SOMA Crystal
SOMA News 5 Dec 2020

Bob Nungester's SOMA software - Updated and (NOW for Windows 10).

It is now 5/12 2020. Back in 2017.09.01 and 2000.01.12. I wrote about Bob Nungesters SOMA programs, including a compare program.
Telling you that this fine utility was outdated, because it stopped working on the Win 95 and following versions.
However - Today, Bob have been revisiting that program. Doing a number updates, and Now they all work in Windows 10 !!
Note that the text in this Newsletter is very much like the 2012.09.01 text, only revised in layout, and with additions regarding a change in the Dbl_Soma solver.
As well as for the new Win10 version of SomaComp.

Note: That the ZIP files may hold more than one version of the .exe software. It is advisable to use the version with the highest nr.
But previous versions are included for a limited period, should anyone 'for some reason' wish to refetch the one they have.

The Bob Nungester SOMA Programs

      DblSoma   V 2,5 (and 2,4 - 2,32 - 2,3)   [With Twist function]
    FindUnique   V2,1 (and 2,0)
    SomaPlus   V 2,3 (and 2,1 - 2,0)   [With Twist function]     SomaComp   V 2.3
    SOMA Library (ZIPdate.2020.12.05)
  Creating puzzles from figure ideas or checking if a certain idea is feasible. Then we need a program that will solve any SOMA figure.

With the DblSoma program we can solve any figure upto 14 puzzle pieces (2 complete SOMA sets)
Also add the "FindUnique" program to check the count of unique solutions to your new figure.
Playing with a SOMA+Plus set can sometimes also need to be solved electronically
The SomaPlus program will allow the use of all 11 pieces.
After having found your own wonderfull figure, the question often arises - "Is my figure new, or does it exist within the collection of over "5000 figures"

The SomaComp will allow you to check your figure's against the entire colection.
to compare with all existing figures
  The DblSoma program ZIP file.
The FindUnique program ZIP file. Utility program
Just extract the ZIP into it's own folder and run the programs.
The SomaPlus program ZIP file.
Extract the ZIP into it's own folder (or into the same as the other programs).
The SOMAcompare program ZIP file.
Extract the ZIP into it's own folder (or with the other programs).
The SOMA compare Library ZIP   (ZIP'ed at 2020.12.05)
The library hold all current figure .HTM files. (Unzip in same folder as SomaComp)
  Read more: About 'Dbl'       Read more: About 'Find' Read more: Here Read more: Here  
  These wonderfull programs are 'almost' intuitive.
However, here is a user manual to them all, by Bob Nungester:
Read it here: Bob's SOMA program Manual jun2021.pdf

      Note: Windows 10 in some PC's may object to running these programs due to lack of certificate.      
These programs are made privately by Bob, and not by a Microsoft registered compagny.
If you get a blue message box like "Windows protected your PC", and a button saying [Don't Run]
Then click on the link "More informations" (1) and select [Run anyway] (2)

This will tell Windows 10 that the program is ok, and Win10 will remember your approval.
In some cases, it may help to run the programs as Administrator. Often the first time is enough, but if not
    then select the Win Explorer - Properties - Compatibility, and select "Run this program as administrator"    
We do know that some users will fear viruses.
But this is the way Windows work, when private people try to share programs.

[to Top]  The Double SOMA solver

DblSoma V2.32
Programmed by: Bob Nungester

This Windows SOMA solving program:
Will read SOMA text files, accept manual figure entry, compute solution to
figures, show solution in color graphics, that you may view from 4 sides.
It will solve puzzles using from 1 to 14 SOMA pieces, thereby allowing
figures using upto 2 complete puzzles.
v2.2 can even find all possible solutions to a figure, and print them to a file
named 'Solutions.htm' and it will tell the number of solutions for that figure.

Unzip it in a free directory and run the program.
The DblSoma v2.32 program ZIP file.

Solving SOMA puzzles has upto now been performed, either by making the puzzle by hand (The REAL game), or by some solving program. (ie. The Australian Ross SOMA Solver program.)

DblSoma: For Windows fans, one of the best solvers has now been improved considerably.

PS: Note that:

Bob Nungester has now revisited his SOMA solver programs.
Originally Bob had a SOMA solver, a solver for double-SOMA, and a program to help me managing the huge amount of solutions on these SOMA pages.
However this time Bob took the Double solver, and expanded it so that this single program will now
solve figures ranging from one single SOMA piece upto the 14 pieces found in two complete SOMA puzzles.

At the same time Bob enhanced the user interface to handle the selection of these pieces

I think you will find most of the program functions quite intuitive.
You either load a figure file or start entering your own idea.
The entry is done by clicking in the lefthand field. It defaults to level 1 (the bottom layer)
you then click on the next level button to enter the next level. You will notice that the lower levels appear as shadows in your field
thereby making it much easier to place the next cubes in the right spot.
Having done your design, press [Solve] to see if it is solvable. And then "Do NOT forget to save your solution.
Many great figures have been lost because the puzzler forgot to make a note of it."

Once the solution is complete you can cycle through the pieces to display each one individually in the wireframe model.
 Index: Find all solutions

2020.12.05 If you use the "Find all solutions" option. Then all solutions of your figure will be written to a file named Solutions.htm
Thereafter you will get a solution information.

Example of the "Find all solutions"
  The solution information box states:
      4 solutions were written to the Solutions.htm file.
      With 2 symmetries the number of unique solutions is 2.

  And the file Solutions.htm contain the 4 possible solutions
 Index: Save a figure to a file

When you save, Your figure solution will be appended to the file you chose (or a new file is created if you select a new name).
If the figure is just entered, it will be saved with '*' for each cube.
If it is solved, the solution will be saved using the piece codes. First using the letters V, L, T, Z, A, B, P
and if a piece is used the second time in a figure, it will be saved using the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
  1. Enter the name of the file to hold your figure. (ie. if you enter 'NewFig' the file "NewFig.htm" will be used).
  2. In the popup window enter the figure number or name. (ie. enter '005X' to place "/SOMA005X" in the first line).
  3. Enter your descriptive text. (ie. 'My nice tower' will put the line ";My nice tower" as the second line).
The following lines hold the figure in our standard notation.
If you write your own solution files in a text editor (like Notepad) then be aware that it MUST have a blank line at the end.
The saved solution file:
   ;My 2 boxes

This image is from the version 2.1

Back in jan.2000 Bob Nungester of Cupertino (California, USA) got interested in SOMA again.
By digging out his Cube from the 1960's, and adding graphics to his old 1980 Apple II program. Bob has written a new Visual Basic 6 Solver program.
The programs uses recursive piece placement with an Island and Parity checking method.
The programs supports the .HTM file format of this Web site.
If you want to know more, then this is The creation story of WIN-SOMA.

Ps: Bob also examined some of the stranger figures, and Bob's 9 tall Hexominoes. are here.
Some of the Unsolvable Nonominoes may even be solved at double hight using two SOMA sets in The Double Nonominoes.

 Index: Twisting a figure 45'

Bob Nungester made an interesting addition to the two solvers DblSoma 2,5 and SomaPlus 2,3
These programs now support the "Twisting" method found by Bob Allen in 2000


Twisting is a strange thing, but mathematically explainable - check it out in the Newsletter 2000.02.09.

 Index: The Find Unique program

[to Top]  The Find Unique utility

FindUnique V21.01.17
Programmed by: Bob Nungester

The Find Unique utility:

This is a sorting utility that will clean the file your DblSoma created with 'all' the possible solutions to one figure,
It will remove rotations and mirrors and such, and generate a file with only the unique solutions.

VERSION 21.01.17
Unzip it in a free directory and run the program.
The FindUnique v21.01.17 utility program ZIP file.

FindUnique: DblSoma will allow you to save a "Solutions.htm" file that contain 'ALL' possible ways to solve your figure. (You may rename that file later if you want)
However in many figures, there are symmetries and rotations of pieces. Such solutions are normally considered to be identical. And they do not count in the number of different ways a figure can be made.
This of course is logical, but the problem is to find out, how many of all the possible ways that are really different from each other.
The FindUnique is an additional function to the DBLsoma program, that will scan all possible combinations in your figure file.
The file you get when you 'Tick' the "Find all solutions and..." in the DblSoma program.
It will check rotations and mirroring etc. and then output a new file, using the same filename, but with "Unique" in the front. ie."UniqueSolutions.htm"

 Index: The SOMAplus program

[to Top]  The SOMA+Plus solver

SomaPlus V2.0 february 2021
Programmed by: Bob Nungester

The Soma+Plus Windows solving program:

In my Newsletter 2000.08.14 I describe the SOMA+Plus puzzle, using 11 pieces (of which 7 are the SOMA set)
Testing these figures can of couse be somewhat difficult.
But Bob has taken a slightly older version of his solver (2002 V1.1) and implemented a SOMA+Plus solver in it.
Although it does not have all the new features, it's still a great program for checking solvability of a SOMA+Plus figure.
Obs: SOMA+ is also known as the Herzberg Quader.

Unzip it in a free directory and run the program.
The SomaPlus v2.0 program ZIP file.

 Index: What is SOMAplus/Herzberger Quader
Puzzling SOMA+Plus is a great game. The 11 pieces are ALL the possible combinations of 2, 3, 4 cubes. The single cube is left out because it is an entity on its own.
And ... Of course also because the addition of that single cube would make a total of 41 cubes.
41 being prime number mean that it cannot be divided by any other number than itself.
Which again mean that we could not make any kind of box (ie. of 2x4x5, nor 2x2x10)

By the way, if you seek the "Answer to everything" you will find that it resides as " between two prime numbers, one of which is 41 ;-)

This image is an edited photo.
So the answer to your question - Where can I buy SOMA+Plus ?
I fear you will have to make it yourself.
I have 'unfortunately' never seen anyone that produce the SOMA+Plus.

But: I really would have loved to own a nice SOMA+Plus in rosewood, made of 40 1-inch cubes.

Check out my Newsletter 2000.08.14 for SOMA+Plus puzzle.

 Index: The SOMA Compare program

[to Top]  The SOMA Compare program

Programmed by: Bob Nungester

The Windows SOMA COMPARE program:

This program will compare your figure descrption with the combined library of registered figures.
And help you to determine if your figure has been made by others.

This version will run on Windows 10.

Unzip it in a free directory and run the program.
The SomaCompare v2.3 program ZIP file.
The SOMA compare Library ZIP file   ZIPdate.2020.12.05
The library hold all current figure .HTM files. (Unzip in same folder as SomaComp)

What it does.

Sometimes, when a new figure has been assembled we start wondering if this has been done by someone else.
Until now, this rquired a tedious work of flipping through all the drawings of figure collections on this website.
Well to be honest, only a few did that for a few important figures.

Now, the situation has changed, Bob Nungester has taken and old program he made for me back in year 2000. And changed it so that it now will run in the more limited environment of Windows 10.
So if you have entered your SOMA figure in the DblSOMA program and saved it (Or written it by hand in the text notepad, which is quite do'able) Then you may now let the SomaComp program scan all the figure files, to check if it exist already.
If it does, then you will get a list of occurrences, pointing at the figure numbers and the file holding it.

If your own figure file hold more than one figure, then they will all be tried against the collection.
Should your figure be unique - then it will appear at a list, telling you so.

Obs: You are every welcome to share your figures with me, and I will respond.
But Unfortunately I do not post individual figures anymore. The time it took to handle became too much. The collection has become so big, that the purpose of adding new figures seem endless.
Though, of course, if I receive figures that are especially pretty. Or show some property (like folding options, and such) then there may be the odd figure that will be added.
In a few cases of interesting new discoveries where the puzzler he/she agree to write some text that I can use on the web. Then this can be used.
But, I regret, my time to update the SOMA website has become more limited the latest years (We now have december 2020).
Now - back to the SomaCompare program:

This program will check files for duplicate Soma figures. The interface allows the user to select one file and then the program checks all other files in the same directory against each figure in the selected file.
It works for any figure size up to 54 cubes.
It checks each of the 48 possible orientations (same as symmetries) The symmetry number listed for each figure shows the transformation that will make the duplicate figure the same as this figure.

Each symmetry maps points from X, Y, Z to some other value. For example, a 90 degree clockwise rotation about the X axis maps each X, Y, Z to X, -Z, Y (symmetry #11). Listed below are the 48 symmetries:

1  X, Y, Z   9  X, Z, Y  17  Y, X, Z  25  Y, Z, X  33  Z, X, Y  41  Z, Y, X
2  X, Y,-Z  10  X, Z,-Y  18  Y, X,-Z  26  Y, Z,-X  34  Z, X,-Y  42  Z, Y,-X
3  X,-Y, Z  11  X,-Z, Y  19  Y,-X, Z  27  Y,-Z, X  35  Z,-X, Y  43  Z,-Y, X
4  X,-Y,-Z  12  X,-Z,-Y  20  Y,-X,-Z  28  Y,-Z,-X  36  Z,-X,-Y  44  Z,-Y,-X
5 -X, Y, Z  13 -X, Z, Y  21 -Y, X, Z  29 -Y, Z, X  37 -Z, X, Y  45 -Z, Y, X
6 -X, Y,-Z  14 -X, Z,-Y  22 -Y, X,-Z  30 -Y, Z,-X  38 -Z, X,-Y  46 -Z, Y,-X
7 -X,-Y, Z  15 -X,-Z, Y  23 -Y,-X, Z  31 -Y,-Z, X  39 -Z,-X, Y  47 -Z,-Y, X
8 -X,-Y,-Z  16 -X,-Z,-Y  24 -Y,-X,-Z  32 -Y,-Z,-X  40 -Z,-X,-Y  48 -Z,-Y,-X

This program was originally written in VB3, for running in Windows 3.1 or later.
This month of december 2020 Bob has upgradet it, to work on Windows 10 - even on 64 bit machines.

PS: The program is freeware.