GCompris review

GCompris is a unique collection of educational games for children and a proud part of the KDE community. It is a popular and rapidly developed project with its latest version released less than a month ago and more than 100000 installations on Google Play store.

GCompris consists of more than 100 activities for different ages and purposes that are divided into 8 thematic sections. Games are translated into many languages, making it possible to be used by teachers all over the world.

GCompris has a consistent style, and all of the activities are designed very carefully.

I am a highschool student graduating this year, but some activities were interesting even for me! 🙂 “Land safe” and “Intro gravity”, for instance, are no worse than many games published as separate applications on Google Play.

GCompris is close to perfect, but there are still tiny things to improve. In this blogpost, I want to review 2 GCompris activities and provide my feedback.

Watercycle

This activity is an interactive lesson that allows to simulate the water cycle step by step by touching or clicking cycle elements in the right order. Here is the walkthrough:

The lesson is short, but it explains everything it should and even introduces a character – a penguin who comes home and wants to have a shower. What else is needed? 😀

As for the things to improve, it would be better to show the complete cycle first as a cartoon instead of the text instruction.

Roman numerals

“Roman numerals” is quite a big game with multiple levels that teaches kids to covert numbers between roman and arabic numeral systems. This game is marked as advanced and is meant for older children. Each level is an excercise with increased difficulty.

This activity can replace any school lesson on this subject, and I strongly recommend it to all teachers and parents if they want to help a child learn roman numerals in an entertaining way.

The only improvement I can suggest is to redesign the layout to make it look more friendly:rom_num

I hope my review helps GCompris developers make the games even better. Thanks to everyone who works on GCompris for your effort and for the wonderful experience during Google Code-In!

My Google Code-In experience

If someone asked me to describe Google Code-In with one word, I would definitely say “amazing”. And that’s not just a common word: that’s what this contest really makes me feel.

I. Am. Amazed.

To begin with, I learned about GCI by chance in a few days after its start. After registration and completing my beginner tasks, I was scrolling through the enormous task list choosing the one for me when I suddenly read “KDE”.

I did not know that my favorite community is a participating organization. So I revised my knowledge of Qt, prepared my programming tools and… opened Inkscape! Most of the tasks I completed in Google Code-In are design tasks. I designed a bunch of logo variants for KDE neon and a leaflet for Plasma, helped updating application screenshots on kde.org, but what I am really proud of is redesigning 16 (!) activity icons for GCompris.

all2

 

I now work on 6 more icons, and it feels like creating an icon pack  🙂

Such focus on design is not accidental: in my opinion, core functionality in open source projects is usually already quite polished due to many developers contributing to it, while design, considered “unimportant”, often lacks. This is not the case of KDE, which is yet another reason for admiration; but I think there are still things to improve, and so I do  😀

On the programming side, I helped fixing some Clazy warnings in Dolphin. The perfectionism that is found in every line of code, every guideline and in people’s attitude made me reevaluate the amount of effort put in the software I use every day.

I was going to help KDE community, and I found KDE helping me  🙂

During the contest, I learned to use IRC, Phabricator, Git Review Board, Cmake and Clazy. Also, my vector drawing skills have greatly improved. I even learned French regions!..  🙂 This led me to understanding that the word “student”, so commonly used in GCI, does not mean “highschool student”: it means “Google Code-In student”, and I am proud of being one.

I still have about a week, and I hope to help as many KDE projects as possible, meet new people and prove the world that software can be beautiful! And no matter if I win the contest or not, my KDE journey does not end there.

Thank you, KDE!