As Jordi blogs there is a thread on the gnome-games mailing-list where we would like some feedback from users, distributions and game developers. It started with a wish to get gbrainy included in gnome-games but sparked the need to discuss the general role of gnome-games. I promised to blog a about it yesterday but I went out cold after getting back from my exam and slept the rest of the day away. Beers after the exam may have had an impact here…
Gnome-games currently consists of 17 games and an internal library that is used for common code like high-score, boards, etc. The games are currently coded in C, C++, Scheme and Python. Most games use the library but not all do as e.g. there is no python bindings yet.
Jason and me are the official maintainers of the module but in practice some games have other “real” maintainers. Christian Persch and Vincent Povirk rule aisleriot. Robert Ancell and Thomas M. Hinkle of glchess and gnome-sudoku fame both still maintain and develop their games within gnome-games after the inclusion. For these games I am not much more than a release droid.
The games in gnome-games are automatically included in many distributions as the default game pack. This has attracted many game developers as they hope to get their game into gnome-games in order to get distributed automatically.
Code maintainers or game inclusion judges
This leads to the question of the role as gnome-games maintainers. Is our role to maintain code or is it to judge what games gets to be included? I can maintain code but I am not sure I am the most qualified to be judging the quality of games. What do the distributions want? What about the users?
The case of gbrainy
Jordi wrote a really nice puzzle/memory trainer game called gbrainy. To reach more users he asked to get it included in gnome-games. I really like the game but there are issues to discuss:
- dependencies (mono)
- increasing gnome-games binary/code size
- yet another puzzle game
Who are our users?
Looking at the current games in gnome-games most are puzzle games. This seems obvious as I expect that programmers prefer to play those kinds of games. The question is if our users share this love for brainy-games or if they would prefer more action games like Nibbles and Gnometris. Perhaps we should think about getting a more diverse set of games. More action games, perhaps a game targeted for children, etc.
Flash and the games support library
Now that we have swfdec should we start considering using flash for games in gnome-games? Should/can we add some sort of support for flash based games in the games support library? I am completely clueless about flash so I don’t know what will be possible. There are many great flash based games out there and many good game developers that might be interested in doing some for gnome-games. I do have some fear about how such games will integrate into the GNOME desktop though.
Before we can start to make decisions about all this we need more information from you.
- Do you want gnome-games to be some sort of meta package including the games we see fit?
- Would you rather customize and mix your game pack and include new games like gbrainy your self?
- Does the binary size of gnome-games matter? Can we expand and include more games?
- Is 17 games too much choice in the menu. (I have to start scrolling the list soon if we add more)
- Would you consider using –enable-games=[only-games-we-like] and be okay with more games added in gnome-games?
- Would you ship flash based games?
- What kind of games would you like (Are we focusing too much on puzzles?)
- Do you want more games as default? More multiplayer/network support in the games? More bling?
- Is there a need for a child game in the default pack?
- Is it okay with a “static” games list or should there be change from time to time?
Developers, Developers, Developers:
- Should we make the games support library a real library? Is there a demand for it at all? – Opinions about flash based games?
- What can we do to help new games get exposure?
- Does it make sense to have one module with many submodules/submaintainers?
- Do we want to depend on mono for gnome-games?
- Do we want every gnome based game under the sun in one module?
- Would it be responsible to be maintainer of a module that contains code in languages I don’t know (C# and flash)
If you have any input please comment in the thread or here in the comments. Thanks!