FW Editor: Hello! Please introduce yourself so our readers may meet the famous man that developed the great SoliLuxe game.
Per Thulin: I'm 49 years old and live in a small town in the middle of Sweden.
I grew up alongside the first wave of popular home computers in the early eighties, and I guess I have been stuck with the "bedroom programmer" ethos ever since, not caring much for the assembly-line, big-company games production of today.
Since bedroom programmers seldom make a decent living these days, I make my living from a boring day job in computer support and the programming is strictly a hobby. Other hobbies include music making (much of which ends up in game soundtracks) and my dog.
FW Editor: Why did you felt the need to develop a better Solitaire? Were you bored with the old one?
Per Thulin: Frankly, yes. It seemed to me most of the competition was either over-simplistic OR over-complicated, and the more full-featured ones bore distinct signs of having been around since Windows 95 or possibly earlier. I wanted something adapted to modern screen sizes, making full use of 24-bit colour and transparency to make things a tad more elegant. Also, coding something that worked cross-platform and was portable and customizable were big priorities.
FW Editor: How were you able to make such a nice interface without any menu bars or flashy graphics?
Per Thulin: As a Bachelor of Systems Analysis, one of my main interests has always been user interface design – I guess that has something to do with it. It's important to start out with a very clear idea of what you want to achieve, and the absence of any distractions preventing the user from immersing him- or herself into the game was a very import design element right from the start. The multi-tabbed Options window as a way of containing all the "extra goodies" just followed naturally from there.
FW Editor: Can you tell us how did you manage to remove all click and drag movements from the original Solitaire?
Per Thulin: Actually, it's not that complicated and several games do have the ability to move cards and game pieces by right-clicking (which is considerably more ergonomic than double-clicking, by the way). The newly added "super-click" feature in SoliLuxe is merely a logical extension to the concept. The question is really rather why most games don't care more about ergonomics. One of the benefits of getting old, I suppose – I really need to take care of my poor wrists!
FW Editor: Can you tell us the most important differences between the free and the registered version of the game?
Per Thulin: I have always hated shareware that is too crippled with a passion. That's why the unregistered SoliLuxe offers a complete single-player experience for an unlimited time without any requirements to buy a registration code. However, the extra features are a lot of fun for families and those interested in graphics and photography who want to create their own backgrounds and decks of cards with ease. Speaking for myself, one registered feature that surprised me by its usefulness is actually the built-in music player. Sure, you can just as well have a media player running in the background while playing the game, but having SoliLuxe automatically resuming whatever music you were playing last time around at startup is actually quite a nice touch!
FW Editor: Is this the first software you have developed? What can you tell us about your work until now? Any ideas for future applications that you want to develop?
Per Thulin: I have done small projects ever since the early eighties, on the Sinclair Spectrum and the Amiga amongst other computers. One game that has appeared across several computers over the years is a maths/scrabble/tic-tac-toe hybrid (sounds strange, I know!) called "AbaCross". Although there is a primitive Java version of that game already, it would be very well suited for porting to the "SPRAWL" 2D games engine I developed for SoliLuxe. It might just appear sometime in the future when I've run out of ideas for SoliLuxe!
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