I am very pleased to announce that I have been hired to maintain and develop Gideros on a part time basis. I will be working 2 days a week alongside my existing (science) job, which I am reducing from full to part time. I will be primarily responsible for building and releasing new versions of Gideros, updating the documentation and promoting Gideros to a wider audience. Of course the other Gideros maintainers will continue to play a leading role in development and we greatly welcome your pull requests and other feedback such as bug reports and comments here on the forum.
As some of you will know, since Gideros went open source in mid 2014, we maintainers
have been building new releases mostly in our spare time. But it has got to the point when a few evenings a week is just not sufficient time to build and test such a complex system. Gideros runs on 8 operating systems and needs to be tested on each before release. It also needs to be compiled on at least two different computers (Mac and PC) and, soon, on Linux as well. The binaries then need to be reconciled into one place, packaged and signed. So it all takes a lot of time and effort and we all have other jobs, family etc which are demanding.
It therefore seemed the best solution was for one of us to work on Gideros on a formal basis as a "job" in its own right and that is what I will be doing. I have been fascinated by Gideros since I first discovered it in 2012 and leapt at the chance to get involved when it became open source in 2014. As many of you will know I organised the first Gideros Kickstarter
and successfully added support for Windows Store and Windows Phone output targets. I also wrote the bare-bones win32 export and ported Gideros to Raspberry Pi
and Linux. Maintaining Gideros is a dream job for me, it's a fascinating technical challenge and also something that is really worth while, directly benefiting developers and providing a valuable service.
But given Gideros is free and open source, you may be wondering how I will get paid? Firstly, let me reassure you that Gideros is and will always remain free and open source
so you will never have to pay a fee to use it and you can continue to publish with no restrictions whatever. However, in future releases, we will start asking for voluntary donations when you download a new version. The idea is similar to Ubuntu: when you download Gideros, you will go first to a donation screen asking you to donate whatever sum you think appropriate. You can dismiss this screen and simply download but we hope people who find Gideros useful will donate what they can afford. It needn't be much money. If 10% of those who download Gideros can donate £10 per release that should be enough to pay a salary at the UK minimum wage level. Of course, I'd like to see more money than that! But please give what you can afford and we'll see how it goes. If more money flows in, we can use that to promote Gideros by, for example, attending conferences/exhibitions and writing articles for websites.
You should think of donating to Gideros as like giving a tip at a restaurant. At Gideros all the food is free! (the code is open source) but it still takes time and effort to cook and serve the food (ie compile/package/sign the code). The chef must also taste the food and, if he put salt instead of sugar in, he must throw it away and start again. This describes our testing process which often results in candidate releases being discarded and is time consuming as mentioned above. So if you enjoyed your "meal" please consider giving us a tip to recognise the effort we put in. Please consider donating for each release, if you can afford it (and if we do a good job of course!) as each release takes time and effort.
(if you compile Gideros from source you don't need to tip -- you cooked the meal yourself!)
Now is a very exciting time for Gideros development. The recent Kickstarter to add HTML5 support to Gideros
is nearly complete and very soon we will add this export to the official Gideros release. (previoulsy it was reserved for those who donated to the Kickstarter). Nicolas (@hgy29)
has done a wonderful job with HTML5, with the result that Gideros games can run full screen at 60fps in a browser. It really is amazing how he has achieved practically native speed, something I don't think any other game engine can match in a browser.
Here are some more features coming up:
* Direct export of Android APK files (no Eclipse needed)
* Automatic plugin export. No need to copy files manually.
* Complete the "bare bones" win32 export
* Support ads in UWP (formerly WinRT) for Windows Store/Phone
* Binary Gideros package for Linux and Raspberry Pi
* Support OpenSL ES for better sound performance on Android
On the non-code side, one of my tasks will be to improve the documentation. The actual API specification is good but I will add some corrections and improvements where needed. What's really missing is regular new tutorials in the form of blog posts. I think this is especially important for the new graphics features like 3D and shaders. These have been there for a while but the documentation is hidden away and I think more explanation is needed to get people started. Another thing I will add is video tutorials
. These are the best way to find out quickly about a new SDK so it's really important that Gideros has a comprehensive set of video tutorials to draw in more users.
I also hope to revitalise the Gideros wiki, which needs a lot of tidying up, and complete the "Ultimate Guide to Gideros" within the wiki. Some of you may remember the "Gideros Reference Guide" I wrote as part of the Kickstarter. Well, I would like to produce a second edition of that book and publish it.
On publicity, I intend to go to conferences. I already have the Gideros poster and flyers from Apps World last year
. If enough money comes in from donations, I'd also like to recruit other people as "Gideros Ambassadors"
to spread the word further. We can't pay you for your time, but we could, in principle, cover expenses like printing costs and travel. I can provide the PDFs for my Gideros poster and flyers to use. This is very much dependent on the money that comes in of course, but if we have a surplus I think this would be really worth while.
I also intend to write press releases for each Gideros release and also try to get the attention of the big websites and national newspapers.
Well, that's quite a lot of work for two days a week! But at least I will now have those two days, not zero days! The reason I'm doing this is because I really want to do it, and because it needs to be done. If you can make it financially worth my while that would be awesome too! If all goes well, perhaps I will be able to increase my hours or even consider recruiting more programmers if the money really ramps up. That depends on the donations and how many more users we can attract over the coming months.
There will be a transition period where I get up to speed with the aspects of Gideros I'm not so familar with like OS X and iOS. I will also need to buy a new Mac. Probably the first release I will be able to build myself will be end of March.
Thanks very much for reading!