Follow these steps to arrange your Rubik's Cube:
1. Choose the six basic colours. By clicking the middle square of some of the sides in the 2D model, you may change the basic colour of the whole side. Proceed until all six middle colours fit among themselves when you compare with your own cube.
2. Arrange the other squares in the 2D start cube, by clicking all wrong coloured squares in order to blacken them. Then click some of the labels which appeared near the model to choose the colour of this label. Then click the squares of the model to colour them properly.
3. At any time you can compare your own cube with the 2D and 3D models on the screen. You can rotate the 3D model (the whole cube or some of its sides) by clicking and dragging in natural directions. When the start cube on the screen looks exactly like your own cube and if you agree with the suggested goal cube, you are ready to press the button with the arrow and the question mark in order to start the automatic calculation of a way to solve the problem. The solution will appear in the white left field. Twelve different symbols indicate the twelve possible basic rotations. (Each basic rotation corresponds to a quarter turn in some direction of one of the six sides of the cube. The middle squares of the different sides never move.) These symbols are the same as those on the buttons under the cubes. If you want, you can test the effect of a button on the cube before you apply the corresponding basic rotation to your own cube. However you may think that this method is too time-wasting after a while. To quicker understand the symbols, you can think in following way: The side at the intersection of the 2D model corresponds to the upper side of your physical cube. The 2D model side next under the intersection corresponds to the physical side nearest you. Consequently the uppermost side of the 2D model corresponds to the physical side nearest the screen of your computer. To understand the basic rotation symbols, now think that they show the cube from above. The symbols with straight arrows are relatively easy to interpret if you think that these arrows are drawn along the different edges of the upper side. The remainding four symbols (with curved arrows) indicate rotations of the upper side or of the bottom side. A big, curved arrow around a smaller square indicates a rotation of the upper side. A little, curved arrow within a bigger square indicates a rotation of the bottom side. (If it was a transparent glass cube, the square should represent the contour lines of the upper side while the smaller arrow should be carved on the bottom surface and for this reason look smaller as it lies a few inches farther away when we observe the cube from above!)
The programme could have been written differently in order to always calculate the quickest way (with so few basic rotations as possible) from start to goal. Unfortunately the user should often have been waiting years for the answer, so the programme uses a more human method instead, with several check points towards the final goal. Occasionally the programme may needlessly suggest a basic rotation immediately followed by the opposite rotation. If this occurs, it depends of the fact that the programme chooses the basic rotation as the last step towards some intermediate goal and the opposite rotation as the first step towards next goal.
This programme was written by Johan Dufour.
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The 3D model of the cube was highly inspired by Karl Hörnell's "Rubik Unbound". (You will find more interesting applets on his site: www.javaonthebrain.com)