Instruction manual, FAQ, etc.

An enhanced port of the 2010 love letter to 1980s arcade puzzle games!

Instruction manual, FAQ, etc.

Postby yyr » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:00 pm

Buy and download the game here

Version History

2.1 - Released 11/4/2017. The following changes were made in this version:
- The internal font size is now much greater, giving the font a much sharper appearance at higher resolutions.
- On Windows, the file is no longer saved in a temp folder. It's in its own folder in AppData\Local. (It’s still in a temp folder on Mac…sorry.) Falling Plus 2.1 will check the old location for an existing save the first time you start it, so you won't lose anything when you upgrade.
- Before, the key config menu would say that ESC clears an assignment, but it didn't actually do anything. Now, you can press ESC while assigning to clear an assignment, and the help text accurately reflects this.
- Previously, 1280x1024 resolution didn't work due to aspect ratio problems. This resolution option has been changed to 1366x1024. Also, 2133x1600 resolution was added as an additional option.
- Name entry behavior was changed. When advancing to the next initial, instead of going back to "A," we now start from the letter just entered. Many classic games behave this way, and now Falling Plus does too. (Thanks to the person at Playcrafting's 2017 Halloween event who suggested this; I wish I'd asked for your name!)
- Gameplay change implemented: Placing a block in such a way that it overlaps Wally will now push Wally in the direction the block was placed. Previously, this would push Wally based only on what side of the block he wound up on (and if the block's position was identical to his, Wally would simply be pushed to the left, which often caused undesired behavior). Thanks to Quinn Lanahan for identifying this behavior and suggesting the change; I believe that the game is definitely better as a result!

2.0.1 - Released 7/6/2017. The following changes were made in this version:
- In version 2.0.0, entering Arcade Mode would reset the current high scores to defaults. This has been fixed. (Thanks very much to Joshua Mukerjee for finding this bug.)
- You can now switch between fullscreen and windowed modes (5 different resolutions). Find this setting in the Audio/Video Options menu.
- If the size of a stack reaches the top of the screen, new falling blocks should no longer overlap existing blocks. This affects the bonus modes more than anything.
- I had not previously included this documentation with the game. Now, I do. But you can find the latest version in the forums!

2.0.0 - Original release (6/20/2017).

Default Controls

All of this can be changed in Options.

movement = arrow keys
Kick = Left Ctrl
Lift/Throw = Left Alt
Jump = Space
Make menu selections = Enter
Exit menu = Esc

The following apply to Arcade Mode only:
Menu = Tab
1 = Player 1 Start
2 = Player 2 Start
5 = Insert Coin
Exit Arcade Mode = ESC

Xbox One/360 Controller (Windows version):
movement = D-Pad/Left Stick
Jump = A
Lift/Throw = X
Kick = B
Make menu selections = A
Exit menu = B

DualShock 4/3 Controller (Mac version):
movement = Directional Buttons/Left Stick
Jump = X (Cross)
Lift/Throw = Square
Kick = Circle
Make menu selections = X (Cross)
Exit menu = Circle

Quick FAQ/Known Issues

Q: I'm running Windows 8 or 10, and there's no sound.
A: Please download DirectX 9.0c at this link and this problem will magically vanish!

Q: I'm running Windows 8 or 10, and the game is blocked when I try to run it.
A: The app isn't signed, so modern Windows may block it by default. On Windows 10, click "More info" and then "Run anyway" to get past this.

Q: Is it just me, or did my high scores disappear?
A: One of two things happened. The first: you set a high score, then changed your game options. Falling Plus remembers a different set of high scores for each unique combination of options. Switch back to what you had before, and you should see that old high score ;) The second possibility: there's a bug with Arcade Mode in version 2.0.0. If you downloaded Falling Plus before 7/6/2017, please update to the latest version to fix this!

Q: Where does the save file live?
A: On Windows, it's in a FallingPlus directory, within the current user's AppData\Local directory. On Mac, it's in a temp folder, but I'm not quite sure where that's actually located.

Q: On Mac, the Dock icon looks like a generic icon.
A: This is an issue with the MonoGame framework that I was unable to work around. I’ll try to fix this in the future, but it’s not really a priority since it doesn’t affect the actual game.

Q: On Mac, I chose one of the windowed resolutions, but when I restart the game it's much bigger than expected. What happened?
A: If your Mac has a Retina display, and you're using the default (native) resolution, MacOS may pixel-double Falling Plus. I couldn't find a way to prevent this. If you start the game and it's bigger than your screen, wait for the animation to start, then press the following sequence to enter the Audio/Video Options menu and reset the setting:
Enter, Down Arrow, Enter, Down Arrow twice, Enter, Up Arrow twice, Left Arrow six times, ESC twice.
Then press Command-Q to quit. Relaunch the game and it'll run at full screen.

Q: I want to use a DualShock on Windows or an Xbox controller on Mac. Can you support these?
A: I can't. The problem is that the MonoGame framework on which Falling Plus is based doesn't natively support DirectInput on Windows or XInput on Mac. If these changes are made to MonoGame, I will update Falling Plus (and my other titles) accordingly, and then they'll work. So if you want this, please go ask the MonoGame developers (but be nice about it! They do a lot of great work!). That being said, there are a number of third-party solutions on Windows that may help. I don't know any specifics, but I'm aware that they exist.

Q: Are any further updates planned?
A: Not at this time. My next priorities are to release the rest of my catalog on platforms that will NOT disappear in September 2017! But if any issues are found, I will definitely go back and fix them. Please let me know if you find anything!

Q: How does the "submit your score" function work?
A: After the game is over, if your score is high enough (or if you played a bonus mode) an Internet Ranking code will be displayed. Pressing SPACE will open a browser window, go to the Falling Plus Internet Ranking submission page, and type the code (and matching initials) in for you. After you exit the game, the first thing you'll see is the browser window. Just finish filling in the info and press Submit to add your score to Internet Ranking.

Q: What is the difference between Normal and Hard difficulty?
A: There are no differences, except for one: on Hard, you are actually playing every other round, beginning with Round 2. So, the game's difficulty will ramp up much more quickly.

Q: I don't understand the Bonus option. What do the numbers mean?
A: These numbers represent the score you need to earn an extra life. The default setting is 10k/40k/60k. This means that you earn the first extra life at 10,000 points, the second at 40,000 points, and then, another at every 60,000 points thereafter (100k, 160k, 220k, and so on). Settings that only contain two numbers (such as 20k/60k) only award two extra lives per game. Settings that contain only one number (20k only) only award one extra life per game. And finally, there is the "no bonus" setting that does not offer you any additional lives at all.

Q: I found a bug. What do I do?
A: Post here in the forum, use the contact form on, or e-mail me at, and let me know about it. Thanks!

What is this?

Falling Plus is an enhanced port of yyrGames' 2010 XBLIG release Falling, a homage to arcade action/puzzle games of the early to mid-1980s. You take the role of Peppy the Penguin, whose igloo is under siege. Wally the Walrus is trying to get in, and is making a big mess in the process! Throw or kick same-colored blocks into each other to clear them. Get rid of all blocks and enemies to clear the round. But do so quickly, or things will really get out of hand!

Here are the biggest changes made in Falling Plus, compared to the original XBLIG version:

- Now on PC/Mac: Enjoy, from the comfort of your computer!
- Sharper graphics: Blur has been significantly reduced. You get the most-advanced least-advanced graphics, ever!
- Bug fixes: Some of the original game's obscure bugs were fixed, giving you a more satisfying experience!
- Better gameplay balance: Gameplay exploits were fixed, for tighter score competition!
- Bonus modes added: Test your skills under tough conditions!
- Configurable controls: Reassign almost everything, on either keyboard or controller!
- Scores now save: Internet Ranking is still there, but you no longer need it to save records!

How do I play?

Goal: Clear each round by eliminating all blocks and enemies.

Press LEFT or RIGHT to move in either direction.
Press JUMP to jump. You can jump the height of one block, and can move sideways freely while jumping.

You can push up to 2 blocks by moving against them and continuing to move. Pushing 2 blocks is slower than pushing 1.

Pressing LIFT/THROW when standing next to a block will lift it over your head (unless something is above you).
While holding a block, you can move, but cannot jump.

Pressing LIFT/THROW while holding a block and standing still will drop it in front of you.
Pressing LIFT/THROW while holding a block and moving will throw it in front of you.
Pressing UP or DOWN while holding a block and standing still will drop it where you currently stand, and climb on top of it. You can't do this if the space above you is blocked.

Pressing KICK while next to a block will kick it forward. Kicking blocks will move them further than throwing them, and is the easiest way to get them to move. You are able to kick one block while holding another, or while jumping.

To eliminate blocks, throw or kick one block into another block of the same color. This will get rid of both, and score points. (You must throw or kick them; pushing is not enough.)
You can also use the UP/DOWN "drop and climb" move to eliminate a pair of blocks, if you drop a block onto a matching color block, and it is not also touching a second block.
As a last resort, it is also possible to eliminate a single block by repeatedly kicking it against a non-matching block or the outer wall. You will score zero points for doing this. (There may be situations where you'd want to do this, however, such as in the event that normal elimination would take a very long time, or if the blocks are all the way against the outer wall and can't be eliminated the usual way.)

Wally the Walrus will occasionally appear. He will only walk back and forth at first, but as the game progresses, he will gain the ability to jump, push, and finally, kick. Wally is strong and can push 6 blocks at once!

To eliminate Wally, use blocks to crush him. This can be done either from above, or by pushing/throwing/kicking from the side to crush him against another block or the outer wall. You will score 1000 points each time you eliminate Wally.

To boost your score, try for a "combo," by crushing Wally between a pair of blocks as you eliminate them. This will double the points you score for both Wally and the blocks!

When all blocks and enemies are gone, you clear the round and score any remaining points on the bonus timer.

If the bonus timer reaches 0 before the round is cleared, fire will begin to drop from the ceiling. Fire is too big to jump over and must be avoided. Fire will also eliminate both blocks and enemies. You are able to put out fire if you place a block on top of it. If you manage to clear all blocks, enemies, and fire, you will still clear the round. You will score 200 points for each fire that is eliminated.

Bonus lives are awarded at certain score targets. By default, it's at 10,000, 40,000, and every 60,000 points afterwards.

You lose 1 life if Peppy touches Wally, is crushed, or touches fire. Game is over when lives are gone.

Specifically, what has changed between Falling and Falling Plus?

Want more in-depth detail on exactly what else changed? Well, you know I like to ramble, so here it all is.

- Bug fix: Previously, Peppy would die if a block was kicked in his face too fast. He will now be pushed back.
- Bug fix: On the rare occasion that no blocks were present, enemies had been falling through the floor.
- Bug fix: Using the drop/climb move to clear the last block had previously allowed Peppy to fall through the floor.
- Bug fix: The "Combo!" text never appeared during a 2-player game. Now, it will.
- Bug fix: Exiting the Pause menu using the same button as "jump" will no longer jump.
- Bug fix (Arcade Mode): inserting a coin with Free Play enabled was displaying bonus info.
- A main menu has been added; you can start the game directly from there (and watch a cute animation).
- The previous emulator-style behavior is now named "Arcade Mode" and lives in the "Extras" menu. ESC will quit Arcade Mode and return to the main menu.
- The Kick function was given its own button. Previously, you would Kick by pressing Down + Action.
- Pressing Up/Down while moving now stops Peppy from moving.
- Pressing Up or Down while holding a block now drops/climbs. Previously, this was done with Up + Action.
- The Action button was renamed Lift/Throw, because those are now the only functions controlled by this button.
- Points scored when smashing blocks are now displayed.
- "How To Play" demo from Attract Mode now plays when you start a game (can be skipped).
- Vastly changed what happens when bonus timer runs out (see section below).
- If you somehow get above the top of the playfield, the block you're standing on will automatically break, to get you back inside (0 points will be scored).
- Default zoom level changed from 90% to 100%.

What "gameplay exploits" were fixed in Falling Plus?

Really, it's just one big one.

When I first designed Falling I implemented a bonus timer, something commonly found in many classic arcade games. But in most of those, the timer reaching 0 usually meant instant death. I didn't want to go that route; I wanted to put the player at a big disadvantage, but at least give them a chance to survive.

So when time runs out, fire begins dropping from the ceiling. If fire touches a block, both the fire and block are eliminated. But if you place a block on top of fire, the fire is put out and the block remains.

What I didn't realize is that you can simply put out fires indefinitely for 1000 points each. And, the round clear condition of "blocks and enemies are gone" still persisted. So you could just hold a block above you, use it to put out fires, and if fire fell on top of you, the stage was cleared! No risk, all reward. And the time between fire drops was the same as for the rest of the round's drops, so if you did this on round 1, you got a fat 8 seconds in between drops. This gave you plenty of time to take care of one batch of fire before the next one arrived.

For years, there was a single score over 1 million points on my leaderboards and I never knew how it got there. Now, I know. It's a bit embarrassing that I claim to know what I'm doing as a game designer, and yet, this somehow made it into a game I released. Oh, well.

For Falling Plus, I've finally brought the "zero time" gameplay phase in line with my original vision: if time runs out, it is still possible to survive, but it's not going to be easy. And, it's probably no longer worthwhile to try to milk this phase for points. The following changes have been made:

- Round clear condition changed: all blocks, enemies AND flames must be eliminated.
- if only flames remain, four white blocks will drop (just like if only Wally remains)
- Flames will no longer fall in columns where flames already exist (this would create "doubled-up" flames).
- After two flame drops, the time between flame drops will decrease, then will continue to decrease, down to a minimum of 2 seconds.
- Point value of flames reduced from 1000 to 200 points.

What are the bonus modes?

Both of these give you one life, unlimited time, and challenge you to last as long as possible under the following conditions:

Survival Challenge: It's as if you're playing Round 16, which is where the difficulty reaches its maximum. Except it goes on forever.
Burning Igloo Challenge: A little bit easier, except that one of the objects in each drop is a flame!

Your high score will be tracked for each. Internet Ranking is also available.

Any tips?

Everything in this thread still applies!
Aaron Teplitsky
I hope you're having fun with them!
Site Admin
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:59 am
Location: White Plains, NY

Re: Instruction manual, FAQ, etc.

Postby yyr » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:03 am

Just to let everyone know, I'm going to try to fix the known issues (save file in lame location, no way to change resolution/fullscreen, digital signature on Windows version) over the next 1-2 weeks. You won't be waiting forever for the update. These are problems that I'll need to address for Super Multitasking also, so it's not like I'm hurting that cause working on this one!

Thanks to everyone who purchased the game so far! I really appreciate your support!

EDIT: I have released the 2.0.1 update! Go download it! I didn't address all of the issues, but the biggest ones were fixed (Arcade Mode score bug, resolution/fullscreen setting added). The few remaining minor issues may be fixed in the future.
Aaron Teplitsky
I hope you're having fun with them!
Site Admin
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:59 am
Location: White Plains, NY

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