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SUGAN NAICKER | Game Developer    

A Durban doctor with a passion for Thunee has created a new Internet version of the popular card game. The updated thunee game, created by Mariannhill General Practitioner Sugan Naicker, is the latest in a series of online versions he has produced in the past two years. Naicker, who works at R K Khan Hospital, learnt to play thunee at University and has combined his love for the game and computers to develop the online version. The latest version 'talks and listens' to the player and features an animated genie that moves the cards. 'In the first game I created there was difficulty in arranging the cards,' said Naicker, 32. 'But now the cards can be arranged with ease and can be viewed by the user.

He said it had been a challenge to get the computer to play the correct task at the correct time. The computer understood the Hindu terms jodhi and kanuck used in the game, despite pronouncing them in an American accent. The computer plays for three people against a single user. 'One of these three becomes the user's partner,' said Naicker. 'I used the Visual Basic language programme to write the Thunee game. All logic is built into the game and this determines what cards are played and when. He said the game could be played in normal or teaching mode, which made it ideal for beginners and seasoned players. 'The game is programmed to help players along in the teaching mode and will assist if a mistake has been made. However, in normal mode a player is penalised immediately if he makes an error. 'Thunee is a very social game that is played anywhere, at family functions and get-togethers. It`s also a very intelligent game, and to be proficient in it, you have to really play your cards right. Thunee fan Calvin Reddy, 29, plays the computer version every day and says he`s 'hooked'. 'I enjoy this way of playing, as it explains how the game is played, the idea behind it and the value of the cards. It`s an enjoyable way to pass the time,' he said. 'The game is unique to the Indian community, but the computer version makes it available to other communities, which are now learning the finer points of this addictive game. Article as it appeared in the Sunday Times. 06 Jun 2004, By Sashni Pather

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