Two days ago, the list of selected GSoC students along with their projects were released by Google. Our students are as follows (nicknames only, I leave it up to the students to introduce themselves if they want): elath, leyyin, nixt, sachith500 and solistice.
Meanwhile, here's a picture of me at OVER 9000 (filler alert)!
elath's project will be to create a simple track editor for beginners. Note that it will not replace Blender as a general modelling tool nor will it be nearly as advanced, but having both tools available will hopefully bring a lot of budding track creators to our community.
leyyin will put some needed attention on online user administration, needed for the upcoming online play and surrounding services such as the stkaddons website. Among other user-visible features players will be able to report bugs to addon maintainers, add friends and view achievements from the site.
nixt is a returning student from last year, though he was not selected then. I just want to mention that because it shows perseverance can pay off, so if you were among the unlucky students this time, maybe you will get another opportunity later.
His project will include physics and gameplay, with the main focus on loop-de-loops, corkscrews and other screwy roads. The AI will also need the necessary adjustments so they know how to drive within a topsy-turvy world, along with items, rescuing and other elements which will need the same awareness.
sachith500 will create a scripting engine for the game, which will allow for interesting kart and scenery interactions, and also for less hardcoding of various existing features. The API will primarily be robust and extensible so more features can easily be added later as they are needed.
solistice will also work on physics and gameplay, but his focus will be on karts and other vehicle types such as bikes, and also unique properties for each. He'll also be looking at making a replay system which will allow uploading so others can race against it and also verify submitted highscores.
Well that was the very high-level view of what's going to happen; obviously there are quite a few details that I didn't include, but I think it's best to let them emerge naturally with time, or from the horses... err, students mouths themselves. Also there are bound to be some adjustments that will have to be done along the way.
For the rejected students this year, we encourage you to keep in touch if you have time and motivation for it - obviously you won't have as much of either one as you would otherwise but we'd be much obliged if you could stay. And any contribution, small or otherwise is much appreciated.