Thu, 12 May 2005

GTetrinet and GNOME-Mud releases

In the last few days, two of the GNOME apps I'm somewhat involved in, GTetrinet, and GNOME-Mud, have released new versions. GTetrinet probably needs little introducing to many readers of the Debian and GNOME Planets as you've probably wasted one or two weekends trying to kick seb128's ass unsuccessfully.

For those who are new to Tetrinet, well, there's an old Chinese proverb which says You have not been on the Internet if you haven't played Tetrinet. Chinese proverbs are rarely wrong, so I would go play tetrinet if I were you.

GNOME-Mud is a MUD client for the GNOME platform, which according to some users that every now and then join the mailing list or the IRC channel, has the potential to become a very good MUD client for GNU/Linux. It supports most of the features you would expect to see in a MUD client: triggers, aliases, a mapper, a profile editor, etc. Oh, by the way, if you don't know what a MUD is, I think the elder Japanese think you haven't been to Uni.

What is not so cool about both of these apps is that for the last year or year and a half, the development has more or less come to a halt. The last few releases of both gnome-mud and gtetrinet are the fruit of random patches to fix bugs that keep floating around, contributed by different people (thanks guys!).

Dani, the lead developer for GTetrinet, had been working on a branch on separating some of the gtetrinet code that handles the tetrinet protocol to prepare a new libtetrinet package, which would then be used by some KDE folks that have expressed interest in writing a KTetrinet client. Some OS X people were also interested in writing a tetrinet client for MacOS X using the library, but the delays ended in them ripping most of this code into their own client Tetrinet Aqua. Dani had made lots of progress with libtetrinet before Real Life hit him hard and stopped having time to develop it. Future plans also included supporting different tetrinet protocols, most notably Tetrinet 2.

GNOME-Mud is an old project too, it's first releases date back to 1998. At that time, it was a GTK+-only application with little features. Right now, it's in the middle of a UI rewrite to make it HIG compliant and a bit more "Just Works"-like, but again, Robin has not had time in some time, and development goes on and off for one or two weeks every many months when someone in the mailing list reminds the rest that there's this or that patch available. The result is that it's taken 15 months to release 0.10.6, which has not that many changes anyway.

So, if you want to get initiated in GNOME development, this might be the tiny project that is desperately waiting for you to help. GTetrinet might involve some fun in figuring out how Tetrinet2's protocol works, and then writing a compatible client, and learning how to write shared libraries, etc. GNOME-Mud, on the other hand, might be interesting if you like app design. It really needs some usability love to re-think and redesign how it works. The current stuff is nearly 1999 stardards. :)

Feel free to join the or lists if you want to help out!

One thing that rather annoys me is when websites assume that the visitor knows all about the service or product the website is about.  Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I have no idea what Tetrinet is, except that it's a game, based on the context in this blog post.  My guess is it's some kind of online tetris thing, but I don't know.

So I click through the link with the question "ok, what is tetrinet?" in my mind.  The front page is absolutely no help.  That is a huge web faux pas.  But, ok, I see a FAQ subsection.  The most obvious question for a FAQ -- it would have to be #1 I think -- is "what is tetrinet?"  Ok, the FAQ page is just another bunch of sublinks.  Right now I'm feeling annoyed that I have to click twice to get my obvious question answered.  The most likely subsection my question would be is "Tetrinet - General."  Click.  Utterly useless.

So I still have no idea what tetrinet is and frankly I have no motivation to look anymore.  I know this isn't Jordi's problem, but I just felt like ranting somewhere. :)

Posted by Tack at Thu May 12 19:16:59 2005

Hey Tack,

Heh, fair enough.

So Tetrinet is, yes, an online tetrinet, where your goal is to "kill" your contenders by trying to make their puzzle more difficult. You can get "special blocks" that you can throw at others or use on yourself for self-defence. Whenever you complete a double, triple or tetris, other players get random lines added to their puzzle, etc.

It's fun. Have a look at gtetrinet(1)

Posted by jordi at Thu May 12 19:34:59 2005

Tetrinet is indeed a networked tetris game.  It is played on a server much like an IRC server.  Up to six players join each game channel, and play against each other either individually or in teams.  Standard multiplayer tetris rules apply such as adding lines to opponents when you complete multiple lines; in addition, "cookie" modes add special blocks you can collect to give you powers such as adding more lines to opponents, clearing lines on yourself, nuking an entire field clear, switching with an opponent, etc.

Hope that helps.

Posted by Anonymous at Thu May 12 19:37:56 2005

Heh; apparently we were composing at the same time.

A question: is there some particular time that people tend to connect to  I often try connecting to it, and find it empty.  Also, are there any plans to add TetriFAST channels to

Posted by Anonymous at Thu May 12 19:39:26 2005

Thanks for taking the time to explain Tetrinet, Jordi and AC.  It actually does sound rather creative and interesting.  Worth checking out.


Posted by Tack at Thu May 12 19:41:50 2005

Hey A,

I don't know right now. I can tell mako to have a look at the logs, as he's hosting the server now, and see if there's a trend. It's been a while since I last played.

Normally, someone in #debian-devel or #gnome or #gnome-hackers will say "anyone up for tetrinet", and the fun starts.

Posted by jordi at Thu May 12 20:01:19 2005

Woah... I love Gnome-MUD and I thought it died after a year passed since their last release.

Now I really wish I knew C, I'd love to work on a project I love to use... I suppose it isn't too late to begin learning.

Anyways, thanks for bringing my attention to a new release. I hope it can continue being worked on.

Posted by Zotnix at Thu May 12 20:40:44 2005