As soon as any result is found, the solutions list becomes available on the Solutions panel and the 3-D viewer shows the first solution in the list. Note that subsequent solutions are simply added to that list, and that they can get sorted by the total number of moves (in case disassembly was requested) after the search is completed. All solutions that have been found can be inspected at any time, this does not interfere with the ongoing solving process. But completing the search and resetting the scrollbar for browsing the solutions may be needed to show the solutions properly ordered.
This panel has four components:
By moving the slider of the top scrollbar (Solution),
any solution from the list can be selected as is indicated by its
number in the text box left of the it. Above the scrollbar there is an
indication of the total number of solutions in the list. When the
scrollbar is active it can also be controlled by the
[Right] cursor keys. Keep in mind that the number of
solutions in the list may be different from the real number of
solutions. The correct number of solutions for the problem is shown in
the solver progress section.
The second scrollbar (Move) also has a text box on the
left, this time reflecting the stage of disassembly (i.e. the number of
moves executed in the disassembling process) of the currently selected
solution. Moving the slider to the right will animate the disassembly,
moving it to the left will reassemble the pieces in the 3-D viewer.
Again, when activated the scrollbar can be controlled by the
[Right] cursor keys. Above this scrollbar
is shown the total number of moves required for the
disassembly, followed by the level(s) of the selected solution. Note
that this scrollbar is visible only for solutions that have disassembly
The position of the Move scrollbar isn't affected by selecting any other solution, and thus allows easily comparing the different solutions at a particular stage in the disassembly process.
Below the Move scrollbar are 2 fields that show you 2 numbers associated with the currently selected solution. The first is the assembly number and the second is the solution number. Both numbers define when a solution was found. The first assembly found gets assembly number one. But for example that one might not be disassembable so it gets thrown away. The second assembly found gets assembly number two, and if it is also disassembable it gets solution number 1. So you will see assembly 2 and solution 1 in these 2 fields for the given example.
When BURRTOOLS generates the assembly animation it tries to optimize the piece movement by always moving as few pieces as possible. So if you have a puzzle made out of 7 pieces and in one move a group needs to move in one direction BURRTOOLS will check if that group contains at most 3 pieces. If so it will move those 3 pieces in the required direction. If it finds though that there are more than 3 pieces it will rather move the other smaller group in the opposite direction.
This "smallest group selection" can be overwritten with the weight parameter of shapes. Each weight has a weight attached. Normally this weight is 1. Now BURRTOOLS will always look for the group containing the shape with the biggest weight and that group will stay put while the other group will move disregarding the number of pieces in those groups.
This is useful if you have box packing puzzles. When generating disassembly animations for those puzzles you normally want the box to not move while the pieces inside the box move around. Simply give the box a weight of 2 and leave the weight of the pieces as 1 and you will have a rock solid box.
To see examples of this look at the Pelikan Puzzle or Al Packino from the examples.
The big button group below the Solution selector and animator lets you modify the solutions. They are activated only when no solver is running.
With the buttons in the first row you can re-sort the solutions by the same criteria as you can select for the solver. You can sort them in the order they were found (unsorted) or by level or by sum of moves to completely disassemble and additionally be the pieces that are used in the solution.
Sorting by pieces means that the solutions using the same pieces are next to each other in the list, and solutions using the first pieces come in the beginning of the list while solutions using the last pieces in the problem are at the end.
The second row of buttons allows the deletion of certain solutions from the list.
The last row of buttons allow the addition or removal of disassemblies to the list of puzzles.
In the list at the bottom of the Solutions panel, all pieces used in the problem are represented by their identifier. Instances of multipieces have a counter added to their prefix which now takes the form 'Sx.n' and their default colour may be slightly modified to tell them apart.
By clicking an identifier, the visibility state of that particular piece is altered in the 3-D viewer. Each piece can have three states: visible, outlined, or invisible. Clicking an identifier repeatedly just cycles through these states and also alters the way the identifiers are depicted in the list. These features are very useful in designs for which the pieces are packed in a box, since the box would hide most of the action that is going on inside (e.g. AL PACKINO, → Appendix Examples). Also they are very useful for inspecting the interaction of a few pieces and allow comparison between different solutions, as the visibility states remain invariant in selecting solutions.
Additionally it is possible to set the visibility state of a piece
to invisible by pressing
[Shift] and then clicking onto
the piece in the 3-D viewer. This is handy when using custom colours
and the default colour is not visible or when there are many pieces and
the distinction by colour becomes hard.
By default the pieces that become separated from the rest gradually fade out during the final move. Sometimes this is unwanted as it may hinder a clear view on what's going on. This can be avoided by unchecking Fade Out Pieces on the options window (activated through Config on the menu bar).
As not all pieces are used in all solutions, the list of pieces shows only the names of those pieces that are really used in the currently selected assembly. All other boxes become very small and contain no name. This should help to quickly find out which pieces are used and which piece on screen corresponds to what item in the piece visibility selector.