Archive for November, 2011

Foswiki for Role Playing

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Foswiki has enough access controls to allow it to handle players and games.  If you set it up properly, it works very well.

Step 1: Install Foswiki

Follow the installation instructions.  Using CGI is easiest to set up, if you watch the gotcha I found with running bin/configure.  FCGI is much faster, and works well once you install the extension, and if your host supports it.  (Mine does!)

I have had a little trouble getting the Apache config right, and have had to make several changes to get it working in my webserver configuration.  Make sure the virtual host is correct (not the default *), that the logs are as you want them, and to add a redirect for / to /foswiki/ if you want that.

Step 2: Configure Foswiki

Use the bin/configure script to configure Foswiki.  Mostly this is paths and mail.  Add the FastCGI if you want to use that.

Step 3: Add Admin Users

I like to create a user (or users) for administration and put them in the AdminGroup so they have full rights to everything.  This is easier than using the special admin user.  I like to create a “FirstnameAdmin” user – I’m LouAdmin, usually – for each administrator.  Get the admin to create them and then use the magic ‘admin’ user to add them to the AdminGroup.

Step 4: Add Game Groups

For each game, you’ll want two groups.  GamePlayers and GameGMs.  Create them, using tools in Main/WikiGroups

Step 5: Add Users

Have the GM(s) and player(s) create accounts.  Add them appropriately to the GM and Player groups for each game.  The GMs does not have to be in the player group.

Step 6: Add Webs

Create a Web for GamePlayers and GameGMs.  (System/ManagingWebs).  Then, set each of those to be limited to the the correct groups.  Go to the WebPreferences setting for each web (GamePlayers/WebPreferences, for example) and update ALLOWWEBVIEW to the appropriate groups.  The Player web should have the players and the GMs, and the GMs should have only the GMs.

The GM web should look something like this:


The Players web is the same, but includes the players in ALLOWWEBVIEW:

  • Set ALLOWWEBVIEW = %USERSWEB%.GameGMsGroup, %USERSWEB%.GamePlayersGroup, %USERSWEB%.AdminGroup
Step 7: Clean Up
The above get you per-group webs that players and GMs can use properly.  The default page layouts have a bunch of extra stuff on them that can be adjusted, as you desire.

Using a Wiki for Role Playing Games

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I have run Role Playing Games (RPGs) for some time, and played in them for longer.  One of the things that comes up as useful is ways for the players to sort and organize their notes, discoveries, etc., and for the Game Master (GM) to do the same thing.

In this modern age, where many (if not all) of the people at my gaming table have laptops or tablets, the use of a Wiki should be perfect.  However, many wikis have a strong feeling of “The Wiki Way”, which says everyone should be able to see and edit everything so that the experience and knowledge of everyone can be gathered and stored.

There’s at least two problems with this for a gaming Wiki.  First, the gaming Wiki’s probably on the Internet, where “anyone can edit” translates into “instantly defaced by spammers”.  That’s not ever good, and it seems to be ignored by many of the Wiki packages.

The second problem is that the GM needs a private place on the Wiki to conspire against the players.  If there’s more than one GM collaborating, they need to share information.  The players need to be kept out, so the things there can be a surprise when the game plays out.

It’s great if the players have a place to put their collective notes and information as well.  Some GMs want access to those, and some won’t.  Some will think these should be hidden to only players in the game, and some won’t.  (If the player characters are doing anything salacious or gaming anything subversive, it is perhaps best not to have those on Google.)

Enter Foswiki.  Foswiki allows access control by groups.  The next articles will detail how to set up Foswiki for RPG use.

Foswiki 1.1.3 Fast CGI installation

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

This took me a long time, and a trip to the IRC channel to sort out.

When you install Foswiki, the installaiton guide sends you to an Apache Config File Generator. One of the options is to use cgi, or Fast CGI. Since I’ve used Fast CGI before and I know it works on my server, I selected that.

I got the configure program running, but the wiki would only 404.

I dug in and discovered the FastCGI configuration uses a foswiki.fcgi script, which wasn’t anywhere in my archive.

There’s a reason: It’s an extension you have to install. Foswiki dosen’t ship with FastCGI support.

You can install it through Configure; go to Extensions, click the Find and Install Extensions button, then install FastCGIEngineContrib.

A kind user there, gac410, knew this and got me straightened right out right away. Thanks again, gac!