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Gearheads (Windows)

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Title Screen

Gearheads

Developer: R/GA Interactive
Publisher: Philips Media
Platform: Windows
Released in US: June 1996
Released in EU: June 1996


CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article

Gearheads is a strategy game in which players perform battles of wind-up toys.

Sub-Page

Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info

Hidden Menus and Dialogues

These provide many debug and customisation functions. One of the game's designers, Eric Zimmerman, mentions in his book Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals that an early prototype featured screens that enabled players to tweak the toys' attributes.[1] It is possible that these are leftovers.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

These menus and screens are only available in English, even in the French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch versions of the game.

Full Menu

This menu can be accessed by using a hex editor to change gear_en.exe's value at offset 000286A2 so that it reads "FullMenu" (without the quotes) rather than "SignMenu". Alternatively, resources can be edited (e.g. menu items can be copied to SIGNMENU, or the menus can be swapped) with a resource editor. The game screenshots in the manual appear to use this menu. Despite its name, FullMenu is missing the options menu (containing items to enable/disable the sound and music, and the joystick setup screens), an item to access the high scores (although this is accessible from its level select), and an item for the normal credits.

GearheadsFullMenuFile.png

  • New Game - Restarts the current match (unlike the "New" item on the normal menu, which takes the player back to the main menu).
  • Main - Takes the player to the main menu, but does not stop any music playing, unlike the normal menu.
  • Left Toybox and Right Toybox - These enable the modification of each players' toybox. This is not affected by the maximum number of toys in a match, and it is possible to create seriously mismatched toyboxes. Using this seems to break the automatic and random assignment of toys (for both players, whether computer or human), resulting in players with no toys unless they're manually selected using either this or the normal toy selection screen (pressing "Random" on the normal toy selection screen empties the toybox). The only known way of getting them working again is quitting and restarting the game.
Setting the toybox of the right player.
The game sometimes asks the player to save settings.
  • Keys Left and Keys Right - These are the same as Options -> Left Keyboard Controls... and Right Keyboard Controls... on the normal menu respectively: they simply bring up the keyboard controls dialogue box.
  • Setup - Loads the App Setup dialogue box.
  • Toys - Loads the GearHead Control dialogue box.
  • Obstacles - Loads the Obstacle Control dialogue box.
  • Collision Box - Loads the Collision Box dialogue box.
  • Save Settings - Self-explanatory: settings are saved in gearhead.ini. Sometimes, if these screens have been used to change settings, the player will be asked to save them on quitting if they have not already been.
  • AI Friend and - AI Foe - These load the AI Weights dialogue box.
  • AI Stat - Loads the AI Stat dialogue box.
Hmmm...
To do:
Find out what Drag Obstacles, Mouse on Left, and Mouse on Right do.

App Setup

GearheadsAppSetup.png

  • Friction - According to the "Level hacking" section in the Gearhead.ini file, this "doesn't do much".
  • Wind Time - Affects the time it takes to wind toys up.

Winning Score, Max # of Toys, and Frames/Sec are self-explanatory.

Hmmm...
To do:
Find out what Slowing Time and Stopped Time are.

For some reason, clicking OK also disables the sound effects. This can be fixed by hex-editing three octets (that are somewhat near the beginning of the file) of a group consisting of 00 00 A3 66 6D FF to read 00 00 90 90 90 FF. On an unmodified gear_en.exe file, the A3 is at 5BF9.

There are some additional settings hidden below the dialogue, accessible by editing it with a resource editor and extending the dialogueː

A modified App Setup dialogue box, showing the hidden options.
  • Critter On Arrow - When checked, the selected toy appears above arrows.
  • Cyclic Arrow Motion - When checked and the player pressed the Up key when the arrow is at the top, it goes straight to the bottom. If the arrow is at the bottom and the Down key is pressed, the arrow goes to the top. Normally, nothing happens when those keys are pressed in those circumstances.
  • Winding on Arrow - This is disabled, and doesn't appear to do anything.
  • Take Turns - When checked, players take turns to release toys.
  • Toy Blocks Launch - When checked, toys cannot be launched if there is already one too close in front of the arrow.
  • Reset Clock Often - When unchecked, toys do not need to be rewound when changed.
Hmmm...
To do:
Find out precisely what Erratic Path does.

GearHead Control

GearheadsGearheadControl.png

Enables players to change the stats of the toys. P is the movement pattern: 0 is straight, 1 is diagonal, and 2 is erratic. Vim sets the rate the toy uses energy (the higher, the faster). Most of the rest is obvious. Changing these values starts a new game.

Obstacle Control

GearheadsObstacleControl.png

This enables the alteration of the level's obstacles. Most of the settings are self-explanatory. Changes are saved immediately.

Collision Box

GearheadsCollisionBoxSize.png

Enables the modification each object's (not just toys) collision box. The "=" button advances the game to the next frame. The selected object and its collision box are shown in the toyboxes.

AI Weights

Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.
Specifically: Figure out what these values are and what they do.

GearheadsAiWeights.png

AI Stat

Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.
Specifically: Figure out what these values are and what they do.

GearheadsAiStat.png

Changes are saved to a text file in the game's directory.

Save Level

GearheadsFullMenuLevel.png GearheadsSaveLevel.png

Clicking Save saves the current level and its settings to Gearhead.ini. Most of the options are self-explanatory. If this dialogue box is copied to the demo version, saved levels appear in the Level menu. The Coloring and Icy Level settings still work.

Robot Menu

GearheadsFullMenuRobot.png

  • Grey - In the demo, this greys the screen. In the full game, this does nothing.
  • ReColor Playfield - In the full game, this switches between two colors depending on the level's Coloring setting. In the demo, this switches to another random color.
  • Force Win Left and Force Win Right - These do exactly what they say on the tin. Well, almost: they don't take into account the fact that players need to be ahead by two points in order to win, and simply set the chosen player's score to the winning score. The game won't declare that player the winner if (after his score is set) he's only one point up, and the game will continue with it still being entirely possible for the other player to win. In fact, there are situations where trying to force a win on one player actually makes the other player win!

It is also possible for the player to play on the left side against the AI on the right.

Screen Selection

GearheadsFullMenuHelp.png GearheadsViewSetupScreen.png

Players can jump to various screens from this list.

  • main - Jumps to the main menu.
  • phillips - Jumps (the player doesn't go back to where he was) to the Phillips logo. The next screen is the R/GA logo.
  • rgai - Jumps to the R/GA logo. The next screen seen is "anime".
  • anime - Jumps to a game "animation" as seen at game startup.
  • gearlogo - Jumps to the Gearheads logo after the "animation".
  • help - Goes to the help screen.
  • helpscores - Goes to the high scores screen.
  • quit - Jumps to the closing screen just before the game actually quits.
  • reallyquit - Actually quits the game.
  • attract - Starts a short game demonstration, as if there was a period of idleness.
  • at_highs - High scores. The high scores screen is displayed after the "attract".
  • longdemo - This appears to be the demo (as in autoplay) mode normally accessed by running the executable file with the -q parameter.[2]
  • longdemo2 - Same(?) as above.
  • design - Loads the last level played (in any mode) in vs Human mode. There is no post-match menu, and the player is taken straight to the main menu afterwards.
  • p1_start - Jumps to the playfield settings screen in Vs Computer mode.
  • 9p1_toys - Jumps to the toy selection screen (the normal one, not the debug one) in Vs Computer mode.
  • docompvshume - Loads the last match played (in any mode) in Vs Computer mode.
  • qgoon1 - Jumps to the post-match menu in Vs Computer mode.
  • dual - Jumps to the playfield settings screen in Vs Human mode.
  • 9dualtoys Vs Human mode left player normal toy selection.
  • 9play2toys - Vs Human mode right player normal toy selection.
  • dohumevshume - Loads the last match played (in any mode) in Vs Human mode.
  • qgoon2 - Post-match menu in Vs Human mode.
  • nl_option - Jumps to the Tournament level select screen.
  • nl_attain - Tournament level select with level 13 selected and apparently locked (even if it's not locked: clicking it will take the player to that level is this is the case).
  • nl_101 - Tournament level 1 toybox screen (as opposed to actually starting the match).
  • nl_413 - Tournament level 13 toybox screen.
  • nl_1025 - Tournament level 25 toybox screen.
  • nl_restore - Loads the last Tournament level played.
  • nl_start - Jumps to the toybox screen of the last Tournament level played.
  • do_nl - Loads the last Tournament level played.
  • nl_gameover - Game Over screen.
  • nl_victory - High score name entry screen.
  • nl_winners - High scores.
  • staff - Loads the hidden staff screen (as opposed to the normal credits window). The player is taken to the main menu afterwards.

Hidden Credits

GearheadsStaff.png

Accessible from the "View a Setup Screen" dialogue, moving the cursor over each person displays their names. The image can be found in gearage.dll.

App Menu

GearheadsAppMenuFile.png GearheadsAppMenuLevel.png GearheadsAppMenuOptions.png GearheadsAppMenuHelp.png

Provides menu items for toybox control, App Setup, Obstacle Control, level saving, and screen selection, as well as the standard Options menu sans the joystick setup functions. Accessed by changing the string at offset 000286A2 to "AppMenu" (without the quotes) with a null at the end.

Demo Menu

GearheadsDemoMenuFile.png
GearheadsDemoMenuHelp.png

A very minimalistic menu, and appears to be the one used by the demo version. Accessed by changing the string at offset 000286A2 to "DemoMenu" (without the quotes).

Unused Dialogue Boxes

Another App Setup Dialogue Box

GearheadsUnusedAppSetup.png

Named as "1" in the executable file, cannot be run from the Full Menu and appears to be a different version of the App Setup dialogue: it contains settings for Friction, Erratic Path, Winning Score, Max # of Toys, Framerate, Reset Clock Often, and Wind, Slowing, and Stopped Time.

Other Toybox Contents Dialogue Boxes

GearheadsUnusedToyBoxContents.png

These cannot be run from the Full Menu, and appear to be other versions (one for each player) of the Toybox Contents dialogue, the main difference being the presence of a string telling the other player not to look.

Another Assign JoyStick Functions Dialogue Box

Unused Used
GearheadsAltAssignJoystick.png GearheadsAssignJoystick.png

Named "2" in the executable file, this is very similar to the used version, the differences being the length of the drop-down menus and the use of "Btn" instead of "Button". The unused version is only available in English.

Another Calibrate Joystick Dialogue Box

Unused Used
GearheadsAltCalibrateJoystick.png GearheadsCalibrateJoystick.png

Named "3" in the executable file, this is almost identical to its used counterpart, the only noticeable difference being the word "Buttons" being singular. There is no non-English version of the unused dialogue box.

Unused Graphics

gearhead.ini parameters

Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.
Specifically: Are these really unused, or is there some way to use these?
Hmmm...
To do:
Find out what the FrameStep parameters are.

There appears to be a couple of unused parameters for gearhead.ini: Curved, and SuddenDeath. These strings appear alongside parameters (such as Winningscore, CritterOnArrow, and WrapArrow (Cyclic Arrow Motion)) saved to and read from by the App Setup dialogue box. gear_en.exe also contains the string 'Sudden Death' at offset 36FED. Curved appears to have a default value of 12, and SuddenDeath appears to gave a value of 300, judging by the values starting at 2A65E (Erratic.10.Curved.12.Taketurns.0.Maxtoys.59.GaugeTime.6000.DecayTime.1200.SlowingTime.800.Resetimeonpick.1.Winningscore.21.Level.1.BlockLaunch.0.FrameStep.55.MaxFrameStep.550.CritterOnArrow.0.WindingOnArrow.0.WrapArrow.0.SuddenDeath.300), which correspond to the default values seen on the App Setup screen.

References

  1. Rules of Play. pp. 166–168. ISBN 978-0-262-24045-1. MIT Press. 2003.
  2. Gearheads readme file. Philips, 26 February 1996