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Submitted by Morgan McGuire, posted on October 26, 2000

Image Description, by Morgan McGuire

This is a screen shot of our 10/20/00 release, Radon 2000. The astute flipCode crowd will probably wonder, "why is he showing us a Tetris clone?". It is actually a re-release of a 1994 windows game that Laura Wollstadt & I wrote for Windows 3.11. At the time, it was hot stuff, and has been a consistent seller for Morgan Systems. The reason we're re-releasing is that it is a demo of our all new on-line credit card processing system and distribution method. And it's a pretty fun Tetris variant. You can choose different block shapes (including ones that change their shape).

You won't believe how much work it is to create a distribution method. It turns out that the difference between writing a really hot piece of software and having a product (i.e. something professional that makes money) is pretty big. You need to have a distribution channel, quality assurance (make sure it runs on all kinds of machines), legal protection, credit card processing, fraud protection, instructions, promotion, customer support, and a web site. Most of this is tricky... and boring. The difference between having a "completed" game and a product is kind of like the difference between a game engine and a game-- you're running at 100fps, it looks beautiful, but you still haven't got something anyone will actually enjoy playing. Except here, you've got something great to play, but can't actually finish/sell it.

I tried to use 3rd party credit card processing, sign with a big time distributor, and distribute shareware/freeware. Finally I gave up and made my own distribution company. I saw some posts on a previous IOTD that others were similarly frustrated. If anyone wants to use our existing distribution infrastructure to handle the legal, credit card, testing, etc. send me an e-mail. I figure that others might have good games (you'd better be making more interesting things than Tetris!), but don't want to deal with all of the business side of things, so I'd be happy to distribute for some fellow flipCoders if there is interest.

Credit for Radon to: Laura Wollstadt, Alison Veneto & Justin Miller.

Morgan Systems/Origent

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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

October 26, 2000, 01:42 AM


on the mainpage screenshot looks like GAMEBOY!

aren't you afraid of doing TETRIS, isn't tetris an ATARI game,
so you can be sued by Hasbro? or not?


October 26, 2000, 02:19 AM

Nice screenshot and I downloaded the demo.. One thing I might suggest, is allow for resizing of the playing area, scalable to resolution. I run my PC in 1600x1200.. and it's sorta hard to play because it's so small.. Other than that the game is a really nice spinoff of tetris..


October 26, 2000, 02:22 AM

Err.. you talked mostly about the distribution system above so feel free to ignore my previous comment if you want..


October 26, 2000, 04:47 AM

if i remember correctly, some russian guy invented tetris, and made a patent on the name, so other people were'nt allowed to create another game with falling bricks, with a name ending on "tris" of course i could be wrong... (o:

Isaack Rasmussen

October 26, 2000, 05:23 AM

You are right Fireant, that it was a russian guy who developed Tetris, but I think that the problem was that he never did a patent on it - because I know, that he never made any money of it, at least he didn't get rich of it. His name is btw. "Alexander" ...something.
And then Nintendo was clever enough to see the potential in the game so they grabbed it and made it for the Gameboy - if you remember.
But Microsoft snapped him up once and I think that he still works for them, he made a game once, a puzzle kind of thingie but it never got people's attenion - just look at me, I can't even remember its name :)

Kezza Lord

October 26, 2000, 05:51 AM

Has anyone ever considered making a 3d tetris game? Where instead of making lines you would have to make layers.
I guess that it could be far too over complex for the player, but what better way to continue to legacy of one of the most successful games in history

Keep up the good work on Radon!


October 26, 2000, 06:10 AM

That's exactly what I wanted to do with my new engine (will take some months to be finished ;)


October 26, 2000, 06:44 AM

There has been, it was called BlockOut and is quite old now.

You can get a remake of BlockOut using the Crystal Space engine.
It's called Blocks and can be found here :




October 26, 2000, 07:36 AM

Haven't you ever seen blockout ??
It's a 3d tetris clone, playable on a 286 processor..

James Boulton

October 26, 2000, 08:05 AM

3D Tetris? You mean like BlockTris (or was it WellTris?) released about 10 or more years ago on several home computers of the time? ;) Yes, it's been thought of... It was a bit unplayable though, you had a wireframe top down view until the blocks hit something, then they became filled. Interesting idea though.


October 26, 2000, 09:32 AM

The inventor of Tetris was Alexey Pazhitnov. I don't know how anyone could forget that... after staring at it for hours upon hours as a child, the name permanently lodged itself in my brain ;)



October 26, 2000, 09:35 AM

Malkia and others:
There are some legal issues involved with making game clones. You can't use the original's name, or anything that might be "confused with the original." There has never been a decisive "look and feel" case for games. The trademark "Tetris" is currently owned by The Tetris Company, LLC. I've had friendly discussions with their laywers and have no difficulties with Radon. I originally used the title "Radtris" but they asked me to change the title to make it less similar. If you protect the copyright and trademark on your game and can demonstrate that you did not have access to the source of another game ("clean room development"), you may get a little harrassed, but it is unlikely that anyone will succeed in taking legal action against you.

I'll fix up the high resolution issues; thanks!



October 26, 2000, 10:10 AM

Alexei Pajitnov. Great guy. Don't know him personally, but hey, he invented Tetris. But, well, things are diff in Russia, I'm not sure why he didn't patent it, so he got very little -- tohugh he probably is doing okay.

Recently he teamed up with Microsoft to bring some more brain teasers to a computer near you.

I was thinking of making a game called Quatris once... you know, Tetra/Quatra, Penta/Quinta... latin vs greek... fun ;-)
BTW, what are the rules of your game?



October 26, 2000, 10:26 AM

Regarding your distribution channel, I have a suggestion for you: get a certificate from Thawte or VeriSign and encrypt your purchase web pages (using https connections). As it is, customers are required to submit their credit card informations in clear text via Internet, which is not something advisable.
There have been a couple of interesting posts regarding copyright issues related to clones of old games on Slashdot (just go to the games section and do a search for Hasbro).
Good luck in your endevour, I hope to see more successful "independent" distributors soon!



October 26, 2000, 10:37 AM

I has already been done !
I remember having seen a tetris in 3d with an above view.


October 26, 2000, 11:11 AM

I may be mistaken, but I think Alexander was Hungarian. I also think that it is because of Alexander that Microsoft calls it's prefix notations "Hungarian Notation".

Like I said, I may be wrong. My brain tends to jumble facts together into one big lump and its hard to sort them out sometimes=)


October 26, 2000, 11:33 AM

It was indeed called Weltris.


October 26, 2000, 11:38 AM

You are indeed wrong. Alex, the creator of Tetris, has nothing to do with hungarian notation (it was actually a programmer at microsoft that did that). Alex was indeed from Russia, and he was a mathematician, not a computer scientist.


October 26, 2000, 12:10 PM

I may be wrong, but I heard a news story a long time ago when Tetris was first becoming popular for the NES. If I remember correctly, the reason that Alexey didn't make much money off from the game was because of Socialism.

From what I understand, basically everyone does whatever they can for work, but they all get paid about the same amount. Sounds like a really nice deal eh?. I'm not from Russia so maybe I'm wrong. Maybe someone from Russia will stop in and clear things up for us :)

Maybe that's changed since the collapse though.

Anyway, it looks like a very nice game. There are a ton of PC based Tetris clones around, and if you ask me, this one is up near the top.


October 26, 2000, 12:39 PM

Hungarian notation was introduced by Charles Simonya, who was indeed hungarian and worked for Microsoft, but he has nothing to do with Tetris.



October 26, 2000, 01:07 PM

Great looking game. First, there was a 3D version of Tetris called 'BLOCKOUT.' I spend a lot of hours of my youth on that game. It was made by 2 Russians, last I played it was 1992!
Regarding Alexander (the creator of Tetris), if I am not mistaken, he committed murder-suicide when his startup went belly-up in Silicon Valley. Please don't flame me or anything, I have heard this from my pals @ silicon valley and if I am not mistaken, there was an article about it in Forbes digital. If some one can clear it up for me and tell me that I'm mistaken (with proof ofcourse), I'll appreciate it.


October 26, 2000, 01:33 PM

Ank666, Alexey is working at Microsoft in the LIFE-Games division.. I know because I work at MS. I'm sure you meant well but unless you know for a fact someone has died or committed such atrocities as murder, better not even post it.. That's how rumors get started..

In any case, yeah, I remember BLOCKOUT.. Decent game.. For some reason though nothing comes close for me to the original tetris.. Sentimental I guess..



October 26, 2000, 01:45 PM

Hi ChaosWizard,

I'm using SSL & SHTTP on the credit card pages, so the credit card information is RSA encrypted when it is sent across. I never store the credit card info on the server (it is in RAM for a few seconds, but never on disk), so I think this is as secure as one can make it. I was horrified to find that many companies don't take either of these simple security steps.

The game download is unsigned, but since it has no security issues itself, I think that's ok. VeriSign has an effective monopoly and charges ridiculous rates, so I'd like to avoid having them sign the game itself.



October 26, 2000, 01:48 PM

Ank666, benjamin is right - it wasn't Alexander but a business associate of Alexey Pajitnov who committed those murders.

As for the early history of Tetris, everyone can read The Tetris Saga.



October 26, 2000, 01:51 PM

No, Hungarian Notation was named after Microsoft's long time tech lead Charles Simonyi.


October 26, 2000, 02:00 PM

I am sorry morgan, but this page is not encrypted. If someone uses it to buy Radon2k, they will send their credit card info in cleartext over the network (I am assured that you don't keep that info, but this doesn't mean much if so many hosts on the Net can intercept and use it).
Hint: you should have a "https" not "http" url for encrypted pages.
As for the game itself, of course a certificate from Verisign isn't necessary.



October 26, 2000, 02:18 PM

Actually, if im not mistaken, the name has absolutely nothing to do with his heritage. It was more a joke... after programmers there had started using the new notation, someone joked that the code looked like it was written in Hungarian.

I may be wrong, but I believe this is what I read. If im not mistaken, the book I read it in, was Code Complete by MS Press. (Good read btw, although some of it is a bit dated).

If someone has code complete handy, could they verify this for me? Moved recently, and havent gone through the boxes upon boxes of books yet, so mine isnt handy :)



October 26, 2000, 03:15 PM

I believe the game was Pandora's Box, and it rules.


October 26, 2000, 03:25 PM

Not all good games have to be in 3D! Good job making the game.


October 26, 2000, 04:50 PM

Thanks to everyone for all of the nice comments about the game! I was a bit worried that I'd get slammed for writing a *gasp* 2D game.


PS. Although they are 2D sprites, the block shapes are textured and beveled on the fly :) Also, the drop shadows are generated on the fly and lie in a separate plane.

There's a neat algorithm for extracting the block shapes: it takes a boolean matrix and finds the 2D polygon of the block from it, kind of like marching cubes. There is also a GUI editor for the block shapes that I would release if the UI wasn't a little confusing. Maybe I should release it anyway; it is fun to play with making different block shapes.

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