Kuarepoti-Dju

kuarepoti-dju - the josef multilingual blogosphere

23.3.2008

Completing a bunch of bindings: GGZ-Java

Categories: — josef @ 23:07

Once again I spent a part of the day on library bindings and reimplementation in other languages for the GGZ Gaming Zone. Our goal would be to release the next version of GGZ with complete libraries for five programming languages, and we’re now very close already with the recent additions to the Java side.

The jggzdmod library implements the GGZ-server-to-game-server control protocol. It is written in 98% pure Java with a bit of JNI magic because Java lacks quite a few of the advanced socket functions which we need for efficient game launching. There’s now a comparison document for the five languages above regarding socket features and workarounds.

18.3.2008

GSoC 2008 offer: Adaptive printer dialogue

Categories: — josef @ 20:25

What does the future of printing look like? While nobody knows for sure, there are certain trends such like the ubiquitous availability of a printing service nearby, available from the user’s computer. When devices are discovered dynamically, their capabilities need to be conveyed to the user. Right now, only the most basic printer options show up as native controls in the printer dialogue, and often the more interesting ones are hidden. Furthermore, printing habits such as always wanting to save on toner translate very badly into the UI at the moment. The Linux Foundations Open Printing group has initiated a move away from today’s inflexible printer dialogues towards something better from a usability and a technical angle.

The Google Summer of Code task of working on the Common Printing Dialogue is about translating usability and interface engineering concepts, together with some more formal research on dynamic GUI generation, into a top-notch GUI to conclude and validate this effort. Two mentors, Jonathan Riddell and me, will be available, and hence up to two students could work on the topic. Contact either of us if you’re a potential student and want to know more about it beforehand or want to propose your own idea related to that one (see contact data below the idea description). If you’re in for more than just the coding, make sure to sign up to KDE’s kde-research and LF’s printing-summit mailing list as well.

9.3.2008

Multiplayer scenario

Categories: — josef @ 13:54

Somewhen after midnight last night GGZ 0.99.2 snapshot was uploaded. Just a few hours after, the next cool patch was created. Development runs at high speed at the moment, even though I’m still busy drawing presentation slides like a dull ODP monkey for my 2nd job (lecturer).

After my two FOSDEM presentations and some chatting after each I think that while the software required to achieve high-quality free multiplayer gaming isn’t there yet, the individual puzzle pieces already let us forebode a scenario of some sort, as a guide of what shall (or will) be possible. We have GSoC 2008 proposals coming up for those who want to help out.

The scenario goes like this: Bob wants to play Chess with Eve. (He used to play with Alice but they broke up, just to introduce some dramatic content here.) He might be logged into his GGZ core client already, possibly lurking at the Chess or Freeciv room, or he might hang around on Jabber. As soon as he finds Eve, he’ll launch a game of Chess and selects his favourite client, e.g. GGZBoard. Eve then joins this game using Tagua since she’s on KDE 4. Hurray for protocol compatibility!

Alice joins as a spectator and is totally jealous of the two players. She decides to found a player club called Toxic Pawns and invites tons of people. She’s a good club leader and also a helpful, above-average player and thus gets granted host status, which gives her privileges such as kicking players and sending private table messages, and of course hosting tournaments. In order to accomodate those players who came up with a new set of rules called Rookymotion Chess, who are believed to prefer playing audio files over playing games but like Chess nevertheless, she requests a new room from the community administrator who easily sets one up based on existing room templates through the community web frontend.

Meanwhile, Bob and Eve continue playing individual games, although Eve’s DSL connection often breaks for no reason. Of course, she can regain her abandoned game seat after a reconnection. One day, the server goes down, yet after a reboot all games are being restored. No data is lost, and no data is being leaked due to encrypted connections. The player’s personal page also features a privacy section which Eve prefers a lot to the ad-driven, privacy-invading other social networking sites she knows. Trust is important in online gaming, since technical efforts to prevent cheating can and will always be defeated at some point. But with karma points, veteran status and other community relationship indicators, Eve can rest assured that Bob’s friends are trustworthy people.

So much for the community-oriented view on all the technology which is currently on the work bench. Except for a few shameless plugs, the presentation should have shown that the software is making great progress and it’s about time to think about community and player-oriented concepts. Gaming is still one of the areas where free software isn’t #1, and changing that requires some vision beside the daily coding. Send comments to any game list I’m subscribed to.

2.3.2008

KDE on tour: CLT2008, CeBIT

Categories: — josef @ 21:37

The Chemnitzer Linux-Tage just finished - an enjoyable event like every year, with a certain community spirit not often met at events of that size. The KDE booth was staffed by four people (smajewsky, eckhart, tokoe and me). People were mostly interested in KDE 4.1 alpha to put it bluntly :) but we demonstrated 4.0.2 on most of the screens. Ruphy was kind enough to provide us with new oxygen-ised poster templates before the event so we printed two A0-sized posters. Unfortunately the boothbox didn’t make it so we didn’t get most of the booth decoration.

While working on some plasma data provider at the end of the second day we learned that there’s a secret tool called AutoCMake to help with the creation of cmake files. Now what’s totally missing is AutoCConf so we can come up with some decent AutoCTools! Just kidding. Some more serious issues were about my xrandr-powered Xinerama-like setup which Plasma didn’t handle too well. Also dynamically adding and removing batteries of the laptop isn’t well-supported as of yet in the battery applet. Nevertheless, most visitors were satisfied with 4.0.2 quality over their previous 4.0 impressions which they mostly got from CDs shipped with computer magazines.

The next important event for KDE will be CeBIT. According to tackat’s message on kde-events, volunteers are still needed for CeBIT next week. Don’t miss the opportunity to represent the latest trends in free desktops to an audience which still needs that sort of information.

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