Achievements 7.x-1.5 released

The Drupal Achievements module offers the ability to create achievements and badges similar to systems seen on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Foursquare, Gowalla, GetGlue, and more. For a Drupal site, this could mean commenting a certain number of times, starting a forum topic, visiting the site every day of the week, or anything else that can be tracked and coded. The recently released 7.x-1.5 update adds two optional modules, a new type of achievement, and a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks.

Critical API change for "hidden" achievements

If you're using "hidden" achievements (that is, achievements which coquettishly say "I'm here!", but don't reveal their points, title, or description until unlocked), they've been renamed to "secret" in 7.x-1.5. If you don't retype any of your hidden achievements in your code, they'll become visible to your users. From a gamer's perspective, a "secret achievement" is a more frequently used phrase than a "hidden achievement", and "secret" and "invisible" (see below) work better together than "hidden" and "invisible" (which are synonymous).

Invisible achievements are now available

"Secret" achievements are those that are displayed to the end-user but don't reveal their details until unlocked. These achievements are best used to indicate there are still things to earn, but without spoiling the fun of discovering how to do so. Sometimes, though, you want entirely "invisible" achievements - those that don't show up at all in the user's achievements list until they've been earned. These are now possible in Achievements 7.x-1.5, and are great for tenure-based milestones to thank long-time users or beta testers, event-specific achievements for those who were there at the right place and the right time, or simply to provide a different type of experience when you have thousands of achievements or want to "build up" the user's achievement list vs. starting them off with everything visible and locked.

Opting out and no competition

Two new optional modules have been made available in this release. Some folks just plain ol' hate gamification, and the Opt-out module adds a new checkbox field to the user's edit screen that allows them to refrain from (and reenable, if they so desire) earning achievements. Opting out will hide the user's Achievements tab, delete all their currently earned achievements and storage data, and can also be used as a quickie "start over" mechanism (though if you've written any legacy unlocking code for them, they won't re-earn for free what you may have granted them in the past).

The second module, Pointless, removes all the explicit competitive elements of achievements. Milestones will no longer display a user's unlock rank or the number of points, and access to the leaderboards is disabled. This creates an environment where the user unlocks achievements for their own gratification, not to simply one-up another user or to get noticed on a nebulous high-score table.

Et cetera

Further information about smaller tweaks and bug fixes is available in the release notes.

Using Achievements on your site? I'd love to see it and start unlocking 'em myself. Lemme know!

Achievements development is supported by Examiner.com, which uses the module for its Examiner-specific Trophy Case. If you're a passionate or knowledgeable writer, consider applying to become an Examiner and see the implementation yourself, as well as earning money for your popular articles.

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