What is UGENE?
UGENE is a project dedicated to creating open-source games. Our focus is on
creating fun and original multi-player games that don't require a powerful computer.
Our current catalog includes Squee (a board game) and Five Thousand (a dice game). [Read More]
2006-Jun-01: Design Progress Made
Leon and I got together on Tuesday (May 29th) evening and got some good design work done.
Today I'll be updating the design documents to reflect our work. At this point, the next
step is to start the Squee game prototype.
Update: A major overhaul of the Eclipse Guide. It
is now up-to-date, contains more useful information (like how to use the Eclipse plugins) and
I've added JUnit to the plugin list.
2006-May-29: Design Work Begins Anew
Work on Squee stalled for a few months there. However, now we're back on track. The
CVS server we rely on to do our work is back online (thanks SourceForge!), and real life
has decided to give us a break in the workload.
Hence, we will now begin designing and programming Squee again, working toward our
next release. Progress should be fairly rapid, since we've already gotten over a lot of the
tougher hurdles. Stay tuned for more updates!
Update: I've updated the Screenshots section to add a few pictures of the
Alpha1 release of Squee.
Update: I've also updated the Developer Documentation in
order to reflect the new way that SourceForge's CVS service functions. All developers will
need to re-checkout their local copy of Squee. I also fixed some links that got broken.
2006-Mar-06: Squee Alpha1 Released!
The very first release of Squee, Alpha1, is now available as of 2006-Mar-06.
Squee is a computerized board game that chronicles the journey of 2 to 6 university students as they perform research and attempt
to pass their classes. What makes these students different from any other? They come from a planet called E, have incredibly advanced technology,
and perform their research on alien planets! The game will offer Internet multi-player support and it will run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
The Alpha1 release is a technical preview that offers very limited functionality. At the moment, it is possible to start a Lobby server,
and for clients to join the Lobby. However, it is not yet possible to play the game.
The UGENE Team
2006-Feb-24: First Alpha Release Being Prepared Now
A lot of progress has been made in the last month and a half. Squee's lobby server, and the client to connect to it, have been completed. They are
ready right now to be released, but I'd like to delay a little bit to improve the robustness. Look for the first Alpha release next month. Screenshots
will also be made available. The lobby is where the host can create games, and where players can join games. So far there is no way to actually play
a game, but we're working on that...
Design work has been done on the actual Squee game (which will allow players to play the game), and several team members will be meeting again
next weekend to further the design. Our work so far can be seen in the developer documentation.
2006-Jan-11: Importing Squee into Eclipse
I added a step-by-step guide on importing Squee's code into Eclipse.
2006-Jan-05: First Alpha Coming Soon
A lot of work on this project was done during the holiday season. The Game Lobby's
client and server have both been bullet-proofed (meaning that they are now very
error-tolerant), and a simple user-interface has been completed for the client. Now
all that remains is completing the user-interface for the server. After that, we can
publish the first Alpha of Squee. It will be a Game Lobby, where potential players
can see a list of available games, and join the game they want. The game host will be
able to create one or more games, fiddle with their settings, see who has joined the
server and who has joined particular games, delete games, boot players off the
server, etc. Since there is no game to launch from the Lobby yet, this Alpha will not
be too impressive. However, it lays the groundwork for actually creating a game. By
handling the game's networking capabilities first, we've tackled one of the
most difficult design problems, and by comparison the rest of the project is now easier.
2005-Dec-04: Lobby Nearing Completion
With regard to the RMI problems of the last update, we've gotten over them and
development has been proceeding smoothly. It turns out that the Java code we wrote
was a weird bastard child of Java 1.4 and Java 1.5. I suppose that RMI is implemented
differently between the two Java versions, and so our client and server couldn't
communicate correctly as a result (they each had different underlying
At this point in time, the implementation of the lobby (where the host creates new
games and the other players join in) is nearing completion. It's broadly functional
and thread-safe, but bullet-proofing the code and improving the GUI are going to take
Unfortunately, this means that there isn't anything particularly interesting to
show off yet (unless you really want to see a game lobby?). Nonetheless, we'll post
some pictures when the GUI is looking nicer.
In related news, I've updated the developer
documentation to include more information on downloading and building Squee from
the source code.
2005-Nov-15: Progress Is Being Made
Two weekends ago a large part of the team got together, bringing a ton of laptops,
and we all started building and working on the Squee project. Unfortunately, we
didn't get very far because we're having trouble getting clients and servers to talk
to each other using Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI). We're trying to track down
the problem and are making some progress.
The networking and multi-player aspects of the game are the hardest to manage,
which is why we're tackling that first. Once that's out of the way the rest of the
project won't necessarily be easy, but at least it will be straight-forward.
2005-Oct-14: Work Begins Anew
Hello again dear reader, I'm back from Europe. I've caught up on all that I
missed, and I've even managed to get over the jet lag (there's a six-hour time
difference between Montreal and Paris).
I have a clever new idea to help get our volunteer developers back in action on
the project. Hopefully we should be in full development soon. It's hard to say at
this point when our Alpha release will be, but hopefully things will become more
clear in the coming weeks.
2005-Sep-01: Temporary Work Slowdown
Unfortunately we missed our Beta-by-the-end-of-August deadline by a long shot,
seeing as how our new Squee project is still not even at Alpha yet. Unfortunately,
real life insists on intruding into fun hobbies like making games. I (Jonathan Benn)
am taking a business trip to France for the month of September, but starting in
October I'll start working on Squee again.
Thus far we've created a basic framework for running a game server (and any number
of games) on a computer. The next step will be to create the client and server
portions of the game itself.
One very encouraging piece of news is that even though I haven't been able to work
on UGENE for the last several weeks because I've been busy writing papers for
scientific conferences (they're all due in September), our project's activity
percentile is still over 95% at the time of this writing! That's very encouraging
because it means that people care about this project and are visiting every once in a
while to see what's going on.
Once work starts again soon, I'll let you all know about progress.
2005-Jun-22: A New Direction for UGENE
The UGENE development team has chosen a new direction for the UGENE project. In
the past, we were dedicating our time to creating a game engine that would allow the
creation of any low-performance 2D/3D game. In doing so we came to realize a few
- We didn't enjoy creating engines very much, we would have preferred to be
- Our game engine's overall architecture was far too inflexible to be really
- We were not motivated enough to start over making a new engine.
In light of these painful facts, we've decided to move on and start something new.
We will now start creating games instead of game engines. That's much more fun! Since
we're programming in our spare time and for no money, this seems like a better
option. The game engine Beta release, as well as the Five Thousand dice game, will
continue to be offered through this project. However, they will just be available in
the background, and will cease to be the main focus of UGENE. UGENE will cease being
an acronym (standing for the User-interface GENeration Engine) and will simply become
the project codename for this game-making project.
I will now describe more about our new plan. One thing we're unhappy about is how
the game engine only works on Windows. We want to support Windows, Linux and OS X.
This (and dangling pointers) is why we're abandoning C++ and picking up Java as our
programming language. We will also be using AspectJ for some of the trickier aspects (pun intended).
Our first game project will be a new, completely original, multi-player board game
called Squee. We plan on at least reaching Beta status by the end of August,
so you won't have long to wait before you can try it out. I'll provide more details
as the summer and the project progress. This website will also be slowly updated to
reflect this dramatic new change of direction.
Not seeing older news you're looking for? Perhaps it's in the news archive.