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

This game has moved to Steam!
The itch.io version has been delisted. (I originally said it would be delisted on 1/1/2019, but due to the discovery of a crash bug, this was done sooner.)
On 11/30/2018, the Steam version of Falling Plus was released for both Windows and Mac. The price of the Steam version is $1.99, but for the first week it will be discounted 25%, so it will cost approximately the same as the $1.49 itch.io version.
If you purchased the game at itch.io as of 11/30/2018, you were sent an e-mail with a complimentary Steam key on that date.

Buy and download the game here
https://store.steampowered.com/app/934480/Falling_Plus/


Version History

Please note that the itch.io version has been discontinued as of version 2.2. 2.1.1 was the last version available from itch.io. If you previously purchased the itch.io version, you were sent an e-mail containing a complimentary Steam key; please use it to update to the latest version. If you did not receive the e-mail, contact me via the contact form on my Web site, and I'll resend your key.

2.2 - Released 11/30/2018. The following changes were made in this version:
- Released on Steam, with full support for Steam Leaderboards and a set of 12 Steam Achievements. Internet Ranking support has been removed.
- On Mac, the game now renders properly (not pixel-doubled) on Retina displays. It looks a lot better!
- On Mac, the Dock icon now appears properly. (Before, a generic MonoGame icon was appearing instead.)
- There was a potential crash bug that manifested when creating a new save file. This has been fixed.
- When changing game options, a bug was sometimes causing the high scores for the previous set of options to be permanently overwritten by high scores for the new set of options. This has been fixed.
- In Controller Options, you can now select a controller type between all of those supported (Xbox/Steam, DS4, Switch). Your choice determines what button prompts are displayed onscreen. If you select Switch, the A button will be used to make menu selections as opposed to the B button (and B exits as opposed to A). You will also be asked to choose a controller type the first time a controller is connected.
- The original Falling had 2 variations of the BGM, in addition to the original. Due to a typo in the code, they weren't being played; this has been fixed.
- Previously, BGM was restarting when the game was paused and resumed, unlike in the original Falling. This has been fixed; the music will now resume along with the game.
- When quitting a game and starting a new one, the BGM was sometimes playing over itself. This has been fixed.
- Fixed an inconsistency in the Keyboard Options menu (renamed "exit" to "back").
- Previously, when entering initials in the local high score table, pressing Enter would bring up the Pause menu. Now, it enters an initial instead.
- When browsing high scores, the browser displayed the word "Time" instead of the word "Score." Oops! This has been fixed.
- When playing on keyboard, during the How to Play demo, "Press ENTER to skip" will now be displayed, as opposed to suggesting that the user press a button on a controller!
- Attempted to fix an issue where the game can respond to menu input despite not being the active window. I was unable to reproduce this, but tried to fix it anyway. (Thanks, Bobby Blackwolf!)
- Added yyrGames logo on the title screen. It probably should have been there before...

2.1.1 - Released 4/28/2018. The following changes were made in this version:
- If you’re using a Windowed display option whose resolution is greater than your screen’s actual resolution at the time you launch Falling Plus, it’ll temporarily fall back to the highest setting your screen actually supports.
- On Windows, pressing Alt+Tab when in fullscreen mode no longer crashes the game. Instead, the game will gracefully and temporarily exit fullscreen mode until you return to it.
- On Mac, pressing Command+Tab when in fullscreen mode actually switches tasks now. Previously, Command+Tab would have no effect (you needed to quit the game to switch tasks).
- On Mac, the save file now saves in the current user’s Library/Preferences folder, instead of in a random temp folder. The old location will still be checked the first time the game is started, so you won’t lose any previous data.
- On Mac, the game is now distributed with an installer, as opposed to just an application.

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 yyrgames.com forums!

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


Default Controls

All of this can be changed in Options.

Keyboard:
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/Steam Controllers:
movement = D-Pad/Left Stick
Jump = A
Lift/Throw = X
Kick = B
Make menu selections = A
Exit menu = B

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

Switch Pro Controller:
movement = D-Pad/Left Stick
Jump = B
Lift/Throw = Y
Kick = A
Make menu selections = A
Exit menu = B


Quick FAQ/Known Issues

Q: I have questions regarding the previous version that was for sale on itch.io. Where are these addressed?
A: At the bottom of this document.

Q: My Switch Pro controller isn't working on my Mac! What do I do?
A: Launch Big Picture mode. You may be prompted to install a gamepad driver update. Follow the instructions, then restart Steam and/or your Mac when prompted. It should then work.

Q: My Xbox One/360 controller isn't working on my Mac! What do I do?
A: Download and install the 360Controller driver, located here: https://github.com/360Controller/360Controller/releases
Follow the instructions to install it, then restart your Mac. After restarting, it should work. (If it does not, try also installing the Steam gamepad driver update as described above.)

Q: Where does the save file live?
A: In the latest version: on Windows, it's in a FallingPlus directory, within the current user's AppData\Roaming directory. On Mac, it's in a FallingPlus folder, within the current user's Library/Preferences folder.

Q: Are any further updates planned?
A: Version 2.2 is pretty complete, so further updates will only happen if I become aware of one or more issues (updates will fix these).

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 changed the options and it says "Leaderboards disabled." What's going on?
A: Leaderboards are only available for the following game settings, plus the Survival Challenge and Burning Igloo Challenge bonus modes:
  • All default settings (Normal difficulty, 3 lives, 10k/40k/60k bonus)
  • Normal difficulty, 3 lives, no bonus
  • Hard difficulty, all other settings default
  • Hard difficulty, 3 lives, no bonus
If you change the game settings to anything else, the "Leaderboards disabled" message will be displayed in the Game Options menu, to let you know that your score will not be submitted. The game will, however, still track your personal high scores for each possible combination of options. Changing the game settings back to defaults, or one of the other combinations listed, will re-enable Leaderboard submissions.

Q: I found a bug. What do I do?
A: Post here in the forum, use the contact form on yyrGames.com, or e-mail me at yyr@yyrgames.com, 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 your keyboard or your favorite gamepad!
- Scores now save: Your personal records will now save automatically, without you having to enter them into the Internet Ranking Web site!
- Leaderboards and Achievements: Enjoy these additional competition features!


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 forward.
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; this 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 blocks, and score points. (You must throw or kick them; pushing is not enough.) Points scored depend on the color of the blocks: white blocks are worth 50 each, red are worth 100, blue are worth 200, and green are worth 400 points.
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 the block you drop does not also touch 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 all blocks are cleared, but enemies remain, four white blocks will immediately drop, so that it's possible to defeat the last enemies.

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, you would lose a life if a block was kicked into Peppy's face. He will now be pushed backward, as was originally intended.
- 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 the 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%.
- Steam version: Leaderboards replace the old Internet Ranking feature, and a set of 12 Achievements was added.


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 the last remaining block above you, use it to put out fires, and if fire fell on top of you, the block was smashed, clearing the stage! No risk, all reward. And the time between fire drops was the same as 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 Internet Ranking 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 immediately drop (just as 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. Leaderboards are also available.


Any tips?

Everything in this thread still applies!


itch.io version FAQ
(The following questions pertain exclusively to the outdated itch.io version.)

Q: Why was the itch.io version delisted?
A: I moved Falling Plus to Steam for two main reasons: first, to add true Leaderboard support, as opposed to the outdated and inconvenient Internet Ranking feature. I also wanted to consolidate the yyrGames library, rather than having it spread across multiple markets.

Q: How can I get a DRM-free version of Falling Plus, now that the itch.io version has been delisted?
A: I'm sorry, but the DRM-free version will no longer be offered. If this truly bothers you, contact me via my Web site and I will send you a DRM-free version.

Q: How do I re-download the itch.io version?
A: You can't. I was not able to stop accepting payments while continuing to offer the downloads. And since a crash bug was discovered in the latest itch.io version, you wouldn't want it anyway!

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!
This should not ever happen when using the Steam version.

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.
This should not ever happen when using the Steam version.

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, and a separate bug with switching options in all versions prior to 2.2, that can result in your high scores being overwritten. If you downloaded Falling Plus from itch.io, please update to the Steam version to fix these!

Q: On Mac, the Dock icon looks like a generic icon.
A: This was an issue with the MonoGame framework that I was unable to work around. The Steam version uses the FNA framework instead, so this is fixed.

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: Update to the Steam version; this issue was fixed in version 2.2.

Q: I want to use a DualShock on Windows or an Xbox controller on Mac. Can you support these?
A: The Steam version provides full support for these controllers on both platforms, plus the Steam and Switch Pro controllers. So please update to the Steam version.

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. Or, if you want to use real integrated Leaderboards, update to the Steam version =)
Aaron Teplitsky
yyrGames
I hope you're having fun with them!
yyr
Site Admin
 
Posts: 164
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
yyrGames
I hope you're having fun with them!
yyr
Site Admin
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:59 am
Location: White Plains, NY


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