Getting started with PickNPop

You've gotten a package in the mail! You set it down and open it; it's full of white disks and a few colored disks. We call the white disks packing peanuts and we call the colored disks jewels. Your goals are to pop the peanuts and to move the jewels out of the yellow packing box and into the pink target box. When a jewel is fully inside the target box it changes its appearance. If you don't drag it fully inside, it will fly back out.

In this game, the cursor tool can take the form of a Pin or a Hand. You can change cursor tools with the toolbar buttons, the mouse wheel, or with the accelerator keys 3 and 4.

You can click and drag the critters with the Hand (also called the Drag cursor). If you click on a critter with the Pin cursor, you kill it. Note that you have to click once for each kill action.

To get the maximum score, you must pop all the peanuts and drag all the jewels into the target area. A perfect game gives you a score of 1000 at the game end. You can save a bit of strain on your hand and forearm by using the Z key in place of the left mouse button when dragging.

The game lasts only 45 seconds. It ends when 45 seconds are over, or when all the peanuts are popped and all the jewels are popped or in the target box. At game's end, the white background changes to black.

To make the maximum possible score be exactly 1000, a correction term may be added on at the end.

Tips on PickNPop

If the game update rate is too slow, make sure to use View | 2D Windows Graphics rather than View | 3D OpenGL Graphics. PickNPop is essentially a 2D game, even though the program enhances the visual interest by spacing the critters along the z-axis in the 3D OpenGL Graphics mode.

If you are running the game in 3D, and you don't have a fast graphics card, it may be that PickNPop will be running at a rate slower than real time. A note in the status bar will alert you to this. In this case, the 45 seconds the program measures will in fact be longer than 45 real-world seconds.

You can go to the View menu and select Wireframe view in place of the Solid view so that you can see what lies under a given critter. Use Window | Additional View of Current Game to open a second window and then use View | Wireframe to change the second view to a Wireframe view.

Note that a left-click affects a critter if the click point is inside a visible part of the critter. You can't click on a critter if it is completely beneath other critters. A click only affects one critter at a time.

Left dragging the cursor means moving it while the left button or the Z key is held down. The Pop program allows you to use the Z key in place of the left mouse button when using cursor tools.

When you click a critter with the Drag cursor tool, the critter is visually moved to lie above the other critters. This is not the case in 3D OpenGL Graphics.

If your mouse has a wheel, you can switch between the Pin and the Dragger by turning your mouse wheel in either direction.

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