August 19, 1990
Two files for ARGH are distributed on a shareware
ARGH.DOC- the file your are reading now
ARGH.EXE- the program file
A third file is available only to registered users:
ARGH.SOL- the solutions file, which causes the
puzzles to solve themselves. Copying
this file for distribution to others is
forbidden by the copyright laws.
In addition, use of the program may create other files. They are
described under 'Supplementary Files'.
ARGH is a collection of seven sliding block puzzles.
To play, just type 'ARGH' at the DOS prompt. If you have
difficulty seeing the display on a monochrome screen, try typing
'ARGH MONO' or 'ARGH B&W' (or just 'ARGH M' or 'ARGH B') at the
The goal is always to get one block (Block A) to a
particular place. To determine the winning destination for a
particular puzzle, ask for instructions at the beginning of your
attempt to solve it. If you forget where you're headed in mid-
game, hit F1 for a reminder.
The puzzles vary greatly in difficulty. The minimum
solutions I have been able to come up with are: AARGH, 118
moves; BARGH, 73; CARGH, 185; DARGH, 83; EARGH, 380; FARGH, 54;
and GARGH, 60. You may be able to do better, except with AARGH,
where 118 has been proven to be the theoretical minimum.
The blocks move horizontally and vertically only; they
do not rotate. Keyboard users move a block by typing its letter;
mouse users just click on the block to move. If the block
selected can be moved in more than one direction, ARGH assumes
that the user does not want to move a block back to the space it
just occupied. If that assumption does not resolve directional
ambiguity, keyboard users will be prompted to type an arrow key
to clarify; mouse users must "drag" the mouse in the direction
they want the block to go. So that the best scores of mouse
users and keyboard users can be comparable, mouse users cannot
use this "drag" feature to move a block two squares in one move.
Keyboard users can save a position by typing 'S' and
following the instructions; restore a saved position by typing
'R'. Mouse users simply click on the appropriate space.
Over time, ARGH may create and use a number of files.
At start-up, ARGH looks for any boss screen file you may have
created (see below). If it finds it, it loads it into memory.
ARGH also looks to see whether you have ARGH.SOL, the solution
file given to registered users. Again, if it finds that file, it
loads it into memory. That is what is going on while the word
'INITIALIZING' is flashing at you.
When you choose a variation, ARGH looks for a file in
which it keeps the 10 lowest scores (and corresponding names of
the solvers) for that variation. These files are of the form
nARGH.LOS, where n is a letter from A to G representing the
variation you have chosen. These files are updated whenever a
new score qualifies as one of the lowest 10 for that variation.
Other files are created when you save a position. These files
are of the form XXXXXXXX.nRG, where XXXXXXXX is the name you
supply and n again represents the variation.
ARGH.EXE and ARGH.DOC are distributed as shareware.
This allows you to try ARGH before you buy it, but if you
continue to use it, you must register. Register by sending
David B. Howorth
01960 SW Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219
Registration will of course assuage your conscience,
but in addition I will send you a disk containing whatever
version of ARGH is current at that time, plus, perhaps more
importantly, the file that will cause the puzzles to solve
themselves. In addition, disk space permitting, I will send you
one or more additional games to try on a shareware basis. Let me
know if you would like a 3 1/2 disk; otherwise I will send you a
Distribution to Others
If you want to pass ARGH along to a friend or upload it
to a bulletin board (both of which you are encouraged to do),
just pass along ARGH.EXE and ARGH.DOC. (If you are a bulletin
board user, you know to compress these files with an archiving
program before uploading.) Any files you have created (either
directly, by saving, or indirectly, by solving) are unnecessary
to a new user. As for ARGH.SOL, I have retained the right to
prohibit copying for distribution purposes of that file.
If you are a registered user, you know that your name
appears on the title screen, but you need not worry that it will
appear on anyone else's computer. It is the ARGH.SOL file that
passes the name to the program. If ARGH.SOL is not present,
there is no mention of the registered owner's name.
The Boss Key
Despite mixed feelings about boss keys, I continue to
include one in this version of ARGH; in fact, in response to
requests, I have now made it possible for you to create your own
boss screen. The default boss screen is a fake spreadsheet. If
the spreadsheet doesn't suit your purposes, create your own
screen by using a word processor. Save the screen you create as
an ASCII file (some word processing programs call this DOS text;
still others call it just plain 'text') with the name 'ARGH.BOS'.
Make sure ARGH.BOS is in the same directory as ARGH.EXE.
Pressing Control-B while playing ARGH will bring up the boss
screen--either the one you created or, if you did not create one,
the default spreadsheet screen.
Mice are pesky; they come in many variations. Although
I believe ARGH should work with any mouse, I do not guarantee it.
If your mouse refuses to cooperate, you can disable mouse support
simply by hitting a key, rather than clicking your mouse, at the
opening screen's invitation to 'Click your mouse.' Before giving
up on your mouse, however, make sure you have read the
information above in the "Basics" section on moving blocks when
there is directional ambiguity.
The Solution File
Registered users can cause any puzzle to solve itself
simply by making sure ARGH.SOL is in the same directory (or on
the same floppy disk) that ARGH is run from. Choose the puzzle
you want to solve and then, when it is time to make the first
move (or any subsequent move), just hold down the Control key and
tap 'S'. The puzzle will go back to the beginning (if it is not
there already) and solve itself step by step as you hit a key or
click your mouse.
Those of you who have solution files for previous
versions should be aware that the solution files for version 4.0
store their information in a different manner. Attempts to use
older solution files on this version will cause unpredictable
David B. Howorth