SJ Klein's call for games on the OLPC Children's Machine XO is starting reap crazy-good dividends. First Ninja Boy John won an OLPC XO in the Game Developer's Challenge for his game design (which I hope he shares with OLPC News readers).
And now we have SimCity on the OLPC!
According to Next Generation and Don Hopkins post on Slashdot, Electronic Arts and Will Wright are finalizing the technicalities to make an Open Source version of SimCity for the OLPC. While its not official or available yet, Don Hopkins is already crunching code:
I've done the first basic cut of porting the X11/TCL/Tk based multi player version of SimCity to run on the OLPC, and the next step is to integrate it with Python and Sugar in a deep way, that will make SimCity scriptable in Python, enable all kinds of interesting hooks and plug-ins, and result in a set of reusable general purpose components for building games.Now the only question is, which virtual community will millions of children flock to: OLPC SimCity or OLPCities, the Second Life for students.
For example, the next step I've taken is to rewrite pie menus in Python with Cairo and Pango, so SimCity and other applications can use them.
The point is not just to port a game to the OLPC, but rather to use SimCity and other games to drive the development of an open framework to enable and teach kids to program their own games!
The goal is to enable the open source community to renovate SimCity and take it in new educational directions, by applying Seymour Papert's ideas about constructionist education, Alan Kay's ideas about interactive user interfaces and object oriented programming, Ben Shneiderman's ideas about direct manipulation and info visualization, and many exciting ideas about multi player games, blogging, storytelling, game mods, player created content, and lessons learned from World of Warcraft, The Sims, Spore, etc.