Saturday, June 23, 2007


A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a game jam run by some One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) folks. The idea of this event was to develop a game for the OLPC laptop in the span of a weekend. My entry for the jam ended up writing an implementation of Reversi, which was a lot of fun to write. Given that the OLPC laptops are designed for children, the judging of the games were done by children. At one point during the judging, one of the children came up to me and handed me a slip of paper, which his mother explained was his vote for the best game. Cool.

(I still want to write a good blood and guts game some day though, although I suspect the OLPC wouldn't be my target platform!)

The OLPC laptops, which are also called XOs, are neat. They have a built in camera, plus a screen that can be swivelled around, turning the machine into a tablet-mode of sorts. There are Playstation-esque controls on either side of the screen, which complemented the machine nicely, although I do not believe they are working in the game toolkit of choice for the XOs (Pygame). The screens also have a low-power, sunlight-friendly grayscale mode, which I think Reversi will work well in. I'll likely need to do some optimization on the game before it works well in low-poer mode.

The best part of attending this game jam was that it allowed me to develop a game that I normally wouldn't have. Almost all of my programming time these days goes into work, which I don't necessarily see as a bad thing, but it is occasionally nice to be able to work on something with a different set of goals and limitations.

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