Leszek 'Лешы' Szczepański

Leszek makes FOSS and takes our Twitter mic from August 12 to 19. Thank you, Leszek!

Please tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Leszek and I’m a game developer. I’ve been making games for over 13 years now (including, among many others, Need for Speed Shift for mobile, Sonic 4 for PC and Horizon Zero Dawn for PS4). Although my current day job does not involve much work with FOSS, I’m trying to contribute in my time off.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a Java based high-level game framework with a general purpose editor.

What is most interesting about that?

I’m trying to fill a void in the toolset people have available when making games. There’s a lot of great fairly low-level tools like SDL, libGDX, LWJGL, there’s quite a bit of really good game engines like Godot or jMonkeyEngine. However there’s not much in the middle. Tools like libGDX lack things like easy game data format and pipeline, and a game editor. While full blown game engines force specific ways of doing things. The framework is supposed to deliver the boilerplate every game project needs, that low-level tools don’t provide, while still giving developers the freedom that game engines take away. Also it’s Java, and there is a serious lack of gamedev libraries for Java. And of course it’s FOSS :)

How did you first discover FOSS?

A long time ago I heard somewhere about this Operating System, which has a penguin as a mascot. I love penguins, so I had to see what it was all about. Right after that I started experimenting with different OS’es: BSD, Solaris, Haiku OS etc. The world of possibilities opened before me.

What prompted you to start contributing to FOSS?

I like making things and I like making software and I strongly believe in the ideals of Free Software. It only seemed natural, that I would add at least something to the cause.

Why should others get involved with FOSS?

As a creator, you are able to make real, positive change to the world. It doesn’t have to be huge, a lot of people contribute to FOSS, making every effort count. And also it can have so many different forms, whether you are a programmer, an artist or have any other skills useful in software development, you can add something. As a user, you most importantly regain control. Control of your devices, of your tools and your data. Also when a piece of FOSS is used more widely, more people are likely to contribute to make it better.

How should they get started?

The easiest way is just to open source whatever you are making right now. Put it on github, sourceforge or anywhere else. It doesn’t have to be 100% complete, it can always be of use to someone. Also if you so desire, join the forum of the project you are interested in contributing and see what you can help with :)

Where do you see difficulties in contributing?

What is most difficult for me is how to start. Especially if you want to contribute to an existing, bigger project. It can be a bit overwhelming. However usually submitting a smaller bug fix, or crossing off something off the public TODO is a great way to break the ice.

What does a perfect day off look like?

Perfect? Sun, beach, cold soda and a book :)