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A Machine-Building Puzzle Game
Rubicon is a machine-building puzzle game, based on Chris Pressey's RUBE programming language. Using a selection of bulldozers, pipes, conveyor belts and other mechanisms, you must build machines to transport numbered crates to their destinations.
Each playable game level has one or more targets - if a target has the same crate above and below it, it lights up green (if the crates are different, it lights up red). To complete a puzzle level, you must make all of its targets light up green.
Rubicon comes with twelve pre-built puzzle levels. To play levels that other Rubicon users have designed, or to design and share your own, the Rubicon Forum has threads for sharing and discussing both puzzle-style levels and abstract design challenges.
How to Play
When playing the basic levels, or a level designed by another user, you'll be presented with a partially built machine (including at least one target), and must build further components in order to move crates to their correct destinations. Use the left button to select and place components, and the right button to erase them.
Some levels have restrictions on the components you're allowed to use in solving them - disabled components are blanked out and cannot be selected (nor can they be deleted from the starting machine). If the starting setup of a puzzle level uses any components that are available to the player, those initial components will be undeletable, and marked as such with a blue tint.
When you've built a machine, press play to start it running, and stop to stop it (and reset it to the state it was in immediately before pressing 'play'). If you want to start a level from scratch, or blank the sandbox, press clear.
By holding down shift, you can drag out a selection of an area of the screen. You can then press F to fill that area with the currently-selected tile, Delete to clear it, or C to make a copy of that area which can then be placed by clicking on the new location.
Loading and Saving
To load a level, press load, and type in the seven-letter filename you want to load.
To save a level, make sure the machine has been stopped, and click save. The level will then be saved with a random seven-letter filename - note this down.
Saved levels can be personalised using the Warehouse interface - enter the seven-letter filename, your title for the level and your name, and your level will be stored with those details in perpetuity, with your details being displayed to anyone who plays that level. Levels which aren't claimed in this manner will be deleted when the server gets too full.
If you want to link friends directly to your level, you can use the URL http://kevan.org/rubicon/game.php?level=filename, where 'filename' is your level's seven-letter filename.
Version Update - 28th April 2010
jnz has done some sterling work optimising and improving Rubicon to make it run more smoothly and effectively; the official version of the game has now been upgraded to use his code. There's a full list of changes in the forum.
Warehouse Search - 8th January 2007
Forum user jnz has created a useful and officially-endorsed Warehouse Search Tool, which allows players to explore the archived levels for puzzles of a particular difficulty, or by a certain designer.
Physics Update - 6th November 2006
A few game components were found to be running a little too quickly - Copiers, Packers and Unpackers were all processing their inputs immediately, rather than waiting a click in the same way that other components do. Given that machine operation is a lot clearer to follow if everything waits a click before processing, and for the sake of consistency, the Copiers, Packers and Unpackers have now all been slowed down slightly.
Any levels or puzzles that were designed under the old system will automatically shift Rubicon back into its old physics mode (and alert the user to this), signified by the Copiers, Packers and Unpackers being tinted green. Most old levels are likely to be just as solvable under the new physics model, but there's no way to determine this automatically.
The user can toggle between old and new physics models by pressing "P".