GSoC topics 2014

(User Administration Web Portal (and Lobby Server API))
(GSoC Addon Dependencies)
 
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This is currently a brainstorm list of projects students could work on for GSoC 2014. It's not even certain that SuperTuxKart will get reaccepted to participate in 2014, nor are we sure how many slots we will get. Last year we mentored 3 students who all succesfully completed the program and we hope to get at least the same amount of students this year.
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We have been accepted as a mentoring organisation for the Google Summer of Code. We can't be sure how many slots we will get, but last year we mentored 3 students who all successfully completed the program and we hope to get at least the same amount of students this year.
-
The actual projects we will select will depend on the students' proposals, the mentors' availability (to avoid having too much work for one mentor), and also what features benefit STK the most. Please discuss your ideas with us on IRC and try to contribute beforehand so that we can get an idea of your skills. The latter is definitely not necessary but it might help us in our selection process.
+
The actual projects we will select will depend on the students' proposals, the mentors' availability (to avoid having too much work for one mentor), and also what features benefit STK the most. Please discuss your ideas with us on IRC and try to contribute beforehand so that we can get an idea of your skills. The latter is not strictly necessary but it might help us in our selection process.  
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For now consider this to be a brainstorming list - to be discussed and fleshed out later.
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More information about how to get started as a student can be found at our [[GSoC_overview|GSoC overview]] page.
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== User Administration Web Portal (and Lobby Server API)==
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== Scripting engine ==
 +
SuperTuxKart race tracks are currently either static, or feature looping animations. The goal of scripting is to expose track object control and manipulation capabilities to a scripting language, so that each track may specify custom interactions, as described in more detail on our [[GSoC_Scripting|Scripting Engine]] page.
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For online multiplayer we've build upon our STKaddons code base (live at http://stkaddons.net) to reuse a lot of the account code. This has a nice side affect that the accounts at the addons site, can also be used for online multiplayer. The aim of this project is to revamp the STKaddons website and generalize the already present user panel, and most importantly add an moderating/administration panel. Moderator roles will need to be created along with a permissions system to allow certain user managing actions.
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'''Prerequisites'''
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* C++ programming
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* experience in a scripting language
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* notion of how scripting works
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In addition to the user moderation, this project can head into different directions :
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'''Mentor'''
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* Add an in-game report feature; the administration page will list suspicious users and actions can then be taken.
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* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
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* Reorganize the lobby server API. At the moment there are just a few php pages (i.e. client-user.php) that accept POST arguments for actions. Some htaccess and moving around can do a lot.
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* Fallback : Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
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* Add the friending features that are present in-game, also to the web app. Logically all server-side code is already present so this would only be some layout code.
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* ...
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Suggestions for this project highly appreciated. Be sure to discuss your ideas with us!
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----
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'''Prerequisites'''
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== Online User Administration ==
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PHP(OO), CSS and HTML. A sense of (My)SQL. Little work in C++ is possible.
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SuperTuxKart uses a server to provide several online features. At this stage the server is used to manage addons, but it is expected in the future to also take over a role in online multiplayer. This project is about adding missing features to the server, like simple bug reports for addons (e.g. the original designer of a track could be informed about problems, and other users could be warned that a track does not work properly). We also need a way to moderate our online users (e.g. prevent offensive names from being used, allow different roles for different users, ...). Details can be found  [[GSoC_2014_Server_Side|here]].
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 +
 
 +
'''Prerequisites'''
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* PHP(OO)
 +
* CSS and HTML
 +
* (My)SQL
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* Familiar with C++ (Only a little bit will have to be done in C++.)
''' Mentor'''
''' Mentor'''
* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
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* Fallback: Stephen?
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* Fallback: Stephen Just
----
----
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==Scripting engine==
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== GUI Improvements ==
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TODO
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SuperTuxKart uses a self written GUI engine that is based on the Irrlicht's GUI elements. Nevertheless the GUI itself has quite a few shortcomings. This project is about fixing existing GUI issues, and improving the look of the menus. This task will require you to implement additional widgets, and (re-)designing the GUI flow and look of the menus. More details about this task can be found on the [[GSoC_GUI|GSoC GUI]] page.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
-
C++ programming, notion of how scripting works
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* C++ programming
 +
* Experience with GUI programming may help
'''Mentor'''
'''Mentor'''
* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
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* Fallback : Joerg Heinrichs (hiker)
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* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
 +
* Fallback : Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
----
----
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== Battle Mode AI ==
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== Physics and Game Play Improvements ==
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At this stage our NPC's our only configure to do simple lap-based races. STK already supports different game modes, especially a battle mode. Goal of this task is to implement artificial intelligence that allows computer controlled karts to take part in battle modes. More details can be found on our [[GSoC_BattleAI|battle AI page]].
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The physics of SuperTuxKart are very simple at this stage, and some wanted features of the game can not be implemented at this time. Some examples:
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* Properly using motor bikes (at this stage all bikes are internally karts, i.e. no real leaning in curves).
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* Corkscrew tracks. Some preliminary support for corkscrew tracks is implemented in STK (i.e. the gravity of the karts can be changed, allowing karts to drive on the walls or ceiling), but many details are missing to actually use this feature.
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* Different kart physics.
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More details can be found [[GSoC_Physics|GSoC Physics]] page.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
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Strong C++ programming, AI techniques, path finding
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* Good C++ programming.
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* Understanding of physics, potentially experience with bullet physics engine.
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* Ability to quickly understand existing code.
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* Potentially some GUI coding might be required (e.g. different kart physics need to be shown in the kart selection screen).
 +
 
'''Mentor'''
'''Mentor'''
* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
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* Fallback: Marianne Gagnon (aka Auria)
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* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
-
 
+
----
----
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== Game Lobby and User Profile improvements ==
 
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For last year's online multiplayer projects a lot of functionality has been added, but not much attention was spend on the interfaces presenting the features. So one part of this project is to upgrade the current interface and add any obvious missing features.
 
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Some other nice features we want to add to online multiplayer that can be part of this project (and other ones may be suggested of course) :
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== Track Editor ==
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* Players in a game lobby vote for the next track.
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A long outstanding problem of SuperTuxKart is the fact that good skills with a 3d modelling software (best blender) is necessary in order to create tracks. This means that many people interested in designing tracks are facing a huge hurdle. Additionally, even for experienced modeller it takes a lot of time to create a track.
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* Users toggling ready before the race starts automatically
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* More settings for the game server host
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More details of this project are on our [[GSoC_Track_Editor|GSoC Track Editor]] page.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
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* GUI development
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* C++ or a scripting language
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* some blender and 3d modelling experience
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* some python experience (to study the current blender track exporter)
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C++
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'''Mentor'''
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* Lauri Kasanen (cand)
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''' Mentor'''
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* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
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* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
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* Fallback: Marianne Gagnon (auria)
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* Fallback: Hiker? Auria?
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----
----
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== Improve in-game add-ons interface ==
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= Other ideas =
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The current in-game addons interface is a flat list, with no screenshots and limited search, filtering and sorting options. Text is also used for many pieces of information that could be visual. This project will implement a new more user-friendly interface, with more screenshots and images and less text, and better search capabilities.
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SuperTuxKart uses its own GUI engine, based on the irrlicht widget set and XML files describing the layout. It may be necessary to extend the STK GUI engine to produce the desired results. The proposal for this project may be extended with interface improvents for other parts of the game. (Highly recommended, though make sure that your timeline seems reasonable.)
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== GSoC Addon Dependencies ==
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Currently, when an artist creates an add-on package (a kart, track or battle arena), their contribution is completely encapsulated within a single archive file for download. This presents a few problems:
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* Assets may be stored with multiple add-ons
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* Users must download the same files multiple times
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* Duplicate data must be stored on the server multiple times
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This is particularly prevalent with music that artists include with their track or battle arena packages. A dozen artists may all include the same music track, with a size of 4MB, and we would have to store all dozen or more copies independently. In order to resolve this problem, a dependency system could be implemented for add-ons. A more detailed explanation on this topic can be found on the [[GSoC_Addon_Dependencies | Addon Dependencies]] page.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
 +
* PHP(OO)
 +
* CSS/HTML
 +
* C++
 +
* (My)SQL
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C++ programming, experience with HTML or XML GUI's might come in handy
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''' Mentor'''
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* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
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'''Mentor'''
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* Fallback: Stephen Just
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* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
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* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
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-
 
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----
----
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== Improving graphics ==
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== Unit Testing ==
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STK graphics can be improved in a variety of ways. What's currently requested by our main artists is better shadow implementations and SSAO.
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SuperTuxKart does not have any kind of unit testing implemented, at this stage it relies on tester to report any bugs. This project is about adding a unit test framework to STK - ideally for both STK and the addon/online server. More details on the [[GSoC_Unit_Testing|GSoC Unit Testing]] page.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
-
 
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* C++ (for STK unit testing)
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Strong C++ programming, GLSL, graphics programming
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* php, mysql (in case of server-side unit testing)
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* Unit testing experience, esp. existing frameworks or scripting languages
'''Mentor'''
'''Mentor'''
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* Marianne Gagnon (aka Auria)
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* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
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* Fallback: funto
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* Glenn De Jonghe (unitraxx)
 +
* Fallback: Marianne Gagnon (auria)
----
----
 +
==Race History Verifier==
==Race History Verifier==
It is very easy to modify the kart characteristics in SuperTuxKart. This makes it difficult to have reliable online highscores. We intend to use the replay feature to help with that: any highscore will need to be submitted with a replay.
It is very easy to modify the kart characteristics in SuperTuxKart. This makes it difficult to have reliable online highscores. We intend to use the replay feature to help with that: any highscore will need to be submitted with a replay.
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'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
-
 
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* Some C++ programming.
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Some C++ programming.
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'''Mentor'''
'''Mentor'''
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==Allow to take a video in game==
==Allow to take a video in game==
Many people want to create videos of a SuperTuxKart race. Be it because they want to report a bug, show off a new feature, or just to post it on youtube. To do this atm additional software needs to be installed, and very often there are problems (performance, sound missing, ...). This project is about adding a built-in video recording feature. Anyone would just need to press a start and stop button, and a video is automatically created (similar to the already implemented snapshot feature).
Many people want to create videos of a SuperTuxKart race. Be it because they want to report a bug, show off a new feature, or just to post it on youtube. To do this atm additional software needs to be installed, and very often there are problems (performance, sound missing, ...). This project is about adding a built-in video recording feature. Anyone would just need to press a start and stop button, and a video is automatically created (similar to the already implemented snapshot feature).
 +
 +
In order to get good performance, you may need to compress frames on the GPU before fetching them. Using the hardware encoding support in latest graphics cards would also be acceptable, but a solution that works on a wider range would be preferred.
'''Prerequisites'''
'''Prerequisites'''
-
Some C++ programming, experience with video creation (existing libraries can of course be used).
+
* Some C++ programming
 +
* experience with video creation (existing libraries can of course be used).
'''Mentor'''
'''Mentor'''
* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
* Marianne Gagnon (auria)
-
* Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
+
* Lauri Kasanen (cand)
 +
* Fallback: Joerg Henrichs (hiker)
----
----
-
 
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== Track Editor ==
 
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This is for now a place holder. It can be anything from tools to simplify track creation, for example a tool that allows people to draw the outline of a track in 2d, convert this into a mesh that is imported into blender. Maybe add height-fields to that. Or a full stand-alone track editor, which either directly exports the files we need, or create data to be imported in blender for fine tuning.
 
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-
----
 
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==Include tux racer==
 
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The tux racer project is mostly dead (not sure if this is still true, I think there was a rc recently - under some other name ... extreme tux racer?), but anyway: the intention of tux racer was to support multiplayer and proper physics, all of which we already have. Instead of having tux racer as a separate project, it would help everyone to pool our resources and include a tux racer mode. It would involve supporting heightmaps (so that tracks from tux racer can be imported), etc.
 

Latest revision as of 00:19, 26 February 2014

We have been accepted as a mentoring organisation for the Google Summer of Code. We can't be sure how many slots we will get, but last year we mentored 3 students who all successfully completed the program and we hope to get at least the same amount of students this year.

The actual projects we will select will depend on the students' proposals, the mentors' availability (to avoid having too much work for one mentor), and also what features benefit STK the most. Please discuss your ideas with us on IRC and try to contribute beforehand so that we can get an idea of your skills. The latter is not strictly necessary but it might help us in our selection process.

More information about how to get started as a student can be found at our GSoC overview page.


Contents

Scripting engine

SuperTuxKart race tracks are currently either static, or feature looping animations. The goal of scripting is to expose track object control and manipulation capabilities to a scripting language, so that each track may specify custom interactions, as described in more detail on our Scripting Engine page.

Prerequisites

Mentor


Online User Administration

SuperTuxKart uses a server to provide several online features. At this stage the server is used to manage addons, but it is expected in the future to also take over a role in online multiplayer. This project is about adding missing features to the server, like simple bug reports for addons (e.g. the original designer of a track could be informed about problems, and other users could be warned that a track does not work properly). We also need a way to moderate our online users (e.g. prevent offensive names from being used, allow different roles for different users, ...). Details can be found here.


Prerequisites

Mentor


GUI Improvements

SuperTuxKart uses a self written GUI engine that is based on the Irrlicht's GUI elements. Nevertheless the GUI itself has quite a few shortcomings. This project is about fixing existing GUI issues, and improving the look of the menus. This task will require you to implement additional widgets, and (re-)designing the GUI flow and look of the menus. More details about this task can be found on the GSoC GUI page.

Prerequisites

Mentor


Physics and Game Play Improvements

The physics of SuperTuxKart are very simple at this stage, and some wanted features of the game can not be implemented at this time. Some examples:

More details can be found GSoC Physics page.

Prerequisites


Mentor


Track Editor

A long outstanding problem of SuperTuxKart is the fact that good skills with a 3d modelling software (best blender) is necessary in order to create tracks. This means that many people interested in designing tracks are facing a huge hurdle. Additionally, even for experienced modeller it takes a lot of time to create a track.

More details of this project are on our GSoC Track Editor page.

Prerequisites

Mentor


Other ideas

GSoC Addon Dependencies

Currently, when an artist creates an add-on package (a kart, track or battle arena), their contribution is completely encapsulated within a single archive file for download. This presents a few problems:

This is particularly prevalent with music that artists include with their track or battle arena packages. A dozen artists may all include the same music track, with a size of 4MB, and we would have to store all dozen or more copies independently. In order to resolve this problem, a dependency system could be implemented for add-ons. A more detailed explanation on this topic can be found on the Addon Dependencies page.

Prerequisites

Mentor


Unit Testing

SuperTuxKart does not have any kind of unit testing implemented, at this stage it relies on tester to report any bugs. This project is about adding a unit test framework to STK - ideally for both STK and the addon/online server. More details on the GSoC Unit Testing page.

Prerequisites

Mentor


Race History Verifier

It is very easy to modify the kart characteristics in SuperTuxKart. This makes it difficult to have reliable online highscores. We intend to use the replay feature to help with that: any highscore will need to be submitted with a replay.

In this project the student will try to automatically verify if a given replay is based on an unmodified set of kart parameters. The verification process could look out for excessive acceleration, high speeds from zipper that last too long, too much nitro for a track etc.

Prerequisites

Mentor



Allow to take a video in game

Many people want to create videos of a SuperTuxKart race. Be it because they want to report a bug, show off a new feature, or just to post it on youtube. To do this atm additional software needs to be installed, and very often there are problems (performance, sound missing, ...). This project is about adding a built-in video recording feature. Anyone would just need to press a start and stop button, and a video is automatically created (similar to the already implemented snapshot feature).

In order to get good performance, you may need to compress frames on the GPU before fetching them. Using the hardware encoding support in latest graphics cards would also be acceptable, but a solution that works on a wider range would be preferred.

Prerequisites

Mentor


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