# Re: [NTLK] Soduko on Newton

From: John Charlton (johncharlton_at_mac.com)
Date: Sun Jun 19 2005 - 22:52:56 PDT

I've had a look at this with that very thought in mind, and there are
several ways to do it.

It would be fairly easy to write a 'helper' program where you could
enter a puzzle, lock down those cells, then fill in the rest. From
there you could add a few features such as taking back moves (that's
one of the worst things about solving these puzzles, working your way
back to where you made a mistake), and eliminating illegal moves. A
simple way to do this would be with a keyboard which grayed out those
numbers which had been used in a column or row. Doing that much would
be useful to a puzzle solver and a good starter challenge for a
budding NewtonScript programmer.

The next step would be creating puzzles, and that's a tricky one. An
interesting puzzle has twists and turns and dead ends, and that's a
hard thing for a program to do. However, there's a good Java
implementation that I found with source code, which would be a start
(http://act365.com/sudoku). However, once I found a solver the game
kind of lost its appeal. Certainly once you understand the source and
the methods that are used to solve a game it becomes a little
mechanical. Creating the algorithms and writing the code is the sort
of puzzle I like.

In order to create puzzles (at least, as far as I've understood the
source) you need to be able to solve them too (to ensure unique
solutions) so adding that wouldn't be hard.

For those of you who don't know what we're talking about Soduko (or
Sudoku, I'm always mixing them up) is a simple yet elegant puzzle
game, typically a 9x9 grid divided into nine 3x3 boxes. Into each
cell you must write the numbers from 1-9 such that each number occurs
only once in each column, row, and 3x3 box. You're given an initial
arrangement of numbers and must use logic to work the rest out. It's
become all the rage in the U.K. I'm told.

Sadly I haven't got any time for this, still trying to finish the
last details on another game that's been sitting untouched now for
four months. Must pay the bills (and Newton shareware isn't going to
do that anymore!)

jc

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