Magic Cube 4D Macros

The macros facility in MC4D allows you to specify patterns of specific move sequences once and then quickly apply them to the puzzle multiple times in different positions. Macros are particularly well suited to Rubik-type puzzles which are usually solved using repeated use of a few short sequences of moves (called "algorithms") designed to leave the puzzle unchanged except for permuting a few cubies. Macros take the tedium out of applying these sequences by letting you stamp them out like super moves.

Creating a macro

I highly suggest that you always create macros on a puzzle in the solved state so that you can see exactly what it will do. If you want to create a macro in the middle of a solution, first save your work with the File > Save As  menu item and then use Edit > Reset to return to the solved state. Create your macros and then use File > Open to return to your previously scrambled state.

There are three steps to creating a macro:

1 Specify three reference stickers

Reference stickers are required as a way of fixing a frame of reference for the macro moves. This is because once a macro has been defined on one part of the puzzle, it can be used on any other equivalent part. For example, you might define a macro using only reference stickers and twists on only the central face, but later want to apply that twist sequence to other faces without having to first rotate them to the center. The choice of reference stickers is entirely up to you but ideally uses a pattern that is meaningful in relation to your move sequence.

2 Specify the macro moves

You may specify as many macro moves as you like. The entire sequence will be applied every time you use the macro.

3 Name your new macro

The macro name is used on a button that is created for you on the Macros tab. Click that button whenever you want to apply the macro. The macros tab also allows you to rename, reorder, and delete macros. Important: Macro definitions are not stored in you solution log files. Use the Macros > Read/Write Macro File menu items to save and manage your collections of macros.

Use the Macros > Start/Stop Macro Definition menu item to begin creating a macro. You may also find it convenient to use the Ctrl-M hotkey instead. Notice that the sky will turn white to indicate that you are now in macro creation mode. Notice also that the status bar at the bottom of the screen will prompt you through the process. After you have clicked 3 reference stickers, the sky will turn black and you will be prompted to specify your macro moves. If you make a mistake or get confused, simply hit the Esc key to cancel the entire process at any time and return to the normal mode. Once you have successfully finished specifying reference stickers and macro moves, click the Macros < Start/Stop Macro Definition one more time to signal that you are finished. You will then be prompted to name your macro. After hitting OK, you will be returned to normal mode and your new macro will be ready for use.

Using a macro

Before using a particular macro, orient your view so that you can easily specify your reference stickers. Next, click the macro button that you wish to apply. The sky will turn a salmon color, and the status bar will ask you to click 3 reference stickers. After clicking 3 stickers in the same pattern as used when you created the macro, the program will apply all of your macro moves to the puzzle and return to normal mode.

Each macro that you create also creates a button labeled "Reversed". Clicking that button instead of the corresponding custom named button will apply your macro moves in reverse order and direction. You may never need this ability but it could come in handy.

Another convenience feature is the Ctrl-A hotkey which automatically applies the last macro that you used. This is helpful because you will often use the same macro many times in a row and this is easier than clicking the button each time.

Managing your macros

As mentioned above, the macros tab lets you rename, reorder, and delete macros. It is important to save your macro collection to a file for use in subsequent sessions.You can manage macro files like you would any other data file and even share them with friends. Becoming familiar with all the functions in the Macros menu and their hotkeys will help make you a macro power user.

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