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Toward a Grammar of Multiplayer Gametypes - by Doug Zartman

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 September 2017 - 6:53am
Multiplayer videogames which model human players in a 3D space use the same elements as real-world sports and playground games. Can we define a grammar that helps us analyze and compare all of these types of games? Here's one possible scheme.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Advanced UX Prototyping: Finding the fun :), Minus (-) the code! - by Om Tandon

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 September 2017 - 6:53am
Rapid prototyping and play testing a high fidelity Match 3 game from scratch....best part? All that and more without writing a single line of CODE!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drop Guard: Drop Guard is cutting costs by 40% - facts and figures

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 6:45am
Drop Guard is cutting costs by 40% - facts and figures

While working with other NGOs and agencies during the last 1,5 years, we collected more and more information about the time and money that Drop Guard will save your agency. On our website, we claim that Drop Guard will cut your update costs by 40%. CTOs and COOs want to challenge numbers like this and ask how exactly this ROI is calculated. That’s why I want to share the detailed information in this blog post with you.

Security updates are released every Wednesday. If you work in a Drupal shop that cares about security, you have to apply updates for every site every Wednesday or at least Thursday.

Drupal Business Drupal Planet
Categories: Drupal

Chromatic: How To: Multiple Authors in Drupal

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 6:35am

A brief rundown of how to configure Drupal to display multiple content authors.

Categories: Drupal

How playing games can advance science - by Claire Baert

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 September 2017 - 6:11am
Citizen science games let players contribute to science. This first post presents many of the games people can play today to advance science. It also introduces topics I would love to discuss with game designers and developers.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

2 Games in 2 Months with a Stranger from Reddit - by Sky Copeland

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 18 September 2017 - 6:11am
Interested in making a new artist contact and in making a few small-scope games; I reached out to the /r/INAT subreddit with an open request for a collaboration and the following documents the outcome of this adventure.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus Available To Pre-Order From Games Workshop

Tabletop Gaming News - 18 September 2017 - 6:00am
In the grim dark of the far-off future, the line between man and machine has certainly blurred. Cyborg implants help the servants of the Emperor with their everyday tasks, from filing things in the grand libraries to taking on the Heretic. The machine-makers are highly revered as they walk off to war. And they’re getting […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Appnovation Technologies: Appnovator Spotlight: Richard Hales

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 5:41am
Appnovator Spotlight: Richard Hales Who are you? What's your story?  Richard Hales - "Talent Acquisition". With 13 years in recruitment, working with some top global brands, hiring some of the best talent. I now use that experience and those connections to find the very best people for Appnovation What's your role at Appnovation?  Working in the UK, I am ideally placed to serv...
Categories: Drupal

Vardot: What Is A Chatbot, And Why Is It Important For Your Business?

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 4:06am
What Is A Chatbot, And Why Is It Important For Your Business? Dmitrii Susloparov Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:06

There is a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding chatbots in the Internet technology world today. Fanning the flames was the news that the White House had created a Facebook chatbot using Drupal. This post explains what a chatbot is, its current status, and how it can benefit business enterprises.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are software agents which communicate and collaborate with human users through text messaging using a natural language, say English, to accomplish specific tasks. Examples of common tasks in a business context are product inquiries, ordering, and troubleshooting.

 

Chatbots holds the promise of being the next generation of technology that people use to interact online with business enterprises. From a historical perspective, the first generation of customer contact technology involves websites. Users opens the company website within their browser, navigate web pages to get the information they want and to trigger various e-commerce transactions, such as ordering a product. Next up are mobile apps which users can download on their smartphones or tablets. The problem with apps is that people have to manually download and learn to use each of them. Chatbots lead the way for the next wave of technology. With chatbots, there are no new apps to download. This is because most users already have at least 1 instant messaging application installed on their communication devices, e.g., SMS, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Kik, etc. Another advantage for chatbots is that, because chatbots communicate using a natural language, users don't need to learn yet another new website interface and to get comfortable with the unavoidable quirks.

 

The chatbot interface is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. AI is tasked to understand the text that users enter and pass on the knowledge to the backend for processing. Another benefit of using AI is that the chatbot will learn over time to better understand user preferences and as a result, deliver better and faster services.

Why are chatbots important to enterprises?

It was reported that, in 2016, for the first time in Internet history, there were more people using messaging apps than social media. It follows that chat has outpaced social media to become the de facto standard in how mobile users want to make contact. Mobile users are known to be an impatient bunch, ready to abandon any website en masse if they are made to wait for mere seconds after their initial request. Is your business staffed properly to handle this 24x7 onslaught of customer product queries, sales orders, and support requests?

 

Image Source: Business Insider

 

Chatbots can be programmed to monitor and respond to those chat sessions that fall within their domain expertise, such as troubleshooting, return merchandise authorization (RMA), sales inquiry, etc. For chatbots to do their job, enterprises first need to capture the aforementioned domain knowledge in a knowledge base. Once the knowledge becomes accessible, chatbots can staff the all-important corporate functions 24x7.

 

By deploying chatbots, a business can save money by easing the staff head count while guaranteeing good service response time. Besides its always-on feature, another major advantage of using chatbots is the consistency in how your business processes are applied: chatbots will execute the business logic consistently in all customer contacts.

 

Chatbots, advanced that it is, is not the panacea of all enterprise customer service problems, nor does it completely replace the entire human work force. Human agents are still required to solve the more complex problems that are beyond the ability of chatbots. While chatbots can resolve the most basic troubleshooting tasks, second-level support technicians are still required to tackle the complicated product issues.

State of the union

The chatbot technology is still an emerging technology. There are many components that have to work together to make chatbots work. As of today, the technology stack is not standardized, and a clear market leader has not yet manifested itself.

 

Just as there are many messaging apps, there are as many, if not more, chatbot building platforms, each designed to work with a subset of specific messaging apps. Some messaging app vendors, such as Facebook and Telegram, also provide their own official chatbot building platforms. Besides those, there are other third-party chatbot platforms that support multiple messaging apps. For instance, Chatfuel is a chatbot platform that supports both Facebook and Telegram. The Microsoft Bot Framework supports Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS.

 

Most chatbot building platforms claim that chatbots can be developed in minutes with no coding required. While creating a chatbot may take only minutes, making it do something useful involves customization including configuring the AI front-end engine, the e-commerce and payment processor backend, etc. Given the myriad technical choices and possibilities, it is best to leverage professional help to guide the development of chatbots for your business enterprise.

Chatbots and Drupal

Many businesses have already crafted their online presence in the form of a website using an enterprise-class CMS technology, for instance, Drupal. The good news is that you can add chatbot technology to your existing technology infrastructure, rather than starting from scratch.

 

If you have already built an enterprise-class Drupal website, you are a one-step ahead of everyone else. The Drupal infrastructure is essentially a portal that captures your business logic, including the backend portion that interfaces with your e-commerce and other back office systems. Adding chatbots to your overall technology stack involves adding the proper middleware to connect your chatbot frontend with your Drupal-based business logic backend.

 

As stated in the previous section, chatbots itself is an emerging technology that may be outside the scope for most in-house development expertise. Adding the middleware to join together chatbots and your Drupal backend is an extra level of software complexity. This middleware framework is available from the Drupal community, but is currently in a very early stage for commercialization. To ensure success for your chatbot project, professional consulting is highly recommended.

 

If you require professional services, whether to build from scratch an enterprise-class Drupal website with chatbot integration, or to add chatbot capabilities to your existing Drupal platform, Vardot is pleased to offer such services from its Jordanian headquarters or its American and Egyptian regional offices. Contact us now for more details regarding your project!

Categories: Drupal

Deeson: Component driven front-end development

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 3:58am

At Deeson we’ve been working on ways to develop our front-end independently from any back-end application.

Our front-end team has developed web applications using decoupled JavaScript frameworks including Angular and React but we’ve found that for many website projects a full web application is overkill and the traditional HTML templating approach is still the most efficient.

Our back-end application is usually Drupal but we’re increasingly using other frameworks such as Laravel or Symfony and would like to be able to use a consistent approach for our front-end teams. 

We’ve developed a system for this that allows modern build tools, practices Component Driven Development, allows the generation of living style guides and is agnostic to the back-end.

Component Driven Development 

A component, for us, is a collection of HTML, CSS and JS that goes together to form some display element. Consider this against a more traditional approach where HTML, CSS and JS are stored in separate global files, for example, in a global style.css and app.js files.

By grouping code together into components, we separate our application by the domain language, rather than arbitrarily by file extension. This isolates components and makes them easier to develop and maintain.

Components get named based on the domain language of the project and client. Components are not defined for the designer by the limitations and modeling of the application. This provides a common language for the designers, developers and client and reduces the chances of misunderstanding when it comes to the development of functionality.

Using the BEM approach to structuring CSS we isolate much of our CSS to specific components rather than continuously generalising CSS in the way a CSS framework like Bootstrap does. This isolates much of the CSS to a specific component giving us high cohesion and low coupling allowing for confident maintenance, removing much of the fear of wondering what effect changing a piece of CSS is will have on the whole site.

This better matches the way that we work where the complexity of our challenging designs mean rapid delivery using a CSS framework isn’t possible.

Living style guides

The output of our front-end development will include a style guide which will render each of our components into static pages.

Style guides are useful as they demonstrate the components independently of the specific implementation. This allows more rapid front-end development as front-end developers can work without having to worry about how the back-end will integrate.

Over time, however, these style guides move out of sync with the applications they were developed to provide styling information for. An application developer's job is to integrate the HTML provided by the style guide into the finished site. This has meant copying and pasting code out of the style guide templates and into the application’s templating system.

At this point we have duplication of code and the ability to maintain a strict style guide is lost. When the style guide is updated, all the application templates affected must be identified and updated as well.

Our approach makes the style guide a living style guide. The front-end templates we produce for our components get referenced directly from the target applications theme system. This means that our front-end templates are the exact same ones that the application will be using within the theme.

Front-end developers can make changes to it knowing that those changes will flow through into the application without need for a second step.

For Drupal developers this means either providing new theme functions for the front-end templates or referencing our front-end templates from within Drupal templates.

Modern build tools, agnostic to the back-end

Freed from the constraints of a specific application’s templating system we can select the most appropriate tools for the job of front-end development.

Our front-end tooling uses the latest standards and tools. We’re using yarn for package management, and webpack to bundle the static assets. 

Very little knowledge of the back-end is assumed or needed in this approach. You can confidently bring new front-end developers onto your team who are used to using the latest tools without having to spend the first few weeks teaching them the specific theming language and quirks of your back-end application such as the Drupal theme layer.

A real example 

We’ve got an exemplar project to showcase this way of working. If you clone the project at https://github.com/teamdeeson/cdd-demo and follow the instructions in the README you’ll get a Drupal 8 project up and running with a theme that uses this process. You’ll see we’ve developed a componentised version of the Bartik theme for this.

If you are intrigued by this and would like to hear more, you’ll enjoy my talk on the subject at DrupalCon Vienna on 26th September.

In summary

Component driven front-end development has worked well for us at Deeson, allowing rapid independent development of our front-end code. Our designers are freed from the previous constraints of designing for a Drupal website and our developers get to use the latest tools and get onboarded quicker.

Like the sound of the way we do things? We're currently hiring a Senior Front-end Developer.

Categories: Drupal

Global Content

New Drupal Modules - 18 September 2017 - 2:51am

This module allows to create global content items which will be displayed on the whole website (ie. header, footer, block, etc.). By default, this module uses the "block" and "page" theme preprocess (see ".module" file).

How to

Here are steps to configure and display global content items:

Categories: Drupal

In The Company of Aberrations

New RPG Product Reviews - 18 September 2017 - 1:53am
Publisher: Rite Publishing
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Rite Publishing’s „In the Company of...“-series of playable monsters clocks in at 55 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a MASSIVE 51 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


This review was move up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.


We begin with a letter, framing the narrative that suffuses the pdf in the tradition of Rite Publishing supplements; the letter is one of resignation this time around, speaking of the horrors that were encountered, and indeed, the formula of the in-character description of the race that makes this series such a joy to read, has been modified here, as aberrations are a significantly less unified topic than previous races covered.


Instead, the content is framed as a report by the Voice of the Vigilant – who has basically possessed one of the unfortunates that encountered the aberrant threats, saving the company that encountered these creatures. This whole, strange channeling is a genius way of maintaining the enjoyable reading experience and blending it with a creeping sense of unease that fits the topic perfectly.


Anyway, since aberrations cover a wide field of different creatures, the report begins by roughly categorizing aberrant threats as cosmic interlopers (including noting the flumphs!), hadopelagic ancients, perversions of nature, reality-displaced entities and subterranean nightmares are discussed – as are warptouched creatures, making for not only a nice reading experience, but also serving as an interesting basic set-up to contemplate prior to making a character.


Now, a big problem for some aberrations would be a non-humanoid physiology – as such, it should come as no surprise that the magic item slot question arises in the context of playable aberrations. This is relevant from a mathematic point of view, considering how item-granted boosts are included in the calculations, particularly at higher levels. The imbued metabolism ability allows such aberrations to swallow magic items to gain their benefits. And yes, the rules-language manages to concisely codify this process and avoids cheesing and still features scaling regarding slot numbers, making the mechanic supremely elegant.


Okay, so let’s go through the respective racial traits! Cosmic interlopers get +2 Int and Wis, -2 Dex, a base speed of 5 ft., a fly speed of 30 ft. (clumsy) (5 ft. base speed), darkvision 60 ft., all-around vision, two tentacle secondary natural attacks at 1d4 and interlopers with an Int of 11 or more gain alter winds and whispering wind 1/day as a SP. They also can expend actions to resist vacuum, which is pretty damn cool. While slightly lopsided regarding base ability score modifiers and studded with low-level flight, the bad maneuverability (hovering works sans check, just fyi) maintains balance here and in fact requires some interesting, potentially even hilarious, tactical scenes at the table. There are two alternate traits that provide alternate racial traits: +2 Int and Cha, -2 Str for domination orbs (beholders, minus the closed content IP) – these guys can fire, 1/day, a spell as a ray from their eye. Cool! The stellar ray would similarly cover the classic ixitxachitl (or flumph…) with a proper stinger that deals acid damage as well. And yep, Small size. Instead of air manipulation, you may choose natural armor or sonic resistance (+ save-bonuses versus certain conditions). The all-around vision may be replaced with better Stealth, constant detect magic or a +2 bonus to Spellcraft to identify spells and +1 to atk versus arcane spellcasters. Instead of the vacuum adaptation, you may 1/day choose to roll twice on Bluff/Diplomacy or better tech-use, including decreased glitch probability. Both the vacuum resistant ability and all-around vision can be exchanged for Wild Talent – yep, psionics compatible!


Hedopelagic ancients get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Dex, are medium and have a movement rate of 20 ft., swim speed of 30 ft. They are amphibious, have darkvision 60 ft. and +2 natural armor. They get two secondary tentacle attacks and add +1 to the Dc of their illusions and SPs with the pattern and figment descriptors. Those with a Cha of 11+ also gain 1/day hypnotic pattern as a SP. And yes, they are balanced via the slots once again. There are two variants inclided: Deep spawn gain +2 Str and Con, -2 Int, gaining a primary bite and +4 to saves versus poison and diseases as well as a modified slot-list and the ability to make an angler-fish like dancing lights variant. Cool, if lopsided on the physical. The same holds true for reef menaces, who gain +2 Dex and Con, -2 Cha and is Small. They gain +4 to Stealth while underwater and get tangling tentacles as a natural attack, which do not cause damage, but may trip foes. Fully aquatic beings can be made with the Deep One alternate racial trait and you can replace darkvision with deepsight, doubling range for a total of 120 ft., but only underwater. Big kudos: There is a scaling fast healing alternate racial trait that’s reliant on water and that cannot be cheesed – big kudos! Keen underwater scent, an alternative SP, adaptation to water pressure (and cold resistance 5) and an unnatural aura complement this one. This is as good a time as any to voice my utter delight regarding the bonus and natural attack codification here – the rules are exceedingly precise and well-crafted – kudos!


Next up are perversions of nature gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Intelligence, are medium and have a base speed of 20 ft. that is not reduced by armor or encumbrance. They gain the ability to Hold Breath, +2 natural armor, a primary bite, +2 to saves versus diseases, ingested poisons and effects that apply the nauseated and sickened conditions and a +2 bonus to Perception and Appraise to find hidden objects and determine whether food is spoiled. They also always treat Stealth as a class skill. The first of the two variants provided would be the chitined terror, who gains +2 Str and Con, -2 Cha, is amphibious with a 20 ft. swim speed and two claws. Curse-fused yields +2 Con and Cha, -2 Str and gains 30 ft. movement, but s affected by encumbrance and armor. It also gains a climb speed, immunity to magic sleep and a bonus to saves versus enchantments. With Cha of 11+, these folks also gain darkness 1/day as a SP. And yes, these suites are suitably balanced via exchanged traits. The other alternate racial traits net bonuses of defensive casting, a better carapace, carrion sense, better saves versus divine spells, atk and AC-bonuses versus a subtype of humanoid (bred to exterminate them!) and Improved Grapple via tiny grapple-helping appendages, Extend Spell for transmutations 1/day or sewer camouflage complement this section.


Reality-displaced entities get +2 Int and Cha, -2 Str, may compress up to ¼ their size sans squeezing penalties, get darkvision 60 ft, +1 to saves versus mind-affecting effects, two secondary tentacles and Dr 5/piercing. Alternate ability-suite-wise, we get the Small body snatcher, who gains 40 ft. movement and two weak claws. Minor example of a formatting hiccup here: The creature is affected by protection from evil as though summoned and the spell-reference is not italicized. The body-snatcher can crawl into corpses of vanquished humanoids that exceed its size, helping it offset its nigh non-existent item slots while wearing this meat-suit, which is btw. concisely codified in the rules – damn cool. The untethered gains +2 STr and Int, -2 Dex and gain two pincers as well as +1 to DCs of possession, magic jar, etc., representing something closer to yithians. The other alternate racial traits encompass burrow speed, lesser telepathy the SP to 1/day detect thoughts, being naturally psionic or immediate action grapple escape attempts. Precognitive flashes and the ability to send itself or another creature into the future or the ability to sense effects that distort time complement, as a whole, a damn cool array of tricks.


The subterranean nightmares, per default, gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, are Medium with a speed of 20 ft. that’s not modified by armor or encumbrance, darkvision 120 ft., light sensitivity, +3 natural armor, +4 Stealth while underground, stability, a bite attack and roper-like strands – while these inflict Strength damage, it’s only 1 point, has a save to negate and is iconic; moreover, its limits serve to keep it in check even for conservative games. They also get a variant of woodland stride in subterranean regions, but only for natural terrain. The alternate ability-suites include +2 Str and Wis, -2 Int and fly speed 40 ft. (poor), a secondary tail attack and +1 natural armor bonus. Note that the maneuverability and the modified slot-list does help reign in flight, though some campaigns may still consider this to be potent...but then again, you’re basically playing a cloaker-thing! Hungry worms would be the second ability-suite, +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Intelligence, base speed 30 ft., 20 ft. climb speed, +1 to natural AC, scent and secondary tentacle attacks. The alternate racial traits include burrow speed, Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival as class skills, better AC versus rays, SR penetration bonuses, hooks claws, -1 to Will saves in exchange to +1 to the DC of mental ability damage/drain-based abilities used, a Cha-variant of the strands or +1 to the DC of sonic effects – once again, neat!


Finally, we take a look at the most “normal” race – the warptouched, who gain +2 to an ability score of their choice, are Medium with 30 ft. movement, are treated as aberrations for the purpose of spells and effects, gain darkvision 60 ft., +1 to Bluff, Disguise, Knowledge (local), +1 natural AC, two secondary tentacle attacks at 1d4 base damage, +2 to saves versus SPs and SUs of aberrations and they may, as a swift action, suppress their unnatural traits, helping them greatly disguising their nature. The alternate racial traits include unlocking class skills, constant detect aberrations, a 30 ft. swim speed, +1 to atk versus aberrations, two favored class options, Wild Talent, a maw, +2 to natural armor and Intimidate versus humanoids, technological aptitude or being treated as +1 level regarding the use of revelations from the Dark tapestry or Heavens mysteries. While age, height and weight vary wildly between all these aberrations, a sample reference table is still included – kudos! We also get a massive FCO-list that includes psionic classes as well as occult classes – no balance concerns or complaints there. Well done!
Okay, so the basic racial traits as a whole are amazing – they are balanced in a rather ingenious way; the options will not break any game and provide meaningful options galore. While I am not the biggest fan of races that grant their ability score bonuses to only physical or mental scores, these make sense here and, more importantly, don’t break any of the races. In short: It’s been a long, long time since I was this impressed with a section of races.


Do the classes hold up? Well, we have a total of four archetypes and, as always, the racial paragon class to cover. Let us begin with the two briefer archetypes, the first of which would be the conduit of the forbidden psychic, who is locked into the dark half or dream psychic disciplines. Instead of detect thoughts, 2nd level causes anyone who seeks to tap into the mind of the conduit to take Wisdom damage and be dazed. 9th level nets 1/day confusion, with the additional option to expend spells to cast it, getting the complex possibility of metamagic feat use in conjunction right. The archetype loses telepathic bond for this. At 17th level, when a confused creature damages itself, the conduit may assume control over it as dominate monster, thankfully with limited daily uses. The second smaller archetype herein would be the Opener of Ways summoner, who gets a modified summon monster list specializing in calling forth void-called beings instead of celestial/infernal ones, with aberrations added to the summon list. The void-called template is btw. also presented here and is, power-wise, approximately on par with the more commonly-used ones. 6th level yields a thought eater familiar that requires being fed spell slots to keep it from roaming, making it an interesting addition that replaces maker’s call and transposition.


A rather complex archetype for the hunter class would be the freak wrangler, who loses all summon nature’s ally spells. Instead of the regular Animal Focus, these guys gain an aberration focus: No less than 16 different foci are presented, basically rewriting the whole class engine with an aberration focus. This also extends to the pet gained: From akata to choker to rust monsters and snallygasters, the archetype features a total of 12 such aberration pets (and yes, rules-wise, they continue behaving like animal companions regarding tricks etc.) – all with their own stats, advancements, etc. big kudos here, this is actually a hunter I’d like to play! A minor complaint: The vampiric mist focus can allow the creature to be healed continuously via feeding it creatures to grapple and bleed dry. Since this is pretty limited and slow, it shouldn’t break the game, though.


Now the racial paragon class would be “That Which Must Not Be”, which, chassis-wise, receives good Will-saves, ¾ BAB-progression, d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level and proficiency with simple weapons. The class, unsurprisingly, can gain natural weapons galore, but only may employ a maximum number governed by level, beginning at 3 and scaling up to 7. Now, ability-progression-wise, we have a massive amount of player agenda: At first level, you choose aberrant power – this acts as a kind of bloodline, which unlocks new abilities every 6 levels after 1st and provides the base ability-suite: Mental juggernaut, for example, nets you at-will instigate psychic duel and builds on that as an engine and also features size-increases. Scion of Madness focuses on causing Wisdom damage and confusion and servitors of the Old Ones gain SPs. So these are the basics.


At 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the class also gets to choose an abominable weirdness – basically one of the talents of the class, which, if applicable, has its saving throw DCs governed by Charisma. These include better aquatic adaption, acidic blood, gaining attach with certain natural weapons, reflexive negative energy damage, blood-draining feeding tubes, pulling filaments, extra heads or limbs, etc. Flight is suitably locked, minimum-level-wise, and from fortification-style anatomy to natural weapons and a bit of mesmerist poaching or even a phrenic amplification, we have a very wide and cool array of options here. Wanted to extract brains, illithid-style? Well, starting 12th level, you can. Oh, and yes, toxins etc. obviously can also be found. 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter increase natural armor by +1. 9th level eliminates age penalties and eliminates the threat of dying of old age – strange aeons indeed.


Beyond these, the class gains another option for players to customize it in a wide variety of ways, namely Alien Heritages. These are also chosen at 1st level and similarly act as a kind of linear ability progression – one ability is gained at first level, the second at 3rd and thereafter, every 4 levels unlock a new one. Once again, if applicable, Charisma acts as the governing attribute for save DCs for these. How many do we get? Well, more than 30 (!!!). That is in addition to the impressive talent array AND the 3 aberrant powers that maintain basic usefulness! The theme here are specific aberrations – there is a flumph heritage, one for beholders (minus IP, but you’ll now what’s meant!), Yithians, phrenic scourges, ropers, neh-thalggus (yep, with braincollecting…), mimics, moon beasts (which, at 11th level, heal when inflicting Wisdom drain, save to negate – not ideal, but limited in its cheesability), aberrations sans easily discernible heritage, intellect devourers (with 1st level psychic stab that is kept balanced by concise limitations), hyakume, heikegani, grindylows, froghemoths, driders – basically, all the iconics are covered and the ability array also covers some of the under-appreciated aberrations for weirdos like yours truly. Particularly impressive would be, at least from a design-perspective, the fact that A LOT of the signature abilities you’d expect are gained rather soon and kept viable, but balanced via concise restrictions that prevent nasty cheeses.


At 20th level, the class gains a unique name and title – and when someone, somewhere mentions it…it KNOWS, making it possible to greater scry the hapless fool…oh, and the poor sod becomes more susceptible to the Thing’s tricks. Worse for your foes, at this level, you are extremely hard to kill, lying dead but dreaming…amazing capstone.


“But endy, what if I don’t want to commit to a full 20-level class?” – Well, the pdf has you covered: The final archetype, the aberrant champion, is basically a catch-all archetype that allows the character to dabble in aberrant power, abominable weakness and alien heritage! Oh, and the archetype can be applied to a metric TON of classes: Beyond psionic classes (including, but not limited to the often overlooked cryptic and dread), we also cover the core and APG-options, ACG- and Occult classes AND some 3pp-classics like the warmaster, the taskshaper and hellion. Big kudos!


The pdf closes with 6 racial feats, which include the option to knock foes prone with grapples, gain an extra weirdness, a bonus to atk and damage versus aberrations with a different alien heritage (slightly unfortunate wording there), an upgrade for tentacle attacks, swift, mind-affecting demoralize via telepathy and a more devastating rend, which thankfully is locked and reserved for the higher levels.


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch: Editor Robert N. Emerson has done a phenomenal job. It’s been quite a while since I read a crunch-book this long that is this precise regarding formatting, types, etc. – big kudos! Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full-color artworks, some of which may be known to avid readers of 3pp-material. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Wendall Roy’s latest In the Company installment is a masterpiece, pure and simple. It excels in writing and rules-language, provides a ridiculous amount of bang for buck and does so with panache aplomb. The multi-attack monster is a hard trope to get right and the sheer breadth of aberrations this had to cover is daunting. The fact that this allows you to play a vast array of aberration concepts via both races and class options, tweak them and further enhance the options makes this absolutely amazing.


I am hard to impress at this point. I have seen A LOT. Add to that the fact that I *also* require races to feel unique and worthwhile enough to integrate them in the first place. Add to that the vast breadth Wendall had to cover. Insert a wide open archetype and a really rewarding racial paragon class with a ton of player agenda and moving parts. By all accounts, this pdf should have stumbled at some point. And I tried pretty hard to find hiccups, flaws in the engine. Apart from the very rare and mostly cosmetic minor glitch, I did not find what I was almost certain would be here. Instead, I found beauty. The options presented herein are potent and tick off a lot of the things I usually complain about, power-level-wise, but when they do, they do so with often subtle, really interesting balancing mechanics to keep them in line.


Beyond being an impressive feat as a writer, this represents an impressive feat as a designer and frankly outclasses even his amazing supplements on dragons and rakshasas, as far as I’m concerned. This is a phenomenal toolkit, which, courtesy of the breadth of options, could carry a whole aberration party. The array of races and wide open archetype, the clever paragon class – this is, in case you haven’t noticed by now, a piece of excellence as far as I’m concerned. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval and I nominate this as a candidate for my Top ten of 2017. If you remotely like aberrations, then get this. (As an aside: GMs, this is also pretty much the ultimate aberration-cultist toolkit…)

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Cyrillic to Latin

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 11:34pm

Convert cyrillic to latin letters on the fly for Serbian language. At this moment, the module will convert only strings that are passed through Drupal t() function. That means that content won't be translated.

How to use it?

You just need to install it. There is nothing to configure.

Categories: Drupal

cloudbanking

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 9:48pm

One Platform - All your payments!

Categories: Drupal

PreviousNext: OK Drupal - powering chatbots with Drupal

Planet Drupal - 17 September 2017 - 5:28pm
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Conversational UIs are the next digital frontier.

And as always, Drupal is right there on the frontier, helping you leverage your existing content and data to power more than just web-pages.

Want to see it action - click 'Start chatting' and chat to our Drupal site.

by lee.rowlands / 18 September 2017

Start chatting

So what's going on here?

We're using the Chatbot API module in conjunction with the API AI webook module to respond to intents. We're using API.ai for the natural language parsing and machine learning. And we're using the new Chatbot API entities sub module to push our Drupal entities to API.ai so it is able to identify Drupal entities in its language parsing.

A handful of custom Chatbot API intent plugin to wire up the webhook responses and that's it - as we create content, users and terms on our site - our chatbot automatically knows how to surface them. As we monitor the converstions in the API.ai training area, we can expand on our synonyms and suggestions to increase our matching rates.

So let's consider our team member Eric Goodwin. If I ask the chatbot about Eric, at first it doesn't recognise my question.

Eric isn't recognized as an entity

So I edit Eric's user account and add some synonyms

Adding synonyms to Eric's account

And then after running cron - I can see these show up in API.ai

Synonyms now available in API.ai

So I then ask the bot again 'Who is eric?'

Screenshot showing the default response

But again, nothing shows up. Now I recognise the response 'Sorry, can you say that again' as what our JavaScript shows if the response is empty. But just to be sure - I check the API.ai console to see that it parsed Eric as a staff member.

Intent is matched as Bio and Eric is identified as staff member

So I can see that the Bio Intent was matched and that Eric was correctly identifed as the Staff entity. So why was the response empty? Because I need to complete Eric's bio in his user account. So let's add some text (apologies Eric you can refine this later).

Adding a biography

Now I ask the bot again (note I've not reloaded or anything, this is all in real time).

A working response!

And just like that, the bot can answer questions about Eric.

What's next?

Well API.ai provides integrations with Google Assistant and Facebook messenger, so we plan to roll out those too. In our early testing we can use this to power an Actions on Google app with the flick of a switch in API.ai. Our next step is to expand on the intents to provide rich content tailored to those platforms instead of just plain-text that is required for chatbot and voice responses.

Credits

Thanks go to @gambry for the Chatbot API module and for being open to the feature addition to allow Drupal to push entities to the remote services.

And credit to the amazing Rikki Bochow for building the JavaScript and front-end components to incorporate this into our site so seamlessly.

Further Reading Tagged Chatbots, Conversational UI, Drupal 8

Posted by lee.rowlands
Senior Drupal Developer

Dated 18 September 2017

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Categories: Drupal

Video Game Deep Cuts: An HDR Tooth Nindie Tail?

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 17 September 2017 - 7:30am

Top game articles & videos for the week include the state of HDR in gaming, behind the scenes on new RTS Tooth & Tail, and stories from some key Nintendo indies. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: An HDR Tooth Nindie Tail? - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 17 September 2017 - 7:29am
The top articles & videos for the week include the state of HDR in gaming, behind the scenes on new RTS Tooth & Tail, and stories from some key Nintendo indies.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

WordPress Migration (from DB)

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 3:06am
Categories: Drupal

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 16 September 2017 - 11:00am
Hey everyone. We’ve made it around to another weekend. I said I was going to probably be doing some baking. Well, I’ve got some magic cookie bars cooling right now. I love these things… probably too much… *looks at my stomach* … definitely too much. But issues with my waistline aside, I hope you’re having […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Price

New Drupal Modules - 16 September 2017 - 6:22am

Price field with different tweaks.
Started as a decoupling commerce_price from commerce.
The work is in progress...

Categories: Drupal

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