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Monday, June 20, 2011

Trench Builder

To complement the previous post about the Trench System I would like to share with you a video of a small program that I wrote at the time that I was building the Trench System to help me visualize all the possible trench configurations, given a set of available trench modules and the desired width of the system. Back then, I used this information to decide how many trench modules of each type to build and, just recently, I replaced the temporary images for actual pictures of the trench modules. The program also allows you to order the available pieces and specify how many of each you have, which in turn influences the order in which the resulting configurations will be 'discovered'. The program will pause a configurable amount of time (1 sec for this video) between each solution. I only recorded about a minute of the program's execution, but the program can actually run for hours and hours. Notice that there is also a setting to display configurations that end up leading to a 'dead end', meaning that some pieces remain with open connectors, and therefore the solution is not valid. Selecting that option makes the display a lot more interactive, but it also slows down the program, so I only turned it on during a portion of the video. If I ever find the time I might rewrite it for the web and let you play with it first hand. Even if you are just considering a hypothetical trench system I still find it fairly entertaining to watch.

Follow this link to watch the Trench Builder video.

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