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Issue 3.1


PicTiles 1.0.7

Issue: 3.1 (September/October 2004)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,984
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 3106
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Full text of article...

In addition to providing another opportunity for REALbasic Developer reviewers to get paid for playing games (and not just for playing solitaire when no one is looking), Nick Lockwood has offered an entertaining variation on the time-tested Tetris format. PicTiles is a game, designed in REALbasic, that takes a well-known format and adds a little twist while showing off some nice implementation of OS X's graphics capabilities.

Of course, in the spirit of computer gaming, I ignored the instructions for this one and immediately dove in. At first glance, the game is no different from Tetris: you have the solemn duty of guiding falling tiles to their resting place at the bottom of the window. The tiles are in the same five shapes that Tetris players know and love, and the ability to rotate the falling tiles mid-flight (with the up-arrow key) or quickly usher them to the bottom (with the down-arrow key) is of little surprise.

But as soon as the first tiles reached the bottom, I was made aware of the difference in PicTiles. The background image displays a shadowed shape that matches the tile grid, and tiles that fall outside of this shape vanish as soon as the group of tiles reaches the bottom. As the tiles continued to fall, I could see that the tiles that did fall within the background shape had their colors change to fit in with the emerging picture.

And that's the difference in PicTiles: while it has a lot in common with Tetris, the goal is different. In Tetris, your job is merely to keep the play area clear, taking advantage of the fact that rows of tiles disappear as soon as they are complete. In PicTiles, however, complete rows do not vanish; in fact, if you leave a "hole" in the picture, it's there for good. The goal in PicTiles is to fill the picture in as much as possible.

"Okay," I thought as the tiles continued to fall, "that's not such a big deal. I'll just make sure not to leave any holes in the image, and I'll have the whole thing filled in before too long." Well, except for that one hole that happened when I forgot which key did the rotating, two tiles out of 70 or 80 isn't bad, right?

Things got a little more difficult closer to the end, until I remembered that the pieces don't have to fit in the outlines exactly... tiles that fall outside the shape are conveniently removed. But just as I was getting the last few tiles filled in, I realized the real challenge... you only get a certain number of tiles. Waste not, want not, and after the first round I was left wanting.

PicTiles is a great little game, and shows off some of REALbasic's 3D graphics quite well -- for example, if you look closely, you can see the bottoms of the blocks when they are at the top of the screen, and the blocks' tops when they fall to the bottom.

While you're looking at that, though, I need to get on to level two...

End of article.