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                          The Next "Next Tetris"
             An Interview With Don McClure from Digital Element

                       A new, improved "Next Tetris"
                              is on the way.

[NUON-Dome] - Today we're  happy to have  the opportunity to  talk with Don 
McClure, President of Digital Element, Inc and producer of both the OEM and 
upcoming versions of The Next Tetris for NUON. Thanks for joining us today, 

[Don McClure] - Thanks for having me, Kevin. It's a pleasure to be here.

[N-D] - Let us know a little about yourself - how you got involved with
video games and what other projects you've had a hand in.

[DM] - Well, Kevin, I've actually been lucky in that I've done a little bit of
everything. I started  as a  tester at  SSI working  on the  old  Dungeons and
Dragons -Gold  Box- Games - Pool of Radiance for the  Mac, Curse  of the Azure
Bonds for the PC and C64. I ended  up being  mentored by  some of the industry
greats like Mike Mancuso and Graeme Bayless.

I then worked as an interactive writer/ designer for the  Darksun Series. I
actually got a chance to lead the first year of design for one of the first
Massively Multiplayer RPG's - Darksun On-line.

I went to  Dynamix and  worked on  Red Baron 2, MissionForce : Cyberstorm, A10
Silent Thunder and a host of Sierra games as an Associate Producer / Designer.
My first Director/Producer role was for Uprising for the PC. It is a Quake/RTS
hybrid product by Cyclone Studios.

Daniel  Lucas from  Blue Planet  Software  approached  me  with  the  offer of
producing Tetris and other family games. I was very interested in making games
that crossed gender and age boundaries, so I jumped at the chance.

When I founded Digital Element last  year, it was a natural  that I kept doing
Tetris titles for VM Labs, as I already had some experience developing for the
system and had been working with Tetris for years.

                     "'ll also see much improved
                      graphics, which get away from a
                      [direct port from] the PSX..."

[N-D] - What are the goals of Digital Element on the NUON platform? How did you 
become involved with NUON development? 

[DM] - Digital Element wants to  make games that really  take advantage of the
DVD-game hybrid. We're considering a section for Tetris, which is very similar
to the additional features you might find on a movie DVD.

[N-D] - The general consensus on the OEM  version of 'The Next Tetris' (the one 
you get for free  with the  Toshiba SD2300) is that it's visually disappointing 
and could make better use of the NUON processor. What are your thoughts on this 
and can you provide  any insight  into what developing  this version of TNT was 

[DM] - I came into The Next Tetris in the middle of the project. It was clear
we needed several months to redevelop the game. Those  were several months we
just didn't have. We learned a lot over the course of making that product and
I'm glad we're discussing  getting the chance to incorporate what we now know
into a new version of Tetris.

To VM Labs' credit, people like Scott Hunter really went the extra mile to
get us up to speed on how to use the processors correctly. They personally
went in  and  looked at AnimaTek's code - which  helped a lot. Blue Planet
Software  was  providing  the  design  and  the  management, and  AnimaTek
International the programming.

[N-D] - We know there's a retail version of The Next  Tetris in the works. Will 
it be improved over the OEM version and what, if any, improvements will be made 
to gameplay, graphics and sound? What about the sorely missed 2-player option ?

[DM] - When the framerate bumps up, you'll see gameplay improve dramatically. I
think you will also see much  improved graphics, which  get away from a [direct
port  from] the  PSX and  really make forays  into the kind of  high-end CG you
expect to see on a DVD player. With sound, we are still working with VM Labs to
secure music that  fully utilizes  what the Nuon is  capable of. There will  be

[N-D] - Any plans for Internet-play in TNT or other future projects on NUON? 
What about memory card support? 

[DM] - We would love to support memory cards and look into Internet play. I
think with this  version we will choose  our battles and  make sure we make
a beautiful product the implementation of which  fits into a real schedule.

                  "We are designing an original title for
                    the system that is uniquely Nuon."

[N-D] - What do you think of NUON? What has it been like producing a game on 
this hardware? 

[DM] - The system  itself is  the most  logical  set-top box  in the  world. It
integrates  perfectly  into a home  entertainment system  and is very  easy for
new users to  get  into. Just taking  a look  at some of the  racing  games  as
well as Tempest ; you can see  the kind of  power you are working with. I think
developers are just scratching the surface both in terms of making an immersive
game and making original titles that work for  the Nuon that would not work for
other platforms. Those games are out there and all we need to do is figure them

[N-D] - Do you plan on having anything on display at E3 this year?

[DM] - Unfortunately, no. It's premature to be showing our labor of love off
just yet.

[N-D] - Looking past the retail version of TNT, what are Digital Element's 
future plans for NUON? 

[DM] - We are designing an original title for the system that is uniquely Nuon.
For us, that means highlighting the fact that it's a  DVD player, the fact that
many of our users are brand new to computer gaming, and that fully utilizes the
immersive sound and video  possibilities. I am keeping the curtain closed as to
what that title might look like.

[N-D] - Anything you'd like to say to NUON-Dome readers, in closing?

[DM] - Well, I'd like to thank anyone that has made it this  far through the
interview for their attention. We're happy to be working with VM Labs to try to
bring a newer version of Tetris to the Nuon.

[N-D] - I'd like to just say thanks again for taking time to answer some 
questions and letting us have some insight into TNT and NUON development. 

[DM] - Thank you, Kevin. I look forward in providing an update once there's
more to say.

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