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.