Abandonware DOS title

Wordtris manual




                              Spectrum Holobyte


         Playing Wordtris
         The Wordtris Options Screen contains all the options you need
         to play Wordtris.  Choose options from the Options Screen by
         moving the onscreen arrow with the Tab, arrow keys, or mouse.
         Shift-Tab moves the arrow backward through the buttons.  When
         the arrow is positioned over the option you want, press Enter
         or click the mouse button to select that option.

         The area on the right side of the Options Screen shows you
         setup selections.

         Select a Game Mode
         Press Enter or click the mouse on the Game Mode option.  We
         suggest that you start with a single player game to get a
         feel for Wordtris before you try the other game modes.
         Playing and scoring in a single player game is explained in
         the "Scoring" section later in this manual.  The other game
         modes are explained in their own chapters.

         Select a Difficulty Mode
         Wordtris has four difficulty modes.  The modes and their
         differences are listed in the following table.  Move the
         arrow over the difficulty area, press ENTER, and select
         novice for you first Wordtris Game.

         The extra time for positioning letter blocks in CHILDREN'S
         mode allows our younger players a chance to play Wordtris.
         CHILDREN'S mode is identical to NOVICE mode except for the
         slower letter drop rates.

         DIFFICULTY          Child/Novice    Advanced        Expert
         Min. letters for                 3 for levels A-E     4
             a word               3       4 for levels F-J

         Min. letters for         5              6             7
         a Magic Word

         Pause            Doesn't Hide Well  Hides Well    Hides Well

         Scoring                 x1              x2            x3

         Select a Level
         There are ten levels, and at the higher levels, the blocks
         fall into the well at a faster rate and the game may require
         more letters before it will accept a word.  Since this is
         your first game, choose level A if its is not already

         Select a Time Limit
         Move the arrow over the TIME control and select a time limit
         for your first game.  UNLIMITED lets you play until your well
         fills to the top with letter blocks or until you decide to
         end the game.  Choosing anything other than UNLIMITED lets
         you play for that number of minutes.  The time appears on the
         game screen directly beneath the well.  When the timer
         reaches 00:00, the game ends regardless of that game's
         current status.

         Repeat Words
         This option, when turned on, removes duplicate words from the
         well.  Of course, you only earn a score the first time you
         form the word.  If it is turned off, then repeated words are
         not removed from the well, which is obviously much more

         Select a Control Method
         If you select Competitive or Cooperative game, then the
         CONTROL 2 option will also be available for the second
         player.  Choose KEYBOARD, MOUSE, or JOYSTICK depending on
         which device you are using the play Wordtris.

         Start the Game
         Wordtris starts on the level you selected, but the default
         level is A.  There are 10 levels total, A through J, with
         each level becoming harder.  The higher the level the faster
         the blocks fall.  The scene on the right shows you the
         minimum number of letters required to create a word on that
         level and the last five words you have created in that game.
         The bottom of the right-hand screen shows the last repeated
         word and how many times the word has been repeated.

         The lower portion of the well is filled with water.  Letter
         blocks fall randomly from the top of the well and float on
         the water.  If a block lands on top of a floating block, the
         lower blocks is pushed beneath the water.  When the blocks
         reach the bottom of the well, they begin stacking above the
         water line unless you manage to form words, at which time toe
         blocks forming the word(s) disappear from the well and you
         earn a score.

         Moving Blocks
         Control 1
             Use arrow keys
             Drop letter with down arrow, 0, 2, or spacebar

         Control 1 for Competitive and Cooperative
              Use arrow keys
              Drop letter with down arrow, 0, or 2

         Control 2 for Competitive and Cooperative
              left use j or s
              right use l or f
              drop letter M, C, or Spacebar

         Blank Blocks
         In Single Player, Tournament, and Head-to-Head games, some
         blocks that drop into the well are labelled with a question
         mark.  These blocks are blank blocks to which you can assign
         whichever letter you need by typing it on the keyboard.  You
         can even turn the blank block into an eraser if you press the
         Backspace key.  The resulting letter (or eraser), however is
         worth zero points.  Also, if you do not press a letter fast
         enough, the blank block will change to a random letter.

         Erase Blocks
         Another special block.  This blocks looks like a gum eraser
         and wipes out the first letter that it drops on.

         Menu Bar
         This allows you change various options and perform other
         activities while the game is in progress.  Press ESC to show
         the menu bar.

         Menu Bar Options
            About Wordtris                       Credit screen

            Resume game
            Abort game
            Quit to DOS                          Ctrl-Q

            Player 1                             Game control
            Player 2                             Game control

            Advance to next level                Ctrl-L
            Music                                Ctrl-M
            Show next letter                     Ctrl-N
            Pause                                Ctrl-P
            All sound                            Ctrl-S
            Hide words list                      Ctrl-W
            Change letter set
            Erase high scores

            Add Words
            Delete Words

            Key Reference
            Letter Values

         You score by creating words with combinations of the letters
         that fall into the well.  Abbreviated words, hyphenated
         words, foreign words, and proper nouns are not accepted.
         Each letter block is worth a certain number of points
         depending upon the letter it represents.  You can form words
         horizontally or vertically, and they can overlap each other--
         in this respect, Wordtris operates like a crossword puzzle.

         Your total score is the sum of all the words found in the
         well.  Word scores are calculated by adding the values of all
         the letters in the word, multiplying that sum by the number
         of letters in the word, and then multiplying that number by
         the game level.

         Letter   Points     Letter    Points     Letter   Points

           A        1          J         8          S        1
           B        4          K         4          T        1
           C        3          l         1          U        1
           D        2          M         4          V        5
           E        1          N         1          W        4
           F        4          O         1          X        8
           G        2          P         3          Y        4
           H        4          Q        10          Z       10
           I        1          R         1          ?        0

         Bonus Blocks
         Bonus blocks are special-colored letter blocks that double
         the word score--if you can make the bonus black form a word
         as it lands.  If the bonus block does not form a word
         immediately, it changes to a normal letter block.
         For instance, if the letter "R" in "HARP" was a bonus letter,
         then the base word score of 72 is doubled, increasing the
         word score to 144.

         If you are playing with the REPEAT WORDS option turned off,
         then the word score doubles again, increasing the value of
         "HARP" to a whopping 288.

         Next, if you are also playing w/o the SHOW NEXT LETTER
         feature then Wordtris adds 25% to the word score, bringing it
         to 360.

         Finally, playing at a difficulty mode higher than NOVICE or
         CHILDREN'S also affects your Wordtris score.  If you are
         playing in ADVANCED mode, your word score will be multiplied
         by two.

         MAGIC WORDS
         If you form the Magic Word (shown centered above the well)
         then two things happen:

           1. Your score total is increased by the word score for the
              Magic Word, plus the word scores for any other words
              formed, plus the letter value for every block in the
           2. The well is cleared of all blocks.

         Thus, continuing our example from above, if "HARP" also
         happened to be the Magic Word, then the value for all other
         words and letter blocks in the well would be added to the 360
         points we have thus far tallied for the word "HARP."  That
         number would then be added to your total score.

         But remember that longer words which contain the Magic Word
         do not count.  For example, "HARP" may be the Magic Word and
         you have the letters HAR S set up in the well, if you drop a
         P between R and S, Wordtris will not recognize "HARPS" as the
         Magic Word of "Harp."

         In Novice mode, the Magic Word length is five letters.  The
         Magic Word length in Advanced is six letters.  Expert is
         seven letters.

         Advancing to the Next Level
         There are ten levels.  You go up a level based on the number
         of words you have formed:

                             Level          Words
                               A              5
                               B              15
                               C              30
                               D              50
                               E              75
                               F              105
                               G              140
                               H              180
                               I              225
                               J              NO LIMIT

         The word total is cumulative, not obtained per level.

         Ending Wordtris
         The game ends when:
         1) The well fills to the top with blocks
         2) Your game time limit, if any, expires
         3) You press esc for the menu bar and abort game.

         If you reach level J, the game continues at that level until
         on of these three conditions is met.

         Game Variations
         1. Competitive Wordtris--you and another player play at the
            same time, competing against each other for the best
         2. Cooperative Wordtris--you and another player play at the
            same time, working to get a high score.
         3. Tournament Wordtris--you and up to three other players
            play identical single player games, all competing for the
            best score.
         4. Head-to-Head Wordtris--you and another player on a
            different computer play at the same time, competing
            against each other for the best score.

         Competitive Wordtris
         You and another player compete for the better score while
         fighting for words in the same well.  Unlike single player
         game, two letter block fall simultaneously into the well.
         Player 1 controls the red letter blocks while Player 2
         controls the blue letter blocks.

         Each player controls the left, right, and downward motion of
         their letter block.  Each player selects their own control
         device as described in "Select a Control Method" in the
         "Playing Wordtris" section above.

         Separate scores and word counts are maintained for each
         player.  The player whose block lands first and forms a word
         gets the credit for the word.  If both players land their
         block at the same time and cause one or more words to form,
         the word score is split between the players, odd scores are
         round up to an even number.

         At the end, the player w/ the fewer blocks gets the values of
         the other player's remaining blocks added to his score.  This
         rule prevents a player from ending the game early in order to
         maintain his lead and win the game.

         Cooperative Wordtris
         If you want to word with a friend to achieve the best score
         possible, then the Cooperative game is the one for you.  This
         is the same as Single Player version, except that two letter
         blocks of different color drop.  Both player share the same
         score and word count.

         Tournament Wordtris
         You can compete with up to three of your friends to see who
         can play the best game.  Tournament players play the game on
         their own; when one player is finished, the next player
         steps up to bat.  Each game follows the same sequence of
         falling blocks so that each player plays exactly the same
         game.  A separate word count and score is kept for each
         player.  Each player's word count and score is shown during
         their game.

         Head-to-Head Wordtris
         All you need for head-to-head is tow registered copies of
         Wordtris and either a null-modem serial cable, two Hayes-
         compatible modems(each capable of at least 1200 baud
         transmission speed), or a Novell-compatible are network.

         The rules for Head-to-Head are virtually the same as the
         rules for the other Wordtris game variations, with one major
         exception: when one player forms a word of four or more
         characters, one or more rocks bubble up from the bottom of
         the opponent's well.  Rocks are the same size as letter
         blocks, and any letter blocks on the bottom of the well are
         pushed upward by the rock(s).  The number of rocks that
         appear in your opponent's well is determined by the number of
         letter blocks in the words you create.

         The following table show the number of letter blocks it take
         to generate rocks in your opponent's well depending on the
         difficulty mode:

                          Advanced   Advanced
         Rocks   Novice     A-E        F-J      Expert
           1        4        4          5         5
           2        5        5          6         6
           3        6        6          7         7
           4        7        7          8         8
           5        8        8          9         9
           6        9        9          10        10
           7        10       10         11        11
           8        11       11         12        12
           9        12+      12+        13+       13+

         The table suggests that one can form words of 13 characters or
         longer, but that is not the case.  Wordtris words are limited
         to nine characters, but in some cases you can form more than
         one word at the same time, which means that you can score
         more than nine letters at once.

         You may also score 13 or more letters if your well contains
         many blocks and you form the Magic Word.  If you form the
         Magic Word, then you well is cleared as usual (including
         rocks) and your opponent receives the appropriate number of
         rocks as shown in the table above.

         The maximum number of rocks you can send or receive is one
         row (9 rocks).

         Head-to-Head Setup
         The Head-to-Head Setup menu lets you determine how the two
         computers communicate with one another.  You can select the
         various options from the Head-to-Head Setup menu using the
         mouse or the cursor keys, just as you select options from the
         Options Screen.

         The following sections describe each element of the Head-to-
         Head Setup menu.

         Select the DIRECT if your computer is connected directly to
         the serial port of your opponent's computer via a null-modem
         serial cable.  If you and your opponent are playing by modem,
         then select MODEM.

         If you're playing across a Novell network, then choose
         NETWORK.  If you are playing Wordtris head-to-head over a
         Novell network, you do not need to select any of the
         following options except MODE.

         Chose COM 1 or COM 2 depending on which serial port you are
         using for your modem or cable connection.  Please note that
         Wordtris does not support COM 3 or COM 4.

         BAUD RATE
         Select the baud rate you want to use from the choices
         available in the Head-to-Head Setup menu.  The baud rate is
         the speed at which information will be transmitted between
         the two computers during the game.

         If you are connected to the other computer directly, you can
         set the baud rate as high as 9600(a very fast rate and one we
         recommend for direct connections).  However, if the two
         computers are communication via modems, the maximum baud rate
         will be determined by the maximum capabilities of the two
         modems.  Please refer to your modem's user manual for more
         information about its capabilities.

         This determines whose computer will be the calling computer
         and whose will be the answering Computer.  Head-to-head
         competition must always have one caller and one answerer.
         The caller determines the difficulty, game level, time limit,
         and whether REPEAT WORDS is turned on or off.

         LINE TYPE
         This setting is available only when playing over modems and
         you are the caller.  It determines whether the caller will
         use Touch Tome or pulse dialing when calling the other
         computer.  Select either TONE or PULSE.

         This setting is available only when playing over modems and
         you are the caller.  The calling player enters the phone
         number of the answering player in the PHONE field.  Hyphens
         and parentheses are not necessary and will be ignored during

         Select this option to leave the Head-to-Head Setup menu and
         return to the Options Screen.  Your settings are
         automatically saved until you change them again.

         Direct Connect and Modems
         Once both players have selected OK from the Head-to-Head
         Setup menu, each player must choose the START GAME option
         from the Options Screen to begin the game.
         In order to ensure that both players begin their game at the
         same time, the computer loads in all the data before allowing
         the game to start.  The message "START HEAD-TO-HEAD!" will
         appear on both screens to let both players know when to

         If you are the caller, the program will say "Looking for
         players-Please hold on." If there are any Wordtris players
         waiting on the network, a dialog box will appear saying
         "Select Opponent."  Either select a player's name or select
         "Exit" to cancel.  If your Wordtris challenge is accepted,
         the Head-to-Head game will begin.

         If you are the answerer, you will see "Waiting to connect"
         until you have been challenged.  Once you see "You have been
         challenged to Wordtris!" press 'Y' to accept or 'N' to

         Playing Head-to-Head Wordtris
         Once the game begins, you and your opponent can type messages
         to each other by pressing Ctrl-T.  When you are finished
         "chatting," press ESC to return to the game.

         When the letter blocks reach the top of one player's well,
         both games end and the player with the higher score is the
         winner.  The  Head-to-Head score screen appears at the end of
         the Head-to-Head game.  The score screen shows each player's
         score, the highest level reached, and the number of words
         formed.  You can then either play another head-to-head game
         or quit.

         Dictionary Editor
         You can customize the Wordtris dictionary to suit your own
         taste by selecting ADD WORDS or DELETE WORDS from the
         DICTIONARY menu.  When adding words it must be a minimum or
         three characters long or a maximum of nine characters long.
         You'll get an error message if you try adding a word that is
         already in either the main dictionary or the user dictionary.
         You can only delete words that is in your custom dictionary,
         in other words the words you added yourself.

         Wordtris Strategy
         Believe it or not, there are certain methods to the Wordtris
         madness.  Most importantly, know the difference between your
         consonants and your vowels.  Try to land them in a logical
         sequence.  For instance, there aren't too many words that
         have a "B" and a "C" right next to each other, but you might
         get a word if you leave a space between the two letters.

         Likewise be careful about placing certain consonants on the
         right side of the screen.  You will have considerable
         difficulty getting rid of a "J" that you land in the right-
         most column since there are almost no words in the English
         language that end in "J."

         Also try to stay aware of common letter combinations suck as
         "ST," "LY," "QU," "CK," "CH," and so on.  Grouping suck
         letters together can prove very useful in Wordtris.  In
         addition, planning letter combinations often lets you form
         longer words, thus earning a higher score.  Sometimes
         Wordtris even helps you out by dropping the two letters in

         Try to plan ahead.  As you land the letters, try to remember
         what letters you'll need to form certain words. This is
         extremely helpful when you get the "?" block.  If you have a
         letter in mind, then you can quickly type it and us the
         blank block to complete a word instead of having the blank
         time out and convert to a random letter.

         Don't forget to take advantage of the eraser.  It will help
         you eliminate any troublesome letters from the well.  And, if
         you desperately need an eraser, you can always turn a "?"
         block into an eraser by pressing the Backspace Key.

         Be careful about how you land your letters if you're trying
         to build the Magic Word.  For instance, suppose the Magic
         Word is "PEACE."  If you get a "P", an "E", and an "A" and
         you land them in that order, then Wordtris will recognize the
         word "PEA" and you'll have to start all over again.  Likewise,
         the word "PEACE" also contains the word "ACE."  So the best
         strategy fro a word like "PEACE" would be to land the blocks
         in the following order, 'P'E' 'C'E, and then wait for an 'A'
         to fall into the well.

         Last, but not least, as a tip for our younger players, try
         the CHILDREN'S mode.  The slower speed gives you a fair
         change in making words from the falling letters.