Provided by: sgt-puzzles_9411-1_amd64 bug


       blackboxgame - guessing game


       blackboxgame [--generate n] [--print wxh [--with-solutions] [--scale n] [--colour]] [game-

       blackboxgame --version


       (Note: the Debian version of this game is called blackboxgame to avoid clashing  with  the
       window manager blackbox.)

       A  number  of balls are hidden in a rectangular arena. You have to deduce the positions of
       the balls by firing lasers positioned at the edges of the arena and  observing  how  their
       beams are deflected.

       Beams will travel straight from their origin until they hit the opposite side of the arena
       (at which point they emerge), unless affected by balls in one of the following ways:

       ·      A beam that hits a ball head-on is absorbed and will never re-emerge. This includes
              beams that meet a ball on the first rank of the arena.

       ·      A beam with a ball to its front-left square gets deflected 90 degrees to the right.

       ·      A beam with a ball to its front-right square gets similarly deflected to the left.

       ·      A  beam  that  would  re-emerge  from  its  entry  location  is  considered  to  be

       ·      A beam which would get deflected before entering the arena by a ball to the  front-
              left or front-right of its entry point is also considered to be ‘reflected’.

       Beams  that  are  reflected  appear  as a ‘R’; beams that hit balls head-on appear as ‘H’.
       Otherwise, a number appears at the firing point and the location where  the  beam  emerges
       (this number is unique to that shot).

       You  can  place  guesses  as  to  the  location  of the balls, based on the entry and exit
       patterns of the beams; once you have placed enough balls a button appears enabling you  to
       have your guesses checked.

       Here  is  a  diagram  showing  how  the  positions  of  balls  can create each of the beam
       behaviours shown above:


       As shown, it is possible for a beam to receive  multiple  reflections  before  re-emerging
       (see  turn  3).  Similarly,  a  beam  may  be  reflected  (possibly more than once) before
       receiving a hit (the ‘H’ on the left side of the example).

       Note that any layout with more than 4 balls may have a non-unique solution. The  following
       diagram  illustrates  this;  if  you  know the board contains 5 balls, it is impossible to
       determine where the fifth ball is (possible positions marked with an x):


       For this reason, when you have your  guesses  checked,  the  game  will  check  that  your
       solution  produces  the  same results as the computer's, rather than that your solution is
       identical to the computer's. So in the above example, you could put the fifth ball at  any
       of the locations marked with an x, and you would still win.

       Black Box was contributed to this collection by James Harvey.

Black Box controls

       To  fire  a  laser  beam, left-click in a square around the edge of the arena. The results
       will be displayed immediately. Clicking or holding the left button on one of these squares
       will highlight the current go (or a previous go) to confirm the exit point for that laser,
       if applicable.

       To guess the location of a ball, left-click within the  arena  and  a  black  circle  will
       appear marking the guess; click again to remove the guessed ball.

       Locations  in  the  arena may be locked against modification by right-clicking; whole rows
       and columns may be similarly locked by right-clicking in the laser square above/below that
       column, or to the left/right of that row.

       The cursor keys may also be used to move around the grid. Pressing the Enter key will fire
       a laser or add a new ball-location guess, and pressing Space will lock  a  cell,  row,  or

       When  an  appropriate  number of balls have been guessed, a button will appear at the top-
       left corner of the grid; clicking that (with mouse or cursor) will check your guesses.

       If you click the ‘check’ button and your guesses are not correct, the game will  show  you
       the  minimum  information  necessary  to demonstrate this to you, so you can try again. If
       your ball positions are not consistent with the beam paths you  already  know  about,  one
       beam  path  will  be circled to indicate that it proves you wrong. If your positions match
       all the existing beam paths but are still wrong,  one  new  beam  path  will  be  revealed
       (written in red) which is not consistent with your current guesses.

       If  you  decide  to  give  up  completely,  you can select Solve to reveal the actual ball
       positions. At this point,  correctly-placed  balls  will  be  displayed  as  filled  black
       circles,  incorrectly-placed  balls  as filled black circles with red crosses, and missing
       balls as filled red circles. In addition, a red circle marks any  laser  you  had  already
       fired  which  is  not consistent with your ball layout (just as when you press the ‘check’
       button), and red text marks any laser you could have fired in order  to  distinguish  your
       ball layout from the correct one.

       (All the actions described below are also available.)

Black Box parameters

       These parameters are available from the ‘Custom...’ option on the ‘Type’ menu.

       Width, Height
              Size  of grid in squares. There are 2 × Width × Height lasers per grid, two per row
              and two per column.

       No. of balls
              Number of balls to place in the grid. This can be  a  single  number,  or  a  range
              (separated  with a hyphen, like ‘2-6’), and determines the number of balls to place
              on the grid. The ‘reveal’ button is only enabled if you have guessed an appropriate
              number of balls; a guess using a different number to the original solution is still
              acceptable, if all the beam inputs and outputs match.

Common actions

       These 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 ID

       There  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:

       ·      Descriptive game IDs tend to be longer in many puzzles (although some, such as Cube
              (cube(6)),  only need very short descriptions). So a random seed is often a quicker
              way to note down the puzzle you're currently playing, or to  tell  it  to  somebody
              else so they can play the same one as you.

       ·      Any  text  at  all  is  a  valid  random seed. The automatically generated ones are
              fifteen-digit numbers, but anything will do; you can type in your full name,  or  a
              word  you just made up, and a valid puzzle will be generated from it. This provides
              a way for two or more people to race to complete the same puzzle: you  think  of  a
              random  seed,  then  everybody  types  it  in  at  the same time, and nobody has an
              advantage due to having seen the generated puzzle before anybody else.

       ·      It is often possible to convert puzzles from other sources (such as ‘nonograms’  or
              ‘sudoku’  from  newspapers)  into  descriptive game IDs suitable for use with these

       ·      Random seeds are not guaranteed to produce the same result if you use them  with  a
              different  version  of the puzzle program. This is because the generation algorithm
              might have been improved or modified in  later  versions  of  the  code,  and  will
              therefore  produce  a  different  result  when  given  the  same sequence of random
              numbers. Use a descriptive game ID if you aren't sure that it will be used  on  the
              same version of the program as yours.

              (Use  the  ‘About’  menu  option  to  find  out  the version number of the program.
              Programs with the same version number running on different platforms  should  still
              be random-seed compatible.)

       A  descriptive  game  ID  starts  with a piece of text which encodes the parameters of the
       current game (such as grid size). Then there is a colon, and after that is the description
       of the game's initial state. A random seed starts with a similar string of parameters, but
       then it contains a hash sign followed by arbitrary data.

       If you enter a descriptive game ID, the program will not be able to show  you  the  random
       seed  which  generated  it,  since  it wasn't generated from a random seed. If you enter a
       random seed, however, the program will be able to show you the descriptive game ID derived
       from that random seed.

       Note  that  the game parameter strings are not always identical between the two forms. For
       some games, there will be parameter data provided  with  the  random  seed  which  is  not
       included  in  the  descriptive game ID. This is because that parameter information is only
       relevant when generating puzzle grids, and is not important when playing them.  Thus,  for
       example,  the  difficulty level in Solo (solo(6)) is not mentioned in the descriptive game

       These additional parameters are also not set permanently if you type in  a  game  ID.  For
       example, suppose you have Solo set to ‘Advanced’ difficulty level, and then a friend wants
       your help with a ‘Trivial’ puzzle; so the  friend  reads  out  a  random  seed  specifying
       ‘Trivial’ difficulty, and you type it in. The program will generate you the same ‘Trivial’
       grid which your friend was having trouble with, but once you  have  finished  playing  it,
       when  you  ask  for  a new game it will automatically go back to the ‘Advanced’ difficulty
       which it was previously set on.

The ‘Type’ menu

       The ‘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 cube(6)), 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:


       --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 w×h, 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  7×7
              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.

              Prints version information about the game, and then quits.

       The following options are only meaningful if --print is also specified:

              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.

              Puzzles  will be printed in colour, rather than in black and white (if supported by
              the puzzle).


       Full documentation in /usr/share/doc/sgt-puzzles/puzzles.txt.gz.