Below are some tips and tricks that can be useful to simplify your
designs, speed up the designing and/or solving process, or can be used
as workarounds for some limitations of BURRTOOLS. We encourage the
reader to share his own tips and tricks with us so that we can
incorporate them in a future update of this document.
Voxel State and Size Tips
- State and Solver Speed
- The greater the proportion of variable voxels in the result shape,
the slower the solver will run. Also, the number of pieces has an
impact on the solving time. Hence, replacing variable voxels with empty
spaces for known holes in the puzzle is to be considered. Also, leaving
out a piece in complex packing puzzles (and making its position empty
in the result) can reduce the solving time considerably.
- Size and Solver Speed
- The size of the shapes has an effect on the solving speed, since
bigger shapes inevitably lead to more possibilities: for a 1x1x1 cube
there's only one possible placement in a 2x2x2 grid (excluding
symmetries), but for a 2x2x2 cube there are four of them in a 4x4x4
grid. So trying to minimise all shapes with the 1:1 tool
before taking the puzzle to the solver is highly recommended for
- Complete sets
- Often complete sets of pieces (e.g. the hexacubes in HAUBRICH'S
CUBE) can be easily made by repeatedly copying the current shape and
editing it with the properties of left and right clicking.
- A detailed treatment of some symmetry issues will be added to the
next update of this document.
- Colouring Shapes
- Colouring shapes as a whole is easily done with the brush tool in
combination with the rectangle dragging style and z-columns switched
- Aesthetic Colours
- When colours are used solely for aesthetic reasons, make sure that
the result shape has only the default colour. This will
prevent having to set a lot of constraint conditions.
- One-Sided Polyominoes
- Polyominoes can be made one-sided by having them two layers thick
and adding different constraint colours to the two layers. The
constraint settings (→
ColourConstraints) should simply be a 'one-to-one' relationship.
- Hiding Pieces
- For puzzles in which the goal is to hide a certain piece on the
inside of the assembly (e.g. Trevor Wood's WOODWORM), two
constraint colours should be used in the result shape: one for the
exterior and one for the voxels on the inside and one for those on the
outside. Also colour the piece that must be hidden with the 'inside'
colour, and apply the 'outside' colour to all other pieces. The
constraint settings (→
ColourConstraints) must then be such that the piece to be hidden is
allowed to go only into the 'inside' colour, while the other pieces may
go into either colour.
- Marks On Shapes
- Colours can also be helpful to give orientation on pieces. When
trying to add additional voxels to a given shape add them with a new
constraint colour. This way you will easily find it again. Once
everything is done remove the colour from the colour list and the marks
will be gone as well.
Also having marks on the pieces will ease orientation between the
transformed piece in the solution and the original piece in the piece
Finally marks will help other people understanding how pieces are made.
If you generate pieces by merging 2 shapes you could colourize one
shape so that other people quickly see the construction rule (see the
Broken Sticks puzzle in the examples