Hi, my name is Laszlo Papp, a KDE contributor and lately one of the guys behind the Gluon project. Marta Rybczynska told me the progress looks impressive in Gluon and it would be interesting for the Commit Digest readers to learn more: what we are doing now, what the plans are, et cetera. Thank you for the opportunity. It is actually not the easiest task because there are quite a few things going around that are worth to be mentioned. There was a fairly large amount of work put into Gluon in the last half a year by experienced and technical people who could finally announce and release the next alpha version, 0.71.0-alpha2 (Electron). You can read the detailed announcement. I am trying to focus on things not mentioned there and summarize the important parts in a nutshell.
Since Last We Met
Gluon Touch Player The basic aspects of the social features have been started which are the basis of the connection between the makers and players of games. Apart from the newly implemented simple kde player, the next big accomplishment was the QML player on this front. One key of the success was the very thorough and solid design. The Open Collaboration Services (OCS) Qt access library usage has been started and we tried to gain more and more OCS features integrated that were found useful by the team. We have also found some limitations on the way of the development that were clearly discussed during the OCS sprint few days ago.
GluonCreator and Apocalypse Gluon Creator is now at such a level that you, as a maker of games, can start up the tool and construct your game and do that efficiently.
Game UIs are a hot topic, and where many large games rely on middleware solutions such as ScaleForm, Gluon has decided to use a real user interface solution, specifically the powerful declarative UI system, Qt Quick. This allows for fluid user interfaces integrated into your games.
Finally, those who tried Gluon X-Ray likely noticed an issue with the input system on Linux, namely that a permissions change was needed. This issue has now been alleviated, and input is now not only fixed on Linux, but in fact available on all platforms where Gluon will run.
Gluon on wetab Downloads are now available for many platforms, all located on our website in the Download section. This includes the entirety of the Gluon platform: The libraries GluonAudio, GluonGraphics, GluonInput, GluonPlayer, as well as the applications Gluon Creator, Gluon KDE Player, Gluon Qt Player and Gluon Player Touch. Let me mention that we also had a nice Meegathon competition 5 weeks ago in Tampere at the Meego Finland Summit. We were working on the re-creation of a game that was created by one of our member's team that at the Global Game Jam in London using the commercial tool, Unity. We learned a lot during the process and had a lot of fun with other meegons and hackers, geekish guys. The team of ours was called "Gaming freedom" in order to explain our approach about the game creation and enjoyment clearly. The project name was "And then the lights went out". Quite a few people got interested in Gluon there, even commercial companies which is an awesome feedback that we really appriciated, thank you.
There was a lot of hard work put into the Windows, MAC OSX support and undoubtedly there are big improvements over there, but there are still smaller issues. The core developers have been using Linux workstations and because of this, it has been hard to follow the evolving development on different platforms. However there were times recently when Gluon built just fine on these platforms. Windows and MAC OSX help are welcome.
What Does The Future Hold?
We had a developer IRC meeting after the release and you can read the result at the following URL: roadmap. It is briefly our fundamental roadmap for the next alpha release. I am trying to focus on those ideas which are not mentioned there.
We are working on better performance regarding the graphics library, and that way the whole framework can hopefully provide a faster and more efficient solution for embedded devices and also for desktop. The upcoming alpha release will also include a particle system which will be a very nice improvement and provide even nifty effect for the game designers.
The social and distribution aspects are the next and very important features in the history of our project. Gluon uses the Open Collaboration Services API over the libattica access library. The developers decided to heavily support the future of the OCS project starting on the mailing list, organizing a sprint in Berlin, and establish as much of a RESTful API as possible. We can bravely claim that it was worth it, one of the most productive sprints, even with just a very few people over there. The final OCS 2.0 specification is still in progress, but the work can soon be started on the libattica access library. Afterwards, the player lib can be extended and finally the players, standalone applications, can be implemented.
It was a great honor that some core members of the KDE EDU project got interested in Gluon to build educational games for kids, children on the top of our leisure time activity. I hope we can provide as much support from our side as possible so that it could happen smoothly at some point of the future, but at least it sounds really promising for both parties. Speaking of which, one of our members had a discussion with the Plasma Active developers, and we will soon also come up with a Plasma Quick based Player. We are also looking for others interested in the Gluon project, so come join us in discussions.
Last but not least, the near future also holds the Google Summer of Code, where Gluon took part last year under the KDE umbrella; a choice so successful that we will do it again this year. As KDE has been accepted as a mentoring organisation, and with two really great proposals accepted for the Gluon project and another excellent proposal for the Summer of KDE as well, we hope to see a powerful boost in development to what is already a fast moving project. More information on these projects will be published over the next weeks and months. In short: The future looks very bright, and we hope you want to take part in it!
Lastly, some further data
Project site: https://projects.kde.org/projects/playground/games/gluon
Mailing list: https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/gluon.
To get in contact with Laszlo Papp and the other Gluon developers, feel free to send an email to the Gluon mailing list or visit the #gluon IRC channel on Freenode. The team and our artists have also been working on a T-Shirt that will also express our dedication to Gluon and the gaming freedom term. It will hopefully be available soon and can be worn during the community events, like Akademy or anywhere and anytime when you just feel so.