SOLITILE rev 2.7
June 5, 1990
Copyright 1989, 1990 by Everett Kaser
All Rights Reserved
Solitile is a game of solitaire, played with "tiles". It derives
from several similar games, such as "Shanghai", "Gunshy", and
"Mahjongg", which are played with Mah-Jong tiles. Solitile plays
the same game, but adds new starting layouts and the ability for the
player to create new layouts and/or modify the layouts provided. It
also uses new, "westernized" pictures on the faces of the tiles.
Solitile is being distributed as Shareware. If you use the game
for more than a week, you are expected to pay for its use by sending
a registration fee to:
35405 Spruce St
Albany, OR 97321
I can be contacted via email on Internet at:
hplabs!hp-pcd!everett or everett%[email protected]
or by phone at (503) 928-5259 (not after 9pm Pacific Time, please).
The registration fees are:
$10.00 if you're happy with the copy of the game you have.
$15.00 if you'd like a fresh copy of the latest version
mailed to you. There are no guarantees that the
version mailed to you will be newer or different
from the one you have. Specify media type: 5 1/4"
or 3 1/2".
$35.00 if you'd like the sources to the latest version
mailed to you. These sources are copyrighted, and
distribution rights are reserved. This means you
may NOT give a copy of the sources to anyone else,
NOR may you distribute them or place them in a
publicly accessible place, such as a computer
network or BBS. They are for your private use only.
You are free to modify and re-compile them at will,
but you may NOT distribute any program that is so
generated. The sources are primarily Microsoft C,
with a small amount of assembly language.
The game package, which MUST include the files SOLITILE.EXE (the game)
and SOLITILE.DOC (this file), may be freely copied and distributed.
It's use is subject to the conditions of the above paragraphs.
The set of tiles consist of 144 individual tiles. There are 36
different pictures on the faces of the tiles, with each picture
appearing on four tiles.
The object of the game is to remove all of the tiles from the board.
Tiles are removed in matching pairs. For a tile to be removable, it
must not have any other tiles on top of it, and it must have either
its entire right side exposed, or its entire left side. "Exposed"
means that there is not another tile on the same level and laying
immediately against it.
A few definitions of terms:
LAYOUT: the starting pattern or arrangement of tiles, disregarding
the faces of the tiles. This simply tells the program where
to place tiles when starting a game, but not WHICH tiles to
put in any given place. There are ten possible layouts,
with nine being provided. The you may add to, delete, and
modify these layouts.
BOARD NUMBER: a number between 0 and 65535, which is used to control
the placement of specific tiles in the starting layout. This
number allows you to replay a specific game at will. The game
normally starts with a random board.
MENU: The list (displayed down the right side of the display) of
up to ten possible actions you can direct the game to perform.
These are in addition to playing the game. The menu items
may be activated by clicking on them with the mouse, or by
pressing the appropriate softkey.
BUTTONS: the Left and Right Buttons refer to the buttons on your
mouse. If you don't have a mouse, the HOME and PGUP keys on
the numeric keypad of your keyboard perform the same functions.
These two buttons are used to control the game action. The
meaning of the two buttons is always shown in the bottom
right corner of the display.
2. STARTING THE PROGRAM
The program is started by typing
There is an optional argument for specifying the board number:
SOLITILE -b 34728
The number 34728 could be replaced by any number from 0 to 65535.
The space between the -b and the board number is not required.
Additionally, there is an optional argument for specifying the
starting layout (the default is stored in SOLITILE.DAT by the
the layouts as shown in the NEW LAYOUT menu (in the SETUP menu).
The welcome screen is displayed first. You may proceed to the game
screen at any time by pressing a key or clicking a mouse button.
There are two primary "modes" the game can be in: PLAY and SETUP.
PLAY mode is the default. SETUP mode is entered by selecting the
"SETUP" menu. Any changes made within the SETUP menu may be saved
in the file SOLITILE.DAT, and they will become the new defaults for
the next time you start up SOLITILE.
3. GAME CONTROL DURING "PLAY" MODE
To select the first tile of a pair to be removed, move the cursor
onto the tile and press the LEFT BUTTON. This will cause that tile
(if it's removable, ie. not blocked by other tiles) to be highlighted.
Once you've selected the first tile of the pair, move the cursor to
the second tile and, again, press the LEFT BUTTON. This will cause
the second tile to be highlighted. At this point, pressing the
LEFT BUTTON a third time will cause those two tiles to be removed,
or pressing both BUTTONs together will de-select the two tiles.
A shortcut for selecting the second tile is to use the RIGHT BUTTON.
First, select the first tile using the LEFT BUTTON. Then, pressing
the RIGHT BUTTON will cause the computer to search for a removable
matching tile. If one is found, it will be highlighted. Once both
tiles are highlighted, pressing the RIGHT BUTTON again will cause
the computer to look for a different tile to use as the matching
tile. The RIGHT BUTTON can be used repeatedly to cycle through all
possible matches for the first tile you selected.
If you're having trouble finding a matching pair of removable tiles,
or if you want to see all of the pairs that are currently removable,
press the RIGHT BUTTON before selecting a tile. This will cause the
computer to search for all matching tiles that are removable. It
will highlight them, one set at a time. To cycle through the sets
of removable tiles, repeat pressing the RIGHT BUTTON until a message
appears in the lower left of the display, informing you that there
are no more matches. At any time during this "help cycle", pressing
the LEFT BUTTON will abort the "help cycle".
During the PLAY mode, the menu contains these entries:
F1 Try Again restarts the game with the same layout and board
number. This is used if you get stuck and want
another try at solving the board.
F2 New Board starts a new game with a new board number. You
can specify the board number, or the computer will
pick a random number for you.
F3 Save Board saves your current game, so you can come back to
it later. It's saved in a file called SOLITILE.SAV.
F4 Load Board loads your saved game.
F5 DOS Command switches the display to text mode and executes a
copy of COMMAND.COM (assuming that it is somewhere
on the current PATH). This allows you to execute
DOS commands and run some other programs (assuming
that there is enough memory), and then, when you
type EXIT, return to your SOLITILE game, right
where you left off.
F8 Undo allows you to put back tiles you've taken off, to
recover from an accidental removal, or to try
alternate paths. Tiles are put back in exactly
the reverse order from which they were removed.
F9 Setup enters the SETUP menu, where game configuration
can be done. See Section 4.
F10 Exit To DOS quits the game, returning control of your monitor
to you, until next time, in the Solitile Zone.
4. GAME CONTROL DURING "SETUP" MODE
Several of the parameters of the game, such as Layout, Background
color, and any Layout Edits, can be configured by the user and saved
to disk in a file called SOLITILE.DAT. To do this, follow these steps:
1) enter the SETUP menu.
2) select the "New Layout" you wish to be the default.
3) select the "Back Color" you wish to have.
4) perform any layout edits you desire.
5) specify or modify the WINs directory.
6) select "End Setup". You will be prompted with the question
"Save changes?". Press the Left Button and the file
SOLITILE.DAT will be updated. These changes will
become the default conditions on startup of the game.
During "Setup" mode, the menu contains:
F1 New Layout lets you select a new starting layout for the tiles.
There are nine supplied with the game.
F2 Edit Layout lets you modify or delete the current layout, or
insert a completely new layout.
F4 Back Color lets you modify the color used for the background.
You can specify a number from 0 to 63, or cycle
through the colors until you find one you like.
F5 Menu Back Color lets you modify the color used for the background
of the menus and information boxes. You can specify
a number from 0 to 15, or cycle through the colors
until you find the one you like.
F6 Menu Text Color lets you modify the color used for the text of
the menus and information boxes. You can specify a
number from 0 to 15, or cycle through the colors
until you find the one you like.
F8 Win Directory lets you specify a directory within which the
game will record any boards you solve. If no WIN
directory is specified (the default) then the wins
will not be recorded. You can use an absolute path
or a relative path to specify it. I recommend
that you use an absolute path. If the directory
does not exist, it will be created the first time
you win a game. Within the WIN directory, up to
ten sub-directories will be created, one for each
possible layout. Within those sub-directories, the
solved (WON) games will be stored with the filename
being the board number. You can then play the
boards back at a later date through the use of the
REPLAY WIN menu (F6 in the SETUP menu).
F9 Replay WIN Allows you to select a previously won board for the
current layout, which you can then replay, to see
how you solved it. You can end the replay at any
point, and try a different path to a solution.
F10 End Setup exits back to the "main" PLAY mode menu. If you
have made changes to the SETUP, you will be
prompted to save the changes in SOLITILE.DAT.
In EDIT LAYOUT, you can add or delete tiles in the current layout. When
finished with your edits, you MUST have exactly 144 tiles in the layout
(if you intend to save it). You can also delete and insert layouts.
The LEFT BUTTON adds tiles, and the RIGHT BUTTON deletes them. The
menu contains these entries:
F1 Delete All Tiles deletes all the tiles in the current layout,
leaving you a "blank slate" upon which to
create your NEW layout. (This is frequently
used after an "Insert New Layout".)
F2 Insert New Layout if there's room, moves all layouts from the
current layout to the last one, to make room
for a new layout where the current one is.
F3 Delete Layout deletes the current layout.
F5 Change Name changes the name of the current layout
F10 End Edit terminates EDIT mode, returns to SETUP menu.
The mouse is now supported in EDIT mode.
If you modify any of the LAYOUTs, and later wish to recover the
original layouts (that came with the game), you must rename or delete
the SOLITILE.DAT file, since that is where the modified LAYOUTs are
stored, and anything in the SOLITILE.DAT file overrides the defaults
that are built into the game.
5. HINTS ON PLAY
If you're having trouble solving boards, try playing the same BOARD
over several times. Many people, when they run out of moves on a
board, will select "NEW BOARD", starting all over on a completely new
board. Instead, you should select "TRY AGAIN". Since you've already
played the board at least once, and got stuck, you'll remember where
some of the hidden tiles were, and which parts of the board you got
stuck on. You can use your knowledge of where hidden tiles are to get
to them earlier in the game, and you can use your knowledge of where
you previously got stuck to work towards those areas first, or from
a different direction.
Occasionally when I'm playing the game I will solve a board on the
first try, but more often than not, I have to replay a board at least
once or twice before solving it. Some of the tougher boards, I've
worked on for four or five hours before solving. And remember, SOME
of the boards are impossible (but not very many)! Part of the fun of
the game is trying to decide (or prove) that a board is possible or
not. After you play the game for a while with this strategy, you'll
learn to very quickly spot the likely difficult spots in a board, and
to work towards them early in the game.
Another thing to try, is when you get stuck with no more moves, "UNDO"
some moves until you get to a "decision point", a place where you
removed the first pair of a particular tile. Then, try taking a
different pairing of that tile, which will release for play a different
set of other tiles (sometimes).
6. SOME OF THE BOARDS
Here is a brief list of the first 50 boards for The Bridge layout,
along with an estimate of their difficulty. Your mileage may vary.
Sometimes you may quickly solve a board that I struggled with and
sometimes the reverse will be true, simply due to the chance choice
of which tiles to remove first. However, this is how they went for
0 IMPOSSIBLE 20 IMPOSSIBLE 40 easy
1 HARD 21 HARD 41 Medium
2 easy 22 HARD 42 Medium
3 Medium 23 Medium 43 Medium
4 IMPOSSIBLE 24 ?impossible? 44 Medium
5 Medium 25 Medium 45 Medium
6 ?impossible? 26 easy 46 Medium
7 easy 27 easy 47 easy
8 Medium 28 easy 48 Medium
9 ?impossible? 29 easy 49 Medium
10 IMPOSSIBLE 30 Medium
11 Medium 31 ?impossible?
12 ?impossible? 32 HARD
13 Medium 33 easy
14 ?impossible? 34 ?impossible?
15 IMPOSSIBLE 35 easy
16 HARD 36 Medium
17 easy 37 Medium
18 easy 38 IMPOSSIBLE
19 Medium 39 Medium
The ones listed as "IMPOSSIBLE" are either proven to be so (through
obvious logic), or very strongly believed to be so (through not so
obvious logic, and some experienced gut feel). The ones listed as
"?impossible?" are believed to be impossible because of my inability
to get beyond a certain point. It's very likely that one or more of
these are actually possible, but I've given up on them. The "HARD"
ones are boards that I had to replay AT LEAST 4 or 5 times before
solving. "Medium" boards I solved with only 2 or 3 retries, and "easy"
boards I either solved on the first try, or after a few UNDO's or one
Since there are 65,536 different boards for each layout, it's unreal-
istic to expect to build a complete list of all the boards like the
above. However, if you would care to extend the above list, let me
know how you do. If you'd like to receive "my" solutions to the
boards (at least those I've solve) send your request with $5 and I'll
send them to you on a disk. (Requires release 2.4 or later to REPLAY
I find The Bridge the most challenging (and fun) of my layouts, and
play it almost exclusively, so I don't have many solutions for the
If you design a new LAYOUT that you're particularly proud of, I'd like
to see it. If you send me one, please state whether you're willing to
let me include it in a future release of SOLITILE. If you're willing
and I DO include it, you'll receive a free upgrade of that release.
(I must warn you, though, that the designing of good layouts that are
challenging, but not overly difficult, is not as easy as you'd think!)
7. KNOWN BUGS
There are no known bugs at this time (release 2.7), although I'm sure
several will pop out as soon as I distribute it.
8. FEATURES ADDED SINCE RELEASE 1.3
1) re-structuring of the menus.
2) double-clicking mouse buttons at most times will de-select any
3) WIN directory, with saving of won games and the ability to replay
4) improvement of the layout editing mode, to allow the mouse to be
used and to clarify the process a little bit.
5) DOS Command shell, to allow some DOS command processing without
exiting the game.
9. CHANGES SINCE RELEASE 2.4
1) In LAYOUT EDIT mode, the cursor would leave itself behind when
moved to the bottom of the display. This is fixed.
2) An esoteric bug was fixed having to do with pressing UNDO (from
the keyboard) while in the midst of a "SHOW MOVES" sequence.
3) Occasionally, a little garbage would appear on the display if the
mouse were moved quickly while doing a "LOAD BOARD". This has
10. CHANGES SINCE RELEASE 2.5
1) abitility to modify the colors of the MENU and information boxes.
11. CHANGES SINCE RELEASE 2.6
1) cursor wrap-around from left to right and top to bottom when moving
the cursor with the keyboard cursor keypad.
2) an enlarged cursor to make spotting the cursor a little easier.
End of SOLITILE.DOC