Words About Words and Tetris

I’ve got my own domain now, and a central place to post thoughts or info on my projects. Or whatever else I feel like posting about.

I’m currently working on my Tetris clone. I know there are already more than enough of these floating around, but I spent loads of time trying to find a good, free clone of The New Tetris, and there just doesn’t seem to be one. If it exists, it’s lost somewhere in the sea of amateur to mediocre Tetris clones, which is bad news because that means mine will get lost out there too. Not to say that every free Tetris clone is garbage. There are certainly some great ones out there, but I haven’t come across a single decent clone that incorporates the block-forming concept that makes The New Tetris so fun, and so few clones out there even come close to The New Tetris’ super-smooth physics and game-play.

I’m trying to make a highly polished, engaging clone of The New Tetris that incorporates all the elements that come together to create a such a unique and fun Tetris experience. I’m pleased with what I have so far, but I’m running into some big road-blocks.

One problem is that this game is based on Microsoft’s XNA game library. While it is fantastically easy to program a game on XNA, it makes distribution a chore for the potential players. They need to make sure that they have the correct version of Microsoft’s .NET Framework installed, a new enough version of DirectX, and the correct version of the XNA runtime installed. Even with a fantastic installer, this makes for a potentially painful download of the requisite libraries if you don’t happen to have them installed already. Would you jump through hoops to play a game that you don’t even know whether you’ll like?

Another problem is the difficulty involved in gathering music and artwork that happens to be both great and free. No matter how much I polish the game-play, if the content is not up to par it will drag down the whole experience. So the content needs to be great, but at the same time, the content needs to be free. As in, no cease-and-desist letters from copyright holders (an no ethical qualms from myself).

It’s hard to pull all these things together when your flying solo.

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