icon - Blocks game

About Coobird's Blocks

This is a complete rewrite of an earlier version which was lost due to a hard drive crash a couple years ago. The original version was written as a Java applet, where this new version is designed with making an applet and an application version.

This iteration is actually a second complete rewrite, where the first rewrite began over a year and a half ago. This time around, instead of using a text editor to develop, the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) is being used. (As are other projects such as Dvaspi and Thumbnailator.)

Design Philosophy

Blocks screenshot (04-23-08)
Click to Enlarge
(Updated: April 23, 2008)

The underlying design philosophy of Blocks is to have many of the elements of the game generate itself programmatically, a "tradition" that is being passed on from the previous version. One example is that the levels will be generated programmatically. The blocks are placed on the screen according to the level, and difficulty can be increased by changing the size of the blocks. In the previous version, there were about five basic templates for the levels with the rest being generated on the fly programmatically up to level 100. (Although it was possible to go beyond that, there was little more to offer in terms of game play beyond that point.)

Blocks screenshot (04-17-08)
Click to Enlarge
(Updated: April 17, 2008)

Although the intention is to generate many elements of the game programmatically, one planned feature is to allow levels to be defined from an external configuration file. (And perhaps to allow images of the blocks to be loaded from external image files.)


Two one-minute MPEG videos of the development version of Coobird's Blocks in action is available for download. Both demonstration videos shows the game running with "tweaked" settings such as increased probability to get an extra ball awarded (hence, the "explosion" of balls showing up) and allowing many balls to appear at once early in the game. Also, only a simple version of the level generator is implemented, so only a new row of blocks is added after reaching a level.

Blocks Demonstration Movie 2
MPEG Movie (5.2 MB)
(Updated: April 23, 2008)

Although the video of the game is jerky, it is due to the lack of processing power during the screen recording. The actual frame rate is approximately 30 frames per second.

The first video lacks a background (captured on April 17, 2008) and colored blocks while the second version (April 23, 2008) has those two features. The level generator has been improved to provide more dynamic levels. The current release, version 0.1, is superficially very similar to the Blocks in the second video.

The videos were captured using CamStudio, a free screen recording application. The videos were encoded to MPEG using TMPGEnc.

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