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Blast Thru

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Title Screen

Blast Thru

Developer: RockSolid Software
Publisher: eGames
Platform: Windows
Released in US: 1998


DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.


BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page

A Break-Out style game with bonus power-ups that change the game experience for the better or for the worse. It also has a level editor.

Unused Graphics

The game data file "ball.glo" contains the following images which remain unused in the final game:

bibleballc.png

The old title under which the game was developed reads "BibleBall". Since RockSolid Software developed "games for christians" (as stated in their other game Adventures with Chickens), this game was also planned to show some Bible verses at the start of each level (s. below for some verses which remain in the data file but are never seen). This is also reflected by the filename of the background image for the "Hall of Scores", which is called "halloffaith.png", and the corresponding game state class named "faithC". The new logo has the filename "bibleball.png", without the c.

fontlarge2.png

This medium size font contains lower case letters but is never used anywhere. The corresponding letter mapping table also still exists in the game data file.

paused.png

Since Blast Thru uses the same engine as the other RockSolid Game Adventures with Chickens, a similar pause screen was used first, which just shows this pause text in the middle of a darkened screen. It even has the same yellow shade and image dimensions, though it is cropped too much in width to look nice here (the p and d are cut off). Code still exists to draw this pause screen, but the flag to pause the game like this can never be set, as pausing the game returns to the main menu instead, thus this image remains practically unused.

wincorner.png

User interface parts which were probably meant to be used for a level selection list in the editor and a scrollbar needed for such a list. However, the final editor only contains a textbox in which the level name can be entered.

Unused Music

exmil.mds

This music is never played. It could have been used as an "Excellent!" screen showing when the player finished all 40 levels - like in Adventures with Chickens which also used a short flourish after all levels were completed.

Unused Sounds

chompgo.wav

This sound is never used in game. Judging from the file name, it may have been planned to be played right after the paddle-eating chomp teeth start moving from the left.

Unused Text

verses.txt

This plain text file contains three quotes from the New Testament. Verses from the Bible are used in RockSolid Software's game Adventures with Chickens and shown every time a level starts. This was probably planned to happen in this game too.

rom_8:1;Therefore there is now no comdemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death.

The original doesn't have a line break after the comma, but one has been added for viewing purposes.

rom_8:16;The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

joh_9:39;And Jesus said "For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see may become blind."

Debugging Material

Additional Settings

In the main directory is a file called bt.ini where the game settings are stored. Some of these cannot be changed in-game, but by editing the settings file directly.

Changing "gsilence" from "off" to "on" allows the player to play the game without any music or sound. This was used internally by the game if it couldn't start up often enough (it also counts the number of game starts in "runcount" and the success in "runsuccess") - and then asks the player to disable sound output if that could be the problem.

Changing "gshowframerate" from "off" to "on" will make the game show the frame rate at the bottom-right corner of the screen. The frame rate displayed is actually one too less, as the game optimally runs at 40 FPS, but only displays "39".

Hit Zone Logging

When a ball hits the paddle, a hit zone is calculated which determines the new direction the ball will move afterwards. In case of a miscalculation, "Zone: %n" will be written to the game log file (log.txt) and the game closed, where %n is replaced with the erroneously computed hit zone number. This does not happen in the release as the calculation works correctly.

Level File Boundary Exploit

The in-game editor does not allow editing the top and bottom most rows of bricks to avoid bricks being placed over the game score and life display or creation of weird levels with bricks in the height of or under the paddle. However, the level files can be opened inside a hex editor and these rows can be filled with any bricks.

This even allows bricks to be placed which are not available in the in-game level editor, as every brick ID is encoded with 8 bits, resulting in 256 different bricks (yet the game provides only 64 "real ones").

  • Single frames of the "fire brick" animations, acting like normal bricks (one hit required).
  • A black brick reading "Invis", and not becoming invisible when the game starts (one hit required).
  • Invisible bricks which disappear after one hit and are required to be destroyed to complete the level. All brick IDs not matching known ones result in these.

Hidden Cheat Features

The activated cheat screen, also showing an enabled frame counter at the bottom right.

During a game, pressing Alt+H will bring up a textbox (displaying a title "Cheaters never prosper...") where the player can enter codes and submit them with Enter. Two of them provide additional level select and level state manipulation features, beyond the possibility to select any level to start with from the main menu; others might have also been used for debugging as they basically apply the effect of power-ups.

Cheat Corresponding Power-Up Effect
detrimental abundancy Question Mark Triggers the rain of red power-ups.
funyons - Makes the ball bouncy back from the bottom border of the level, thus it becomes impossible to lose it.
i never prosper - This sets a game state flag for checking if this is the last out of 40 levels to be played (10 in the Special Edition), causing the game finishing sequence to trigger after the current level has been finished (or skipped with the inc me cheat).
inc me Explode Last Brick Skips the current level.
let me hear you say fired up Fire Ball Converts all balls into fire balls.
my velcro shoes Tractor Beam Gives the player a full tractor beam bar.
no ska no swing Magnet Gives the paddle magnets to hold balls as they touch it.
not a small thing Paddle Width Increase Increase the length of the paddle.
sidewinders Rockets Gives the player a full set of rockets.
sweet 4-Split Ball Splits all balls into four.
through holy faith Extra Life Gives an extra life, including the side effects of disabling several level states (see the bugs page).

Version Differences

Version 1.0

The first release of the game, with the publisher still being named RomTech.

Version 1.1

Even though the version number suggests that functionality or code has been fixed, there does not seem to be a noticeable technical change anywhere.

The only difference to version 1.0 reflects the name change of RomTech to eGames, which is clearly seen in the splashscreen of the game, stating an updated copyright and website. It looks like that the splashscreen has been edited quickly, color quality is lost as if the original color palette has not been kept when updating the texts.

Special Edition

A shareware version called Special Edition was released, containing only 10 of the 40 levels and no loading and saving possibility in the game editor. Also, the last outro screen was changed to an order advice about the full version of the game. There seems to be only one Special Edition which is based on the 1.1 version.

However, technically all 40 levels are present in the games data file, only a changed constant in the games code limits it to 10 levels. This can be noticed easily because the complete finish sequence is triggered after only finishing the first 10 levels - in contrast to the need of finishing 40 levels in the full version.

The Load and Save buttons are also present, but not drawn; the code to open the dialog for loading and saving has been removed. However, the dialog code and the file loading and saving code is still present, so modifying the shareware version to become a full version is possible but requires a little work.

Playtime-restricted Versions

Newer shareware releases pack the game inside a typical time-bomb container, which allows the game to be played only for 60 minutes. The game itself is a fully functional 1.1 version, with all features available, and can be unlocked by purchasing the game from the publisher.

1.0 Special Edition (1.1)
BlastThru full10 romtech.png BlastThru special11 romtech.png
Feature 1.0 / 1.1 Special Edition (1.1) Time-bombed shareware
Number of Levels 40 10 40
Load / Save Levels Yes No Yes
Outro Screens Credits Order Advice Credits
Play time restriction None None 60 minutes