The following paragraphs are written as if the features were already implemented, but this is only done so that the text can be copied into the real book without having to rewrite a lot of it.
There are 3 possible design methods implemented in BURRTOOLS
The following sections will describe these methods
The idea behind Constructing is to create new puzzles out of a set of pieces, try all possibilities and select the best found. To give the designer a great number of possibilities there are loooots of options here beginning with the design of the pieces ending with the method of how to solve the generated puzzle and how to save them.
The basis for the Burr Construction is a normal puzzle file containing some shapes. These shapes are then taken by the constructor and made into many puzzles that are solved.
So lets start with the piece generation. Each piece for the puzzle that needs to be generated may be assembled out of the following possibilities: a fixed piece, a list of pieces, a merger of 2 or more pieces, a piece containing variable cubes. The whole possibilities can be stacked on one another, so you can specify a list of 2 pieces where is piece is the merger of 3 pieces containing variable cubes... . All this can result in many possibilities, so be careful if you want a full analysis this side of eternity. Because of the complexity the program also might encounter the same puzzle several times. It will also be possible to let the program select puzzles out of the definition space by chance instead of doing a full analysis.
So what do the possibilities mean.
At the end of the process it is possible to define the type of connection that must exists inside the shapes, shapes that do not fulfil this requirement are dropped
All these possibilities may lead to a huge number of shapes, so be careful.
Now it is possible to select the way the puzzle is solved. This includes disassembly (if or if not), also reduction and parameters for reduction can be set
Finally it is possible to select the way the created puzzles are saved.
Save puzzles with solution(s) or without to save space
The puzzles are all saved into single directory, that must be selected
It would be nice to be able to stop the search process and continue later on, the parameters for the constructor should be saved into the source puzzle file (including the current state)
Destruction is in some way the inverse process of construction. Here you start with the finished assembly and you assign the outer voxels to certain pieces. Now the search process starts by assigning the not yet assigned cubes to pieces or to voids. All possibilities are tried and the best are kept.
Additionally it is possible to pose certain requirements on the piece shapes. You can say in which way the pieces must be connected (by faces, edges, corners), if the pieces need to be machine makable.
Also it is possible to do the whole process randomly instead of completely
This method has been pioneered by Dic Sonneveld. It is suitable to create extremely high level burrs. The algorithm works by adding cubes to pieces to prevent certain moves and hope that the puzzle will still be disassembable in a different way.