NAMEcube - tile manipulation puzzle game
SYNOPSIScube [--generate n] [--print wxh [--with-solutions] [--scale n] [--colour]] [game-parameters|game-ID|random-seed] cube --version
DESCRIPTIONThis is another one I originally saw as a web game. This one was a Java game (//www3.sympatico.ca/paulscott/cube/cube.htm), by Paul Scott. You have a grid of 16 squares, six of which are blue; on one square rests a cube. Your move is to use the arrow keys to roll the cube through 90 degrees so that it moves to an adjacent square. If you roll the cube on to a blue square, the blue square is picked up on one face of the cube; if you roll a blue face of the cube on to a non-blue square, the blueness is put down again. (In general, whenever you roll the cube, the two faces that come into contact swap colours.) Your job is to get all six blue squares on to the six faces of the cube at the same time. Count your moves and try to do it in as few as possible. Unlike the original Java game, my version has an additional feature: once you've mastered the game with a cube rolling on a square grid, you can change to a triangular grid and roll any of a tetrahedron, an octahedron or an icosahedron.
CUBE CONTROLSThis game can be played with either the keyboard or the mouse. Left-clicking anywhere on the window will move the cube (or other solid) towards the mouse pointer. The arrow keys can also used to roll the cube on its square grid in the four cardinal directions. On the triangular grids, the mapping of arrow keys to directions is more approximate. Vertical movement is disallowed where it doesn't make sense. The four keys surrounding the arrow keys on the numeric keypad ('7', '9', '1', '3') can be used for diagonal movement. (All the actions described below are also available.)
CUBE PARAMETERSThese parameters are available from the 'Custom...' option on the 'Type' menu. Type of solid Selects the solid to roll (and hence the shape of the grid): tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, or icosahedron. Width / top, Height / bottom On a square grid, horizontal and vertical dimensions. On a triangular grid, the number of triangles on the top and bottom rows respectively.
COMMON ACTIONSThese actions are all available from the 'Game' menu and via keyboard shortcuts, in addition to any game-specific actions. (On Mac OS X, to conform with local user interface standards, these actions are situated on the 'File' and 'Edit' menus instead.) New game ('N', Ctrl+'N') Starts a new game, with a random initial state. Restart game Resets the current game to its initial state. (This can be undone.) Load Loads a saved game from a file on disk. Save Saves the current state of your game to a file on disk. The Load and Save operations preserve your entire game history (so you can save, reload, and still Undo and Redo things you had done before saving). Print Where supported (currently only on Windows), brings up a dialog allowing you to print an arbitrary number of puzzles randomly generated from the current parameters, optionally including the current puzzle. (Only for puzzles which make sense to print, of course - it's hard to think of a sensible printable representation of Fifteen!) Undo ('U', Ctrl+'Z', Ctrl+'_') Undoes a single move. (You can undo moves back to the start of the session.) Redo ('R', Ctrl+'R') Redoes a previously undone move. Copy Copies the current state of your game to the clipboard in text format, so that you can paste it into (say) an e-mail client or a web message board if you're discussing the game with someone else. (Not all games support this feature.) Solve Transforms the puzzle instantly into its solved state. For some games (Cube) this feature is not supported at all because it is of no particular use. For other games (such as Pattern), the solved state can be used to give you information, if you can't see how a solution can exist at all or you want to know where you made a mistake. For still other games (such as Sixteen), automatic solution tells you nothing about how to get to the solution, but it does provide a useful way to get there quickly so that you can experiment with set-piece moves and transformations. Some games (such as Solo) are capable of solving a game ID you have typed in from elsewhere. Other games (such as Rectangles) cannot solve a game ID they didn't invent themself, but when they did invent the game ID they know what the solution is already. Still other games (Pattern) can solve some external game IDs, but only if they aren't too difficult. The 'Solve' command adds the solved state to the end of the undo chain for the puzzle. In other words, if you want to go back to solving it yourself after seeing the answer, you can just press Undo. Quit ('Q', Ctrl+'Q') Closes the application entirely.
SPECIFYING GAMES WITH THE GAME IDThere are two ways to save a game specification out of a puzzle and recreate it later, or recreate it in somebody else's copy of the same puzzle. The 'Specific' and 'Random Seed' options from the 'Game' menu (or the 'File' menu, on Mac OS X) each show a piece of text (a 'game ID') which is sufficient to reconstruct precisely the same game at a later date. You can enter either of these pieces of text back into the program (via the same 'Specific' or 'Random Seed' menu options) at a later point, and it will recreate the same game. You can also use either one as a command line argument (on Windows or Unix); see below for more detail. The difference between the two forms is that a descriptive game ID is a literal description of the initial state of the game, whereas a random seed is just a piece of arbitrary text which was provided as input to the random number generator used to create the puzzle. This means that: +
THE 'TYPE' MENUThe 'Type' menu, if present, may contain a list of preset game settings. Selecting one of these will start a new random game with the parameters specified. The 'Type' menu may also contain a 'Custom' option which allows you to fine-tune game parameters. The parameters available are specific to each game and are described in the following sections.
SPECIFYING GAME PARAMETERS ON THE COMMAND LINE(This section does not apply to the Mac OS X version.) The games in this collection deliberately do not ever save information on to the computer they run on: they have no high score tables and no saved preferences. (This is because I expect at least some people to play them at work, and those people will probably appreciate leaving as little evidence as possible!) However, if you do want to arrange for one of these games to default to a particular set of parameters, you can specify them on the command line. The easiest way to do this is to set up the parameters you want using the 'Type' menu (see above), and then to select 'Random Seed' from the 'Game' or 'File' menu (see above). The text in the 'Game ID' box will be composed of two parts, separated by a hash. The first of these parts represents the game parameters (the size of the playing area, for example, and anything else you set using the 'Type' menu). If you run the game with just that parameter text on the command line, it will start up with the settings you specified. For example: if you run Cube (see above), select 'Octahedron' from the 'Type' menu, and then go to the game ID selection, you will see a string of the form 'o2x2#338686542711620'. Take only the part before the hash ('o2x2'), and start Cube with that text on the command line: 'cube o2x2'. If you copy the entire game ID on to the command line, the game will start up in the specific game that was described. This is occasionally a more convenient way to start a particular game ID than by pasting it into the game ID selection box. (You could also retrieve the encoded game parameters using the 'Specific' menu option instead of 'Random Seed', but if you do then some options, such as the difficulty level in Solo, will be missing. See above for more details on this.)
UNIX COMMAND-LINE OPTIONS(This section only applies to the Unix port.) In addition to being able to specify game parameters on the command line (see above), there are various other options: --game --load These options respectively determine whether the command-line argument is treated as specifying game parameters or a save file to load. Only one should be specified. If neither of these options is specified, a guess is made based on the format of the argument. --generate n If this option is specified, instead of a puzzle being displayed, a number of descriptive game IDs will be invented and printed on standard output. This is useful for gaining access to the game generation algorithms without necessarily using the frontend. If game parameters are specified on the command-line, they will be used to generate the game IDs; otherwise a default set of parameters will be used. The most common use of this option is in conjunction with --print, in which case its behaviour is slightly different; see below. --print wxh If this option is specified, instead of a puzzle being displayed, a printed representation of one or more unsolved puzzles is sent to standard output, in PostScript format. On each page of puzzles, there will be w across and h down. If there are more puzzles than wxh, more than one page will be printed. If --generate has also been specified, the invented game IDs will be used to generate the printed output. Otherwise, a list of game IDs is expected on standard input (which can be descriptive or random seeds; see above), in the same format produced by --generate. For example: net --generate 12 --print 2x3 7x7w | lpr will generate two pages of printed Net puzzles (each of which will have a 7x7 wrapping grid), and pipe the output to the lpr command, which on many systems will send them to an actual printer. There are various other options which affect printing; see below. --save file-prefix [ --save-suffix file-suffix ] If this option is specified, instead of a puzzle being displayed, saved-game files for one or more unsolved puzzles are written to files constructed from the supplied prefix and/or suffix. If --generate has also been specified, the invented game IDs will be used to generate the printed output. Otherwise, a list of game IDs is expected on standard input (which can be descriptive or random seeds; see above), in the same format produced by --generate. For example: net --generate 12 --save game --save-suffix .sav will generate twelve Net saved-game files with the names game0.sav to game11.sav. --version Prints version information about the game, and then quits. The following options are only meaningful if --print is also specified: --with-solutions The set of pages filled with unsolved puzzles will be followed by the solutions to those puzzles. --scale n Adjusts how big each puzzle is when printed. Larger numbers make puzzles bigger; the default is 1.0. --colour Puzzles will be printed in colour, rather than in black and white (if supported by the puzzle).
SEE ALSOFull documentation in /usr/share/doc/sgt-puzzles/puzzles.txt.gz. CUBE(6)