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Creating Shapes

The very first step is to draw the shapes that can be used in your puzzle design. All the tools to do so are just below the Shapes caption (Figure EntitiesTab). Clicking the New button starts a completely new shape with an empty grid, while Copy allows you to edit a previously entered shape without destroying the first. Obsolete and redundant shapes can be discarded with the Delete button.

All shapes are identified with an 'Sx' prefix. This prefix serves as a unique identifier for the shape throughout the GUI and cannot be removed or altered, but Label allows you to add a more meaningful name. Note that on the status line the shapes will be referred to only by their prefixes.

By clicking an identifier in the list, the shape becomes selected and ready to be edited. Also a short description of that shape appears on the status line. The currently selected shape is indicated with a white border around its identifier in the shapes list.

The buttons with the arrows pointing left and right allow you to change the position of the shape in the list. The first one moves the selected shape toward the front of the list, whereas the other button moves the shape toward the end of the list. Note that rearranging shapes will cause their prefix to change but not the additional name.

Unlike the pieces in PUZZLESOLVER3D, shapes don't need to be part of the puzzle. This means that you can build a file that contains a vast number of shapes, e.g. all 59 notchable six-piece burr pieces, of which you assign only 6 to the pieces of your puzzle design.

Finally, the shapes have an additional parameter: the weight. This value is used when constructing the disassembly animations. When the disassembler has found 2 groups of pieces that can be moved against each other it needs to decide which group to actually move and which to keep where it is. This decision can be influenced by the weight. The program searches the maximum weight in both groups and the one group that has the bigger maximum weight will be kept in place and the other group will be moved. If both groups have the same maximum weight the group with the smaller number of pieces will be used.

Have a look at the chapter about optimizing the disassembly animation.

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