The One Laptop Per Child Project is asking software coders to develop free, open-source educational computer games for the XO laptop, continuing its push toward a September launch date. OLPC offered a laptop prize for software teams who create new games during a three-day "game jam" scheduled to begin June 8 on the campus of Olin College, an engineering school in Needham, Massachusetts. By increasing the software available for the XO, OLPC hopes to encourage governments of developing countries to order more laptops, pushing the group to its sales goal of 3 million units by May 30. OLPC had collected 2.5 million orders by late April, but needed to boost sales enough to order bulk computer parts and stick to the manufacturing schedule.
"The purpose of the game jam is getting people together to hack for a couple of days. Hopefully this will be the first of many," said SJ Klein, OLPC's director of content. XO users already have their choice of certain games in a "Pygames" library of open-source applications written in the Python programming language, and the XO's eToys application that allows children to create their own basic media and games. But in the game jam, developers could create new types of games that rely on features of the XO's design such as mesh networking between nearby users, an integrated still or video camera, and a tablet mode for mobile gaming. Beyond creating games that teach specific tasks like counting or reading, OLPC hopes the contest will produce templates that allow kids to build their own games. In keeping with the group's decision to use an open-source Linux OS in the XO computer, OLPC will release all games created at the weekend-long event under the open-source GNU General Public License, and post them on the SourceForge site.
News source: PC World