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After the Rush (or: KDEGames Needs You)

June 27, 2011

then

Once, when the KDE4 rush was at its peak, KDEGames was a village of goldrunners, granatiers and card players. No day went by without stories about new porting achievements, here and there a new game was found and the denizens even made it to IRC town regularily to talk about how they could make their village even better, even prettier, the best. And it felt good.

now

Those days are no more. Sometimes people visit the village they had heard of in so many stories, and then they end up taking some pictures of them pretending to cheerlead, run away from or play football with some tumbleweed. Some are still living here. Hiding from the people that come to laugh at them. The dreamers who cannot let go the past, who deny to admit that those times are over.

guilt

Oh the guilt. Whom should it burn? Who brought the misery over the village? Was is sickness? Greed? The Government? Aliens? Steve Urkel? (announcement for those who got this one: you are old :D)
No. It is just too easy to blame someone abstract, someone who does not seem to care to be blamed, someone not … yourself.

solution

Now that I sprayed a numbing feeling of guilt all over you, here’s what you can do to help rebuilding the village.

adopt a game

There are several games currently unmaintained. We have all seen it plenty of times. The maintainer gets a new job, grows a family or (curious as we all are) finds a new hobby that consumes his leisure time. See the list of games (click on the website link for pretty pictures) and if you are interested in a game or just curious about what you can do for the code or the game’s bugzilla footprint, come visit us, talk to us and learn what it means to play while you work. :)

Bomber

Arcade bombing game.
Website: missing
Bugs: none listed

KAtomic

Build complex atoms with a minimal amount of moves.
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 1 listed

KBreakout

Breakout-like game.
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 7 listed

Kiriki

Yahtzee-like dice game
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 5 listed

KLines

Place five equal pieces together, but wait, there are 3 new ones…
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 3 listed

KNetwalk

A game for system administrators
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs:11 listed

Kollision

Collision game.
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 2 listed

KReversi

The old reversi board game, also known as Othello.
Website: games.kde.org
Bugs: 10 listed

unsorted

Also, the maintainership of the following games is not certain at the moment and has to be investigated:

fix bugs

You do not need to adopt a game to help the village. If you look at the list of open bugs, there will always be some crashers, all-timers or just annoying bugs that we were not able to fix yet. Sometimes because the lack or time or skill or because we are not able to reproduce them. The list of bugs (and requests) is long.
(I share a search for kdegames in Bugzilla. Look at you Preferences page to use it.)

organise irc meetings

Yes, we should have meetings again. I have only attended two or three KDEGames meetings, but they were always very nice and attracted quite a few people to help. You can play games there after all. :)

do the usual stuff

There are more ways to help an understaffed module in need. Some of them are more obvious than others but all of them can be discussed on our mailinglist. So feel invited.

do not expect us to do the things you want

We most likely will not implement your favourite feature in your favourite game. That is not because we hate you, but because we are simply understaffed. Some games are maintained, but even there we have games that are actively developed and games that are in pure maintenance mode.
A few weeks ago Aaron came to us and asked if we would like to jump on the Plasma Active train. Yes, we would like to do that. But it seems we cannot make it in any forseeable future.

future

Or can we?
This is KDE after all. :)


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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Inge Wallin permalink
    June 27, 2011 10:13 am

    So, how do we check out the sources? I couldn’t find anything on techbase, and the website said only “not recommended”.

  2. Albert Astals Cid permalink
    June 27, 2011 10:51 am

    FWIW I’ll reclaim kiriki soon. Though from those 5 bugs you list 3 are wishes and i’m not sure about the rest.

  3. Jan permalink
    June 27, 2011 11:38 am

    And don’t forget kshisen. It looks like the maintainer prefers to write poetic and/or arrogant blog entries rather then software.

  4. June 27, 2011 11:55 am

    @Inge: KDEGames is in SVN: http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/KDE/kdegames/
    The time frame for the move to Git is not decided yet.

    @Albert: Yes, the point was not to point out real bugs but to point out what is there without someone really looking after it. But nice to hear that you can join kdegames again. :)

    @Jan: “and/or”? This time is was just arrogant. Maybe I can make a poetic one next time. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

  5. mutlu permalink
    June 27, 2011 1:23 pm

    IIRC, this has happened several times to KDEGames: it draws lots of developers and then becomes abandoned, only to attract a bunch of them again. I always thought that one of the reasons might be a relative lack of a common code base that lead to developers doing their own thing. To me, the work on frameworks such as the one for 3D always seemed to be the right way to remedy this. Not sure about it, though.

  6. Jonathan permalink
    June 27, 2011 4:27 pm

    Did I do that!?

  7. Eike Hein permalink
    June 27, 2011 5:34 pm

    Hm, being a KDE sysadmin at all, I might be able to be roped into taking over KNetwalk, I’ve always enjoyed playing it too …

  8. June 27, 2011 8:11 pm

    @mutlu: Yes, that might be true. Fortunately there are some things in the works in libkdegames. Also there is Gluon, which might be able to unify quite sme things WRT games development.

    @Jonathan: Did you do what?

    @Eike: That would be great. :) You could finally fix the strange graphical glitch that KNetwalk has for quite some time now. https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=190486 … Since you are a graphics guy. :)

  9. Jonathan Thomas permalink
    June 27, 2011 9:43 pm

    (It was an Urkel reference) ;-)

  10. June 27, 2011 11:54 pm

    @Jonathan: Ah. (/me was only accustomed to the German version) :D

  11. Inge Wallin permalink
    June 28, 2011 11:52 am

    icwiener: Thanks. Is it buildable against non-master kdelibs?

    I just might reclaim kreversi. It would be nice to do some more playful hacking again…

  12. June 28, 2011 1:48 pm

    @Inge: Yes, I build it here with 4.6.3.

    That would be nice. :)

  13. June 29, 2011 12:02 am

    *sigh* This is a hard, “tough love” post to write, but necessary imho. Here goes…

    I love games. I love *making* games. I love KDE. Yet, still I find it hard to raise any interest here in myself. Why? Look at all of these games, and I’m talking mainly the game concept here, not the graphics, sound etc. These are Atari 2600 to Windows 3.1 era concept games. They are horribly outdated. I’m not talking retro-cool outdated like 8 bit club music. I’m talking hard-to-believe-it-still-exists outdated.

    I’m not saying we have to be producing AAA first person shooters that outdo Crysis 3, but surely we can manage something on the level of Secret Maryo Chronicles or Frozen Bubble, which at least makes it to the early 90’s.

    KDE’s tech is amazing. We should have beautiful 2D games at the very least. There are plenty of artists who would love to see their stuff in a fun game. But that’s the key. A fun game. A game they feel people would want to play. It hurts me to say this, but… any of the KDE-games I’ve installed, I never bothered to play more than a couple of times. They just weren’t *fun*. It’s not that they were incomplete. It’s that the basic concept of the games were more outdated than fun. Loderunner? Battleship? Connet4? Come on! Go to a game jam nearby sometime. You’ll often see 20+ *fun* games turned out by only a few people each in a weekend. They’re original. They’re often very off-beat. They’re creative. Most of all, at least a few of them are going to be *fun*. The jams show us it’s doable with very little time, resources or personpower… when people are inspired by making *the game they want to play*.

    I know the easy response is “Well, make better KDE based games, or be quiet.” I already know and use the Blender game engine. I use it because I can create games without needing to learn how to code. At all. I don’t have time to do art and learn to code in my *cough* “spare time”. There’s no way I know of this can currently be done in KDE. I could do art for other games (as I did with most of the enemies in Secret Maryo Chronicles), but I’m only going to want to do that for games *I’d actually want to play*. None exist in KDE-games, sadly. Using the BGE also means I’m not using KDE, so my games don’t qualify as being “KDE” games. When Gluon (“The Great Hope™”) ends up getting a node logic system that lets me create games without coding in a similar way, using KDE tech, I’ll be all over it. Until then, my time is better spent helping with FOSS art tools (like Krita) and working on games using the FOSS toolkit that does what I need (the BGE).

    That’s just me though, and I’d be thrilled for dozens of new contributors to kick it up in KDE games. I just beg that you consider this question first though: If you’re going to ask people to put in effort into games, are you asking them to help out with games *people would want to actually play*? If not, have your answer as to how to inspire new contributors.

    Change the games.

  14. Inge Wallin permalink
    July 3, 2011 5:24 pm

    @freedomsoftwareBugsbane: While you do have a point, I think the current kde games should be regarded more as time wasters than serious games. That’s at least how I treat them, and what was designed a long time ago during some discussion. I don’t remember if it was on the mailing list or during a sprint.

    Never mind that you cannot code; What sort of games would you want to see in kdegames?

    @icwiener: Ok, I’ll bite. From now on I’m the new maintainer of kreversi again.

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