Visual tour through kdegames 4.6 Beta 1

November 29, 2010

Long time no see! I’ve actually been cut off from KDE development lately because the 4.6 Beta 1 update broke KMail temporarily, which is a blessing in disguise because it gives me time to focus on my upcoming exams.

Anyway, the KDE Applications 4.6 Beta 1 release is out (is that correct promo-speak?). Time to take a look at what is hot and new in kdegames 4.6 Beta 1. And the hottest way to do that is a visual tour:

Palapeli has received quite some polish. Johannes Löhnert has contributed a new set of slicers, which is now known as the Palapeli Slicer Collection. The screenshot shows the Cairo slicer which produces pentagonal pieces. Other shapes (both usual and odd) are available, and configurable to your liking.

To honor the addition of this big set of slicers, the puzzle creation dialog has been revamped. Create your own jigsaw puzzles in three easy steps (image file, slicer, parameters)! The screenshot shows step 1 (bottom right) and step 2 (bottom left).

Furthermore, Johannes has sent in a patch that creates a bevel effect on the pieces. As can be seen on the screenshot, they appear three-dimensional now.

As a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that Kolf has received some love lately: I have mostly worked on cleaning up the internals and making the code readable, so the only visible result is the new on-canvas controls in the editor (see top right of the course, where I have selected an elliptic slope below the cup). Saving edited courses is a bit broken in Beta 1 (and probably also Beta 2), I hope to sort that out before the final release.

The other big new feature in Kolf is that balls don’t tunnel through walls anymore, though that’s hard to visualize in a screenshot. But I can tell you that it’s a great feeling to close an eight-year-old bug.

No, the new feature in KDiamond is not an embedded KSysGuard view. I’m using KSysGuard to visualize the important change in here: KDiamond has reduced its memory usage with the new KGameRenderer framework. I’ve written about KGameRenderer before: Long story short, it introduces multiple levels of caching to speed up rendering of vector graphics theme elements. This was previously done in each game by itself; now it’s done once right by the KGameRenderer classes in the libkdegames library.

At this place, I’d like to thank all the volunteers that helped us to port a total of 13 games to KGameRenderer. This also includes:

Yes, it’s Klickety! We lost it in the KDE 4 transition, but now it’s back. As a fun fact, KSame has been removed: It is now “simulated” by Klickety through a “compatibility mode”, much like KSnake lives inside KTron.

Continuing on the track of new applications, Knights has just become the first game to be hosted on Git. It is stable, but has not yet had an official release because we still need to figure out how to release stuff from Git. However, some distros have packaged it already (e.g. openSUSE in the KDE:Unstable:Playground repository).

There are even more changes which I don’t remember now, or which I can’t write about because I don’t know the apps. The latter includes most notably Kajongg: It’s actually sad that Wolfgang Rohdewald, the developer of Kajongg, is not blogging on the planet. I’m regularly seeing dozens of commits from him, he’s active like the whole rest of the kdegames team combined, but no buzz is being generated about Kajongg, which makes me sad.

Also from the “interesting-changes-that-I-cannot-talk-about” dept.: KGoldRunner has gained a new input mode, and can now save the selected input mode (as far as the 4.6 feature plan tells me).

This concludes my visual tour through kdegames 4.6 Beta 1. More changes have happened under the hood, e.g. Granatier uses <a href="http://community.kde.org/User:Majewsky/Project_TagaroTagaroAudio for sound output, thereby replacing an optional dependency on GluonAudio by direct OpenAL+libsndfile usage.

Code from Project Tagaro is also being used by Kolf for its rendering. These uses all copy the relevant source code into their own source trees because libtagaro is nowhere near production-ready. I hope to get libtagaro into the state of a private library inside kdegames for the 4.7 release, to make kdegames even more resource-efficient, to make them fit for mobile form factors, and to make it easier to maintain them. Help is always appreciated.

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11 Responses to “Visual tour through kdegames 4.6 Beta 1”

  1. knight Says:

    oh knights looks pretty cool! nice job!!!

  2. mch Says:

    The main problem I’ve had with KDE games since KDE 4 is the unreliable and sometimes laggy response to keyboard events, which makes quick maneuvers in KTron/KSnake, for example, next to impossible. This was never a problem in KDE 3 times.

    Have any improvements be made in this regard?

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      Never played KTron before. Perhaps I’ll be able to look into this.

      • mch Says:

        Cool.

        After some more focused experimentation, I think the main problem is that if two key presses overlap in time, even just a tiny little bit, apparently the second one is disregarded (and sometimes even both of them).

        For quick maneuvers in KSnake, however, it’s crucial that pressing multiple arrow keys almost simultaniously, or one followed so closely by another one that there is some overlap in time, both of them are registered and acted upon.

        For example, if your snake is moving to the left, you should expect to be able to make a tight U-turn by pressing [UP] and [RIGHT] in very close succession – without having to worry about fully releasing the [UP] key and waiting a split second for events to be processed before starting to press down the [RIGHT] key.

  3. kolmyo Says:

    Klickety! Yippiee, my favorite 5 minute game from the stone age also known as KDE3!

  4. g Says:

    IMHO KSame is much more beautiful than Klickety, so the KSame look should be the standard look of Klickety.

  5. justik Says:

    Hi

    I am currently developing a game called QFrustration ( german name: “Mensch ärgere dich nicht” ).
    Screenshot: http://yfrog.com/6eqfrustrationp
    I would like to create a theme for it, but I’m not an artist (see screenshot qpainter fun :)…
    Can I contact someone from the KDE Games artists?

    sorry for my bad english…

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      The kde-games-devel@kde.org mailinglist or #kdegames on Freenode would be the right place to ask.

    • mch Says:

      I think the current look (shown in the screenshot) isn’t so bad actually…

      Btw., you could always implement support for custom themes, and release it with the current look as default theme. If people don’t like it, they might start contributing alternative themes by themselves…

  6. shirishag75 Says:

    Dear Stefan Majewsky,
    Are you going to remake/rewrite the https://majewsky.wordpress.com/how-to-obtain-and-build-a-current-version-of-palapeli/ for I wanted to try either the 1.1 version or the current 1.2 version but don’t know how.

    Looking forward to know more.

  7. Andreas_P Says:

    Hey, comments are english, so I’m writing too…

    Could you please tell me if turning of puzzle pieces lately been implemented?
    I do have here only an old version, and I didn’t really figure out “cmake” yet…

    Many thanks in advance, yours andreas_p


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