Handheld Gnome Games

I have been experimenting with Garnome and also with Matchbox (which is
used by GPE, the Gnome Palmtop Enviroment).

For what is is worth. most of the scalable games are pretty usable even on
a screen as small as 200 wide by 300 pixels tall.  Obviously the
non-scalable games were a dead loss and utterly unusable on a palmtop
sized display.

In most cases is it essential to turn off the toolbars (hiding the handles
and setting to icons only might also have worked but I didn't try it) and
an option to hide status bars would have helped.
If a game included a Full screen option that also significantly helped to
optimise the use of space.  (Having options to hide toolbars and
status bars and to go to fullscreen consistently in every game might be
worth considering.  I'll leave that for another days discussion though.)

I was suprised quite how usable the Card games Aisleriot and BlackJack
were even at a very small size.  Games like Mahjong and the Card Games
would benefit considerably if they had High Contrast themes (proving once
more and yet again againt that accessibility makes things better for all
kinds of users).

Gnotski felt rather cramped, the menus didn't even fit but it worked.

The preview in Glines gets very small, and it doesn't look like it is
making the best use of the space available to it.

Gnomine works with a small level and seems to just about work with a
medium sized level but the toolbar and statusbar particuarly get in the

Gnibbles was reluctant to even run, I couldn't get past the start screen
not that I expect it would be very easy to play in a box that was
effectively less than 200x150.  (It crashed reproducably if I tried to
open preferences.  Oops the seg-fault seems entirely unrelated to the
small display, trying to access preferences at all in Gnibbles 2.10 causes
a sefault for me.)

My use of a resolution taller than it was wide meant less favourable
results for Same Gnome, and Tetravex (text was just way too small).
SameGnome ... I'm not a fan of the current version of Same Gnome (the grid
for one thing but I'll get into that another time).

(I know it is not a Gnome Game but Monkey Bubble appears but crashes if
you try and do anything.)

I'd judge my little experiment a modest success, and it is a credit to all
the hard work that was done to make the Gnome Games scalable. If you want
to you could run the gnome-games on a palmtop enviroment without
significant changes.  (Palmtop and desktop versions could coexist in the
same codebase.)

Hope you found my little experiment to be of interest.  I wish more
applications were as well designed and flexible as Gnome Games.


Alan Horkan

Inkscape http://inkscape.org
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Dia http://gnome.org/projects/dia/
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Alan's Diary http://advogato.org/person/AlanHorkan/

[1] Garnome  http://cipherfunk.org/garnome/
[2] Matchbox  http://projects.o-hand.com/matchbox/
[3] Gnome Palmtop Enviroment, GPE  http://gpe.handhelds.org/

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