Using the menu and toolbar controls

File menu controls

File | Start or Restart Game starts the animation of the game. If the game has already been run once, this control re-initializes the game and resets the player.

The File | New Game Window control creates a default Spacewar game.

The Open..., Save and Save As... opens or saves all of the currently active Pop game, critter, and sprite information. The Pop Framework does not save or reload the particular View menu settings such as viewpoint, view direction, using solid or wireframe sprites, using a background bitmap, etc.

A somewhat annoying feature of the Pop Framework is that you can't open a given file if a file of the same name is already open. So if you have saved a file as test.p20 and then leave it open and let it run for awhile and then try to reopen it to get the old state back, nothing will happen. You need to close the current run of the game and then do a fresh open to get the saved test.p20 version back.

When you load a saved game, the game waits for you to press Enter to make it start running.

Mute toggles the sounds of the games on and off.

Pause toggles the motion of the critters on and off.

The Motion Smoothness... selection opens the Motion Smoothness dialog. The dialog is documented below.

View menu controls

The 3D OpenGL Graphics and 2D Windows Graphics options select between a visually interesting, slower-running 3D view and a crisp, flat, rapidly running 2D view.

Reset Viewpoint moves the viewpoint and view direction back to a standard location. It also sets the zoom back to the standard size. This is useful if you've gotten lost and can no longer see any of the game world.

Keep Player in View toggles an option whereby the view will adjust itself so that the player always shows. This is useful in a large world or in a zoomed-in view where the player can easily slide off the edge of the screen. When this option is in effect you cannot set the viewpoint and view direction so as to look away from the player.

Ride the Player attaches the viewpoint to a 'saddle' a bit behind and above the player, and the view direction is set to look out ahead of the player. When this option is in effect, the Ctrl+Up/Down keys affect the height above the player which the viewer rides, and the View Direction controls have no effect. Instead, you change the view direction by turning the player.

The No Background, Solid Background, and Use Bitmap Background controls let you have a neutral wireframe background, a solid rectangle of color for the background, or a rectangular bitmap for the background. The background resizes itself along with the window and adjusts itself to match the view. In 3D worlds, the background is viewed as one face of the world box.

The Solid Objects and Wireframe Objects selections toggle between a normal view of the sprites and a wireframe view. In wireframe mode, the polygons are drawn with no filling, and the bitmaps are drawn as rectangular bounding boxes surrounded by circles sized to match the sprite radius.

Depending on the game, you can select among some of these five different cursor tools: Pick, Shoot, Drag, Pin, Zap and Replicate. See the Cursor Tools section for more information about the actions of these tools.

Game menu controls

The Wrap control causes the critters to wrap around the border box from left to right and top to bottom as they move. Note that the wrapped sprites are clipped by the border box. Note also that when a sprite moves off an edge or corner, it is simultaneously drawn as coming in from the other side or sides.

The Bounce control makes the critters bounce off the edges of the game world. Wrap and Bounce are mutually exclusive.

The Spacewar, PickNPop, Airhockey, Ballworld, Dambuilder, Worms, 2DStub, 3DStub, and Defender3D selections switch the Game mode. Note that making one of these selections may also affect the current cursor, the background, the available cursor tools, and other settings.

Small, Medium, Large, and Huge Critter Count set the number of critters to, respectively, 4, 8, 25, and 80. You can further tune the number of critters by killing off unwanted critters. Note that if you have a huge number of critters, your program will run slowly. Check the updates per second in the status bar. Although the critter count controls have no effect in the Airhockey game, they aren't disabled for this game.

Mixed Sprites, Bitmaps, Asteroids, Bubbles, Simple Polygons, Fancy Polygons, and Polypolygons set the sprites to various kinds of shapes. All of the sprites align themselves with the critters' motion, with the exception of the bitmaps in the 2D Windows Graphics. There's no easy way to rotate bitmaps in Windows graphics, but it is in fact possible to turn them in 3D OpenGL Graphics.

The sprite change controls are disabled for some of the games. In Dambuilder selecting a sprite change control doesn't change the sprites of the walls.

The Mixed Sprites control selects a mixture of the following kinds of sprites.

The Bitmaps are a variety of bitmaps stored as resources in the program. The bitmaps present are variously based on resource workshop drawings, on a computer-generated fractal graphic, and on a scanned photograph. The bitmap sprites have transparent backgrounds like cursor icons.

The Asteroids are irregular and spiky. They are drawn filled, and they can have thick or thin edge lines.

The Bubbles are circles which may be drawn with rectangular highlights or with pie-slice highlights.

The Simple Polygons are filled triangles, squares and pentagons.

The Fancy Polygons are regular and star polygons, with the regular polygon having between two and nine vertices, and the star polygons having between five and 14 vertices. (A polygon of two vertices is simply a line segment.) In addition, the fancy polygons have the possibility of having thick lines for their edges and the possibility of having dots, or small circles, at their vertices.

The Polypolygons are fancy polygons which have a copy of a tip polygon at each vertex. The tip polygons are fancy polygons as well. The tip polygons rotate in a symmetric synchronization with each other, but independently of the main polygon.

Player menu controls

The Shield switch makes the player invulnerable; that is, in Shield mode the player is unaffected by collisions with enemy critters. Even though the Shield control has no purpose in games like Airhockey, it may still be enabled for some of these games.

Arrow Keys, Scooter Controls, Car Controls, Spaceship Controls, Hopper Controls, and Mouse Controls allow six different ways of having the player respond to the arrow keys. See the keyboard and mouse controls section for details about this.

The player can shoot two kinds of bullets: Deadly Bullets and Rubber Bullets. In a battle game like Spacewar, rubber bullets are of no use. But the rubber bullets might be useful in a world where you use them to herd critters around.

The Auto Play switch is mainly for use in doing demos or for testing the program. It makes the program behave as if you are holding down the Up key, the Left key, and the spacebar, except that the player will be turning at the slower of the two possible turn speeds. The Auto Play is geared for use in the Spacewar program, but could be implemented for other games.

Window menu controls

Additional View of Current Game and Split. These controls open up new views of the same game. You can have different View menu settings in the different views. When you resize a split window, the size of the left pane will stay fixed, and the size of the right pane will vary depending on the window's size. If there is no room left for a right pane while preserving the size of the left pane, the right pane is eliminated.

Cascade and Tile. These are standard Windows controls. Cascade arranges the open windows like a stack of file cards. Tile arranges them like a grid of cells in a table.

Autotile. This feature automatically maximizes any single child window, and automatically tiles multiple child windows into the outer frame. When Autotile is active, opening a new view or a new file will retile the window so that all the windows show. It's a useful feature added to the Pop Framework that doesn't happen to be standard for Windows programs. This is on by default.

Autofocus. When this feature is on, the focus will move to whatever window the cursor is over. Ordinarily one has to click on a window to select it, but Autofocus selects a window automatically. This is convenient if you are using the cursor tools in several different windows. If you have many windows open, this feature can be inconvenient, as the focus will change if you move your mouse up to the menu bar or toolbar to make a selection. This is another useful non-standard feature added to the Pop Framework, but as it can be confusing, it's turned off by default.

Help menu controls

The About The Pop Framework dialog displays some contact information. The Pop Program User's Guide selection shows this document. Rather than being a multiple-topic help file, the Pop help file is a single long document suitable for printing.

    Part I: Software Engineering and Computer Games
    Part II: Software Engineering and Computer Games Reference