In 1993, Doug and Larry Murk of Soleau Software released BLOCK-MAN 1.0. I first played Block-Man at my grandmother's house as a young lad circa 1996. I loved going to her house because she had a few of those old "demo CDs" which would have dozens of Shareware/Demo games on them (this was of course back before broadband Internet access was widely available). Since Block-Man was "shareware", it happened to be included on one of those discs.
As I played the game, I was intrigued by its deceitfully simple gameplay: Little blocks, innocently stacked in random piles amidst a room, radiated with childlike playfulness; yet, as the levels progressed, the task of arranging them in such a way as to reach the exit became a puzzle far too complex for most grown men! (Well, at least too complex for me at the time)
Being the avid nine-year-old BASIC programmer I was, I figured I'd attempt to implement my own version of Block-Man. I did so rather succesfully, adding my own touches such as "telepads" and new abilities to push blocks and turn around without walking. These additions gave the game a somewhat different dynamic, and I was pleased overall with the result, except for one big problem: I had written the whole thing in Microsoft QBasic! As my code grew larger and larger, eventually reaching the size-limit of the feeble QBasic interpreter, I came to the harsh realization that I would need to learn a real programming language if I ever wanted to finish my version of Block-Man.
Many years elapsed, but I eventually discovered Linux and then finally got around to learning enough C++ that I was able to rewrite the game from scratch and produce what I now call Blockling.
I hope you enjoy it.
Esc Menu F1 Help F2 Toggle Music F3 Toggle Sound F5 Restart the current level Alt + Enter Toggle Fullscreen PAGE UP/DOWN Change tile-set
Game Controls (customizable)
UP Pick up a block DOWN Set down a block LEFT Move/turn left RIGHT Move/turn right ENTER Push a block U Undo
Camera Controls (customizable)
w Move camera up a Move camera left s Move camera down d Move camera right
Creating Your Own Levels
Levels can be easily created using a simple text editor. Perhaps the easiest way to begin is by examining some existing levels. The game's default levels may be found in the "levels/default/" directory within the "data/" directory.
When examining those levels on non-Unix systems, you will need to be sure to use a text editor capable of displaying Unix LF linebreaks.
From examining those existing levels, you will likely come to an understanding as to the format of a level file, but I shall here offer a complete listing of each character's meaning:
. a blank tile. Note: Regular spaces (i.e. " ") are ignored. @ the player X a block 0 a piece of land. Note: Based on the tile's position relative to other tiles, it may automatically assume a different visual appearance (e.g. bricks, grass, etc.) 1 manually specifies a land tile with the appearance of bricks 2 manually specifies a land tile with the appearance of grass T a torch. Note: a "wall" tile will automatically be placed behind it. a-z Lowercase letter pairs indicate telepad pairs. These need not start with "a" or proceed in alphabetical order, but each letter much have exactly one mate (e.g. if a "q" is present, there must be one other "q" somewhere within the level) * the level's exit. ^ a spike # indicates that the rest of this line is a comment and will not be parsed. You can type whatever you want here (e.g. your name) (LF) A Unix linebreak indicates a new row of tiles in the level. On Windows systems, a Windows linebreak (CR + LF) may be used, since it also contains the LF character. Don't worry; you don't need to understand what this means. Just push Enter =)
Additionally, note the following caveats:
- All characters are case sensitive, thus e.g. "X" will be interpreted as a block, while "x" will be interpreted as a telepad.
- A line containing no characters (except the linebreak itself) will be ignored. Thus, to indicate an empty row of tiles use a "." followed by a linebreak.
After you have constructed a custom level, place it in the the "levels/custom" directory within the data directory. File names must begin with 000 and proceed in numerical order (e.g. 000, 001, 002, etc.).
When designing a level, it can be helpful to try out your changes by playing through the level, or simply observing how the level is being parsed by the game. Since the game loads levels afresh from disk each time they are reloaded, this can be accomplished by running the game and displaying the level upon which you are working, reloading it whenever you save a change. The F5 keyboard shortcut is particularly handy for quick reloading.
If the game finds any syntax errors in your file, it will let you know with a (hopefully) helpful on-screen message (on the level-selection screen).
Please distribute this file with Blockling
Blockling is free software. It is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License: http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
The source code of Blockling is available from: https://github.com/andmatand/blockling