Typed in by PARANOMIA. Edited by PARASITE.
Welcome to BLOCKOUT, the unique game of three dimensional action and strategy. It is played with a set of 3-D blocks, each composed of 1 to 5 cubes. These blocks appear at the top of a multilayered pit and automatically drop down into the pit. You must flip, rotate, and move them into the proper position in order to completely fill a layer with cubes. When a layer is full, it will disappear, giving you more room to maneuver. The more layers you completely fill, the higher your score will be. Be careful, though: cubes in uncompleted layers will remain at the bottom of the pit, giving you less time and room to maneuver. When the stack of blocks reaches the top of the pit, the game is over. Don't worry if you don't do well the first few games; the more you play, the easier the game becomes.
BLOCKOUT has many options allowing you to modify the different features of the game. This includes changing the dimensions of the pit and the block set used. Once you master a setup, you can create another one with new challanges.
BLOCKOUT, designed by Aleksander Ustaszewski, was inspired by the Soma Cube. The Danish writer and mathematician Piet Hein invented the Soma Cube, basing it on an unusual geometrical theorem. If you combine no more than four cubes into all possible irregular shapes (that is, there is a corner somewhere in the shape), you will end up with seven different shapes, each composed of three or four cubes. In turn, these seven shapes, which contain a total of 27 small cubes, can be combined into a larger 3 by 3 by 3 cube. For a complete description of the Soma Cube, see Martin Gardner's 2nd Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles & Diversions, published by Simon and Schuster, 1961.
Your BLOCKOUT diskette is not copy protected, so before you play the game we strongly recommend that you make a back-up copy of the original diskette or copy its contents onto your hard disk. Then use your back-up copy when loading the game. If you wish to save your high scores, make sure the disk is not write protected.
Note: To skip the title screen, press any key or the mouse button.
PLAYING FOR THE FIRST TIME
While BLOCKOUT is a relatively simple game, you may need some time to get used to the interface. The easiest way to do this is to follow these steps:
the Main Menu. Select the Practice Mode option.
W, and E keys, and your right hand on the numeric keypad.
the top of the screen.
of the screen.
the Q, W, and E keys.
it will rotate in the same direction. Do this a few times to get familiar with the rotation of the block.
the block reacts to each keypress.
key to exit the Practice Mode.
starting level. Press Enter or the 0 key to select level 0 (the
the game controls, you should be well on your way to mastering
Moving the Blocks
1 move down and left 2 move down 3 move down and right 4 move left 6 move right 7 move up and left 8 move up 9 move up and right
Note: The mouse and the cursor keys will also move the block around the pit.
Rotating the Blocks
Q - Flips the block counter-clockwise (around x axis) W - Turns the block counter-clockwise (around y axis) E - Spins the block counter-clockwise (around z axis)
A - Flips the block clockwise (around x axis) S - Turns the block clockwise (around y axis) D - Spins the block clockwise (around z axis)
Other Game Controls
Select the highlighted option Return
Drop the block –Space or Mouse Button–
Turn sound on/off –(see Choose Setup Menu)–
Pause/resume the game P
Abort the current game or exit from the menu Esc
The playing screen for BLOCKOUT is divided into three areas: the pit, the layer bar, and game information. In the center of the screen is the pit. This is the area where you will position the blocks. On the left side of the screen is the layer bar. This vertical bar will show the color or shade of each layer of blocks in the pit. On the right side of the screen the game information is displayed; the current score, number of cubes played, and high score, as well as the pit dimensions and block set.
There are a total of 11 dificulty levels in BLOCKOUT. You will be able to start the game at any of the first ten levels. After a certain number of cubes has been played, the level will increase, making the game more difficult. In larger pits, you must drop more cubes before the difficulty level changes.
Your score in BLOCKOUT increases.
o With the complexity of both the individual block and the block set.
o With the height from which the block is dropped (using the Space Bar).
o As the level increases.
o As the size of the pit decreases.
Bonus points are awarded for:
o Filling an entire layer.
o Filling more than one layer at a time.
o Clearing the entire pit.
Note: The score in BLOCKOUT does not depend on the Rotation Speed parameter.
HALL OF FAME
Once the game is over, press Enter (or Return). The Hall of Fame will then appear, displaying the ten highest scores. If your score is higher than the lowest score on the list, you will be allowed to enter your name. After typing in your name using the keyboard, press Enter to save the new score to disk. pressing Enter without typing a name will also save the score.
If you don't want to save your new score, press the Esc key or select the Cancel button.
Every setup will have its own Hall of Fame. This will allow you to save the ten highest scores for each combination of pit and block set. The only exceptions are pits with reversed length and width dimensions. For example: a 4 x 5 x 10 pit would have the same Hall of Fame as a 5 x 4 x 10 pit.
BLOCKOUT has a system of menus that allows you to alter different features of the game.
Select a menu option by using the mouse and mouse button, or by pressing the first letter of the option name. If you are in a submenu, pressing the Esc key will return you to the Main Menu.
Start Game - Starts the actual game with the specified setup (“Flat Fun” is the default). Upon selecting this option, you will be allowed to set the starting level (0 being the easiest). You can use Enter, the the up and down cursor keys, the 0 through 9 keys, or the mouse (if applicable) to select the level.
Choose Setup - Selects the Choose Setup menu. This menu allows you to choose from several preselected setups, or change the setup completely.
Write Setup - Saves the current setup to the disk, in a file called 'blockout.set'. The setup will automatically load the next time you boot the game.
Practice Mode - Starts the practice mode in the current setup. In this mode, the blocks do not automatically descend until the Space bar is pressed. The player has unlimited time to move and rotate the block. Press the Esc key to exit the practice mode.
Demo - Starts a demonstration of the game in the current setup. The computer takes over the role of the human player and automatically adjusts the position of each block and then drops it into place. Pressing any key will exit the demo, (Note: The demo mode will start automatically, if you don't play for a while.)
Help - Displays a screen listing the game controls and showing examples of three blocks, each rotating along a different axis. Selecting one of the two rows of keys in the menu will change the rotation direction.
Quit Game - Exits the game and returns to the operating system.
CHOOSE SETUP MENU
The Choose Setup menu allows you to alter different features of the game. It contains several windows and buttons. To select an option in a window, click on the selector next to the option name.
Predefined Setups. This window allows you to choose from several preselected setups. Watch how selecting predefined setups changes the parameters in other windows.
Flat Fun - Changes the current setup to Flat Fun. This setup was designed with the novice player in mind. Its Flat block set and large pit allow for easier play than the more advanced setups.
3-D Mania - Changes the current setup to 3-D Mania. Designed for advanced players, this setup uses the Basic block set with a narrow pit. This is the favorite setup of the developers of the game.
Out of Control - Changes the current setup to Out of Control. This setup is quite different than the other two. When using the Extended block set, the game becomes a complex logic puzzle.
Block Set. This window allows you to select one of the three block sets.
Flat Set - The Flat Set consists of the two dimensional blocks (1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, and 14) that are composed of 1 to 4 cubes.
Basic Set - The Basic set consists of blocks 1 through 7. They are formed by combining three or four cubes into the irregular shapes. These seven shapes, which contain a total of 27 cubes, can be fitted together to form a larger 3 x 3 x 3 Soma Cube (see INTRODUCTION).
Extended Set - The Extended set consists of all block combinations of 1 to 5 cubes (blocks 1 - 41). Note: If the current pit is too small to fit a block from the extended set, this type of block is not generated.
Rotation. This window controls the speed of the rotation and transition of the blocks when moving down the pit. The game scoring does not depend on this parameter. Select one of the three speeds: Fast, Medium, or Slow.
Pit Dimensions. This window allows you to change the depth (6 to 18), width (3 to 7), and length (3 to 7) of the pit. Please note that there is a separate top-ten list for each block set and pit combination.
Sound. This window allows you to turn sound effects off and on.
At the bottom of the Choose Setup window you will find the following buttons: Start Game, Main Menu, Write Setup, and Cancel.
Start Game - Starts the actual game.
Main Menu - Returns to the Main Menu with the new setup (if you change it).
Write Setup - Saves the current setup to the disk, in a file called 'blockout.set'. This option is also available in the Main Menu.
Cancel - Returns to the Main Menu without any changes in the game setup.
HALL OF FAME MENU Start Game - Starts the actual game. The setup will be the same as the game just played.
Change/Choose Setup - Selects the Choose Setup menu.
Main Menu - Returns to the Main Menu.
Quit Game - Exits the game and returns to the operating system.
o Unless you have three hands, use just one set of keys to rotate the
block: either Q, W, and E, or A, S, and D, but not both. Place three fingers of your left hand on the Q, W, and E (or A, S, and D) keys. Place your right hand on the numeric keypad. Try to keep your hands at these locations at all times when playing.
o Becoming familiar with rotating the blocks using the Q, W, and E
keys or (A, S, and D) is important to mastering the game. Don't get discouraged if it seems confusing at first.
o If you are having problems playing the game for the first time, watch
the computer play in the Demo mode. Then try the Practice Mode to become familiar with the game controls.
o Sometimes it becomes difficult to tell the exact position of a block
within the pit. When this happens, try moving the block against the side of the pit. From there carefully move it into the desired position.
o Remember that the faster you move a block into position and drop it, the
more points you will get.
o If you have problems recognizing the overall shape of a block, try
rotating it into different positions. By getting several views of the block in different positions, you should get a better idea of its shape.
o If you are trying to achieve the highest score possible, try beginning
from a higher starting level.
o You can maneuver the block until it is filled with colors or shades.
After you drop a block, there is still a very short moment when you can move the block if there is room for it.