We are happy to announce that we published on Google play store the first public version of GCompris.
One year ago we made the hard decision to fully rewrite GCompris in QtQuick in order to address tablet users while keeping PC compatibility. As you can imagine it is a daunting task and something for sure that cannot be done alone. Thanks to the help of the many contributors who joined the project we have been able to port 86 activities out of the 140 of the legacy version in a year. See the status report. We hope to complete the port in the coming year. We continue to polish the new version every day but we already provide a better user experience than the legacy version.
We would like to take this opportunity to thanks the KDE community at large who took us under its cute umbrella and allowed us to attract numerous contributors, developers, translators and provided us development support.
Some numbers, within a year GCompris had 1211 commits made by 19 contributors representing 34000 lines of code plus the 8 KDE translation teams who reached 100% (Ukrainian, Swedish, Portuguese, Polish, French, Dutch, Chinese Simplified and Brazilian Portuguese).
As you will see, the full Android version is sold for 6€ now but the price will have to be adjusted to find the optimal one. Software development is a lot of work, paying for GCompris is a good way to reward us and give us the opportunity to sustain the development on our beloved project. Another very easy way to help us is to share the news and rate us on Google play.
We are launching a crowd funding campain with the goal to bring a new improved and unified graphics to GCompris.
Currently the graphics are one of the weakest part, as they were mostly done by the developers, using free graphics assets and sparse graphic artist contributions.
To address this problem, we found Timothée Giet, a talented graphic artist interested in working on a complete graphics redesign. He is a long standing Free-Software contributor, active member of the Krita team and so part of the KDE community.
Making new graphics for more than 100 activities is a big work, so we need your help to achieve this goal..
XPRIZE has launched the Global Learning XPRIZE to incentivize teams to create tablet-based Open Source software that will teach a child to read, write, and perform arithmetic, fully autonomously. The impact of this technology is to bring literacy to over 250 million children around the world. Give a child the gift of literacy.
Do you think GCompris has something to bring and should participate. Do you have ideas on how to reach this goal? Join the GCompris developer mailing list and tell us, we need your feedback, we need you.
I have been particularly discreet for several months. It is not a sign of disinterest in this project, quiet the opposite.
In fact as you imagine, many users are requesting us a tablet version of GCompris and I tried to evaluate the different technical possibilities to bring GCompris to this world. Sadly, Gtk+ the core technology we are based on does not provide any easy way to run on tablet.
The main requirements for me was to be able to have a single code base that would let us target the main desktops and the main tablets.
It is based on an OpenGL scene graph, we can create shader and particles to make graphical effects and do smooth animations.
In order to validate this choice, I did a prototype and this convinced me that it was a pertinent choice for GCompris. Even if this is a new technology, the learning curve is acceptable, with very few code you can create a very good looking activitiy. In my test it takes about half the lines of code to make the same activity in Qt Quick than we used to in Python and we get a better graphical quality.
The bad news is that it is not compatible with the current version of GCompris and it requires a full rewrite. All we can keep is the game logic and tuning, the texts, the translations, the graphics and the sounds.
For those who don't want to compile it, you can look at the little video.
Another important point, since this is not based on Gtk+ this new version cannot be hosted by Gnome as we used to do. Therefore we cannot participate in the Google Summer of Code under the Gnome umbrella. I thus registered GCompris for this year session of GSoC and Frederico Goncalves Guimaraes accepted to be the official co-mentor.
If you are interested in helping GCompris, I encourage you to learn Qt Quick and to help port some activities. This is a good opportunity to learn a new technology while doing something useful. I still have to refine and document the process to create a new activity but it is not very complex.
GCompris on Gtk+ has been around for 14 years. It is true that the migration will take time, probably several years but this is something we have to do if we want to stay relevant in the coming years.