Thursday, May 1, 2008

blockstar sucked.

this guy is a jackass. he played blockstar. he was the best at it. argument=made.
everyone stop pretending this was fun for you.

tetris friends facebook update

just a little note here to mention that tetris friends has put up some great new options for configurable controls, and your preferences stay across sessions and across computers--and that is the nift.

also, marathon has been implemented. it's 15 glorious levels long and all of the blockstar people still hate it because it "arbitrarily" cuts them off when they finish the game.

of note, the scoring in marathon is really really counterintuitive (near identical to tetris zone) and requires a really deliberate and annoying style to perform optimally. that level goal counter on the left does not go down directly proportionately to the amount of lines cleared, but instead moves in really strange increments depending on whether you cleared a single, double, triple, etc. here's an "easy to understand" chart to follow:



Lines Cleared

Lines Awarded Towards Level Goal

Single 100 x level 1 1
Double 300 x level 2 3
Triple 500 x level 3 5
Tetris 800 x level 4 8
T-Spin Single 800 x level 1 8
T-Spin Double 1200 x level 2 12
Back-To-Back Bonus (Tetrises and T-Spins performed consecutively) 0.5 x Action Total 0 0.5 x Action Total
Soft Drop 1 per line dropped 0 0
Hard Drop 2 per line dropped 0 0

you also get an extra 50 points x level for every consecutive combo, and every two combos award 1 line to the level counter. so clearing 4 consecutive singles on level one will give you 50(1 level point)+100(1 level point)+150(2 level point)+200(2 level point)=500 points and 6 level points.

everyone following? if this makes sense to you, you don't make sense to me.

taking level 3 as an illustration of this bizarre picture:
the level counter reads 15, and you finished off level 2 with the super awesome worth 1200 points t-spin double, and, looking at the score chart, have decided to just get as many t-spin doubles as possible to "maximize" your score.

1 t-spin double = 1200 points x level 3 = 3600 + b2b bonus of .5 = 5400 points! w00t!

but that also decremented the level goal counter by 18, which is more than the 15 needed to complete level 3, so you are now on level 4. another t-spin double?

now lets take a look at an alternative strategy:

you enter level 3 flustered, because you hate that goddamn tetris music. (it makes you think of turnips. and watching television with your dad. also, you have weird memories.) so you begin by making a regular old single, which gives you 100 x level 3 = 300 points, and ticks down that level counter by 1. you immediately make another single, again, 300 points, this time with 50 x level 3 = 150 extra points for the combo score, and combo 1's do not affect the level counter (you have to get at least a combo 2 before it starts making it go down faster.) so for 2 level counter points, you have earned yourself 750 points. do a little math on that, and realize you can do it 6 more times in level 3, and get yourself a score of 5250 points, with 1 left on the level counter. still not better than your 1 t-spin from the last game though. so instead of finishing off level 3 with another boring single, set up a t-spin double, worth 1200 x level 3 = 3600, bringing your total to 8850. that is much better than the 5400 from earlier. but you can do better.

instead of doing that "single, single, wait. single single, wait" thing all the way through the section, stop when the level counter gets to 9. so, 6 level points, or 3 sets of single combos. your score is now 2250. get a tetris, which will move the counter down by 8, so you're at 1 level point, and give you 800 x level 3 = 2400 points, your total is now 4650, which is not as high as the 5250 you had when you did single combos the whole way, but now you've got the back-to-back bonus coming for your next clear, which should be a t-spin double. worth 1200 x level 3 = 3600 + b2b bonus of .5 = 5400 + your previous score of 4650 = 10, 050 points. that is the most points you can get on level three (not counting the points gained from dropping pieces).

the same strategy actually holds up for the entirety of the game, so a perfect play would be single combo 1's and then a tetris and a t-spin double for every single section. the maximum score ends up being about 980,000 with drop scoring.

now everyone go write Tetris Online a letter explaining how ridiculous this is and how much you would prefer a more straightforward version of the scoring.

check out this forum thread over on for source material, as well as this handy chart made by tetrisconcept's very own Lardarse showing the optimal strategy in use and the math behind it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

there's a new tetris to be tetrised on facebook this week!

the trendiest of the interblag's sarcastic status update emporiums has long been home to one of those awful, archaic, janky, endlessly repetitive--i'm just gonna skip to the more accurate, actual description: the thing was a malicious, scheming, hateful amalgamation of falling block evilness.

they called it "BlockStar" and it looked like this:

i call it crap, and belive me when i say that it most likely raped your children. provided, that is, that your children were your metaphoric desires to play tetris on facebook and the raping in question were an endless (and easily cheated) patience grind devoid of both strategy and skill.

what people liked about this game (insofar as i can figure) was it's endless drudgery. the game, like so many amateur iterations, never ended. the speed topped off at a point that was both playable and frustrating, and only recorded the game's total score, not time--therefore, a 3 minute game consisting of 24 tetrises would be rated below a 35 minute game consisting of 3,000 single line clears. this effectively means a "better" game is a "longer" game, so what you're "scoring" is not a player's "skill", but their ability to put "quotation marks" around words--their ability to continue playing for long periods of time, rather.

actually, this would be a nearly solid design "decision" (i promise that will be the last one) in it's own right, but unfortunately in this case, the game is indefinitely playable by a large portion of it's playerbase. so what you have is a competition to see who has the most literal hours to throw at the game in a single sitting and ultimately "beat" (i lied.) the competition, which brings me back to my previous point: the game is crap.

amazingly, this week it has been removed, and replaced with what may be the first (relatively) lightweight, web based tetris that is worth it's weight in heavy, expensive things.

"Tetris Friends" is being developed by Tetris Online Inc, the same guys who put together last year's surprisingly decent Tetris Splash for the xbox 360--not that it matters, but it is more than surprising that this is an "official" tetris product. the public beta consists of only 1 mode, which is here referred to as "tetris solo", but more commonly known as "Ultra" or whatever you want to call a 3 minute game that rewards score. other modes are promised, including actual online realtime multiplayer versus, but we'll see how that pans out when it finally dishes out its kettle of a skillet sometime in the distant future. spatula.

outside of being a "modernized" version of tetris (read: slow), this game kicks the ass in here. it's at least as solid as Tetris Zone and (at least as of current) is totally free. and it doesn't require a 40MB download. fuck tetris zone, by the way. i mean, it's not bad like BlockShit or N-Blox or anything, but, it's got like... there's all this... seriously... just--fuck that game.

probably the coolest thing about tetris friends is the nifty active scoreboard at the right side of the screen that moves you up during the game as your score increases. because it's integrated into facebook (and this may be the only reason to have gone through such misplaced trouble to have facebook-ized the thing in the first place) there is a picture of every registered player, along with their name, which, in most cases, and most sentences with many commas, is actually their name and not some dumb "iWillB8u@tetris" pseudonym. and you can't be an unregistered player, so it feels very... xbox? and makes for a less anonymous, less douchebag kind of game. also, you can really easily switch it over so that it only shows your facebook friends and not the whole of the site in that box if you get tired of seeing my name above your name all of the time and just want to compete with all of your crappy-at-tetris friends. or all of your really-good-at-tetris friends, depending on how good your friends are at raping--playing tetris, rather.

the game does a crappy job of having music, but still manages to beat out whatever you call the "tunes" they used in Tetris Zone (read: fuck that game), and so, the only real solid complaint with the whole friend-ish experience has got to be the controls.

right now you can't change any of the control options, so they are permanently stuck on the shit setting, which is kind of like your bass amp volume being stuck on 11 while you try to play "Don't Stand So Close To Me" in a rockin' Police cover band at a wedding, and the wedding is full of old people whose hearing aids are all serendipitously stuck on volume setting 11 and they all keep dying of "killer bass line to the brain" disease while they begin piling up, falling on each other in the isles of the church, but the guy pretending to be stewart copeland has actually been possessed by the actual spirit of stewart copeland, and therefore will not let the rockin' groove drop, and you're just forced into killing old wedding people for all 4 minutes and 3 seconds of that gloriously catchy, deviantly schoolgirl crush laden jam.


they list "Customizable keyboard controls" as something to look forward to in the near future, so hopefully that will happen soon and then things will be okay. also, get used to tap tap tap tapping, because holding down a direction takes an obscene amount of time to actually move the block. can we hold Tetris Online responsible for broken keyboards? in the meantime, might i suggest a program like AutoHotKey in order to redefine the keys used in the game on your own end.

most interestingly, there are pages and pages of complaints from former BlockShit players who find Tetris Friends a falling block abomination, but at least as far into that sea of bitching as i was able to safely wade, they are all idiots and know nothing of Marshall McLuhan's work. hopefully, both the people at Tetris Online and the people at facebook will stay the hell away from the comments section on their website long enough to let most of these people die of their own douchebagery, and hopefully give way to some constructive criticisms, like: "why do you like that 'tap tapping' sound so much?" and "do you really think that all that tapping makes the game better?" and "is there any way i can get "Don't Stand So Close To Me" as a ringtone on my phone?". seriously, Tetris Online, you should have thought about these things.

still, well done--i'm beginning to harbor a secret faith in the competency of the Tetris Company. it is possible that they may one day surpass the quality of the freely available fan created games. Tetris Friends is not that passionate surpassion, but it's a definite step in the right direction and a very valid reason to possess a facebook account. for Tetris Friends now.