Moritz Post, a computer science student in Trier, Germany, has created a Java clone of Q Entertainment's PSP launch game, Lumines. Available to play as a Java Web Start application, Moritz' version is a welcome introduction to what this new falling-block puzzle game is all about.
In Lumines, each block (quad) is comprised of 4 smaller blocks arranged in a perfect 2x2 square. Each quad is made up of a random combination of blocks in 2 colors. The object is to align groups of like-colored blocks together in minimum 2x2 sized rectangles. These groups are then wiped clean from play by a timeline that sweeps across the play field continuously. The more blocks you remove in a single sweep of the line, the more points you are awarded. Completed groups will remain on-screen until the timeline sweeps past, thus clearing them from play.
Once the game loads, just press Enter to start a new game. It is very simple to begin playing for anyone even remotely familiar with Tetris. The controls are basically the same: move the blocks right and left for positioning, rotate the blocks to match with other colors. In this version, arrow keys control movement, press up arrow to flip a block, down arrow to accelerate falling.
Moritz' v0.2 version is rather plain to look at and there is no sound, and yet the game play is solid and the Java app is well coded. Mortiz has even made available the entire Eclipse project for anyone interested in knowing how to build a game like this—or even as an example of how to build a Web Start app in general.
For those who are unfamiliar with Java Web Start, it is a technology by which standalone Java software applications can be deployed with a single click over the Web. What appears to be a Java applet loading and running in your browser, is actually a standalone Java application being downloaded and run on top of your browser. It's very cool, though it does comes with some inherent risk. For example, when clicking a webstart app link you will be asked to accept a certificate of authenticity. If the owner/author of the software did not purchase a certificate from a Certificate Authority, which is likely since we're talking free games here, then Java will complain and advise you not to run the application. Coming from a fellow student developing games, I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that Moritz means you no harm and his software will not compromise your computer. Still, it's something to consider whenever installing any software off the Web.