> 4D Blocks

> Version 6

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Version 6

Version 6 of 4D Blocks lets you play with blocks, moving them around by hand, building structures, and then knocking them down again. You can also control model trains that run on the ground and on elevated platforms! All in either 3D or 4D!

For background information about the blocks project, see Goals, History, and/or Versions.

How to play:

  1. Install Java if you don't already have it.
  2. Download the file blocks-v6.zip. Everything in the zip file is free and in the public domain.
  3. Unzip it into a folder somewhere.
  4. Get a command prompt and set the current directory to the "out" subfolder. Type the command "java Maze". You can set up a batch file to do this if you want, but the details will depend on your operating system.
  5. You'll need to get familiar with the controls for the maze game, since the blocks program uses the same navigation controls. (See maze game documentation.) Be sure to learn the slide controls, they're very useful here. (You can find them in the Options screen on Keys tab # 3.)
  6. When you're ready, use the menu command "Load" and pick one of the scene files from the "data" folder. The file "basic-train" is a good place to start. See Controls for information about new controls that were not part of the original maze game (like train speed!) and Settings for information about how the game settings can be adjusted to work better in geometry mode.
  7. When you're comfortable with the program in general and ready to start playing with blocks, you can find some helpful background information on the page Block Motion.
  8. Try out the other predefined scene files. In Examples there are some notes about what you can see in each of the scenes.
  9. When you get tired of the predefined scene files, you can edit them and/or create ones of your own. See Scene Language for details about the scripting language.
  10. If you get ambitious you can define your own block types using the same scripting language. See Kinds of Blocks if you're looking for ideas.

Notes and limitations:

  1. The blue grid is a mat that the objects sit on. You can't go below the plane of the mat.
  2. The menu command "Save" works for block scenes now, with two caveats. One, scenes with trains cannot be saved. Two, background scenery elements will be lost unless they came from an include file. What that means in practice is that the command doesn't work with the scenery examples.
  3. The clipping algorithm runs well for small numbers of blocks. However, it's not fully optimized, and the time required grows as the number of blocks squared. Proceed with caution!
  4. Bugs? I think I've fixed the one that made the game lock up sometimes. If you see it, please let me know. I've also mostly fixed the one that made keys seem to get stuck. If you see it, there's an easy workaround: just press the stuck key again.