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Meta-Project announcement/Call-For-Developers (rough draft)

This is a rough draft of a potential Freshmeat/slashdot editorial to
announce the new LinuxGames "meta-project" and ask for help.  I'm
assuming that the three big things we're looking to get here are:

    1) More people to work on the web-site (in particular people who
       have ideas for ways we should do it with existing or new web
       server and/or database technologies).

    2) Other game SDK related projects that should be added, or who want 
       to help, or who should at least join the linuxgames mailing

    3) Other Game or Game SDK developers who want to be in on the
       discussions, prioritizing, development, or who just want to
       influence the direction of the meta-project in one way or

Please post any feedback on this document to the mailing list, as I'm
not sure whether I'll have the time to do the later drafts on this
document or whether someone else will have to take it over.

However, any and all feedback would be appreciated.  This is a rough
draft after all. :-)

Charles Durst          .------------------------------------------------.
=======================|  cdurst@world.std.com                          |==
                       |  http://www.tiac.net/users/cdurst/cdurst.html  |

Title: Linux Game Development Project

Linux Game Development Project


There are currently a bewildering array of game-related Software Development Kits (SDKs) available for Linux (see below for a partial list). Professional game developers interested in developing games that can run natively under Linux can have a hard time knowing where to start.

Most professional game developers want cross-platform solutions that:

In addition, different game projects will have vastly different needs in terms of 2D or 3D graphics, audio requirements, network requirements, input device handling, etc..

Quick Summary

In essence we are suggesting that this new Linux Game Development Center be a kind of meta-project. It would be dedicated to encouraging and helping existing free (open source®) game SDK projects coordinate with one another.

This is not an attempt to impose standards or rules on anyone. We just want to do what we can to help everybody coordinate their project with the others and to encourage all game SDK developers to develop compatible libraries.

This is also a call for developers, users and game SDK projects to join us.


In the beginning ... there were many unrelated games SDK projects started by many different groups with little or no inter-group communication or coordination.

The initial initiative of starting the Linux Game Development site came from Ian Crawford (you can read his announcement of the site here).

It was first meant as a meeting and coordination point for people developing native and free Linux games, but its scope was soon widened to support Linux game development in general - the phrase "This site aspires to be the headquarters for all Linux game development" is from that time.

Cut - Switch to the PenguinPlay mailing list. Shortly after Ian's announcement of the site, Sam Lantiga suggested on the PenguinPlay mailing list that people could get together on IRC to discuss the future of Linux game development. His idea was considered as "really good" and after the first meeting the thing was extended to all people involved in pushing game development for Linux. Here are the archives for past meetings and the plans for future ones.

Well, the irc meetings became a regular event (each Saturday) and the possibility to have a real-time discussion through irc gave a big push to our work. We started discussing on how we could coordinate our efforts better, how to make Linux more appealing to professional game developers etc. After a few meetings we came to the conclusion that it would be best to merge the SDK projects (ClanLib, CrystalSpace, GAMES and PenguinPlay) to one, giving it the full support. It seemed to be the right thing, but we were a bit uneasy with it, as merging projects is a very, very difficult task.

Then Charles Durst threw in an early version of this proposal, i.e. a project that would give developers from different game SDK projects a good way to communicate with each other, remind these developers to keep the different SDKs compatible to each other etc. He first proposed that PenguinPlay could become this "meta-project", but we found Ian Crawford's "Linux Game Development Center" much more fitting.

The Proposal

The proposed goal of the new Linux Game Development Center project is to act as a clearing house for information and free (open source) software to support creation of comprehensive, cross-platform toolkits for developing games and other multimedia software.

The new Linux Game Development Center would:

While game development for Linux would be an important goal of the web site, the most important goal would be the development of quality cross-platform game libraries. For that reason, developers of games and game SDKs for platforms other than Linux would be more than welcome to join us. Especially if they are interested in porting software to or from Linux.

In the end, there would still be multiple, competing game SDK packages, but that should be OK as long as at least one comprehensive open-source solution can be cobbled together from the pieces. As we have seen with multiple distributions, and even the KDE/GNOME projects, competition can sometimes be a very good thing ... if you can see past the flame wars.

The biggest problem with having multiple, competing projects is the resultant (developer and user) confusion. What we are proposing is a Linux Game Development Center that is aimed simply at reducing that confusion by helping people to find, evaluate, combine and use the available tools, or to develop new, missing ones.


At this point, we are looking for:

All interested people should join the linuxgames mailing list by sending a blank message to "linuxgames-subscribe@sunsite.auc.dk" to join the main linuxgames discussion list.

Current Game SDK Projects

These are the current Linux Game SDK projects we have been able to locate and invite to participate. If your favorite project is not included, let us know and please join us.

Similar Web Sites

The GUI Toolkit, Framework Page
A great survey of GUI toolkits available for various platforms. We envision a similar table of game SDKs marked with which functional areas they cover as well.
3D Engines List
A wonderful interface to a huge database of hundreds of 3D graphics engines. We would love to have a similar database for all the functional areas that apply to game development.

Charles Durst
Last modified: Mon Sep 28 22:35:02 EDT 1998