Content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 Man page of XOCT


Section: Games and Demos (6)
Updated: 06 Nov 2023
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xoct - Octahedron X widget  


/usr/games/xoct [-geometry [{width}][x{height}][{+-}{xoff}[{+-}{yoff}]]] [-display [{host}]:[{vs}]] [-[no]mono] [-[no]{reverse|rv}] [-{foreground|fg} {color}] [-{background|bg} {color}] [-face{0|1|2|3|4|5|6|7} {color}] [-{border|bd} {color}] [-delay msecs] [-[no]sound] [-moveSound {filename}] [-{font|fn} {fontname}] [-{size {int} | sticky}] [-{mode {int} | both}] [-[no]orient] [-[no]practice] [-userName {string}] [-scoreFile {filename}] [-scores] [-version]  


The original puzzle has 9 triangles per face (size = 3) and has period 4 turning (i.e. the face or points turn with 90 degree intervals). The puzzle was designed by Uwe Meffert and called the Magic Octahedron (or Star Puzzler). The puzzle was not widely distributed but not exactly rare. This puzzle has some analogies to the Rubik's Cube and the solving techniques are the same to that of the Pyraminx. Christoph's Magic Jewel is similar except there are no trivial corners to solve. This has 2^22*12! or 2,009,078,326,886,400 different combinations.

Uwe Meffert also noticed that there could be an alternate twisting for the octahedron where it has period 3 turning (i.e. faces turn with 120 degree intervals).

One is able to simulate a Trajber's Octahedron (period 3 turning and sticky mode). Also one is able to simulate one with variant turning (period 4 turning and sticky mode).  


Press "mouse-left" button to move a piece. Release "mouse-left" button on a piece on the same face and in the same row (but not an adjacent piece or the move is ambiguous). The pieces will then turn towards where the mouse button was released.

Click "mouse-center", or press "P" or "p" keys to toggle the practice mode (in practice mode the record should say "practice"). This is good for learning moves and experimenting.

Click "mouse-right", or press "Z" or "z" keys, to randomize the puzzle (this must be done first to set a new record).

Press "G" or "g" keys to read (get) a saved puzzle.

Press "W" or "w" keys to save (write) a puzzle.

Press "U" or "u" keys to undo a move.

Press "R" or "r" keys to redo a move.

Press "C" or "c" keys to clear the puzzle.

Press"S" or "s" keys to start auto-solver. Only works where size < 4 (or sticky mode set) in Period 3 mode or size < 5 in Period 4 mode.

Press "O" or "o" keys to toggle the orient mode. One has to orient the faces in orient mode, besides getting all the faces to be the same color. To do this one has to get the lines to be oriented in the same direction, this only matters with center "octas", if at all (i.e. those "octas" not on a corner or edge). This does add complexity so there are 2 sets of records.

Press "3", "4", "B", or "b" keys (not the keypad 3, 4) to change modes to Period 3, Period 4, or Both.

Press "Y" or "y" keys to toggle sticky mode (increase/decrease is disabled here if sticky mode is on).
"Sticky" and "Period 3" turning allows only the faces to turn, it is as if the middle cut of the three cuts did not exist.
"Sticky" and "Period 4" turning allows only the points to turn, it is as if the middle cut of the three cuts did not exist.
Beware, the "Sticky" mode is a hack and much could be done to improve its look.

Press "I" or "i" keys to increase the number of pieces.

Press "D" or "d" keys to decrease the number of pieces.

Press ">" or "." keys to speed up the movement of pieces.

Press "<" or "," keys to slow down the movement of pieces.

Press "@" key to toggle the sound.

Press "Esc" key to hide program.

Press "Q", "q", or "CTRL-C" keys to kill program.

Use the key pad or arrow keys to move without the mouse.
Key pad is defined for Oct as:

  /     Counterclockwise

7 8 9 Upper Left, Up, Upper Right

4<5>6 Left, Clockwise, Right

1 2 3 Lower Left, Down, Lower Right

Use the shift keys to access "Period 4" turns from "Both" mode, otherwise it assumes "Period 3" turning. Points turn in "Period 4" and faces turn in "Period 3".

Use the control key and the left mouse button, keypad, or arrow keys to move the whole octahedron. This is not recorded as a turn.

The title is in the following format (non-motif version):

xoct.{3|4|both<turning modes>}: {1|2|3|4|5|6|sticky<number of "octas" per edge>} @ (<Number of moves>/{<Record number of moves> <user name>|"NEVER noaccess"|"practice"}) - <Comment>
If there is no record of the current puzzle, it displays "NEVER noaccess".  


-geometry {+|-}X{+|-}Y
This option sets the initial position of the octahedron window (resource name "geometry").
-display host:dpy
This option specifies the X server to contact.
This option allows you to display the octahedron window on a color screen as if it were monochrome (resource name "mono").
This option allows you to see the octahedron window in reverse video (resource name "reverseVideo").
-{foreground|fg} color
This option specifies the foreground of the octahedron window (resource name "foreground").
-{background|bg} color
This option specifies the background of the octahedron window (resource name "background").
-face{0|1|2|3|4|5|6|7} <color>
This option allows you to change the color of a face (resource name "faceColorN"). In mono-mode, color is represented as the first letter of the color name. The faces are ordered top to bottom and left to right. If you has two colors that begin with the same letter you should have one in uppercase and one in lowercase to distinguish them in mono-mode. You can change the colors of the faces to make a stupid octahedron (i.e. all White or in mono-mode all "W"). Unfortunately, it will not normally say its solved when its randomized. This would be cheating.
-{border|bd} color
This option specifies the border color of the octas in the octahedron window (resource name "borderColor").
-delay msecs
This option specifies the number of milliseconds it takes to move pieces (1-50) (resource name "delay").
This option specifies if sliding pieces should make a sound or not (resource name "sound").
-moveSound filename
This option specifies the file for the move sound for the twisting of the puzzle (resource name "moveSound").
-{font|fn} ontname
This option specifies the font that will be used (resource name "font").
-size <int>
This option allows you to change the number of octas on a edge (resource name "size").
This option allows you to set the sticky mode (resource name "sticky").
-mode <int>
This option allows you to set the turning mode (resource name "mode").
This option allows you to set the turning mode to both period 3 and period 4 (resource name "mode" set at 5).
This option allows you to access the oriented mode (resource name "orient").
This option allows you to access the practice mode (resource name "practice").
-userName string
This option specifies the user name for any records made or else it will get your login name (resource name "userName").
-scoreFile filename
Specify an alternative score file (resource name "scoreFile").
This option lists all the recorded scores and then exits.
This option tells you what version of xoct you have.


You must randomize the puzzle before a record is set, otherwise an assumption of cheating is made if it is solved after a get or an auto-solve.  


Here is the format for the xoct configuration, starting position, and the movement of its pieces.

Octahedron with default colors, not randomized:
  0       R     Red
3 1 M B Magenta, Blue

  2       W     White

  4       O     Orange
7 5 Y P Yellow, Pink

  6       G     Green

size: 1-6 <number of triangles in the same orientation as the face per row>
mode: 3-5 <period 3 turning, period 4 turning, or both (5)>
orient: 0-1 <0 false, 1 true; if 1 then lines on "octas" to be oriented>
sticky: 0-1 <0 false, 1 true; if 1 then some "octas" move together>
practice: 0-1 <0 false, 1 true>
moves: 0-MAXINT <total number of moves>

startingPosition: <2 dimensional array of face "octa" position, each face has size * size "octas", if orient mode then orientation number follows face number numbered clockwise from 0 to 11, where 0 is up>

This is then followed by the moves, starting from 1.

move #: <direction> <control> <face> <position>
Each turn is with respect to a face and position.
Position is 0 to size * size - 1. Position 0 is the triangle furthest from the center, increasing clockwise.
Direction is represented as 0 up, 1 upper right, 2 right, 3 lower right, 4 down, 5 lower left, 6 left, 7 upper left, 9 clockwise, and 15 counterclockwise.
Control is represented as 0 or 1, 1 if the whole octahedron is moved at once (here position does not matter), 0 if not. The xoct record keeper does not count a control move as a move, but here we do.  


Beyond Rubik's Cube: spheres, pyramids, dodecahedrons and God knows what else by Douglas R. Hofstadter, Scientific American, July 1982, pp 16-31.

Magic Cubes 1996 Catalog of Dr. Christoph Bandelow.  


X(1), xcubes(6), xtriangles(6), xhexagons(6), xmlink(6), xbarrel(6), xpanex(6), xmball(6), xpyraminx(6), xrubik(6), xskewb(6), xdino(6), xbevel(6), xabacus(6)  


® Copyright 1994-2023, David A. Bagley  


Send bugs (or their reports, or fixes) to the author:

David A. Bagley, <bagleyd AT>

The latest version is currently at:




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 16:40:58 GMT, November 06, 2023