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Facebook game revenue growth falters as users move to mobile

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 hours 56 min ago

The growth of Facebook game payment revenue is stalling as users abandon the desktop -- where all game payment revenue is currently generated -- in favor of accessing the service via mobile devices. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Zynga founder Mark Pincus steps down as company poaches Xbox Live point-man

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 7 hours 28 min ago

Pincus stepped aside to let Microsoft exec take the CEO role; now he moves away from the day-to-day entirely as Mattrick brings in more Xbox talent. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Spoiler: Steam games with high Metacritic scores tend to sell well

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 10 hours 29 min ago

According to data gathered as part of Ars Technica's ongoing Steam Gauge project, games with extremely high Metacritic scores tend to see significantly higher sales on Steam than those with extremely low scores. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR gets FTC approval

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 11 hours 28 min ago

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has granted antitrust approval to Facebook's proposed acquisition of Oculus VR, allowing the deal to move forward as planned. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Blog: Long-term retention - How to keep players playing

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 19 hours 34 min ago

"To heighten the likelihood of engaging a player long term, the game needs to create a vision for the player. Visualize the goal, what the player can become, and what awesome features are ahead." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How arcade games have come, gone, and could come again

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2014 - 4:58pm

In this classic Game Developer magazine column, Nolan Bushnell explains why arcade machines failed and how location-based video games could still thrive in the age of online technology. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

3 tips for organizing internal hackathons

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2014 - 10:35am

"Before organizing a hackathon, think about the goals you hope to accomplish, as well as the strategies and logistics that will resonate well within your company culture." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

10 insightful playtest questions

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2014 - 10:35am

"Playtests are always a valuable way to evaluate the state of your game, but it's important to observe the right signs and ask the right questions in order to get objective and worthwhile feedback." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Think you don't have the resources for user testing? Think again

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2014 - 4:27am

"User testing is critical, especially when you don't have resources to spare. The long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term costs, and if you do it right, you'll make a better game." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Web Wash: Control Context Using Context Entity Field in Drupal 7

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2014 - 2:27pm

When you need to dynamically display a block within a region, nothing can really beat the Context module. It allows you to define a set of conditions, that when met, executes a set of reactions. For example, you could create a context rule which adds a block to the sidebar second region (reaction) when a user is viewing an Article content type (condition).

A lot of what Context does can also be achieved using Panels. But if you're new to Drupal, and never used Panels than Context will be easier to use.

If you're new to Context then I would highly recommend you watch the two introductory videos below:

Recently I've discovered a powerful module called Context entity field. It allows you to define a condition that checks the value of a field on an entity.

Categories: Drupal

This Week in Video Game Criticism: Everybody Loves Garrus

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 21 April 2014 - 1:56pm

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Kris Ligman on topics including the political agenda of Halo and why Garrus Vakarian is Mass Effect's most enduring character. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupal core announcements: This week (or two or three) in Drupal Core

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2014 - 1:02pm
What's new with Drupal 8? Configuration system changes

Over the past month, a lot of work has gone into the configuration system. With the addition of a separate module install/uninstall step for the config import process, it's finally possible to properly synchronize configuration changes with module installations or uninstallations. You can now transform a site installed with the Minimum install profile into a site using the Standard install profile by importing configuration (the case we've long said will be our indicator that CMI "works"). (Watch this screencast to see it in action!)

Additionally, after thorough discussion, the active storage for the configuration management system has been moved into the database by default. This means existing Drupal 8 sites will likely need to be reinstalled (or otherwise migrate the active configuration). Read the change record on active configuration in the database for details on why this decision was made.

Now is the time to start really testing CMI deployments. Spin up a dev site, make a copy of it, and test synchronizing complex configuration system changes between the two. See if the system behaves as you expect (and report the problems you find!) For an overview of the outstanding work being done on the configuration system, see #2187339: [meta] CMI path to beta.

NYC Camp at the United Nations


The third annual NYC Camp was held at the United Nations. (Yes, that United Nations, with the flags.) In addition to numerous sessions about Drupal 8 (check out fmitchell's session on 30 Drupal 8 API functions you should already know), we held several days of Drupal 8 core sprints. Media contributors also sprinted on Media for Drupal 8; check out their sprint status report for more information. Finally, Drupal Association executive director Holly Ross worked on a Drupal 8 patch got her first Drupal core commit credit! Are you next? :)

Where's Drupal 8 at in terms of release?

We're in the last stretch of Drupal 8's alpha phase. We've fixed over 130 beta-blocking issues, including 9 in the last week, plus written more than 70 missing change records. The last 28 beta blockers include some difficult issues, but consider some of what we've already accomplished since the beginning of 2014:

  • The removal of the variable subsystem after 18 months.
  • The rearchitecture of configuration synchronization to support the minimum viable usecase after 16 months.
  • The removal of the legacy menu router after nearly a year.
  • The removal of widely used cache-breaking functions including drupal_set_title(), drupal_add_css(), drupal_add_js(), and theme().
  • The removal of all stale hook_update_N() implementations and the modification of update.php to require Migrate for major version upgrades instead.

(And of course so much more.)

Where can I help? Top criticals to hit this week

Each week, we check with core maintainers and contributors for the "extra critical" criticals that are blocking other work. These issues are often tough problems with a long history. If you're familiar with the problem space of one of these issues and have the time to dig in, help drive it forward by reviewing, improving, and testing its patch, and by making sure the issue's summary is up to date and any API changes are documented with a draft change record.

  • #2116363: Unified repository of field definitions (cache + API) converts remaining usages of the deprecated field info API to use methods from the entity manager, and is therefore critical to stabilizing the Entity Field API for the beta release. This significant (~150 KB) patch needs thorough code review from contributors familiar with Drupal 8's entity and field systems.

  • #2183231: Make ContentEntityDatabaseStorage generate static database schemas for content entities is an even larger (~250 KB) beta-blocking patch for the entity system that allows the entity system to automatically create the necessary database tables for entities, resolving numerous different issues. This is another significant change and needs lots of thorough review from as many people as possible.

  • #2198429: Make deleted fields work with config synch needs review of the patch's architecture and functionality. Deleting a field is a significant operation, because the site has to go on to purge all the field instance data for entities that have the field while leaving those entities intact. Drupal 7 includes a lot of code to support this functionality, and in Drupal 8, there's additional complexity since this purge needs to happen when a deleted field is staged and synchronized to another environment.

  • #2124749: [meta] Stop using request attributes as a storage mechanism for other services covers a collection of issues to improve the developer experience around Drupal 8's use of Symfony's request attributes (a public property on the request object that can be used for context-specific information about the request). This context information is not easily discoverable for contributed module developers, and, in some cases, using it adds to the apparent verbosity and complexity (e.g. in the replacements for the common D7 functions menu_get_object() and menu_get_item()). The numerous sub-issues for this meta issue are intended to weed out misuses of the request attributes and provide clear public APIs for others. Help discuss the developer experience and architecture in the numerous child issues for this meta.

More ways to help Notable Commits

The best of git log --after=2014-04-02 --pretty=oneline (207 commits in total):

Configuration management

As we described above, it's been another couple weeks of fantastic progress in getting the configuration management system solid for beta. Notably:

  • Issue #2161591 by pwolanin, beejeebus, sun: Change default active config from file storage to DB storage.
  • Issue #1808248 by alexpott, beejeebus, tayzlor, Nitesh Sethia: Add a separate module install/uninstall step to the config import process.
  • Issue #2124535 by Berdir, alexpott, Désiré, xjm | yched: Prevent secondary configuration creates and deletes from breaking the ConfigImporter.
  • Issue #1740378 by xjm, Désiré, alexpott | heyrocker: Implement renames in the import cycle.

There is still plenty to help out on in the CMI path to beta meta issue if you want to help keep the excellent momentum of the last few weeks going.

Entities and fields

One of the many accomplishments from Drupal DevDays a few weeks ago, was a cute and colorful visualization of the long dependency chain of issues remaining to stabilize the Entity and Field APIs for beta. Two of them were committed in the last two weeks:

  • Issue #2225739 by killua99, Berdir, andypost, pfrenssen: Remove usage of field_info_instances(), use EntityManager::getFieldDefinitions() instead.
  • Issue #2226197 by fago, jessebeach: Introduce FieldStorageDefinitionInterface in the Entity Field API.

That has unblocked Unified repository of field definitions, which is now making good progress, and when committed, will unblock the next level of the dependency chain.

Migration

With a Drupal 8 beta approaching, how exciting will it be to start testing it out with content and configuration from an existing Drupal 6 site?! Several issues were committed that pave the way for that, including:

  • Issue #2211949 by chx, Berdir, fago, benjy: Support keeping new revision id for migrate.
  • Issue #2190561 by chx, pcambra, benjy: Migrate in core: Add a load system for migrate plugins.

And now, there's a 600KB patch containing 82 actual migrations ready for review.

A meta for everyone

No matter what part of Drupal you're interested in, there's probably a meta issue available for you to chip away at. Here's just some of the ones that had a commit in the last two weeks.

Front-end
  • When creating a theme, just when you thought you overrode everything you needed to to get all your markup exactly how you like it, do you hate having to discover yet another obscure theme function that inserts an unwanted <div>? Well, the Twig team is cleaning that up as part of converting theme functions to Twig. Congratulations to them for removing a function entirely in: Issue #2151123 by joelpittet | Cottser: Remove theme_system_modules_incompatible().
  • What's even better than fewer one-off theme functions to override? How about default markup that's perfect to begin with? There's a meta issue and an issue tag for that. Yay for progress on that with: Issue #2226923 by pakmanlh, mandar.harkare, mortendk, galooph: Views: remove wrapper around more link - add class to the link.
  • Great default markup is only half the battle. We need great default CSS to go along with it. Nice to see another issue completed on that: Issue #1662954 by balis_m, mjonesdinero, kalpaitch, IshaDakota, kerasai, ckrina, BarisW | ZenDoodles: Use less-specific tabledrag selectors.
  • And let's not forget about Javascript. In Drupal 8, we've incorporated some fantastic JS libraries. It's important that we keep up with their updates, including: Issue #2192383 by tstoeckler: Update jQuery to 2.1.0.
Back-end

You can also always check the Change records for Drupal core for the full list of Drupal 8 API changes from Drupal 7.

Drupal 8 Around the Interwebs

Blog posts about Drupal 8 and how much it's going to rock your face.

Drupal 8 in "Real Life"
  • First off, there are numerous upcoming sprints in Washington, DC (April 22), Brisbane (April 23), London (April 26-27), and Stockholm (May 4), plus a Drupal 8 Search API sprint in Zurich (April 28-May 2). Try working on a Drupal 8 core or contrib issue at one of these sprints!
  • April 23-25: DrupalCamp Mexico has several Drupal 8-related sessions and a whole "SymfonyDay" track!
  • April 25-27: DrupalCamp Donetsk will include a presentation on Drupal 8 from webchick.
  • April 26: DrupalCamp St. Louis also includes a Drupal 8 introduction.
  • May 2: DrupalJam in the Netherlands has a session on Drupal 8 patterns (plus maybe a streamed Q&A with Dries!)
  • May 2-4: DrupalCamp Toronto doesn't have a set schedule yet, but there are numerous Drupal 8 session proposals.
  • May 31-June 8: DrupalCon Austin and extended sprints. This year's North American DrupalCon will include many Drupal 8 sessions, trainings, and sprints. The conference is June 2-6 with the community sprint on Jun 7, and there are plans extended sprints the weekends before and after the conference. See the signup sheet for Austin's extended sprints. Austin will be critical to make progress toward Drupal 8's release, so please plan to participate in the sprints if you can!
Whew! That's a wrap!

Do you follow Drupal Planet with devotion, or keep a close eye on the Drupal event calendar, or git pull origin 8.x every morning without fail before your coffee? We're looking for more contributors to help compile these posts. You could either take a few hours once every six weeks or so to put together a whole post, or help with one section more regularly. Contact xjm if you'd like to help communicate all the interesting happenings in Drupal 8!

Categories: Drupal

Janez Urevc: DrupalCamp Alpe-Adria - ticket prices go up in only 4 days!

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2014 - 10:22am

DrupalCamp Alpe-Adria will be one of the most scenic Drupal events this spring in Europe. It will take place in a magnificent costal town Portorož, which is conveniently located in the northern part of Adriatic sea.

Camp will happen on 17th and 18th May with extended sprints happening also on 19th and 20th. We already have some great session proposals and new ones are coming in almost every day! Are you new to Drupal? No problems! We're preparing some very interesting beginner-level sessions and on-site trainings. For those who prefer to code we have some very interesting sprints to offer! There will be Drupal 8 core and Drupal 8 media sprints going on. Are you interested in organizing another sprint? Do not hesitate to contact us immediately!

Early bird tickets are available only until 25th April. Don't miss your last chance to get them and start planning your travels well in advance. Portorož is very nice for families and children so you should really consider bringing your significant others with you and maybe extending Drupal camp into a short spring vacation.

Categories: Drupal

A Game Concept - by Matt Powers

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 21 April 2014 - 8:46am
Creating a game concept is one of the very first steps in video game production. In this article Matt Powers presents a game concept he developed and asks the community to provide feedback.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

User Testing with Limited Resources - by Isla Schanuel

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 21 April 2014 - 7:47am
Indie devs face obvious constraints when it comes to user testing, but doing so is still a critical part of development. This article addresses how to design user-experiments when working on a budget, and the options available when resources are limited.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Chinese online game companies in $100 million buyout deal

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 21 April 2014 - 7:41am

Perfect World and Shanda Games, two notable companies in the burgeoning Chinese online games market, are in the midst of a buyout worth tens of millions of dollars. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Computer-assisted accelerator design

Virtual Reality - Science Daily - 21 April 2014 - 7:23am
Accelerator physicists are using custom designed software to create a 3-D virtual model of the electron accelerator physicists hope to build inside the tunnel currently housing the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Categories: Virtual Reality

Drupal Association News: Continuous Integration Efforts Get Easier with Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 21 April 2014 - 7:20am

At MidCamp (Midwest Drupal camp), I found out a really fascinating thing about Drupal 8: Support for PHPUnit is going to be part of the base distribution. This means a great deal to Solutions Architects and Developers at Promet because we have been striving to integrate automated tests into our build. Perhaps you remember from my talks or previous posts, number four of my 10 Principles of Continuous Integration is "Self-Testing Build". This makes Drupal a much more sought-after platform for shops looking to fully embrace Continuous Integration.

What do we do now?

Currently, Promet uses PHPUnit for testing purposes. Our team (Michelle Krejci and Will Milton), have instituted the use of Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) using Travis-CI, Behat, Mink, PhantomJS, and PHPUnit. This provides our requirements, use-cases and a way to easily self-code-review. For those not familiar with Gherkin, I urge you review it. It's a simple process to write use-cases in English, such that someone can program tests against it. The confidence this has given our team in our quality of code, and the confidence the client has in the outcome is phenomenal.

Michelle can attest to this being the case. In a project she’s working on now, the tests are actually being used to get sign-off that work is complete. All of the tests were created ahead of time and the scenarios are added as needed; therefore, change orders are obvious because the tests are in version control. There is no question on what scenarios we are supporting, when one was added, or when a piece of work is completed to the specifications.

So how do we improve on BDD?

The problem with this workflow is that we have to jump to the Functional Test level to test anything at all. In terms of testability, it’s a tiny improvement compared to the Simple Test workflow Drupal has now. However, we have seen improvement since we’ve moved from Selenium to PhantomJS. As you probably know, PhantomJS and Selenium both do browser testing.

Selenium is a browser “driver”. Through javascript injection, it hooks into a browser allowing you to emulate a user “doing stuff” on a webpage. However, running those browsers is super slow. The startup time alone for each test is over a second… sometimes up to 5 or 6. Who has that kind of time?

In the case of PhantomJS though, we aren’t testing specific browsers. In fact, PhantomJS is a browser, and a mighty fast one at that. This is fine for Promet where it is less significant whether specific browsers function a certain way. PhantomJS has improved our performance for testing over Selenium by strides.

But there is something even better! Testing at a Unit Level!

 

 

Drupal has been nearly impossible until Drupal 8. We had the Simple Test framework that was baked into Drupal, but it did what I like to call the "Use a Car to Test Another Car" approach. Specifically, you had to have a full instance of Drupal running so that it could make a fake instance of Drupal so that you could test. Additionally, functional code isn't very encapsulated. That is, you can't specifically say, "My inputs are xyz, and my outputs are abc.". The lack of encapsulation is mostly due to frequent use of global variables and not being able to group functionality with data like you can with objects in Object Oriented Programming (OOP).

Fear not. The new object oriented framework gives us easy access to new-fangled Dependency Injection, mocking of objects, and other programming patterns that allow us to consolidate a single unit of code. In our case, a unit is a single function within a class, which is the smallest unit of code that can be tested using PHPUnit.

This inspires developers to not only write better, testable code, but in smaller testable units that are...(insert drumroll, please) Reusable, not to mention, easier to test.

So how does Unit Testing make things easier?

In several situations, we could rid ourselves of functional tests altogether. If every single piece of a component is working as expected, then the sum of those parts would equal a feature that works as expected. Lastly, those tests run a couple of orders of magnitude faster than the PhantomJS tests. This means that the tests can easily be part of the build script and not just something that runs on Travis-CI.

Speaking of Travis-CI, now we can integrate Travis-CI directly with Drupal. No more hacking the pieces together to get a testable environment outside the box.

Final Thoughts

Overall, BDD is still flippin’ awesome and has its place in projects; we will still continue to use it. BDD is great for communicating directly with the client with something testable. However, Unit tests will allow us to build a set of reusable code at a lower cost to maintain. These unit tests allow us to better gauge our quality of code. I think these facts, speaking strictly as a Developer, will improve upon the testing process that we already have in place, particularly for our migrations and more technical projects with APIs and integrations. Looking into the future and our use of Drupal 8, I am excited for the availability of new unit test results to be used as insurance to our clients to backup our claims of quality. Developers happy and clients happy? Yes please! Thank you, Drupal 8.

Categories: Drupal

Book review: OpenGL Development Cookbook

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 21 April 2014 - 7:13am

We have very advanced books like GPU Pro, and books for beginners like OpenGL SuperBible. It is great to see a book that is something between those two extremes. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to register a copyright: Part I - What can I register? - by Zachary Strebeck

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 21 April 2014 - 7:11am
California game lawyer Zachary Strebeck presents the first in a three-part series on registering copyrights. This part examines what can and cannot be copyrighted, and who holds the copyright on a creation.
Categories: Game Theory & Design
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