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Manual Reference Pages  -  XTRIS (6)


xtris - multiplayer tetris for X


Keys And Buttons
See Also


xtris [ -display machine:0 ] [ -help ] [ -k keys ] [ -s ] [ -bw ] [ -big ] [ -flashy ] [ -n name ] [ -norestart ] [ -nospeedup ] [ [ port ] ]


-bw With this option, the game will be drawn in black & white even on a color display.
-big Makes xtris use larger graphics.
  Specify the X display where xtris will open a window to play the game. By default, xtris connects to the display specified in the environment variable DISPLAY.
  Selects an alternate, flashier set of colors for the tetris bricks.
-help Prints out a summary of the command-line options xtris recognizes.
-k Redefine the keys used by xtris. The argument must be a 6-letter string with the keys to move to the left border, to move one position to the left, to rotate, to move one position to the right, to move to the right border and to drop the brick, respectively. The default keys are ’JjklL ’.
-n Sets the nickname for the player. The max nickname length is 14 characters.
  Passes the ’-norestart’ option to xtserv if xtris can’t find a server running and starts one of its own. This has the effect of telling the server not to automatically restart a game after everyone save one player has lost.
  Passes the ’-nospeedup’ option to xtserv if xtris can’t find a server running and starts one of its own. This has the effect of telling the server not to automatically increase the game speed.
-s Starts the game in standalone mode. In this mode, xtris will not connect to a server, will not be able to interact with other players, and will not be able to start bots.

  Specifies the machine on which an xtris server (xtserv) runs. xtris will connect to that server, and add itself to the game.

If the server is not specified, xtris will attempt to connect to a server on localhost ( If no server is running on localhost, xtris will start one (with the ’-once’ option so it will not stay after the client exits).

port Specifies the port to connect to, if the server was started on a port other than the default (19503).


xtris is version of the classical game of Tetris for any number of players, under the X window system.

Multi-player games are managed by the xtris server, xtserv; they are synchronous: all users play at the same level, start at the same time, and see each other’s games. The game stops when only one player remains.

xtris keeps track of the number of lines each player has filled in the current game, and of the number of games each player has won.

Each player has a name, initially set to his login name, or the contents of the environment variables XTRISNAME or NETTRISNAME.

Whenever there is more than one player, players can type messages to each other, which appear on a special message area; players who have already lost can chat this way while the game continues.

To edit your name, move the mouse pointer to the small window at the bottom of the screen where it is displayed. The editing keys backspace and ^U are recognized, as well as iso-latin-1 characters entered with the help of the Meta (mod1) key. Pressing Return propagates the name to all other players.

There are two modes for the game:
  The game starts with an empty pit. Whenever one user fills two or more rows at the same time, these lines appear at the bottom of some other user’s screen.

At the beginning of the game, each player is set to send his lines to the next player, in the order of connection to the server. After sending some lines, the server chooses a next victim for the player, sequentially.

fun The game starts with some garbage at the bottom and the side of the pit. Whenever one player fills a line, his victim gets an extra gray square at the highest point of his game. Filling two lines simultaneously sends one line; filling three sends three, and filling four sends five.


The message area is a zone under the tetris pits where users can chat by typing messages at each other. It is not displayed by default; to activate it, click on the "text" button, which appears as soon as there are two or more users.

If verbose mode is activated, the message zone also gets messages about the development of the game, users changing nicks, starting the game, sending each other lines, and so on.

When you put your mouse pointer in the message area, the text you type goes to the input line at the very bottom of the window. When you press Return, your line gets sent to all other players.

If you hold down the Shift key when pressing Return in the message area, the mouse pointer gets warped back to the main game. This lets you type in a message quickly during the game: press Tab to warp to the message area, and end your message with Shift-Return to warp back.


Bots, or robots, are automated players that connect to the xtris server and simulate a game of Tetris. Clicking on the ’bot’ button will start a bot and connect it to the same game. It is also possible to start bots from the command line, with xtbot.

To remove a bot from the game, click on its name at the bottom of the window.


These keys can be redefined with the -k option or with X resources:
Key Resource Action
J leftBorderKey Move to the left border.
j leftKey Move one position to the left.
k rotateKey Counter-clockwise rotation.
l rightKey Move one position to the right.
L rightBorderKey Move to the right border.
, downKey Move down one step.
Space dropKey Drop the brick.
Alternatively, you can use the arrow keys to move the piece around one step, and the shifted arrow keys to move it all the way in each direction. The Up arrow key rotates.
These keys can be redefined only with X resources:
Key Resource Action.
s startKey Start a game.
q quitKey Quit the game.
p pauseKey Pause/continue the game.
b botKey Start a bot on the same server.
n modeKey Change the game mode between normal and fun.
t textKey Open/close the message area.
Return toggleNextKey Toggle display of the next brick.
c clearKey Clear the message area.
v verboseKey Toggle displaying of server messages about the game in the message area.
z zeroKey Reset the game counters to 0.
Tab warpKey Warp the mouse pointer between the game area, the nick entry area, and the message area (if visible).
0 - 9 (no resource) Set the level.
The buttons on the xtris screen are:
Start Start a game (all players start at the same time).
Quit Quit the game.
Pause Pause or continue the game.
Bot Start a bot on the same server.
0 - 9 Set the level.
Normal Toggle normal and fun game mode.
Text Display or hide the message area.
Zero Reset the game counters to 0.
Verbose Toggle displaying of server messages about the game in the message area.
Clear Clear the message area.
Clicking on the area where the Next brick is displayed also toggles displaying the Next.


xtris understands a number of X resources. The prefix for all of them is ’xtris.’.

In addition to the ones listed in the KEYS section, xtris understands these resources:
name Specifies the player’s nickname. The default is the login name.
big Specifies whether xtris should use larger graphics or not. The default is ‘‘false’’.
flashy Specifies whether xtris should use flashier colors or not. The default is ‘‘false’’.
bw Specifies whether xtris should start up in black & white mode. The default is ‘‘false’’.
verbose Specifies whether xtris should start up in verbose mode. The default is ‘‘false’’.
scrollLines Specifies the size (in lines) of the message area. The default is 10, and the allowed values are from 3 to 30.
background Specifies the color used for the background.
Specifies the color used for the i-th brick.


The environment variable DISPLAY controls the default X display on which to open the xtris window.

The environment variables XTRISNAME and NETTRISNAME set the player’s initial name.


The command
xtris -k ’Kkl;: ’ -bw -display dedelamnio:0
starts an xtris on the display dedelamnio:0, connected to the server on, with the keys K, k, l, ;, : and space, and in black and white.


xtserv(6), xtbot(6)


The default colors are rather hideous.

Please report any other bugs to the author.


xtris was written by Roger Espel Llima <>.

Some bits of X11 code are based on xtet42 by Hugo Eide Gunnarsen of the Norwegian Institute of Technology.

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Roger Espel Llima XTRIS (6) Oct 13, 1996

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