Quick start

Play alone

First you must run the game 8-) that's to say:

  • Double-click on u61.exe under windows.
  • Type u61 in an Xterm under GNU/Linux.

Then the main menu should appear on the screen. To navigate in the menus, you'll have to use:

  • The keyboard arrows: up/down to change the selected menu item, and left/right to change some settings such as sound volume.
  • The "ESC" key to go back to the previous menu. Also usefull to quit the game...
  • The "ENTER" key to validate your choice.
  • "F10" will close the game immediately, without any warning. Usefull if you don't want to go all the way to the "Exit" menu.

There's no mouse support in U61 yet.

So to play alone, just select the "Play alone" menu item by simply pressing "ENTER", and the game starts. You can control the falling blocks with the keyboard arrows.

If you don't like the key settings or their repeat rates, please keep in mind that U61 is highly customizable. Indeed the "Player options" -> "Set up player n" -> "Key settings" -> "Advanced key settings" enables you to set up different repeat rates for each key.

BTW, the "Play alone" option is here only for training since playing U61 alone does not really make any sense. You *need* to find other gamers to play with, for U61 has been designed to be a multiplayer game, and you will completely miss the fun if you only play alone.

Start local multiplayer game

This is definitely more fun than playing alone! Up to 4 players can play on a single computer, however, until I add joystick support to U61, I can't really figure out how 4 players could fit comfortably - it's possible but not really easy - on a single 102 keys keyboard.

So here's what you'll have to do:

  • First you'll have to set up keys for the different players. By default U61 maps the same keys for all the players. This is because it's impossible to set key options which will fit for every situation (1,2,3 or 4 players). So you need to go to "Player Options" -> "Set up player n" -> "Key settings" menu, and set redefine the keys. To define a key, just select the action to bind with the up/down arrows, and press "ENTER", then the key you want to use for this action.
  • Once you have set up the keys, go to "Player Options" -> "Set active players" or "Start new game" -> "Choose players" and there you can enable/disable players.
  • Now go the "Start new game" and select "Local multiplayer game" and you're ready to play.

Now whenever you see a weird black and white square, with a "?" in it, just try to make it dissappear. And see what your opponents think of it 8-) BTW, the game never ends, whenever a player looses, he restarts with an empty field. This is what some would call a "deathmatch" mode.

Start a network game

Probably the trickiest thing to do, but also one of the most powerfull features of U61. U61 offers much more than a single one-to-one network game. Currently, up to 5 computers can be connected together, and 2 players can play on each computer. So this makes a total of 10 simultaneous players...

U61 uses a client/server architecture, so a computer will act as a server, and then others will act as clients and connect to it.

  • To start the server, simply select "Start new game" -> "Create network game".
  • To start the client, select "Start new game" -> "Join network game". By default, the client tries to connect on "" which is the loopback network interface. You *need* to set the name or the IP address of the server to the correct value (which is of course the address of your server). To know what is the address of the server, type "ipconfig" (under Windows) or "ifconfig" (under GNU/Linux, must be run as root) on the server. Once you have set up a correct IP address, (or again the name of the server, but I personnally prefer using IP addresses directly) you can select "Join".

If everything is OK, the client player(s) should appear on the server. Oh, BTW, the client should better hurry connecting to the server, for players on the server do not wait for the clients to start playing. This is the kind of methods used in games like Quake by ID Software for instance.

By default, U61 will use port 8061 to communicate. Many firewalls won't let IP packets pass them if one uses this port. For instance, it might be impossible to play over the internet at work, if the only connexion to the internet you have is an access with a proxy on port 80 - which is what many people have. This is not U61's fault anyway... You can also have problems if the server is started on a machine which uses network address translation (NAT). If you encounter serious problems setting up an internet game, my advice would be to first try to set up a network game on a LAN, and then when you know how to make it work locally, try and launch it over the internet again.

Configure the game

Well, I keep on saying that U61 is "highly customizable", so I guess some of you will be eager to know how to do it 8-)

There are basically 4 ways to configure U61:

  • Use the GUI/menus to change options such as key settings, sound volume...
  • Write Lua scripts to create new sets of rules. This is definitely what makes U61 different from any other block-based games.
  • Create or tweak the existing themes to change the look and feel of the game.
  • Modify the C++ core engine. You can do it since the game is GPL'ed. However, I do not recommend it since this kind of practice is likely to introduce severe - and not easy to deal with - compatibility issues.

How to change the theme and/or change the rules is described in other sections, so here I'll only explain how to change the options using the menus. Many settings are quite self-explanatory, so I do not detail them, but some still require some explanations. Here's a list of usefull options and what they do:

  • "Game options" -> "Speed" -> "Curse delay" : the time (in seconds) after which the special "curse square" will automatically be moved.
  • "Game options" -> "Graphic" -> "Max frames per sec" : the max frame rate. Having a maximum frame rate avoids U61 taking 100% of the CPU. Increase this value to have a smoother display on high-end systems.
  • "Player options" -> "Set active players" : here you'll choose which players will be activated. Note than in a network, game, only 2 players will be allowed per machine.
  • "Player options" -> "Set up player n" -> "Advanced key settings" -> "[some key]delay" : this is the time (in 1/100 sec) before the key starts repeating. This is a per-player settings so players can have different key sensitivity even if they play at the same time on the same machine.
  • "Player options" -> "Set up player n" -> "Advanced key settings" -> "[some key]repeat" : this is the time (in 1/100 sec) used in repeating mode. It should be lower than the equivalent "[some key]repeat]" option.
  • "Player options" -> "Set up player n" -> "Anticipation mode" : allows the player to view where his block will land. Also called "ghost mode" in some other block-based games.
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Copyright © 2005 Christian Mauduit. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
Updated on Sun May 29 2005.