

 

For organizations that currently deploy SharePoint as a CMS over a public-facing enterprise website, migrating to Drupal have the following benefits.

  1. Improved Customizations.
    While SharePoint is bloated with out-of-the-box features, customizing it to satisfy unique enterprise requirements has proven to be difficult. In particular, the customization of the look-and-feel of the website for corporate branding purposes (“theming”) takes considerable effort.

    Drupal, on the other hand, provides a core out-of-the-box framework which you can enhance with the help of its many contributed modules in order to satisfy your specific functional and branding requirements.

 

  1. Cost Effectiveness.

SharePoint has 2 broad-based pricing options: Online and Server. SharePoint Online is the cloud-based version which targets intranet or portal use only. SharePoint Server is the on-premises version for hosting your enterprise website. A SharePoint Server solution requires that you pay software license fees, not just for SharePoint itself, but also for the Microsoft technology stack including Windows Server, SQL Server, as well as Visual Studio which you use for coding.

In contrast, Drupal is open-source with no license fee for the core as well as contributed modules. In addition, Drupal can be deployed on the free and open-source technology stack, highlighted by the Linux operating system and mySQL database. You can also develop PHP-based Drupal solutions using free PHP Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as Eclipse.

 

  1. Fast-to-market Innovation.
    One of Drupal’s competitive advantages over proprietary CMS vendors is its vibrant and diverse user community. The community functions as an excellent brain trust and source of both feature and technology innovation. In addition to regional meetups, social media, and online forums, Drupal marketers and developers alike come together annually in DrupalCon, the main event for product planning, networking, collaboration, and training. To bring innovative features to market quicker, Drupal 8 delivers minor feature releases every six months in addition to the monthly bug fixes.

 

Migration Challenges

 

Drupal’s strength is its flexibility, power, and scalability. The challenges of migrating to Drupal usually revolve around the transfer of existing web assets from the old to the new system. The challenge is exacerbated when the website is big, with thousands or even tens of thousands of pages comprised of various content types, media, and users. More specifically, the migration challenges from SharePoint to Drupal are as follows:

 

  1. The export of HTML-formatted body contents.
    SharePoint allows you to export web pages to CSV or XML files. The problem with the  SharePoint export is that the output body sections are of plain text format: all HTML tags, as well as embedded image and URL links, are stripped. For a website of any meaningful size, manually re-inserting the formatting tags and links is simply not an option.

    The good news is that there is a program solution to extract the SharePoint contents with HTML intact. A programming script can be written to retrieve the body content from each web page via the SharePoint web service API. This requires coding skill but is very much feasible.
     

  2. The retention of SEO page ranking.
    The SEO ranking of existing web pages is a valuable enterprise asset that must be protected in the migration process. Failure to protect SEO assets may likely result in the decrease of internet traffic to the new website. Because the URL structure in Drupal and SharePoint are different, the migration process must include the setup of redirects from old URLs to new URLs, hence protecting their SEO value. Drupal handles redirects very well if the old URLs were migrated properly to Drupal.

 

 

  1. New skill sets required.
    Both SharePoint and Drupal are complex systems that require extensive product knowledge to reap full benefits. Migrating from SharePoint to Drupal entails that a whole new skill set must be acquired for the site-building team. If Drupal expertise is not readily available in-house, external professional help is needed. The challenge then becomes how to select qualified Drupal professionals to make the migration project a success.

    The fact that Drupal is built on the PHP open-source platform can be a double-edged sword. While the absence of license fee is undeniably a positive, the general availability of the technology makes it much harder to differentiate true professionals from mere PHP hackers. In seeking outside help, it is recommended to look for an organization that has full-cycle Drupal implementation experience from planning, design to development.
     

 

Migration Steps

 

The following is a high-level description of the steps needed to migrate your enterprise website from SharePoint to Drupal.

  1. Take inventory of current web content assets.
    Moving to a new CMS offers the organization the perfect opportunity to take stock of their current web contents, filter contents that are outdated or least viewed, and include only those assets that are worth moving to the new website.

  2. Design the structure of the new Drupal website.
    Drupal 8 offers a powerful content modeling and structuring modules and tools, which allows you to build flexible content types, host structured media from various sources, and organize web contents using organization-specific vocabularies. Now that you have taken inventory of your existing web pages, it is time to decide how the contents should be re-structured and re-categorized in the new website.

  3. Write SharePoint web services script to export legacy web pages to XML files.
    Automation is the key to extracting contents from SharePoint while keeping existing formatting information intact.

  4. Prepare Drupal test website.
    Set up Drupal 8 on a test machine, and configure Drupal as designed earlier. In addition, prepare the HTTP redirect module that will map the old SharePoint URLs to the new Drupal URLs.

  5. Import SharePoint XML files into your new Drupal website.
    Drupal 8 has a core module named Migrate which is a framework for importing web contents from another CMS. Migrate provides the underlying API for migrating configuration and content from any source to Drupal. You may need to extend the module to import content types that are not automatically imported. Make sure to import old URLs into their redirect rules to retain SEO page ranking.

  6. Review the new Drupal website and make the adjustment.
    Transferring data from a legacy website to a new website is a complicated and error-prone process. Now is the time to review the results, and make the adjustment to the export and the import scripts to eliminate any errors.

 

Drupal Coexisting with SharePoint

 

Many organizations are deeply entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem, particularly in the areas of document management and collaboration. SharePoint is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office Suite with which internal users are typically well trained. For organizations that have invested heavily in SharePoint in both financial and social capital, simply discarding it for another (albeit more suitable) CMS for their enterprise CMS may be a difficult choice. The good news is that SharePoint can still play an important role in the enterprise’s IT infrastructure post-migration to Drupal.


Organizations can still leverage their prior investment by continuing to deploy its intranet portal using SharePoint. In this way, internal users can still use their existing Office tools and a familiar workflow for internal collaboration, communication, and document management. At the same time, the public-facing enterprise website is powered by Drupal with its broad range of powerful functionalities. By having the two systems working hand-in-hand, the organization reaps the maximum return on investment from SharePoint, while empowering the enterprise website with greater Drupal-based functionalities.

 

The challenges for the coexistence of Drupal and SharePoint are twofold. First, organizations must define a content strategy to avoid duplication of contents and maintenance efforts. Second, content feeds must be established from Drupal to SharePoint and vice versa.


 

 

 

Conclusion

Drupal 8 is a top-notch enterprise site building software platform. Organizations that have outgrown their existing non-Drupal CMS should consider migrating to Drupal 8. Migrating to Drupal 8 has its own unique challenges, including data migration and SEO retention. Vardot is an award-winning Drupal web solutions provider that can help you navigate through the process of migrating to Drupal. For more information, please contact Vardot.

Categories: Drupal

Setting Up a First-Person Character in Unreal Engine 4: Part I: Getting Ready - by Todd Vance

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 20 June 2018 - 2:56am
Reprinted from the author's blog, this is the first of a (at the time of writing) three-part beginners tutorial series on making a character in Unreal Engine 4. A link to Part II sends the reader to the blog to finish the job. More parts may come later!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

OpenSense Labs: Why are Gaming Companies and Communities Opting for Drupal?

Planet Drupal - 20 June 2018 - 2:47am
Why are Gaming Companies and Communities Opting for Drupal? Akshita Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:17 "In a virtual community we can go directly to the place where our favourite subjects are being discussed, then get acquainted with people who share our passions or who use words in a way we find attractive. Your chances of making friends are magnified by orders of magnitude over the old methods of finding a peer group."
- Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community, 1994

Communities are important for the success of any multimedia information systems, today. Gaming is no exception, especially when it has become a part of our new media culture, entertaining people of all ages. The satisfaction of gaming community members can influence the success of a game and it is no secret why highest selling games have the largest communities. 


To keep up the community and the platform with the latest trends, features, and functionalities, it is important that you choose the right technology for your platform. Drupal is an easy choice. But why are gaming communities increasingly opting for Drupal as the platform of their choice? 

“The famous augmented reality game, Pokemon, managed to give an unprecedented swiftness, leading to Nintendo’s stock value increasing dramatically and achieving $470 million in revenue in just 80 days.” The Power Of Gaming: Why Gaming Industry Needs Community?

Not very often will we associate the word community with gaming. And yet, these community platforms are where the games really mature. In terms of engagement and shared values, a common cultural background plays an important role, which can be reflected by the spatiotemporal distribution of the gamers. 

What is a Gaming Community?

The community of gamers can be identified either as a whole or part of video game culture.
It comprises of people who play games and those are interested in watching and reading about it. 

Community support is important for both game development and community building. 

  • User Acquisition: A shared goal, interest provides the reason for being a part of the community. A community is what builds a game, and community is what drives the game beyond its niche success into the blockbuster — shaping the success of ROI for an engaged, excited community is off the charts.

    Intense interactions and strong ties are not only important for online multiplayer games, they enhance the intensity and user experience too.  

    Over 53% of US teenagers play online games with people they know in their offline lives (Pew Research, 2015). Community support allows integration of offline friend circles into online communities.  
     
  • User Retention: Gaming communities form a very crucial part in retaining the users as video games have grown into a subculture since their birth.

    Community services enhance competition within games, which builds up customer loyalty as a consequence. Games and gaming communities are strongly intertwined and experience permanent co-development. 

    Discussions on new features, problems they encounter at playing, advice about gaming strategies via forums is where the retention starts at. 

    The modern games provide direct in-game communication, which is not restricted to a simple message exchange, but also involves further service functionality. 

  • Improves Quality: Gaming communities are a place of intense interaction after all games are about shared experiences, rendered with extraordinarily interaction and ownership.  All successful games have communities. 
    And this where the changes come from. Remember the infamous Tracer butt controversy from 2016? Well, it was after the community chose to put their outrage did the gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment had to pull down the post to show the accurate representation of the values.
Why are Gaming Communities Opting for Drupal?

What does Drupal offer to the gaming communities that they are opting for it? Here is a list of why Drupal is the choice for the community platforms.

  • Decoupled Drupal for Intuitive Game Live UI Experiences

Much like physical sports, video games demand a certain standard of ability where the player can enjoy from the very moment the game is started. Regardless of whether there is an explicit tutorial, players must instantly intuit what to do, what the basic rules are, what is good, what is bad, and how to go about doing the various things that can be accomplished.

The more the realism your game offers to the gamer, the longer they would want to play. 

With the decoupled experience in Drupal, you can create an interactive experience for the gamers by utilizing your site to completely control the useful in-program applications. While the front end can easily be coupled with other technologies such as jQuery, JavaScript, Node.js, and React.js. The backend in turn shifts to become the system of record, but the interaction happens real-time in the browser, back-and-forth. 

The headless site advancement can possibly release the imaginative influence of the diversion with intense gaming experience which is faster, more natural, intuitive and responsive at the gamers’ end. The end result is smoother and faster games played live. 

  • Gameplay based customizations

Games allow players to perceive themselves in alternate ways in their imagined worlds. Player identification – with Avatar and Character – helps build the interest while also improving the gameplay experience and is important to maintain the identity in the possible communities as well. 
 

Avatars in the Leagues of Legend

An example of this could be the website of League of Legends – built on Drupal – which is a team-oriented strategy game where the goal is to work together and bring down the enemy nexus located in the middle of the game. 

Roles offered in the Leagues of Legend

Drupal has tools and services for building user profiles, fostering the creation of virtual sessions, allowing communication with third party serious games, and storing and processing the game analytics. This is important since it helps the gamer take the game more seriously and relate to it on a virtual level.

  • Scalability

Zynga – a leading developer of the world's most popular social games – website is built on Drupal. It claims to have 100 million monthly unique visitors, making it the largest online gaming destination on the web.

Scalability is Drupal’s middle name

Handling high volumes of visitors, content, and users is a tough job. But Drupal does it easily. As it is said, “scalability is Drupal’s middle name”. Some of the busiest sites across the world are built on Drupal. 

It is apt in handling sites that burst with humongous traffic, which means your gaming website can perform spectacularly even on the busiest of the days without breaking or bending. 

  • Multimedia support

Visit the famous StarWars The Old Republic (SWOTR) website and the background has video snippets playing from the game. Multimedia support is not new to the gaming industry. To keep the engagement high, you need to support multimedia features like scorecards, videos, photos, audios among others. 

Drupal is a highly versatile and customizable CMS. It has various modules available to support this need. The photo gallery module, media entity module, and easy to use templates to customize appearance are just a few from the list.   

Not just this the photo gallery module helps you customize images with templates, build you scorecards

  • Mobile Responsiveness

Video games have once again found themselves more widely played and accepted, thanks to the increasing smartphone reach. Add to it one more feature, your game needs to be device responsive too with easy and intuitive controls. 

Drupal 8 is device responsive out-of-the-box. Which means your content adjusts well from the big screen of your desktop to the little screen. Image size changes, menu items shift to drop-downs, other items are pushed around to make sense of content and size of the device. 

But games are not just about the squeezing to a different size thing. They need to offer the same experience as in the native web application without taking away the intuitive design. This can be sorted with the Hammer.js module in Drupal. Hammer.js helps you enhance the user experience by providing cross-browser support and taking away a lot of complexity when implementing touch and pointer gestures. Leveraging it in Drupal is easier than ever due to the Library API of Drupal 8.

  • Adding complex categories and catalogs

Gaming communities are a lot different from what the gaming websites offer. Since each game will have different sub-communities, it becomes a need to build those categories with design and category apt to the theme. 

Drupal provides a powerful taxonomy engine, allowing gaming companies to support intricate designs and complex categories and catalogs, without much ado. The flexibility of adding different types of products and content is ensured by content creation kit (CCK). CCK allows you to add custom fields to any of the content types using a web interface

  • Discussions, Reviews, and News

Communities are all about discussing what is happening or happened. Therefore one of the primary community needs is for a easy content creation with different content types. The more the types, higher the engagement, more the users will interact. Blogs, events, FAQs, news are all important.

Screengrab from League of Legends
  • Quick Search 

Communities are a busy place with a lot of activities happening at the same time. Content that might interest a user can get lost in the myriad of content. In Drupal, Solr is used to get more accuracy within less time. 

Drupal has Solr integrated for a quicker search. Solr is a highly reliable, scalable and fault tolerant search application which provides distributed indexing, replication, and load-balanced querying with a centralized configuration. 

  • E-commerce Solution

Integrating commerce with the website is an old practice and most gaming companies leverage this opportunity to boost their sales. Klei – an Independent game studio – chose Drupal to create a seamless shopping experience for both mobile and desktop users.

According to The Jibe, "Klei needed a site and store that was as easy for them to manage as it was for their customers to buy: easy sorting, featured items, promo-code inputs, simple searching, and clear calls-to-action."

After integrating the online store with Drupal the team can easily add new products and games on the fly while also managing the promotions and highlighting featured items easily.

DrupalCommerce and Commerce Kickstart are two of the most popular solution that Drupal offers. With easy payment gateway integration, your online transactions are secure with Drupal.

Drupal v/s Wordpress 2018 Building a Community website

Building an online community, a network of people with shared interests and goals with target niche audience to be part of it with easy usability and navigation. 

Example: Pinterest Community

Winner: Drupal 8 

Why? For an extensive user management in your community, it would require custom fields, different content types, scalability, varied user roles and permissions among the others - all of which are easy to build in Drupal 8. In case you need a simple to-do community with limited features and functionalities, then maybe Wordpress will work. But then that format would be closer to a blog, anyway.

Building a Gaming Website

These are the sites featuring direct online gaming with single or multiplayer and can include games of any type from the different genre. 

Example: Zynga

Winner: Drupal 8 (Clearly)

Why? While you might think of Drupal as a preconfigured PHP framework, it is vastly more suited to developing an online game than Wordpress is. Drupal is fast, mobile responsive and scalable. It can handle as content as much as you want, as many people as you can think of - without crashing. 

And as far as WordPress is concerned, why would you want to choose a software built from a blogging background to create a game?

Building a Basic Gaming related Website

These are the types devoted to the world and culture of computer gaming. Will includes gaming news, magazines, FAQs, and resources. 

Winner: WordPress

Why? Although Drupal 8 more suited to handle the content, WordPress has a slight edge here. All the types mentioned here are related to publishing. Being a blogging platform (niche) WP can suit the needs better since its out-of-the-box configuration comes closer to your goals. 

Although in case there are varied features added like user login, reviews, managing multimedia content, and discussions then, Drupal is clearly the hero. 

Building a Media-Streaming Website

These are the sites that offer audio/video streaming services, such as podcast, television and film, sports, music, among others.

Example: AXN 

Winner: Drupal 8

Why? Drupal 8 can handle multimedia content much more flexible than WordPress. While WordPress can excellently handle content that's primary text, Drupal 8 makes all types of a media a first-class citizen. 

With clear taxonomy and easier role management, coupled with faster-load time, it won’t bend or break when streaming content live. 

Summing Up

Community platforms have become an easy measure to the success of any game since they serve a combination of purposes varying from technical to human factors. Further community satisfaction measures need to be considered in order to improve the product model and quality in future. 

Drupal mostly serves the needs of the gaming industry, is should be a no-brainer when opting for it. Drop a mail at hello@opensenselabs.com to connect with us if you are building your gaming website or community platform.

blog banner blog image Gaming Community Community Drupal Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Categories: Drupal

Drop Guard: CeBit - we celebrated AppGuard’s MVP!

Planet Drupal - 20 June 2018 - 1:45am
CeBit - we celebrated AppGuard’s MVP! We attended the CeBit 2018 in Hanover, Germany, for the first time last week! But this time we presented our newest extension of update automation management: AppGuard Besides Drop Guard for Drupal update automation, we also want to provide a SaaS for everyone who uses package and dependency managers like npm, Composer, Yarn, Bundler and more. And we couldn’t believe the great feedback! Drupal Drupal Planet Business Events Ann
Categories: Drupal

Getaway Driver Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 2:00pm
You’ve done it. You’ve pulled off the perfect heist. You’ve got the money and the jewels and the artwork, and now you’ve just gotta get out of town. Unfortunately, maybe it wasn’t so perfect, as the cops are on your tail. As such, it’s now a high-speed chase to the finish. That’s where you find […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Modiphius Previews the Raiders For Fallout: Wasteland Warfare

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 1:00pm
It’s tough out there in the wastes. There’s the harsh heat, radiation, mutated monstrosities, and roving gangs. In this preview for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, we get a look at once such gang, the Raiders. They’re coming in Wave 2 of the game, and Modiphius is showing off their minis, as well as some terrain and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Instagram Without API

New Drupal Modules - 19 June 2018 - 12:11pm

Instagram Without API

It is a very simple module that integrates with Instagram without API and creates a block
containing your most recent Instagram posts.

You also need to add the user name of the Instagram account for pulling
posts from as part of the block configuration.

Categories: Drupal

Nintendo and Disney join forces for a Switch-themed game show

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 19 June 2018 - 12:05pm

Disney is seeking Nintendo fans to appear on the show Nintendo Switch Family Showdown and compete head-to-head in Nintendo Switch-themed challenges. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Red Alert: Space Fleet Warfare Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 12:00pm
Do you like Commands and Colors, but wish there were more spaceships and lasers involved? Well, you’re in luck, because Red Alert: Space Fleet Warfare is just that. Created by Richard Borg, it’s the classic game, updated and configured for huge, galactic combat. The game is up on Kickstarter now. About the game: “Red Alert: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Lazy Config Form

New Drupal Modules - 19 June 2018 - 11:52am
Categories: Drupal

Podcast Radio

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 11:00am
Monday’s gone. Tuesday’s here. We’ve made it this far, we can continue on. And here’s some listening material to help. On the dial today we’ve got: Geeks of the North Episode 45: Colore ton Monde 2018; Game Classy Episode 165: Anime Girl Mailbag; Meeples & Miniatures Episode 249: UK Games Expo 2018; Singled Out Episode […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dries Buytaert: Increasing Drupal contributions from underrepresented groups

Planet Drupal - 19 June 2018 - 10:44am

For the past two years, I've published the Who sponsors Drupal development report. The primary goal of the report is to share contribution data to encourage more individuals and organizations to contribute code to Drupal on Drupal.org. However, the report also highlights areas where our community can and should do better.

In 2017, the reported data showed that only 6 percent of recorded code contributions were made by contributors that identify as female. After a conversation in the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion Slack channel about the report, it became clear that many people were concerned about this discrepancy. Inspired by this conversation, Tara King started the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team to understand how the Drupal community could better include women and underrepresented groups to increase code and community contributions.

I recently spoke with Tara to learn more about the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team. I quickly discovered that Tara's leadership exemplifies various Drupal Values and Principles; especially Principle 3 (Foster a learning environment), Principle 5 (Everyone has something to contribute) and Principle 6 (Choose to lead). Inspired by Tara's work, I wanted to spotlight what the DDI Contribution Team has accomplished so far, in addition to how the team is looking to help grow diversity and inclusion in the future.

A mentorship program to help underrepresented groups

Supporting diversity and inclusion within Drupal is essential to the health and success of the project. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use and work with the software. This includes building better representation across gender, race, sexuality, disability, economic status, nationality, faith, technical experience, and more. Unfortunately, underrepresented groups often lack community connections, time for contribution, resources or programs that foster inclusion, which introduce barriers to entry.

The mission of the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion Contribution Team is to increase contributions from underrepresented groups. To accomplish this goal, the DDI Contribution Team recruits team members from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups, and provides support and mentorship to help them contribute to Drupal. Each mentee is matched with a mentor in the Drupal community, who can provide expertise and advice on contribution goals and professional development. To date, the DDI Contribution Team supports over 20 active members.

What I loved most in my conversation with Tara is the various examples of growth she gave. For example, Angela McMahon is a full-time Drupal developer at Iowa State. Angela been working with her mentor, Caroline Boyden, on the External Link Module. Due to her participation with the DDI Contribution Team, Angela has now been credited on 4 fixed issues in the past year.

Improving the reporting around diversity and inclusion

In addition to mentoring, another primary area of focus of the DDI Contribution Team is to improve reporting surrounding diversity and inclusion. For example, in partnership with the Drupal Association and the Open Demographics Project, the DDI Contribution Team is working to implement best practices for data collection and privacy surrounding gender demographics. During the mentored code sprints at DrupalCon Nashville, the DDI Contribution Team built the Gender Field Module, which we hope to deploy on Drupal.org.

The development of the Gender Field Module is exciting, as it establishes a system to improve reporting on diversity demographics. I would love to use this data in future iterations of the 'Who sponsors Drupal development' report, because it would allow us to better measure progress on improving Drupal's diversity and inclusion against community goals.

One person can make a difference

What I love about the story of the DDI Contribution Team is that it demonstrates how one person can make a significant impact on the Drupal project. The DDI Contribution Team has grown from Tara's passion and curiosity to see what would happen if she challenged the status quo. Not only has Tara gotten to see one of her own community goals blossom, but she now also leads a team of mentors and mentees and is a co-maintainer of the Drupal 8 version of the Gender Field Module. Last but not least, she is building a great example for how other Open Source projects can increase contributions from underrepresented groups.

How you can get involved

If you are interested in getting involved with the DDI Contribution Team, there are a number of ways you can participate:

  • Support the DDI Contribution Team as a mentor, or consider recommending the program to prospective mentees. Join #ddi-contrib-team on Drupal Slack to meet the team and get started.
  • In an effort to deliberately recruit teams from spaces where people of diverse backgrounds collaborate, the DDI Contribution Team is looking to partner with Outreachy, an organization that provides paid internships for underrepresented groups to learn Free and Open Source Software and skills. If you would be interested in supporting a Drupal internship for an Outreachy candidate, reach out to Tara King to learn how you can make a financial contribution.
  • One of the long term goals of the DDI Contribution Team is to increase the number of underrepresented people in leadership positions, such as initiative lead, module maintainer, or core maintainer. If you know of open positions, consider understanding how you can work with the DDI Contribution Team to fulfill this goal.

I want to extend a special thanks to Tara King for sharing her story, and for making an important contribution to the Drupal project. Growing diversity and inclusion is something everyone in the Drupal community is responsible for, and I believe that everyone has something to contribute. Congratulations to the entire DDI Contribution Team.

Categories: Drupal

Increasing Drupal contributions from underrepresented groups

Dries Buytaert - 19 June 2018 - 10:44am

For the past two years, I've published the Who sponsors Drupal development report. The primary goal of the report is to share contribution data to encourage more individuals and organizations to contribute code to Drupal on Drupal.org. However, the report also highlights areas where our community can and should do better.

In 2017, the reported data showed that only 6 percent of recorded code contributions were made by contributors that identify as female. After a conversation in the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion Slack channel about the report, it became clear that many people were concerned about this discrepancy. Inspired by this conversation, Tara King started the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team to understand how the Drupal community could better include women and underrepresented groups to increase code and community contributions.

I recently spoke with Tara to learn more about the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team. I quickly discovered that Tara's leadership exemplifies various Drupal Values and Principles; especially Principle 3 (Foster a learning environment), Principle 5 (Everyone has something to contribute) and Principle 6 (Choose to lead). Inspired by Tara's work, I wanted to spotlight what the DDI Contribution Team has accomplished so far, in addition to how the team is looking to help grow diversity and inclusion in the future.

A mentorship program to help underrepresented groups

Supporting diversity and inclusion within Drupal is essential to the health and success of the project. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use and work with the software. This includes building better representation across gender, race, sexuality, disability, economic status, nationality, faith, technical experience, and more. Unfortunately, underrepresented groups often lack community connections, time for contribution, resources or programs that foster inclusion, which introduce barriers to entry.

The mission of the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion Contribution Team is to increase contributions from underrepresented groups. To accomplish this goal, the DDI Contribution Team recruits team members from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups, and provides support and mentorship to help them contribute to Drupal. Each mentee is matched with a mentor in the Drupal community, who can provide expertise and advice on contribution goals and professional development. To date, the DDI Contribution Team supports over 20 active members.

What I loved most in my conversation with Tara is the various examples of growth she gave. For example, Angela McMahon is a full-time Drupal developer at Iowa State. Angela been working with her mentor, Caroline Boyden, on the External Link Module. Due to her participation with the DDI Contribution Team, Angela has now been credited on 4 fixed issues in the past year.

Improving the reporting around diversity and inclusion

In addition to mentoring, another primary area of focus of the DDI Contribution Team is to improve reporting surrounding diversity and inclusion. For example, in partnership with the Drupal Association and the Open Demographics Project, the DDI Contribution Team is working to implement best practices for data collection and privacy surrounding gender demographics. During the mentored code sprints at DrupalCon Nashville, the DDI Contribution Team built the Gender Field Module, which we hope to deploy on Drupal.org.

The development of the Gender Field Module is exciting, as it establishes a system to improve reporting on diversity demographics. I would love to use this data in future iterations of the 'Who sponsors Drupal development' report, because it would allow us to better measure progress on improving Drupal's diversity and inclusion against community goals.

One person can make a difference

What I love about the story of the DDI Contribution Team is that it demonstrates how one person can make a significant impact on the Drupal project. The DDI Contribution Team has grown from Tara's passion and curiosity to see what would happen if she challenged the status quo. Not only has Tara gotten to see one of her own community goals blossom, but she now also leads a team of mentors and mentees and is a co-maintainer of the Drupal 8 version of the Gender Field Module. Last but not least, she is building a great example for how other Open Source projects can increase contributions from underrepresented groups.

How you can get involved

If you are interested in getting involved with the DDI Contribution Team, there are a number of ways you can participate:

  • Support the DDI Contribution Team as a mentor, or consider recommending the program to prospective mentees. Join #ddi-contrib-team on Drupal Slack to meet the team and get started.
  • In an effort to deliberately recruit teams from spaces where people of diverse backgrounds collaborate, the DDI Contribution Team is looking to partner with Outreachy, an organization that provides paid internships for underrepresented groups to learn Free and Open Source Software and skills. If you would be interested in supporting a Drupal internship for an Outreachy candidate, reach out to Tara King to learn how you can make a financial contribution.
  • One of the long term goals of the DDI Contribution Team is to increase the number of underrepresented people in leadership positions, such as initiative lead, module maintainer, or core maintainer. If you know of open positions, consider understanding how you can work with the DDI Contribution Team to fulfill this goal.

I want to extend a special thanks to Tara King for sharing her story, and for making an important contribution to the Drupal project. Growing diversity and inclusion is something everyone in the Drupal community is responsible for, and I believe that everyone has something to contribute. Congratulations to the entire DDI Contribution Team.

Categories: Drupal

Your Family Rocks Card Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 10:00am
There’s dozens, and probably hundreds of card games out there. But Your Family Rocks is the one that’s totally personalized to you and your family. Instead of just generic cards of random pictures, you send in your own family album and the cards are created from there! A great way to relive memories with loved […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Feather Clan Previewed For Crystal Clans

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 9:00am
What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird!? … Yes, yes it is a bird. However, that bird’s got sharp talons, leather armor, and a huge spear and is coming right for us! In this preview of Crystal Clans, we get our first look at the swift and high-flying Feather Clan. From the post: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Corvus Belli Posts Beginners Buyers Guide

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 June 2018 - 8:00am
Minis games are fun, but they can be really intimidating for a new player. A game like Infinity that’s been around for quite a long time has quite a catalog of figures, and then there’s the various factions, and trying to figure out what works with what, and bleh, it can be a wreck. Thankfully, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Acro Media: Omnichannel: How We Did It For Real

Planet Drupal - 19 June 2018 - 7:45am

Omnichannel generally means the shopping experience is unified and seamless whether you do it on your laptop, in store, through your phone, etc. The team at Acro Media set out to demonstrate just how easy it is to give your customers a true omnichannel experience using Drupal and Drupal Commerce.

The omnichannel setup

As part of our demo at DrupalCon in Nashville, we did a pseudo T-shirt pre-order. Before the conference, attendees could use our Urban Hipster eCommerce demo site to pre-order a Drupal Commerce shirt in their size. When they completed their pre-order, they got an order number to bring with them to our booth. 

People who didn't pre-order could also come to our booth and "purchase" (for free) a T-shirt using a self serve kiosk running the same demo site. 

So one side of the booth was the set up as the cashier/fulfillment area. The other side had the self-serve kiosk. We also had other laptops available so that we could bring up the admin interface as if we were a customer support person assisting a customer over the phone. The "support person" could find the customers order number or email address and fulfill the order. Easy peasy.

The whole time, our inventory of shirt sizes was counting down until the stock count hit 0. When our inventory reached 0 for a certain size, orders for that size could no longer be placed.

Why is this so amazing?

Some people were impressed but also a little puzzled, thinking that this sort of setup should just exist everywhere. Which it should, but it doesn't. With most retail stores, the online and in-store experiences are completely separate. They might as well be two different companies. If you buy something online and try to return it in store, it often can't happen. Loyalty points often don't transfer. The list goes on. Some places will let you buy online and pick up in store, but there might be a delay. They might say sure, you can pick it up in store, but not for 24 hours. In that case, you might as well just go to the store and find it yourself. Even knowing if an item is in stock can be tricky. The website might say there are three left, but that's just a snapshot from a certain point in time, and you don't know how often that gets updated. Maybe that was valid six hours ago, but that item has since sold out.

Why Drupal rocks

What makes Drupal so cool is that the point of sale and the Commerce module both use the same orders. A point of sale order is just a Drupal Commerce order. It has some specifics to the point of sale, but it can be loaded up in a regular interface. They use the same stock, the same products, everything. This is surprisingly rare. A lot of POS systems in particular are very antiquated. They date from pre-Internet times and have no concept of syncing up with things.

But we've created a true omnichannel experience. We've done it, and implemented it, and it's all open source and freely available. Anyone else could set up the same omnichannel setup that we did. We used a laptop, a cash drawer, a couple of iPads, nothing too fancy.

What's more, as the software matures, we're working on an even better demo with more smoothed out features, better integration, nicer interface, etc. Stay tuned.

More from Acro Media Let's talk omnichannel!

We're always happy to help you understand how you can deliver a true omnichannel experience for you customers. Contact us today to talk to one of our business development experts.

Categories: Drupal

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