Demo Version User's Manual
 

Introduction

QWord is unlike anything you have ever seen on your QL. A cross between Scrabble, Tetris and "Find the hidden words" puzzles, QWord exploits the latest QL high resolution colour and sound technology to give a highly interactive and addictive word game.

This manual is for the demonstration version which runs on Windows based PCs thanks to the QPC2 runtime Sinclair QL emulator. No knowledge of the emulator is required to play this demo - simply download the compressed (ZIP format) file, decompress it and OPEN the resulting file to install the demo.

Note on this Demo Version's restrictions: This demonstration version of QWord 1.0 imposes no restrictions on your gaming experience (ie no small dictionaries or unavailable levels). Other than that, it is restricted to 250 seconds of playing time on each level, after which, the game ends. An additional restriction on save (which affects the highscore table which cannot be retained) is not imposed by QWord but by the demo version of QPC2 which we have used.

Important: Because of constraints imposed by various PC configurations, the standard mode of operation for the underlying QPC2 v.3.11 runtime is set to "Windowed". If you wish to change this to "Full Screen" to enjoy QWord without Windows distracting you, press and hold the SHIFT key on your keyboard when clicking on the Start Menu or Desktop QWord icon (depending on your choice upon installation). This will allow you access to the configuration screen of QPC2 where this and other options for QPC2 can be set. This option CAN BE SAVED for future use.

System Requirements

Because of the nature of QWord, to run the program you will need at least 32Mb free memory on your computer.  The demo also uses a lot of processor power, so is best run without other programs running in the background.

A mouse is highly recommended, although it is possible to use the program with the keyboard.

Authors and Acknowledgements

QWord took over a year to write and is a team effort using the specialist skills of several QL programmers.

Rich Mellor of RWAP software was the main architect, who both inspired the program and co-ordinated the work of the team. He was responsible for the final design and programming.

Geoff Wicks of Just Words! wrote the main engine of QWord and provided specialist knowledge to optimise generation of the letter grids and incorporate the QTYP dictionaries.

Finally, Phoebus Dokos of Quantum Leap Software designed and wrote the graphics and sound. He also overviewed the overall styling of the packaging and manual.

The development team are indebted to George Gwilt, who rewrote parts of the Turbo Compiler to enable compilation of the program. Our thanks are also due to Marcel Kilgus, author of QPC, for his patient help and advice (and for writing the great GD2 drivers for the Aurora version of SMSQ/E!). Special thanks also are extended to Simon N. Goodwin and Mark Swift for the wonderful SOUND Device and of course to Peter Graf for making possible a QL platform with Digital sound in the first place! 

Off We Go!

Let's go for a trial run of QWord. When you run the program it starts with an opening screen showing the sponsors and then, after a short pause, displays the Hall of Fame (Fig.1). This is where you will want your name to appear. A left click on the mouse (or a press on the space key) takes you into the game.

You are first asked which of three levels you wish to play (Fig.2). The higher the level the larger the size of the grid. As we are just beginners, let's start by clicking level 1. There is a slight pause while the board is set up (Fig.3), but before long the screen is filled with letter tiles (Fig.4).

In the top right hand corner of the screen your QWord game time is slowly ticking away and to the left of this is a score of nought. For the moment we will not worry about these as we are still learning the game. Let's look instead at the top left hand corner of the screen where there are six icons.

The first (Fig.6) is a red button. Let's try clicking on it. Oops! We have tried the icon to quit the game. Best click on "NO" in the popup window (Fig.7) as soon as possible!

Next is an information sign (Fig.8). Click on this and a help page (Fig.9) springs up giving the values of letters. Some letters have a higher score than others, but more of that later. Click on the red button to go back to the main screen.

Finally on the top row of icons is a green pattern (Fig.10). Click on this and a big sign appears in the centre of the screen to say "paused" (Fig.11). Note the QWord clock is no longer ticking down. Time to answer the telephone or make coffee. Click on the icon again to restart the program.

Now we move onto the bottom row of icons. First there is a bell (Fig.12). Click on this and we get the sound options (Fig.13). These give us a choice of PCM (or music), BEEP and, just in case we are using a laptop in the quiet carriage of a train, NONE.

Important Note: The Demo version currently does not support sound. All options therefore will have no effect (although they are clickable). Also from the PC-based QL Solutions ONLY QPC2 will support Digital sound and this via CD-Audio Playback (CD Version ONLY). The author of QPC2 is currently working on implementing the QLSSS (QL Sample Sound System) on QPC2 to allow the use of Q40/Q60/Amiga QDOS Classic style sound.

Click on the next, blue coloured, icon (Fig.14) and nothing happens at all! This is because this is the "Undo" icon. Try moving the cursor to the first letter of the grid and do a left mouse click. This letter is chosen. Now go back to the blue icon and click. The chosen letter is "undone" and reverts to its old colour. This icon lets you correct your mistakes.

Note: The Undo icon, works in the whole range of tiles that you have currently selected. This is particularily useful whenever you have chosen a lot of tiles and you wish to unselect them really fast.

Finally clicking on the icon with the red "X" (Fig.15) allows you to choose a new grid (Fig.16). Click "YES" and you can choose the playing level again.

Play The Game!

Choosing a new grid has the advantage that the countdown starts afresh. We can now take a look at the word grid. We see rows and columns of Scrabble like tiles with letters in different colours. As in Scrabble some of the letters are worth more than others. The letters that make you groan when you get them in a Scrabble game, Q, X, Y and Z score the most. They are coloured green. Common letters such as E and S, are coloured black and score the least. In between red letters, like C and T, score lower than bright blue letters, like H and K, which in turn score lower than purple letters like J and V.

Now look at the top line of the grid and see if you can spot any words in that line. If you cannot move onto the next line. Go to the first letter of the word and do a left mouse click (space). Left click the other letters of the word and if you look at the bottom of the screen you will see the word and the number of points you have scored (See Fig.4 and Fig.5 for examples of score output and how a selection should appear on the screen). With the cursor on the last letter do a right mouse click (enter) and if the word is valid the letters disappear from the grid.

Try repeating the process, but this time look for words from right to left so that the word is read in reverse. Click on each letter, make sure the word is readable from left to right at the bottom of the screen and do a right click.

Now repeat the process, but this time look for words down a column and then try finding words up a column. Easy isn't it? Now comes the clever bit. You can even turn corners. See if you can find a word that is, say, two or three letters along a row and one letter down or up. If fact, you can move in any direction on the grid except diagonally to form a word provided that consecutive letters of the word are next to each other.

By now you will have noticed the similarity to Tetris. When QWord removes a word from the grid, the letters in the column(s) above each letter in that word drop down. If you succeed in clearing a whole column then the remaining columns in the grid move up to fill the space.

So how do you get the higher scores? Firstly try to find words using letters with the highest value. Remember the order is green, purple, bright blue, red, black. Secondly the longer the word, the more points you win. QWord multiplies the total of the letter scores by the length of the word to give the final word score. Finally there are bonus points for each column you clear and if you manage to clear the grid.

A Little Bit of Cheating?

When you play QWord for the first few times, you may be overwhelmed by the number of letters in the grid and have difficulty in finding words. This is quite normal, but after a few games you will quickly discover words and learn tricks to increase your score. You will enjoy the QWord challenge, but beware! This game can be addictive and we have not yet started QWord Anonymous.

You may find it helpful to spend a little time looking through the grid when you start a game. In particular, look for the green letters and see if you can find words using them. Even a simple word like "ox" will gain you 18 points. Then take a look at the purple letters. If you cannot find words using green and purple letters straight away, keep watching them throughout the game. The grid changes slightly each time you find a word and this gives new possibilities.

When you have found a word on the grid, always look at the adjacent letters to see if you can make an even longer word. There might just be an S to make a word plural or even an "ED" or an "EN". MAR could become "MARE" or even "MARES".

Finally something we shouldn't really tell you about. QWord usually uses QTYP dictionaries to check the validity of words. This gives the program an unintended weakness that can help you become a word master. Spell checking dictionaries should include personal and place names. They should also include abbreviations, which can be a great help when you are stuck with too few vowels. Think of things like "VC", "MRS" and "QC". Or failing that what about trying Roman numerals? Or even compass points?

Dictionaries

QWord is supplied with the 79,000+ word OSPD UK English scrabble dictionary built into the program..

Conclusion

We are proud of the product we have produced, and hope you will enjoy using the fruits of our work. If you have any comments on QWord, discover any bugs or have suggestions for improvement, we will be pleased to hear from you.
 
 

November 2004
The QWord Team


Hi Score Table
 

Fig. 1
(The Word Masters' Screen)
 

 Level Select Dialog

Fig. 2
(The Level Selection Popup)
 

 Setting Up Board Image

Fig. 3
(Game Starting Up))
 

The Game Screen (level 2) 

Fig. 4
(The Game Screen - Vertical Selection)
 

 Horizontal Tile Selection Example

Fig. 5
(Horizontal Tile Selection example)
 

Quit Button

Fig. 6
(Quit Button)
 

Quit Game Dialog

Fig. 7
(Quit dialog)
 

Help Button

Fig. 8
(Help Button)
 

Help Dialog

Fig. 9
(Help Dialog)
 

Pause Button

Fig. 10
(Pause Button)
 

Game Paused

Fig. 11
(Game Paused)
 

Sound Button

Fig. 12
(Sound Options Button)
 

Sound Options Dialog

Fig. 13
(Sound Options Dialog)
 

Clear Word Button

Fig. 14
(Clear Word Button)
 

New Grid / Game Button

Fig. 15
(New Grid/Game Button)
 

New Grid Dialog

Fig. 16
(New Grid Dialog)

 

Designed and Marketed by:
RWAP Software Logo
RWAP Software, a division of RWAP Services
Homepage: rwapsoftware.co.uk
Email:

Copyrights and Intellectual Property Information

Concept and Code 2000-2003 Rich Mellor. Word Engine and relevant Code 2001-2003 Geoff Wicks.
Graphics and Sound 2002-2003 Phoebus Dokos

This software work is copyrighted. This demo version can be distributed freely, provided that all the accompanying copyright messages,
notices, text and setup files remain unaltered.

QTYP, SMSQ/E and The Pointer Environment are  1983-2004 Tony Tebby, QPC is 1994-2004 Marcel Kilgus, Q40/Q60 are 1998-2004 Peter Graf
Sinclair QL, QDOS and the Sinclair logo are 1983-2004 Amstrad plc.