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Archive for May, 2017

Trello: A Users Guide

Trello is a powerful tool for managing a project, allowing you to form teams that take ownership of their projects or tasks in a more visual way. Whilst many people think of Trello as a business tool, it has many uses for home users as well. If you’ve been dabbling with the idea of creating a Trello Board for you and your friends or family, or if you’re just curious as to how to use Trello better, this is a full tutorial on all of the main functions Trello has.


Those of you who are well versed in this website will know that I like to do cosplay, where I really enjoy making my own costumes, or at least bits and pieces towards them. I recently started to show Kim from Later Levels the perks of listing out everything that’s needed to make a costume successful; but one of the talking points was motivation. As such, I set out to set up a cosplay Board for the two of us, to help with our cosplays as we march towards Kitacon Quest.

Table of Contents

Trello Front Page
Trello Board View
Trello Board Menu & Settings
Trello Lists
Trello Cards
Deleting a Trello Board, List & Card
Trello Terminology
Trello Markdown

 


Using Trello

Trello Front Page

Welcome to the front page of Trello. Yours won’t look like this – This is just a quick snippet of how it looks for me! You’ll see there are three big buttons, one of which is just an introductory Welcome Board and the other two are more specific. One is actually to do with what we do here at GeekOut South-West, called GeekOut Media as it encapsulates all of our projects.

The GeekOut Media section is a ‘Team’ view – Within teams, you are able to set it up so only members of that team can participate in your Boards, as well as add in teams specifically for your group. For instance, if you work on many projects at home, perhaps you’re a developer, or perhaps you want to do some work from home as a team, but you also want a team for your house, you can set them up by pressing the Create a new team button. There are many settings and as you can see, you can even give your team a logo. Moving on, we’re going to look at our Cosplay Progress Board.

*NOTE: If you click on the Boards button on the left hand corner of the taskbar at the top, you will be given a drop down list of all of the Boards you’ve been added into/made for yourself. Handy if you use many Boards for many different projects, as this appears even on the Board View.

Trello Board View

I wrote this article as a way to introduce people to Trello and since Kim was new to it at the time, I thought it’d be of interest to share with everyone. Welcome to our humble little Cosplay Progress Board! As I had only just set it up, literally two days before writing this article, there are only a few Cards and Lists from me. Trello is all about a really basic core terminology, of which I’ve created a really simple summary at the end of the article.

Within Boards, there are Lists and within Lists there are Cards. Within Cards, there are snippets of information, of which you fill out yourself. Information doesn’t necessarily have to be text; they can be images, checklists, markdown formatted descriptions, labels and even adding in due dates. We’ll cover all of these later, but first you need to know what’s going on. So this whole web-page is called a Board. Inside, you’ll see five Lists. Inside of the first List, you can visibly see three Cards. You can add a new List by clicking the Add a List… button to the right of the last created List.

Trello Board Menu & Settings

The other thing worth noting on a Trello Board is on the right hand side, where the menu is sat. At the top of the menu you can see the users who are on your Board, followed by a button to add more Members in. Although you can make a completely open and public Board, Trello Boards are typically private by default – You can change the settings of Boards when you first make them, or by clicking on the visibility indicator as you can see above.

Another point of the Menu on the right hand side is the Activities section, which is effectively like a log of all that has happened on the Board. Back to the top of the Menu, you have the Filter Cards button, where you can specifically seek out all Cards that have certain Labels that you set up (more on this later), or Cards that have been created by specific people, or Members who are at least set to be looking after a specific Card. There are a number of different ways you can set this up, so if your Board gets massive, this is a quick way to look through them.

Lastly, there are “Power-Ups” on Trello, which I used to be under the impression were a paid feature, but apparently are not! A Power-Up is similar to an add-on for Trello; an app, or a service, that you can connect to your Trello Board. A really good example of this is the Twitter Power-Up, in case you want to attach a Tweet to a Card. If you’ve got an app you use regularly, or want to add to your Board, activate the Power-Up and the ability to use their features are added into your Trello Cards.

Trello Lists

Lists are simply what we call these named areas within a Board – They are a place where Cards sit peacefully, waiting for people to interact with them. If you click and drag around the name area of a List, you can move them around to change the order in which they appear, like you see in the image above. As well as this, you can move Cards between them by simply click and dragging the Card around the place. This is especially useful if you have a List for “completed” Cards – As an example, you can create a fairly reliable issue/bug tracking ticketing system this way.

Trello Cards

This is the real meat of the article; Trello Cards are where your content goes and this is where you’ll spend most of your time on the website. You’ll often be looking to add content, so once you hit the Add a Card… button at the bottom of a List, you will be prompted to name your brand new Card immediately. Click Add or hit the enter button on your keyboard and you’ll create the Card. We’ll now follow the process of setting up a Card, adding content to it and then finally looking at what else you can do with the Card afterwards.

Welcome to this brand new Card View of the Card we’ve just set up. At the moment, there’s basically nothing on here. First things first, a Description is useful to add, so let’s actually explain what the purpose of the Card is. For the above, I simply typed in “LED Shoes, add update pictures in the comments.” I can add Markdown to make the description prettier, but I’ve not done that for now. If you’d like to know more about Markdown, I’d recommend jumping to the end of this article.

Next, I might decide that this is a Card only for me to use. I can add myself in – As Kim will be a Team viewer of the Board, she will be able to view it as well, but adding myself on the Card will tell me if there have been any updates. Typically this is better for bigger teams, but this also adds a layer of filtering as we’ve mentioned previously in this article. Please note: If you want a cover image for your Card, just simply attach an image and it’ll automatically become the cover image. You can remove this as the cover image if you’d prefer it to not be the cover image, but still attach the image to the Card.

I can add in various different ‘things’: I can add an attachment from my computer, or from a URL of my choice. I can also add a Due Date, I.E when the actions on the Card should be completed by. As well as this, we can create Checklists, Labels and more. Instead of showing everything, I’d like to draw your attention to the Labels section – You can rename these Labels, add more Labels, delete Labels and much more. Again, this helps with filtering; but it can also be useful if you’re creating a sort of “stop-start” system as well.

Lastly, perhaps you’d like to leave a comment on a Card; you might be asking other members of your team a question, or perhaps you just want to tell yourself what’s going on with the Card. Commenting is a powerful way to know what stage you’re up to and that you’ve not abandoned the Card, especially if you are doing something large with it. Think of this as a way to add status updates! You can add pictures to your comments, which are really useful as a visual aid for how far you’ve come on the actions on the Card.

Deleting A Trello Card, List or Board

Your Trello Board, List or Card has run it’s purpose and is now useless to you? Perhaps you instead created it by mistake and you don’t want it any more. You can remove Cards, Lists and Board, however it’s not always intuitive on how to do this. Starting off with a Card, you can delete this by clicking on the Card, clicking the Share and More… button at the bottom right hand corner of the Card and then clicking Delete at the very bottom of the dialogue box. If you’re not sure if you would like to come back to the Card some day, you can instead archive it, by hovering over the Card when you’re in the Board view, clicking the pencil icon at the top right and then clicking Archive.

Lists can be archived by clicking on the … button at the top right hand corner of the List itself and then clicking Archive This List. It’ll prompt you, warning that you’ll be archiving all of the Cards that are on the List as well. This is important, as if you don’t want to be able to get these Cards ever again, then you might want to delete those Cards separately instead. Consider where your content ends up!

Lastly then, the Trello Board itself can be deleted, but you first have to close it by going to the Board Menu on the right hand side. This is important, as once you’ve closed the Board, you will be able to reopen it, but you also needless to say never need to actually go back to the Board ever again. You can also click the Permanently Delete Board… button and away it goes, never to be seen again!


Trello Lexicon

Here are some useful hints to help you with understanding Trello’s terminology.

Boards :- Boards are the general pages where information sits. Board Settings allow you to change things, such as the background image and much more. For those wondering, the background image for our Board here was a stock image found through Trello to represent cosplay. You can subscribe to a Board for a high-level view of what’s happened on your Board via email.
Board View :- When you click into a Board, this is where you see all of the Lists, the Cards inside of the Lists and the settings.
Lists :- Lists are simply just a place where you put Cards. You can subscribe specifically to a List and be updated via email whenever something new happens to the List since you last looked.
Cards :- Cards are where information is held. Add pictures, descriptions, attachments and much more this way. Yes, you can even attach emails and yes, much like Cards and Lists, you can subscribe to them to find out when something happens on a specific Card.
Card View :- This is when you click on a Card and you can see all of the content within it.
Members :- People who have been added into the Board. These are people who can typically edit the Board. If it’s a private Board, only the Members of the Board can view it.
Team :- A bunch of Members who have been added into a group together; You can add people into a Team and if someone creates a Board for the Team, you will automatically be able to jump into it.
Archive :- Remove a Board, List or Card from view, however keep them available to be brought back.
Delete :- Permanently remove a Board, List or Card from Trello.


All Trello Markdown

The below is a quick cheat sheet for all Markdown in Trello. Useful, for if you want to format your data better.

Markdown for formatting Card descriptions, comments, checklist items

Bold: **Word** :- creates a Bold word.
Italic: *Word* :- creates an Italic word.
Strikethrough: ~~Word~~ :- creates a strikethrough on the word.
Inline Code: ‘These words are code formatted’ :- creates a formatted section, most commonly associated with coding.
Links: [Word](http://geekoutsw.com) :- creates a hyperlink on the word in the square brackets.
Mentions: @person will mention a Member of the board called person.

Markdown for formatting Card descriptions and comments only

Horizontal Rule: — :- creates a horizontal rule across the description/comment.
Code Block: ‘’’ Insert Words Here ‘’’  :- This creates a block of text which is formatted as it is between the three “ticks”. This includes new lines.
Indent: > Word :- will indent the words in a description/comment.
Bullet Points: – Word :- will create a bullet point in a description/comment.
Numbered List: 1. Word :- will create a numbered list in a description/comment. NOTE: You can ‘escape’ the numbered list, by placing a slash before the dot. For instance: 5\. will force it to be point 5.

Markdown for formatting Card descriptions only

Headers: #Header 1 :- for the largest header size. You can do ##Header 2 for a size down or ###Header 3 for the smallest header size on a Card description only.
Embedded Images: ![alt text](URL of image) :- Unfortunately, you must have the image hosted somewhere for this to work. Where it says [alt text], you can make this say whatever you want, in case the image doesn’t load. Only works in a Card description.


Wow, this article was a lot more in depth than it was originally going to be, but without the Business Class or Gold Member features being included, this is effectively all that you’d likely care about within Trello. What did you think of this comprehensive guide? Did we cover everything you’d like to see? Don’t forget, Trello has an Android and iPhone app, so you can do all of this on your phone/tablet as well. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on our Facebook, Twitter or Reddit pages.

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Lists & The Basics of Sci Fi and Fantasy

I’ve been trying some list writing lately, a means of putting dozens of idle and fragmented ideas into some kind of order, and aiming for a nice round number gives me the drive to come up with something new. Things like:

10 Mimics

  1. Ladder leading to a trap door, the mimic strikes when a creature is halfway up.
  2. Corpse with a gleaming sword in the back.
  3. Freestanding mirror that gives slightly inaccurate reflections.
  4. Chest in a shipwreck. Because who’s going to check while holding their breath? AHAHAHAHAHAA ~cough~
  5. Writing desk with locked pigeon holes, or possibly with a map spread across it.
  6. Vault door embedded in a stone wall.
  7. Table or shelf stocked with fresh food.
  8. Shovel stuck in a freshly turned over mound of soil.
  9. Music box with key, it chimes intermittently to coax creatures closer.
  10. Velvet upholstered throne occupying a low plinth.

You get the idea (and feel free to use those by the way). I’ve been spurred on by people like Raging Swan Press or the Hyper Halfling’s Book of Lists, as they’re immensely useful and a great inspiration for any fantasy based game. I’m also trying to write some for sci-fi based games as I can’t seem to find many free resources that aren’t bound to a particular universe – and I have a Borderlands RP under way – and here’s where I’m coming undone.

It’s actually amazingly easy to write for generic fantasy compared to how difficult it is to write for generic sci-fi because there is no generic sci-fi. Fantasy draws from various mythology and the Tolkein stereotypes wrought from old Norse mythology, elves and dwarves, dragons, giants, demons, the gothic horror classics like vampires and werewolves, mages and witches, knights and brigands. Science fiction is broadly missing these fundamentals to fall upon, with every new sci-fi writer bringing in their own interpretations and semi-original concepts.

We covered a few of the old sci-fi stereotypes a few years ago, and I can build upon this a little with the observations of other students of the genre. We tend towards a human-centric universe with common races either representing some aspect of human society, or being copies of fantasy stereotypes. Minbari, asari, vulcans, and eldar can all be accused of being space elves, narn, krogan, and klingons are space orcs, and Warhammer has abandoned pretence and given us actual Orkz. Fall-back phrases to use when creating generic sci-fi resources might include the use of robots, technology, the advanced aliens, the ancient aliens, the militaristic aliens, any form of descriptor that might set a species apart, but even then it leaves you with little to work with, a very narrow foundation on which to build.

For example, I’ve been attempting to write a fairly common list type, 100 trinkets. Now this can’t include anything that might give a character a major advantage, nothing that can be used as a weapon, but perhaps a curio that highlights some of their backstory, or carries its own story. Something that can easily be shoved into a pocket or doesn’t take up too much space in a backpack. Shouldn’t be too hard right? For fantasy it’s not a problem, there are thousands of items between the various lists on my computer or on my bookshelves:

8. A small sea conch with the words “From the beginning” painted on the lip. – Elemental Evil: Trinkets; Dragon+ Magazine, Wizards of the Coast
51. (Dr) Blood and Laughter, author’s name is an unintelligible symbol. A terrifying collection of scenes involving torture victims and gruesome deaths. It is difficult to tell whether the volume is historical or fictional. – Books; The Hyper Halfling’s book of Lists
6. The red flowers painted on this ceramic vase bloom, wilt and die over the course of a day. – 20 things to find in a bag of holding; Raging Swan Press

Well so far I have forty sci-fi trinkets. In the mean time my collected encounter tables, unique treasures, and cruel encounters all keep getting expanded upon. Despite a dearth of sci-fi properties to inspire and steal from I find myself falling back upon tiny single-purpose robots, holograms, galactic curios, and assorted technojunk. Still I persevere because little projects like this encourage creative thought and give me something geeky to moan about.


Gamer Question of the Month: Jun ’17

We were asked by the lovely team over at the Later Levels if I would like to take part in doing a monthly Q&A, to open discussion about video games amongst bloggers. If you’re interested in joining in the discussion, leave us a comment below, or reach out to Later Levels. Every month here on GeekOut South-West, we’ll be sharing what the question of the month is, as well as what our answers to this question is and our justification for the answers. We unfortunately missed last months question, as we were deep in development of some projects – However we’re back and this is the question of the month:

Which video game contains the most surprising plot twist?

A lot of games have plot twists that you really see coming, some games have plot twists you feel are going to happen, but just aren’t what you’d expect. I thought of quite a few, including the most fantastic would you kindly? scene in BioShock 1, which naturally has ended up on the poll (see below).

“Come and get me, loser! Spankety spankety spankety!” – Earthbound

Anyone who has played Earthbound will be aware of how the game ends, as it’s not exactly a hard game to beat. You play through as Ness and companions, as you fight through funny enemies, such as the New Age Retro Hippy who likes to measure the fight with his ruler. Whilst the game is colourful and cute, suddenly it turns dark and nasty, as it turns out that Porky/Pokey Minch, a boy who lived next door to you, has been helping strengthen a being of pure hatred, Giygas. The game gets really dark if you read into it.

What is your favourite plot twist in all of gaming? Got an answer for us, or do you think one of the picks of this ever expanding group of bloggers is the best choice? Let us know by voting in the official poll below.

 

That’s it from me this month, but as always these posts are made to get us chatting. I must ask you: What do you think is the most surprising plot twist in video games? Do you think this one sits up there, or is it no good to you? Remember to check out the original question over on Later Levels, then don’t forget to vote for your favourite Easter Egg over on this poll. Finally, leave us a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


GeekOut Shrewsbury Meet – May ’17

May comes and May goes, but every month something new for GeekOut Shrewsbury. More new faces, more new games, more new plans for our glorious and shining future! And as we continue to grow you continue to grow with us, making the Shrewsbury Meets yours. Remember we’re always looking for ways to improve and make these events better for everyone, so we want your input on what you want, on what you geek out about, because we’re not just out to play board games all evening.

Not that that’s a bad plan, but it damn near killed some of us this month. (more…)


Top 10 – Characters Who Shouldn’t Have Bothered

GeekOut Top 10s

Don’t you hate it when you’re all hyped up for a fight; only to find out that you’re so severely outclassed, that you really shouldn’t have actually mustered up the energy to make your way there? Or when you’re surrounded by people who are constantly just… better than you? This is when you’re so seriously out of your league, that you’re basically walking to your death, or your own obscurity. Welcome back to our Top 10 readers, where this week we look at our Top 10 characters who shouldn’t have bothered. (more…)


Anime Review: Overlord

Ever feel like you’re living in a video game? Well Lord Momonga certainly does; a powerful lich who has been trapped in a virtual world, with no-one around except for NPCs who have come to life; He just wants to get to the bottom of why he’s stuck in this world. From level differences and HUD interface features, along with dungeons & dragons dynamics, Overlord is a wonderful telling of the trapped-in video game subgenre of anime. Does this series have a life of its own, or does it fall flat next to more established anime of its kind?

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Character Alignment Profile

Building upon the last few weeks of breaking down the moral alignment chart from Dungeons & Dragons fame, I wanted to break down a character by their place on the axes between good and evil, law and chaos. Inspired by this article by Falcon Game Reviews I asked for suggestions on characters I could break down, but sadly got no ideas for anyone I felt confident enough to analyse in weird levels of detail.

So I sat, and I deliberated while chain-watching episodes of Constantine, scrolling through my Steam Library, IMdb, Deviant Art, YouTube, my bookshelves, and any number of geeky Facebook pages searching for inspiration. Someone who’s morality and methods may come into conflict, someone compelling who would be interesting to break down. And it took until about mid-day on the day I write this for me to notice what kind of an idiot I was being. (more…)


Improvised D&D – Tales of Adventure

Sessions of D&D are usually not short. Any session that I have been to has ranged between 2-4 hours in general, so I was intrigued to go and see a specifically designed 90 minute D&D base show at The Improv Theatre in Bristol. I was very interested to see how this would work and being a fan of things like Critical Role, and the Acquisitions Incorporated sessions I had no idea how they would make it work and was very pleased with the result.

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Review – Justice League Dark

Is anyone else livid over the fact that Constantine got cancelled while Gotham limps on? I hear that Legends of Tomorrow got better, same as Supergirl, but I gave them both a chance and just couldn’t keep watching, and yet one of the three good DC shows got axed. Matt Ryan brilliantly played the sarcastic one-man army standing against the darkness that lies beyond the veil of illusion we call life, who walks between heaven and hell and raises a middle finger to both. The intention was to incorporate the series into the Arrowverse, a plan which has apparently not been entirely scrapped.

Y’see much like many of his nemeses, Constantine just won’t die. There was a brief stop-motion mini-series, a cameo on Arrow, an animated series underway in a few months time, and a starring feature in one of DCs far superior animated film series, Justice League Dark. Where is this DC? (more…)


Old School Runescape

The name Runescape is synonymous with early 00’s gaming; with a really large number of gamers from all over the world, with many servers. Created by Jagex, a company formed in Cambridge, here in the United Kingdom, this MMO was an experience that encapsulated many gamers. It was an MMO before World of Warcraft was around, it also ran in a browser, as it was programmed in Java. These days, RuneScape has been officially recognised as the worlds largest free MMORPG made, with over 200 million accounts. As well as this, it holds the title for the most updated game ever – So with all of this said, I recently decided to play some ‘Old School Runescape’, so I could get a taste of my past. What I got… Wasn’t what I expected.

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