Gluon Development Sprint

Something good has happened in the world of Gluon. Twelve game developers dedicated to creating free software gathered at our office in Munich from the 9th to the 11th of October. These programmers came with a mission; a mission to push forward progress on the Gluon Player and Creator and enhance its power so that people can use it to create great games with just a minimal amount of programming. And so it came to pass that the Gluon development sprint was born!

Put simply, the Gluon Creator lets people make games and the Gluon Player lets users play games. Gluon itself is not a game; it is a high-level game development library for KDE that allows developers to program games with support for physics, graphics, audio and controllers. You can download the source code from Gitorious and participants in the Gluon development project also plan to add web-driven distribution capabilities at a later stage.

Development Sprint Kick-Off

During the first day of the Gluon sprint, the participants researched existing commercial and free software game development systems. A broad range of features were evaluated and a suggestion for game object hierarchy was presented as well as a library for game controls called KCL.

A couple of developers presented their own master thesis on this subject, in fact in both cases this was work based on Qt. The second day was spent on coding, mostly programming in pairs to share the learning experience. The developers also did live mock-ups and brain storming on the Gluon Creator user interface.

It was great to meet these contributors in person, it makes it so much easier to exchange and evaluate ideas. The whole team worked from nine in the morning to around nine in evening on both the Saturday and Sunday, there was clearly dedication in evidence here. The end result was that we had a lot of code – good code, really useful code in fact. If you enjoy statistics you’ll be interested to hear that Gluon is rated as one of the most active projects in Gitorious.

How to create your own Development Sprint…

This development sprint started as an idea at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit this summer. Dan Leinir Jensen asked me for community tickets to our Developer Days in Munich and being Qt Community Manager, I suggested that he should organise a development sprint the weekend before the event. Developers would be in exactly the right frame of mind and would probably feel they were getting a head start on the main Qt event too.


It’s easy enough to organize an event like this if you just spend a little time on thinking about logistics and planning before you start off. You’ll need to think about looking for a sponsor to help with supporting the travel and accommodation needs of the developers. In this case we turned to KDE e.V who were fantastic.

You’ll also need a venue, typically an office with white boards, markers and coke & coffee machines! Our saviour in this regard was Qt developer Harald Fernengel who allowed us to use the Qt offices in Munich, which worked out just great.

Dan Leinir Jensen has blogged extensively on the technical details of the sprint and his closing comment on day two sums up just how much everyone threw themselves into this gathering: “Finally at eight it was time for dinner. But people were so busy that we ended up working way past that, not leaving the office until an hour and a half later, when Knut stood up and exclaimed that we had to leave now or face the possibility of having nowhere to eat. All in all, a really nice day!”

I’d personally love to hear from anyone that wants to try and stage a development sprint and will give them all the help and support that I can. Let’s work together to make more of these meetings happen in future!

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