Vista for free?

Not kde or kdegames related, but interesting. If you live in the US you can apparently get a free copy of Windows Vista and a free copy of Office 2007, directly from Microsoft. You just have to submit yourself to some brainwas.. I mean… You just have to register and view 3 very interesting webcasts in 30 days, and the software is yours.

Details at

EDIT on 12/21: according to the site, the promotion has now ended.

kdegames, one week later

One week after our IRC meeting and we can already measure some interesting effects. Several applications are being worked on at the same time, johann is doing graphics like a madman, there is constant wiki and IRC activity, and some games have found new maintainers. We also provided status reports for inclusion in Danny’s excellent commit-digest. This combined activity can also be observed in the huge number of commits to the module in the past seven days.

I am not a big fan of statistics on commits, because they do not always represent real improvements in code. There is the one file commit that take days of preparation and is the result of an extensive rewrite, or introduces a crucial new feature. And there are semi-automated commits that change a macro in 100 files. Of course, both are necessary for the project as a whole, I am just highlighting the fact that the volume of commits alone is not the best indicator to use to measure project activity.

After the disclaimer, I will use it to measure our project activity anyway, as we are looking good in the graphic 🙂

Above is this morning’s graphic on EBN showing the activity per module. You can see that for the past seven days we only trailed ‘tags’ 🙂 Damn tags…

Can anyone explain to me what is the tags module, btw?

First kdegames monthly IRC meeting summary

A few days late, here is a brief summary of our kdegames meeting on IRC. Other people are working on a dot article as well, it should be available soon.


The idea of a monthly IRC meeting to discuss kdegames was well received by the KDE community. The meeting started on time, Wednesday Nov 1st, 7PM UTC. There was about 25-30 people attending, including the majority of active kdegames maintainers, artists, new developers, translators and contributors in general.
We had a brief round of introductions and began to tackle the agenda. For reference it is still available at .

The first topic discussed was the KDE Games Survey. Survey results are up (until Nov 15) at
Most people agreed that the game ratings were useful specially to identify which currently non-maintained applications we should prioritize for KDE4. So the question of finding active maintainers for some applications was raised, again. The ones who still do not have candidates and were mentioned specifically in the meeting are libkdegames, ksirtet, klickety, kfouleggs, kolf, atlantik, ksame, ksokoban and katomic.

During the meeting, we already identified people willing to step up and work on some of these applications. Dmitry Suzdalev is already working on katomic, so he volunteer to maintain it for KDE4. Johann Ollivier Lapeyre (from the Oxygen team) will team up with him and improve the graphics. Two days after the meeting there is already huge progress on several fronts, with screenshots and project status now maintained at

Paul Broadbent renewed his former proposal made on kde-games-devel, and is already looking at Kolf. He intends to work on it for KDE4, but is still evaluating the project to get familiar with the code. But there are still several unmaintained applications. If you want to consider maintaining one of them please email the kde-games-devel list. An updated list of maintainers can be found at .

The next issue was about removal of unmaintained games from the module. We also considered the removal of games that are starting to show their age and that were rated low in the survey. One proposal was to remove also duplicated functionality, and some mentioned KSame/Klickety as an example of this, which was not agreed by others. The discussion proceeded for some time, but it was clear that we would not reach a consensus on this. The survey results regarding this topic are also divided.

As a way to deal with this issue, we discussed what was tentatively called the “kdegames guidelines for KDE4”, a loose set of rules specifying what we are looking for in games that will be part of the KDE4 distribution. Following the results of the survey, we agreed on some basic minimal topics:

-Scalable windows and graphics (preferrably SVG based)
-Theme support
-Usability improvements
-Some form of network support (where applicable)

We also agreed to form a review team for kdegames with some of the more experienced contributors, formed by Albert, Pino, Stephan and Johann. The plan is not to tackle the issue of removing games right now, but to re-visit this topic in 3 to 4 months. This gives us more time to find maintainers or contributors that can bring current applications to the level of polish we need for KDE4. There is plenty of time for this, but if no one steps up to maintain an applications, and if it is not polished to a level consistent with the rest of the KDE4 artwork (think Oxygen-quality), then the review team may consider removing it from the main kdegames module before KDE4 is released.

For the same reasons, the proposal to move some games from kdeedu to kdegames is on-hold. There is really not much difference to the end user where the applications are inside the SVN tree, the important point is to make sure these are grouped using standard .desktop categories, which will end up grouping blinKen, KHangMan, KTuberling and Kanagram anyway under the GAMES/KIDS category. It was noted that the games in kdeedu all have active maintainers, so they are in better shape than some in the kdegames module. Colaboration is needed, but we already have developers working on both modules actively.

Following the agenda, we then discussed the inclusion of new games in the package. Initial candidates are Kisrk, Kboard, ksudoku and kbilliards. Kisrk and Kboard are already in SVN (playground.) We will invite the developers of ksudoku and kbilliards to join the module. We will follow the KDE procedure for inclusion of new applications, with a move to kdereview before games are accepted into kdegames.

There was discussion on the issue of using custom widgets for games. The general consensus was that we do not want to create a new widget set just for games, and will generally use what KDE offers in terms of dialog boxes, toolbars and other widgets. But the in-game GUI do not have to follow this rule, developers are free to use what is more appropriate for buttons, text areas and other control elements. A good example is blinKen. The in-game elements should preferrably be themeable as well.

It was suggested that all games for KDE4 ship with at least one Oxygen-like theme, for visual consistency. Johann is already working on this and has checked in a suggestion for KWin4 as a start. Other games that are already being revamped following the “kdegames guidelines for KDE4” are KMahjongg, Kpat and KReversi.

All in all, a very satisfactory result, considering it was a first meeting, and the chaotic nature of IRC communication. In the end we agreed to repeat the meeting experience next month. Scheduled time will be announced via kde-games-devel, and

KDE Games IRC Meeting

The KDE Games survey is in its final days, we are going to close it after the weekend. We have over 400 respondants so far, which is amazing consider that it was not widely announced. The plan is to close it on Monday, digest the results and post them to

If you are interested in helping with KDE Games please consider attending our meeting next Wednesday, November 1st, where we are planning to discuss the results of the survey. This is going to be the first IRC meeting for the kdegames project, an experience that might (or might not!) be repeated monthly, depending on the results we get.

More information about the IRC meeting and the proposed agenda can be found at .

kdegames survey

During the last aKademy we identified the need to conduct a survey about the current state of applications in the kdegames module, and also to collect suggestions for games in KDE4.

The kdegames survey now is open, click here to contribute. It is a short survey, 10 questions only.

The purpose of this survey is to rate the current state of kdegames as perceived by the user community. This will help us prioritize the needs to find new maintainers and contributors during the transition to KDE4, accept new applications and improve the current ones.

Please spread the link to other KDE-related lists, including regional ones.

aKademy report

AKademy 2006 is going pretty well. I met lots of people already, and there are still three more days ahead. The artist guys working on Oxygen are doing an amazing work. And they are actually very interested in the changes I have been contributing to kdegames. Thanks David, Ken and Johann for the nice words!
We are now setting up things in a way that makes it possible for them to contribute more directly. Johann will probably be the first, as he said he will probably work a bit on the recently commited KReversi art as his first kdegames project.
I had already worked on the chips, and yesterday (before the lab closed!) I uploaded a new board to SVN, in order to have scaling support. Dmitry was very fast and today we already had everything working and integrated, with only a few alignment issues still ahead. Check out and build KDE4 from SVN if you want to see it live: there is a full reorganization of menus and play options as well.
If you do not have access to SVN, then here are the screenshots of the old KReversi, and the new KDE4 SVG version. Go Dmitry.

KReversi rewrite

Dmitry Suzdalev has been working on a KReversi rewrite for a couple of weeks, and the results have been recently merged to the KDE4 trunk. There were several goals with the rewrite, including (but not limited to!) the revamp of the UI, chips animation and artwork.

The previous version used png pre-rendered versions of the chips, with the default being the red/blue version. I redrawn the chips in Inkscape, so the art is now entirely vector based. Well, not *entirely yet*, but it will be, after we update the backgrounds 🙂 Gladly I had the original raytraced versions as a reference, but recreating the light effects with layers of gradients was not exactly easy to achieve! I am very satisfied with the results, though. You can see below how the new chips look side-by-side with the older version:

I also worked on an enhanced version of the black and white chips, shown below. The original ones did not have enough contrast, they were just an unsaturated version of the default red/blue ones.

The black and white chips will probably be the default in KReversi for KDE4, according to Dmitry (and following a suggestion by Inge.) I never heard about red and blue reversi chips anyway 🙂

As for code changes, Dmitry is adjusting the difficulty levels, among other enhancements to how the game plays, specially for beginners. The move list pane is now optional, and can be hidden to free up space. Under the hood the code was ported to Qt4 and the drawing routines are now using the new QGraphicsView framework. If you have suggestions for KReversi please build the game from SVN, send your comments, and I will forward them to Dmitry. Or post to kde-games-devel.


Most of the work i am doing in KGoldrunner for KDE4 is still hidden from the user. I have ported it initially from KDE3 QCanvas to use the new QGraphicsView architecture. After a couple of weeks, it became apparent that QGV architecture is probably not a good fit for the requirements we had for this game. Today I commited a new version, built with a lighter canvas replacement, from KBoard ( Performance is excellent, and I thank Maurizio Monge for convincing me to give it a try 🙂 Code is already in SVN, and with this the initial port for KDE4 is finally complete. BTW, Maurizio just got SVN commit rights, and we have big plans involving KBoard and this light canvas class for the near future 🙂

But back to KGoldRunner: now we can (finally!) start working on improvements that are visible to the user! Ian Wadham is KGoldRunner´s current maintainer, and he has great ideas about new features. One of the plans is to add the option of “modern” graphics to the engine, while still maintaining the retro look, among several other minor improvements and new levels.

But recently I realized that most people ditch KGoldRunner without even trying to play it because they believe the graphics are of poor quality. This is true specially for the newer audience, since they have not been exposed to KGoldRunner´s inspiration, the original LodeRunner. I guess we have to do something to address this situation.

If you do not know what LodeRunner was, it was probably one of the most influential titles in the history of computer games. Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

If you have not played LodeRunner, give KGoldRunner a try. The mouse control might seem non-intuitive during the first 30 seconds, but follow the tutorials, and you will be having fun in no time.

In other news, KMahjongg is progressing slowly, but I plan to devote a lot of time to it during aKademy. Also, Dimtry Suzdalev has reimplemented most of KReversi, and the SVN version is already using small SVG tiles, contributed by me. But more on this tomorrow…