MC4D 4.0 Release Notes

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Welcome to version 4 of MagicCube4D! This project has been in the works since 1988 and version 4 represents a major milestone in its development. This document lists the notable changes from version 3.

Highly Visible Changes

  • The user interface uses a slick pluggable look-and-feel called Synthetica which gives it rounded, shaded buttons, sliders, tabs and other professional polish.
  • The control panel has been moved to the left edge. This is where it was originally intended to be but it conflicted with the old-style menus that were used. The menus are now implemented using the most current versions which plays well with the control panel so it has been moved to where it belongs.
  • The "Puzzle" menu now contains a great many 4D forms other than the cube with sub-menus for edge length.
  - The cube is still the default though the name is it's Schlafli symbol "{4,3,3}".
  - Length 1 forms are degenerate puzzles but are included for visualization purposes.
  - Some puzzles take a long time to build so a progress bar has been added to supply feedback.
  - The "Invent My Own" option is completely experimental and unsupported.
  • Since the number of needed face colors varies from puzzle to puzzle, colors are now selected automatically. There is no longer UI for selecting custom colors, but you can set custom colors by creating a facecolors.txt file, as described here.

Somewhat Visible Changes

  • The "For Real" solve is not yet reimplemented. Likewise Reset to Defaults. Delete your MC4D.props file to do that manually.
  • The 3D UI gives some auditory feedback. Adjust your volume or use the mute check box if you find it annoying. If you feel the default volumes are badly chosen, please let us know as we can easily change them.
  • Sticker highlighting attempts to only highlight a hovered sticker when clicking it would have an effect. For example, hovering over a center-center sticker of the {4,3,3} will normally not highlight because it can't be twisted, but when you hold the Ctrl key, it will highlight because clicking then will rotate it to the center.
  • Quick Mode now offers a new sub-mode that makes macro undo/redo playbacks quick but plays other moves normally.
  • You can now choose to rotate-to-center such that the cubie (not the sticker) you click on ends up centered rather than the whole face.
  • Shift-Drag lets you freely rotate in 4D such that the projected center moves in the direction of the cursor. Right-Drag in the Y direction 4D rotates along the view axis, and the X axis spins about that axis. Auto-Rotation works with all of these modes.
  • Adjustments to Eye W now attempts to hold puzzle size constant. Still fails when Eye W is too small. When in doubt, increase the Eye W Scale slider until the view makes sense and then make minor adjustments from there to suit your taste.
  • The scroll wheel gives an additional way to easily change the view scale while the 3D view has focus.

Less Visible Changes

  • Log File Changes:
  - The file formats have been changed and the new version currently can not read or write the old format.
  - File > Save As will force a ".log" extension onto your supplied file name if you do not.
  - The puzzle state information is no longer saved in the log files. It is regenerated each time from the history data.
  - The current rotation state is saved with each log file.
  - Ctrl-click rotations are no longer considered to be moves and therefore will not respond to undo.
  • Property file: The mc4d.props file is no longer stored in the user's home directory but is now stored in the same directory as the jar file.
  • Macro changes
  - Macros are now grip based rather than sticker based.
  - Macros defined on a puzzle type of one length can be reused on different length puzzles of the same type.
  - Macros that are inappropriate for the current puzzle type are grayed out. Hovering over a macro will reveal its appropriate type.
  - Reference clicks must determine a unique orientation of the puzzle, and highlighting will help show what is allowed (we may lesson this restriction in the future).
  • User supplied face colors are supported by creating a file named "facecolors.txt" in the same folder as the jar file. Space-separated color specifications on a line override the default colors for all puzzles with the same number of faces as colors on that line. Colors can be specified as either comma-separated RGB values between 0 and 255, or as hex format web colors of the format #RRGGBB, and can be mixed. For example, the two lines
128,128,128 0,255,255 25,100,200 200,100,10 #FFCC00
50,50,230 0,128,255 25,100,200 150,100,10 #00DDEE 20,190,90 150,10,110 200,220,10 

will use the first line of colors for all puzzles with five faces, and the second for all with eight.

  • You can now safely click anywhere during animations or to stop auto-rotation without triggering twists.
  • Maximizing and then returning to normal windowed mode will restore your previous window size and position. Maximized mode is now remembered across sessions.
  • Contiguous Cubies mode is gone because it never worked very well.
  • Edge length-2 puzzles scramble differently from before. This works around a problem in which some valid grips needed to solve scrambles are unreachable. The workaround was to only scramble using twists available to users. This subtlety changes the definition of these puzzles because only a subset of valid positions are reachable. This matters because if we ever offer UI to let you get at all of the grips and we fix the scramble to use them all, then solutions to these puzzles after that point will not be comparable to ones done now.