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OLPC Game Jam for an XO Laptop 72

Posted by Zonk
from the think-of-the-children dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The OLPC project has announced a three-day game development jam session is scheduled to begin June 8 on the campus of Olin College, an engineering school in Needham, Massachusetts. 'The game jam is an opportunity for developers to create new types of games that rely on features of the XO's design such as mesh networking between nearby users, an integrated still or video camera, and a tablet mode for mobile gaming. Beyond creating games that teach specific tasks like counting or reading, OLPC hopes the contest will produce templates that allow kids to build their own games, according to OLPC's development guidelines.' The grand prize is a free OLPC laptop. All games created at the weekend-long event will be licensed under the GNU General Public License, and posted on the SourceForge site."
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OLPC Game Jam for an XO Laptop

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  • ....F0or someone to port Quake III Team Arena!
    • by Kyojin (672334)
      Try http://www.nexuiz.com/ [nexuiz.com]
    • GPS Quake !

      More seriously, even if the mesh doesn't provide GPS-grade precision, the mesh may have some interesting localisation-like possibility, like counting how much "mesh-hops" apart are the children. This could enable some guesstimation about position.

      Maybe not enough for live-action Quake.
      But definitely something to consider for making a kind of Radar-Assisted game of Hide'n'Seek.
  • How likely does the grand prize winner(s) need an OLPC laptop?
    • Re:Novelty item? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:06PM (#19284527)
      How likely does the grand prize winner(s) need an OLPC laptop?

      If you're taking part in this competition, chances are very good that you support the mission of the OLPC program. If you win and receive an actual unit, it just makes further development and testing for the platform that much easier for you. It's more about supporting the goal than it is about the payout (hey, isn't that what OSS is generally about?).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by furball (2853)
        I'm willing to bet you can get a VMWare/Parallels/etc. configuration to mimmic an OLPC laptop that'd make testing and development much easier than with OLPC itself.
      • by OECD (639690)

        If you win and receive an actual unit, it just makes further development and testing for the platform that much easier for you.

        The part that throws me is that they're only giving away one XO for first place. These things are supposed to be cheap, give away a bunch. Give the best entries two (to facillitate testing of mesh-dependent software.)

        • by OECD (639690)

          On closer reading, they have four distinct development tracks, so there might be four separate prizes. Anyone know the details?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ClassMyAss (976281)

        It's more about supporting the goal than it is about the payout (hey, isn't that what OSS is generally about?).
        True. Though as a New Englander that might have considered attending, it would have been better if TFA had been posted before the May 20 deadline to register [hackronym.com] instead of a week late...
      • by wellingj (1030460)
        It's more about supporting the goal than it is about the payout (hey, isn't that what FOSS is generally about?)
        Had to fix that one ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)
      A laptop with a 200dpi displays would be very useful in the first world as well, affordable ebook readers are pretty rare and the OLPCs XO laptop looks like a pretty nice machine in that category.
  • Airfare? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by tepples (727027)

    How is it possible for the vast majority of people who wish to compete in these events to do so without having to spend hundreds of dollars on round-trip airfare?

    • by megaditto (982598)
      Most of the developers will be students, which means that they can probably get some kind of assistance from their department, from a professor's grant, a travel grant from their university (public service and whatnot) or even a collection like those people running marathons or building houses.

      Worst come to worst, they can give up their Spring Break plans and pay for the trip themselves. Which would YOU chose, a hazy week of drunken stupor and puke-filled orgies on the beach or three days with your develope
    • Re:Airfare? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bfields (66644) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:20PM (#19284641) Homepage

      How is it possible for the vast majority of people who wish to compete in these events to do so without having to spend hundreds of dollars on round-trip airfare?

      It looks like there's also a $100 registration fee, but that includes food and lodging for the event. Seems to me like they're actually working pretty hard to keep it inexpensive. There's also a scholarship [hackronym.com] to reduce the costs for students. I'm sure they'd be happy to do more, given the money--see their donation [hackronym.com] page if you know anyone that could chip in.

  • But if the summary includes a reference to sourceforge, you should disclose the business relationship through OSTG. No exceptions, no matter how tangential.

    Yes, many people know, and there is a (small) link on the top of the page, but even the semblance of editing is appreciated.
  • Hrmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:05PM (#19284519) Journal
    Wii Sports with the foot-operated power generator [olpcnews.com], anyone?
  • A few comments,
    One, making sure that all the games developed are released under the GPL is a far cry from similar development contests by commercial companies that stipulate that all entries become the property of the sponsoring company, this should encourage people to enter.
    Two, while the prize is (as far as I can tell) only for the "best" game developed, I'm sure a number of people will enter just for the fun of it, and because their work will still be available to them (see first thought) they won't be w
    • by ajanp (1083247)
      I don't think the games they come up with really have to be all innovative. I think one of the major goals is to create a lot of educational games that could have a lot of beneficial uses in a collaborative learning environment. While it might not be the most original idea, there is a lot of potential for creating different types of trivia games where you can test your own knowledge by yourself or play it in the classroom to compete with your peers.

      And given the popularity of virtual worlds nowadays, I'm

  • Emulator (Score:1, Troll)

    by JohnHegarty (453016)
    I am sure its in the FA but this is slashdot.....

    It these an emulator or sdk of something one could use to try and develop for hardware involved here ?
    • by fonik (776566)
      Aww crap. I accidentally modded this "troll" instead of "interesting." Goodbye sweet mod points!
  • The biggest problem right now is that you simply can't buy an XO laptop, its not even clear if you ever will be able to. That is kind of discouraging to me as a developer.
    • The biggest problem right now is that you simply can't buy an XO laptop, its not even clear if you ever will be able to. That is kind of discouraging to me as a developer.

      The whole 'you're too privileged to be able to buy this' attitude of Negroponte turns me off to the whole project. Unless I and every other potential contributor can actually own one, there's no way to get really excited and motivated to help.
      • by trouser (149900)
        Damn straight, because an altruistic act for the benefit of underprivileged children in developing nations is totally bullshit and poor kids can just fuck right off.

        Seriously though, I thought the "buy two, get one" plan that was suggested in the early days of the OLPC project was great. Shame they canned that.
        • Damn straight, because an altruistic act for the benefit of underprivileged children in developing nations is totally bullshit and poor kids can just fuck right off.

          But any number of organizations are trying to appeal to that sense of altruism, doing all sorts of different things in developing nations. Being able to own the laptop would be a huge differentiator to help me make up my mind if I were to choose which among those organizations I want to support. And what if the laptop is a piece of crap? Bett
  • Or hey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kamineko (851857) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:15PM (#19284599)
    Here's a better idea: release some kind of unified API that will allow folks with regular hardware to build games for the OLPC.
    • Re:Or hey (Score:5, Informative)

      by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @03:31PM (#19284737) Journal
      You can do that now with a virtual machine image (see the wiki [laptop.org]). I have been able to boot it in qemu and even developed my own game for it using straight-up python & pygtk. However, my game can also run on any box that has python & pygtk, it is not taking advantage of any OLPC-specific software or hardware. One advantage of having everybody in a single physical location is that things like the built-in networking and cameras can be tested out.
          A little OT, but I think that the interface is generally pretty good, but at least so far in the beta builds the file-selection dialogs for opening up text & drawings are still the (absolutely atrocious) Gnome defaults that are made even worse because the limited screen real estate on OLPC means the fields are too small to even see properly. Making a simplified and OLPC-friendly file dialog would be a major improvement.
  • Isn't the purpose of a headline to give one a rough idea of that article without having to read it, to pique the interest. As Lisa Simpson would say, "I recognise those words, but that sentence makes no sense" (until you have read the article.)

    That definite goes in the top 10 worst /. headlines.
  • how about it? except for the lack of a secondary screen, its kinda like a large DS.

    so any party game concepts that work on the DS should work on the XO i guess ;)
  • Or some economic emulation clone along the same sort of lines. Y'know teach em from the start how an economy works and what it takes to be successful.

     
    • you mean like eve online? :)
    • by jkintree (870383)
      In addition to an economy emulator, there might be an activity that incorporates real time data from the real world. What is happening with water supplies, crop land, fisheries, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and so on? The rules of the game could be along the lines of the World Game, as invented by Buckminster Fuller, "to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."
      • Those rules need some clarification. Otherwise, creative tyrants will realize that getting 100% of ten people to do something is a lot easier than 100% of six billion people. Clearly, the fastest way to 100% "working" is to reduce the total number of people significantly, and quickly.
    • Real-time multiplayer Scorch!

      Hell yes baby!
    • Too late. EA/Maxis is working on GPL'ing the Unix version of SimCity for the OLPC project, and the OLPC people are porting it to Python/Sugar. It will be included on the hardware.
  • That is exactly what children in impoverished parts of the world need- a game machine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nirjhari (1039166)
      Games and play are only for rich kids, I suppose... How dare they...
      • It's supposed do be an educational device. Unless it's running reader rabbit...
        • by nirjhari (1039166)
          One of the things I like about OLPC is that it's not aimed teaching kids Office productivity suite, which is what is being done in many of the developing countries at the moment. As I understand, it's designed in such a way that kids are encouraged to explore. In 60 Minutes interview, Negreponte mentions how kids are expected to do most of the repair themselves. IMHO, games would be a good way to get kids engaged beyond mechanical learning...
  • ORPC (Score:1, Troll)

    by Mad Marlin (96929)
    I have a much better idea. How about "One RAZR Phone per Child" (ORPC) instead? Sure, these kids don't have spreadsheet programs or clean water, but those are both trivial concerns compared to their inability to send digital images over text messages and to have the Pac-Man theme song play whenever they receive one of those digital images of their friends' in their hovels. And don't forget the ability to "skin" their phone with their favorite rapper.
  • by schweini (607711) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @04:30PM (#19285119)
    The killer game for the OLPC would be an open-sourced "The Incredible Machine" clone, i think. Whatever happened to that franchise, anyhow?One of the greatest non-violent games ever created, IMHO.
    Something along the SimCity games would be cool, too, i guess.
    Maybe the owners of those franchises (Dynamix [?] and Maxis) could even help out a bit, for PR reasons?
  • A soccer ball is cheaper and the game is multiplayer and 'mobile'. What about the OLPC you ask. It can be used as one of the goal posts.
    • ..but the aerodynamics of these laptops may be suboptimal, as well as the danger of imflicting impact wounds (beat's minefield hopscotch, though, I suppose).

      Maybe dodgeball^h^h^h^hsquare?

  • Is it just me, or would the mesh networking and some of the built in software not be perfect for an MMORPG. The game topology can represent the actual locations of people, one can "Warp" into the internet play area by using an access point.
  • http://wiki.millenniumcampaign.org/olpc/concepts [millenniumcampaign.org] Share your game concept for the XO machine - there are some fairly interesting ones up already.
  • "... OLPC hopes the contest will produce templates that allow kids to build their own games..." You know, this is basically a Python machine on a Linux OS called Sugar. It has eToys installed, which already does this. Kids can build games, animations, etc. But it uses Squeak Smalltalk, and by gosh, those people at the OLPC, even though they've installed it as a default application, don't seem to want to tell anybody that.
  • I'll probably get modded down for this -- but, I'm really against the OLPC project, the only good thing I can see coming out of it is efficient code as a result of its (relatively) "outdated" specs.

    Which is a Good Thing(TM).

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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