Decision time

We discussed a lot of things earlier today in the #kdegames IRC channel. I realized it is sometimes difficult to coordinate our actions. The community that is constructing KDEGames is very loose: sometimes we see lots of action and coordinated efforts, and sometimes people are alone banging their head against the wall and receive little cooperation from other team members. Part of this is natural, just the way things are on a project where every one is a volunteer, and devotes his or her personal time to work on the games whenever possible. But I think we can alleviate the problem at least partially with better management, specially during this release sprint.
Truth is: not all of us are in release mode yet. It seems like there is infinite time to complete our tasks, and the tasks are not even clear to all of us. But with 4.0 just around the corner, maybe it is time to try a different approach?

As a start, most of the in-game tasks are nicely documented at our status page. But there are several items that we still have to tackle as a group, among them:

-Documentation
-Website
-Game icons
-Action/configuration pane icons
-Games with no active maintainers

The plan is to discuss each of these in more detail at our next IRC meeting, which will take place next Monday, October 1st, at 20:00 UTC. Please read and contribute to the agenda.

If you are a maintainer of one game in the module and do not want/can not attend the meeting, please send your contributions about the topics in the agenda to the KDE Games Devel mailing list. If you are in the KDE Docs or Oxygen team and think you can help, please join us as well, in the meeting or mailing list. Regardless of the KDE 4.0 final schedule I think we can do better to prioritize our tasks. Some of us are already helping with plasma, kdelibs, kdeedu and phonon. If we finish early we can help the other teams even more.

KDE Games meetings

We had a two-hour meeting last Friday, and another 90-minute one earlier today. The results are nicely summarized at:

http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Games/Status_KDE_4.0

There you can see we have some blockers, but mostly we are in relatively good shape for the next betas, and for KDE 4.0. There was some concern expressed about KNetwalk and KBackgammon, though. We need to make sure KNetwalk is actively maintained for KDE 4.x, and KBackgammon still needs to catch up with the rest of the module. Let us see how the documented issues evolve in the next couple of weeks: if it comes to it we considered moving these and other games to playground before the first RC release.

I will now list some of the concerns and todo items raised in the meetings, things that we need to address in order to make the 4.0 release a success:

Documentation. Authors need to start looking more carefully at the handbooks, to make things easier for translators and the doc people in general. There is a lot of work to be done on this area, most games still have the old 3.x series handbooks, with outdated info.

Websites. We need to find volunteers to work on our games.kde.org and related sites during the 4.x life cycle, and we need to define a date to phase out the current 3.x series content, and start upgrading it to 4.x. Unfortunately, this is an area where no volunteers appeared so far.

KNewStuff2. We need to setup a server area, and test this while we still have time. Preferably integrated with the edu people, as they will also need the same infrastructure.

Sounds. We are seeing some sound issues with Phonon (Xine backend.) KTuberling sounds are cut short, or do not play at all. The edu people mentioned similar problems in some of their applications, like Blinken. We need more feedback from users on this: is sound working for you in KTuberling?

Card sets. Currently we install too many (20). Ideally we would like to cut the number to something like 10, half SVG, and half PNG. Another reason for this is the need to research copyright information for some of the older cardsets and make them easily available.

One suggestion is to maybe assemble a coding sprint at the end of October, or beginning of November, and maybe with e.V. help. The idea is to get together on a weekend and iron out the last blockers in a team effort, including artists and coders. But this has some problems, as our team is (thankfully!) spread around the globe. Maybe a virtual sprint? We will see how it goes, depending on how fast we can make all the fields on the status table green 🙂

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

And to end with a nice screenshot (always good for marketing and attracting comments), see the new Imperial Jade tileset for KMahjongg and KShisen, courtesy of Eugene Trousnev: