xsok — generic Sokoban game for X11, Version 1.02


xsok [ options ]


xsok is a single player strategic game, a superset of the well known Sokoban game. This manpage describes only the user interface of xsok. If you want to create own levels, you should consult the xsok manual for more information.

The target of Sokoban is to push all the objects into the score area of each level using the mouse or the arrow keys. For the other level subsets, there are different kinds of objects, and special effect squares.

xsok can be played using only the mouse, or only the keyboard. Keyboard and mouse bindings are defined through a textfile. This manual page describes the default bindings.


All standard X toolkit parameters may be given, such as -display display etc. Additional options are

-rules level subset
This option specifies the initial level subset for xsok. Valid built-in rule names are Sokoban, Cyberbox, and Xsok, but you may implement new level subsets without recompiling the game. Level subsets share common characteristics of the board. In Sokoban, for example, all boxes have the same weight. In Xsok, the first level is a demo level, where you can experiment with the new objects.
-level startlevel
Set the starting level.
-username username
In a save-game file, your name, as found in the /etc/passwd file, and the hostname of your computer, will be stored in the file. The default format is realname (username@hostname.domain), for example Michael Bischoff (mbi@flawless.ts.rz.tu-bs.de). You can override this default string with the argument to the username option and provide a different e-mail address, for example
xsok -username "Michael Bischoff (m.bischoff@tu-bs.de)".

If you break the scores for one level, your solution will be saved automatically.

-xsokdir xsokdir
This option sets the root of the xsok data file tree. The default is /usr/share/games/xsok.

-xpmdir xpmdir
This gives the directory from where to load the graphic data.

-savedir savedir
This option sets the directory for save game files and the xsok highscore files. The default is /var/games/xsok.

-messageFile messagefile
This option sets the name of an alternative message file for xsok. The pathname is relative to xsokdir. The default is messages, and does not exist, which means to use the internal messages.

-keyboardFile keyboardfile
This option sets the name of the file defining the keyboard bindings. The pathname is relative to xsokdir. The default is keys. The bindings in the default file are described below.

All command line options may be abbreviated, or set by the X11 resource manager. The resource name for option -xyz is Tableau.xyz and its class name Tableau.Xyz.

Keyboard bindings

The arrow keys will move the man. The default binding is similar to the binding in xsokoban. Some commands accept a numerical prefix (i.e. typing some digits before the command key), which usually is used as an operation count.

Display the author of a level (if known).
Drops the bookmark.
Goto bookmark.
Displays the level comment (if any).
Saves the current position.
Reloads a saved game.
Restart this level. With numerical prefix n, jumps to move number n.
Proceed to the next level. With numerical prefix n, jumps to level n.
Reread the highscore table.
Return to the previous level.
Proceeds to the next unsolved level.
Quits the game.
Shows the version of xsok.
Shows the current score.
Shows the best score for this level.
Drops the bookmark at the current position.
Undoes the last elementary move. Accepts numerical prefix.
Redoes last move (undoes an undo). Accepts numerical prefix.
Starts recording a macro (sequence of moves)
End a macro.
Replays a macro.

Keyboard bindings

With the default button assignment, button 1 is bound to the function MouseMove. If pressed on a clear square, the man will move to that location via the optimal path if such a path exists. If pressed on an object that is adjacent to the player, the object will be pushed.

Button 2 is bound to MouseDrag. This command requires that you press the mouse button on a location where a box resides, drag the mouse, and release the button on an empty square. The man will then move the box from the first square onto the second with the minimal number of pushes, if it is possible at all. Please note that the man will not move any other object and will only use squares without effects.

Button 3 is bound to MouseUndo. This function undoes one of the previous commands, which would possibly require a lot of calls to the atomic undo function.

National language support

xsok has simple support for different languages. All messages which appear in the X11 window may be overloaded by files, as well as the key bindings. The typical support consists of an application-defaults file, a message file, and a keyboard file. Possibly translated online-help files are also there. To select a different language, call xsok after setting the environment variable LANG to the desired value. Currently, no translated version is available.


(Directories may differ on your system.)


Where type is one of Sokoban, Xsok, Cyberbox, and possibly others.


Inspiration for xsok came from xsokoban, a previous implementation of the Sokoban game by Joseph L. Traub. From this game, the wall graphics were taken, and the mouse button assignment. xsokoban's level files can be used without change, but by default, all level files of a level subset are combined into a single file. Of course, credits also go to the unknown author of the curses based game.

The Cyberbox levels (and a MSDOS game of the same name) are written by Doug Beeferman.


The undo function is too slow. Highscore file handling uses no file locking.

Cyberbox zappers are implemented as one-way passages, which causes worse scores and easier levels.

Please mail bug reports to mbi@mo.math.nat.tu-bs.de. Fixes are especially welcome.


Michael Bischoff