Some people asked for interview with Henk or Alexey, but i think this is even more interesting.
How did you get interested in tetris?
I can't remember the exact reason. But as far as I know, I wasn't good at platformer games (such as Mario), so I liked puzzle games (such as Tetris).
What was the first tetris game you have played?
I remember I was playing a key-chain version of Tetris (I can't remember the exact name), so it was most likely the first Tetris game I played.
What was the first Tetris game you played a lot?
Tetris DX on GameBoy Color.
It had in-game save feature (Pause the game, then shutdown the console) so I played a lot of long Marathon game.
I bet you have played many different tetris games since then. If you had to choose a single best tetris game in history what would it be?
This is a difficult question, but TGM3:Ti is the best game I played.
Unfortunately it disappeared from the local arcade after I played it 3 times ;(
For sure TGM games are very cool. I noticed that Japanese official tetris games tend to be fun and challenging, while American ones tend to be boring and dull. Do you agree?
Yes, American ones are generally boring, but there are some exceptions as well:
*Tetris Party series are developed by Hudson Japan, but most of them are boring.
I enjoyed the Mission mode of TPP (Tetris Party Premium, the Japanese version of TPD) though.
It's very challenging even though there's no time limit. You'll be required to perform a lot of spin-triples!
*Tetris Friends' survival mode is fun and challenging.
(And there will be more fun if they remove that f**king lag)
I agree about TPD being the obvious exception. So how did you get the idea to make NullpoMino, does this have something to do with TGM3 disappearing from your local arcades?
I was already working on NullpoMino before the disappearance of TGM3, but it is true that the event boosted the progress of NullpoMino project.
In the year 2008, I was studying Java, and I wanted to create some 2D puzzle game. I also wanted to port unofficial versions of Heboris (I think you already know what it is) to Java in order to improve my programming skill. So, the project of NullpoMino began.
At the early days of NullpoMino, I have read source codes of Heboris Mini (the one with plugin system) many times.
This is why Nullpo has 6 main buttons (A,B,C,D,E,and F) and uses Heboris fonts.
The name of NullpoMino came from various reasons:
*Nullpo means NullPointerException, the common error of Java
*Nullpo has something similar of Heboris' "Hebo" part
*I didn't want to use "-tris" names so I used "Mino" instead. This idea came from Typomino. (Did you notice "piece appear" SFX of Nullpo is same as Typomino?)
So have your skills improved a lot?
Well, it may not be "a lot". But at least my programming skill has improved.
My Tetris skill has also improved because of NullpoMino.
As a programmer myself I'm really impressed how fast you implement all users suggestions and never complain that something will require too much work, won't go well with things you already have, or just can't be done yet.
Usually, I merely ignore suggestions/issues that are difficult to work.
But if I find a good idea to solve those problems I implement it ASAP.
How do you think NullpoMino compares to Heboris? In what areas do you feel you surpassed Heboris and in what areas (if any) do you feel NullpoMino is still behind Heboris?
I think the NetPlay of NullpoMino is better than that of Heboris.
There is also a big advantage of NullpoMino: being a Java application.
Java has many advantages (such as OOP) than the programming language of Heboris.
The biggest thing that Nullpo doesn't have is, of course, popularity. Especially in Japan.
Although NullpoMino becoming popular in the world, it seems most Japanese players are still using Heboris or Texmaster than NullpoMino.
Why has Netplay been added?
I wanted to add something new. Well, this wasn't really "new" because Hebo Mini had it. But I thought it's a good addition to NullpoMino.
I also noticed there are not many Japanese players on NullpoMino. Actually I follow 2ch tetris threads and I noticed they are not as active as they used to be year or two ago (they are pretty dead, except maybe TOJ thread which is still bit alive). So maybe lack of NullpoMino popularity in Japan is connected with general decrease of interest in tetris in Japan? Or do I have the wrong picture?
Yes, I think so.
In Japan, general interest of Tetris is decreasing probably because there is no good official Tetirs game now.
Hebo/Nullpo 2ch thread is no longer active since Heboris died some years ago.
TOJ thread is still alive, but has no interesting thing there mainly because TOJ won't do any good job anymore.
NullpoMino has the best netplay available today, and most of the people on Hard Drop like it a lot, but it seems as though building a netplay userbase is not an easy task. You are working hard on features than can bring more people to netplay (like ranked games and online single player games), but is there anything Hard Drop community can do to help build solid player base?
It would be more nice if there are more live-games on Ustream Hard Drop Channel. I think live stream will attract more players.
Yes, that sound like good idea. Will you continue to work on NullpoMino?
Yes, probably. There is still a lot of things I want to implement in future.
If NullpoMino's popularity increases, TTC won't ignore it anymore. If TTC tries to kill you and Nullpo, will you continue working with Nullpo?
Well, maybe not, unfortunately. But since Nullpo is open-source, it won't die easily as long as it has the support of the community.
What can we expect from future versions?
That's a difficult question... maybe a good alternative of TF and TOJ?
Tetris Online Poland