Xorballs reference manual
- Ball movement
- Tile placement
- Basic tiles
- Tiles affecting balls
- Custom tiles
- Export, save ,load
IntroductionXorballs is a puzzle game with balls on a field. The field has a wall around it with a gate on each of four sides. One or more balls will enter through one or more gates and the challenge is to get the ball(s) out through the right gate. You play the game by placing tiles onto the field. When you've placed your tiles, you press the play button in the upper right to start the balls. The placed tiles affect those balls that enter the spots in which the tiles were placed and the goal is to place the tiles such that they have the desired effect on the balls.
ChallengeA challenge is defined by a description of which balls will enter through which gates and which balls should exit through which gates. This is depicted by a little image in the upper left hand corner. The actual description of the challenge is displayed when you hover the mouse over the image.
In addition to this, an example input is displayed together with the correct output for this input. Getting the correct output for the example input doesn't necessarily mean you pass the challenge. In order to test your solution, other inputs may be tried and if your solution fails any of them, it will be displayed as the new example input.
You can try as many times as you wish and you don't lose anything for trying. Whenever you solve a challenge, the next challenge gets unlocked. An overview of all the challenges is shown on the lower left. It shows which challenges are unlocked and which were completed. You can click on any of the unlocked challenges to try that challenge again. Tile placement is stored per challenge, so any time you go back to an earlier challenge, you will find the field the way you left that challenge last time you tried it.
Ball movementWhen you hit play, the first ball of the example input will start moving into the field. While balls are moving the play button is turned into a stop button. If you press the stop button, all balls will immediately be removed, no further balls will enter and everything will return to its original state. The speed with which the balls move can be adjusted with the slider below the play button.
The side from which an input ball will enter is determined by the arrow on the input ball. Though the arrow indicates the initial moving direction and not the entrance gate.
Input balls enter one at a time and the next input ball only enters after all balls have left the field. This means that if balls keep moving forever, you don't have a correct solution, even if the output is correct.
Tile placementAn unlimited supply of each unlocked tile is available on the left of the screen. You place a tile onto the field by dragging it there from the left. Once a tile is in the field, you can move it somewhere else by dragging it again. Tiles can be removed simply by dragging them anywhere outside the field. If you drag with the right mouse button, a copy of the tile will be created and moved while leaving the original in place. You can select multiple tiles by dragging a box around them. Once selected, you can drag all selected tiles by dragging any one of them. If a tile is placed on top of another tile, the original tile is replaced by the new tile.
Although it is possible to move tiles while balls are moving, this can never be part of the solution to a challenge. A solution is always a single placement of tiles.
There are 22 basic tiles. As challenges are solved more and more of them are unlocked. The behavior of each one is described below.
|Turn left||changes the direction of any ball by 90° counter clockwise|
|Turn right||changes the direction of any ball by 90° clockwise|
|Mirror||changes the direction of any ball by 90°; clockwise if the ball was going up or down, counter clockwise if the ball was going left or right|
|Mirror||changes the direction of any ball by 90°; clockwise if the ball was going left or right, counter clockwise if the ball was going up or down|
|Left||directs any ball left|
|Up||directs any ball up|
|Down||directs any ball down|
|Right||directs any ball right|
|Split.||For each ball entering, two balls leave. One takes a 90° clockwise turn and the other takes a 90° counter clockwise turn.|
|Split left.||For each ball entering, two balls leave. One continues in the same direction and the other takes a 90° counter clockwise turn.|
|3-split.||For each ball entering, three balls leave. One continues in the same direction and the others takes a 90° clockwise and counter clockwise turn.|
|Split right.||For each ball entering, two balls leave. One continues in the same direction and the other takes a 90° clockwise turn.|
|Filter blue||leaves blue balls unchanged and removes any other balls|
|Filter red||leaves red balls unchanged and removes any other balls|
|Filter yellow||leaves yellow balls unchanged and removes any other balls|
|Filter green||leaves green balls unchanged and removes any other balls|
|Paint blue||changes the color of any ball to blue|
|Paint red||changes the color of any ball to red|
|Paint yellow||changes the color of any ball to yellow|
|Paint green||changes the color of any ball to green|
|Alternate||These two tiles form a pair. The first makes balls take a counter clockwise turn and then turns into the second. The second makes balls take a clockwise turn and then turns into the first.|
Tiles affecting ballsWhen a ball enters the space of a tile, the tile can change the ball's direction and/or color. It can also remove the ball entirely or introduce new balls. When multiple balls enter a tile at the same time, they are processed one by one in the following order:
- from the left,
- from the bottom,
- from the right,
- from the top
Custom tilesAt some point the possibility is unlocked to build custom tiles. Building a custom tile works the same way as solving a challenge. Multiple fields can be created and managed and each field has an associated custom tile that can be placed in any field. The behavior of a custom tile is determined by the output that a certain field generates for given input. But when used as a custom tile all output is considered to be produced instantly the moment a ball enters as input.
|New||inserts a new empty field before the active field|
|Copy||inserts a new field before the active field that is a copy of the active field|
|Trash||removes the active field. If other fields use the custom tile associated with this field, the user will be asked if the field should really be removed. If the user confirms, the associated custom tile will be removed from each field and then the field will be removed.|
|Move up||moves the row of the active field up in the list|
Each field has a name which can be edited by clicking on it. Just below the four buttons there is a search box. If you enter a text into this box, the list of fields is filter to only show fields which contain the entered text in their name.
Copy/pasteFields can be copied and pasted between different challenges with Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V or the equivalent key combination of your operating system. Ctrl+C will copy the currently active field and its dependencies onto the clipboard. Ctrl+V will paste the field on the clipboard as a new field into the list of fields. When a field is copied into a challenge that doesn't support all the necessary basic tiles, an incomplete version with just the available tiles will be inserted.
InputIf you want to test a field with input other than the example input you can click on the bar above the example input to change the input mode to custom input. This allows you to choose a color and direction before you hit play.
StarsWhen a challenge is solved, a number of stars is awarded. The number of stars only depends on the number of tiles used to solve the challenge. Tiles used to make a custom tile are counted once, no matter how often the custom tile is used.
Three stars are awarded for a solution that uses the minimal number of tiles necessary in the best known solution. The boundary between one and two stars is determined somewhat arbitrarily per challenge. Four stars are awarded for a solution that uses fewer tiles than the best known solution. If you manage to get four stars for a challenge, please let me know.The total number of stars collected for all solved challenges is displayed in the upper right.