letters - a game to improve typing skills
letters [-q | -b] [-l#]
Letters is based on Letter Invaders which was around in the
PC environment several years ago. It in turn was based on
the popular arcade style game, Space Invaders. For those
not familiar with Space Invaders (please let me know if
you're one of these people and let me know what planet
you've been living on :-) the idea is to blast aliens out of
the sky as they attempt to land on and "kill" you. Since
this is a game to improve typing skills, the aliens are
words selected randomly from the dictionary. You blast the
aliens out of the sky by typing them correctly.
Playing the game is very straight forward. Type words as
they appear on the screen. They will slowly drop until you
have either typed them correctly or they reach the status
line on the bottom of the screen. If a word makes it to the
bottom of the screen you lose one "life". This is actually
a non-violent game. The words "kill" and "life" are only
used in this context for historical reasons.
If at any point you type a letter incorrectly the entire
word is reset. The backspace key will not save you if
you're a sloppy typist. It is not necessary to type words in
the order they appear on the screen. In fact, that is often
not the best action to take. Very short words fall faster
than longer ones. The program will attempt to determine the
word you are trying to type by matching what you've typed
with the first letter(s) of all other words on the screen.
Unlike in previous versions the program tries to determine
what word you are typing by more than the first letter. The
highlight bar doesn't move to a new word until it is clear
which word is being typed.
If you successfully complete 3 rounds of play you get a
bonus life and you get the opportunity to play a bonus
round. The bonus round is played the same as all other
rounds but the words are strings of random printable
characters. The round is played at the same speed as
whatever level you were on and likewise points are computed
the same as in that round. since this is just a bonus round,
you can only gain points. You cannot die. The round lasts
as long as all other rounds (15 words) unless a word reaches
the bottom of the screen.
ctrl-L Redraw screen.
ctrl-C Exit from the game. You will be prompted
before exiting to make sure that's really what you
wanted to do. Since it prompts you this can also be
used as a method of pausing the game. This is actually
whatever your interrupt character is. Ctrl-C is just
ctrl-N Skip to next level. The game does correctly
keep track of how many levels you have completed. (See
'-l' under OPTIONS)
ctrl-Z Works as it should. If your system has job
control it will stop the process.
-q quiet mode (default) - turn off the obnoxious beep
-h Show high scores.
-b Beep when words are completed or mistyped.
-l# # is the level number that you want to start at.
The level will not increase until you have completed
the number of rounds equal to your starting level. In
other words, if you start on level 5, you need to play
through 5 rounds before the level increases to 6 (and
the speed increases and scoring changes).
A word's point value = (# of letters) + 2 * (current level).
No points are added for partially typed words.
It's fairly obvious what most of the things on the status
line are. The last thing on the line however is words per
minute. This is computed at the end of each round based on
5 letter words. It's not a particularly accurate measure of
your typing speed, but I think it's an interesting enough
statistic to justify filling up the empty space on the
"Transmogrifier" doesn't appear frequently.
Larry Moss (firstname.lastname@example.org) - original
game, UNIX version
Brent Nordquist (email@example.com) - amiga
version, also fixed some of bugs.
Chris Uppal (firstname.lastname@example.org) for contributing enormously to
the program with a couple of bug fixes, variable speed
words, some performance improvements, SYSV compatibility,
and many suggestions.
Mark Levinson (email@example.com) for pointing
out the bug listed above.
Thanks also to everyone else that's sent me mail with
comments and/or suggestions.