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Google Summer of Code

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Starting in 2005, Google has run an open source software development program specifically for students called the Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Under this program, Google funds students to write code for open source projects during the northern hemisphere's summer timeframe. The student efforts are focused on projects that they themselves propose to projects such as BZFlag, sometimes catering to ideas that the project suggests or ideas entirely of the student's own conception. Student proposals are then reviewed, evaluated, and ranked by the project. Google allocates a certain number of slots to each participating project/organization which in turn determines how many student developers we get to work with.

Students that participate with the BZFlag project are required to adhere to specified development requirements, selected students then work on their projects through the summer. Students are expected to be fully integrated with the BZFlag development community throughout the program, actively engaged in their work, and intently working with the other BZFlag developers throughout the design and implementation of their projects. If the student successfully completes what they propose, they are ultimately paid $4500 for their work and the BZFlag community hopefully gains a new long-term developer. In all, the program is a pretty darn good deal for many students, great publicity and marketing for both Google and BZFlag, and an excellent opportunity for attracting new long-term BZFlag developers.

Attracting and mentoring new long-term developers is our primary goal. If this interests you, please let us know and submit a GSoC application.


BZFlag will not be applying to SOC 2010 in order to concentrate on the release of V3.

Past years

See 2009 GSoC page

2008 GSoC page

2007 GSoC page

for past projects.

Getting started

Preparing an application

There is intentionally no specific format to our applications. BUT... students are strongly encouraged to be detailed, creative, and interactive with the BZFlag developers throughout the application process. Proposals that are detailed in their approach and contain useful background information about the individual's abilities and their ideas will generally receive more attention. Applications should specify what you intend to deliver, a reasonable development timeline, and any implementation details that are relevant such as what language(s) you intend to use. C/C++ proposals are generally preferred since that is our predominant codebase and developer expertise though others are considered. See our Application Guidelines for more details.

Early proposal submissions are encouraged as it gives the mentors more time to review the proposal in detail, comment on it, potentially ask for additional input, and iterate with the student on your ideas. In the past, submitting closer to the deadline hasn't been a negative consideration, as all submissions are predominantly judged on merit, but submitting and discussing early do tend to be an advantage if there are others applications that have similar goals.

Students should propose what they actually want to work on, how you intend to work on it, what you intend to DO, what you know about that task, some details about yourself, etc. Be detailed and articulate. Brief proposals do not generally do very well. Your ability to perform the task is outright presumed by the nature of submitting a detailed application. Students should propose a task that they are comfortable and knowledgeable with performing within the timeframe of the program and considering any extenuating circumstances.

You may submit more than one application (one application for each project you would enjoy working on) if you so desire. This can help us when we receive more than one strong proposal for a single project, as generally speaking we will accept only one application for each project. However, please do not submit proposals for work you will not enjoy doing, and please do not sacrifice quality for quantity. One good application makes a much better impression than two half-baked applications.

If you talk with us on IRC about your SoC proposal, be sure to include your IRC nickname somewhere in your proposal.

You should also submit a patch before you submit your application, and be sure to include a link to the tracker item in your proposal submission. See the development requirements for details.

Students are expected to interact on the #bzflag IRC channel on the Freenode network, abide by the DEVINFO rules, and agree to the development requirements before submitting an application.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to seeing you apply!

The application review process

Just about every participating GSoC organization receives considerably more project proposals than can be accepted. All the applications are reviewed, evaluated, and critiqued individually. Of those applications, only a few can be selected to work on BZFlag. We expect to receive many good applications, making the selection process very competitive and difficult (so make sure your application is excellent). This cannot be stressed enough. It is rather hard for most projects to narrow down the submissions but in the end there are only so many slots to work with and the line eventually has to be drawn. Every application gets read multiple times and reviewed in detail. We thank everyone that submits a proposal and hope to see many of you become involved in BZFlag software development regardless of acceptance.

In the end, submissions are selected according to the overall long-term impact that accepting the proposal can make for the game, perception of the submitter's abilities to complete the task within the program timeframe, general consensus on the technical approach being proposed, how well the student communicates with other developers, the perception that the individual is interested in being a long-term BZFlag developer, and our overall interest in having the proposed modifications made to BZFlag. Particular notice is made of students that are responsive to questions and readily interactive in the IRC channel. Communication is one of the most important criteria.

BZFlag participation in GSoc

2009 (more details here)

We've been accepted.

We intend to only accept at most three student slots this year. Our focus this year is on quality and cleanup so we can make a major release. Cleaning up and refactoring existing code is much more important to us this year than writing new code.

2008 (more details here)

BZGSoC2008 small.gif

The Google Summer of Code 2008 was announced on February 25, 2008. Given the substantial successes and opportunities provided by the program, BZFlag continues to participate in the program. We accepted six students, five of whom were integrated into our development community.

2007 (more details here)

BZGSoC2007 small.gif

BZFlag first participated during GSoC's third year in 2007. A detailed after-the-fact discussion and analysis of BZFlag's first-year participation is included in the article “Postmortem” Perspectives of a First-year Participant in the 2007 Google Summer of Code for BZFlag. This article was given to Google in August 2007 as a final report, per se, of our involvement (you're only a first-year participant once).

We accepted four students, three of whom were successful in their projects.

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