This version of Sudoku presents the usual 9 x 9 grid which is divided into nine 3 x 3 regions. The object of the game is to fill in the grid with numbers from 1 to 9, such that each row, column, and region contains one and only one instance of each number. To get you started, each game provides a number of “givens” — cells that already have their value filled in, and which you cannot change (indicated by a gray background). By default, this version randomly provides 36 givens — without any attempt to evenly distribute them across rows, columns, or regions.
When you enter a number in a cell, if the value conflicts with another cell in the same row, column, or region, then the background of both cells will be changed to red (unless the other cell is a given, in which case it remains gray). If a cell has two or more conflicts, a darker shade of red is used, up to four conflicts — beyond which point the color remains the same. If you try to enter a value in the cell other than the numbers 1 through 9, the cell is cleared. You can also clear the cell by pressing “delete”. When a cell is focused, the arrow keys can be used to navigate to the next cell in the specified direction, with wrap-around. Tab and Shift-tab follow the browser’s defined behavior for navigating input controls — the cells are defined in column order within rows, followed by the buttons.
The “Hint” button provides another given, randomly choosing an empty cell to fill in. If there are no empty cells remaining, an alert “Can’t fill in anything!” will be displayed.
The “Solve” button will reveal the entire puzzle. Note that it may be possible to solve a Sudoku in more than one way for the given values, but this button reveals the solution that was generated when the puzzle was created.
The “New” button generates a new puzzle.
You can use your browser’s “Zoom” or “Text size” functions to resize the puzzle.
This game was tested with the following browsers, and revealed a few minor issues where noted:
- Google Chrome 188.8.131.52
- Mozilla Firefox 3.0.6
- Safari 3.2.1
- Internet Explorer 7 & 8 – Sizing the browser small enough causes the cells to misalign. Corners on the container aren’t rounded.
- Opera 9.25 – border width differences used to delineate the regions are not honored, and neither are the rounded corners on the container.
- Opera Mini Simulator- same issues as Opera.
All styling for this game has been separated out into the file sudoku.css. You can modify this or provide your own stylesheet to change the effects for the following class names (note that more than one class name may be applied to an individual cell):
- sudoku – the container for the game (defined in sudoku.htm)
- sudokuButton – the control buttons
- sudokuCell – every cell in the puzzle
- sudokuGiven – a cell whose value is given
- sudokuCorrected – a cell whose value has been corrected by pressing the “Solve” button
- sudokuConflict0 – a cell whose value does not conflict with any other cells
- sudokuConflict1 – a cell whose value conflicts with one other cell
- sudokuConflict2 – a cell whose value conflicts with two other cells
- sudokuConflict3 – a cell whose value conflicts with three other cells
- sudokuConflict4 – a cell whose value conflicts with four or more cells
- sudokuRegionTop – a cell that is along the top edge of a region
- sudokuRegionBottom – a cell that is along the bottom edge of a region
- sudokuRegionLeft – a cell that is along the left edge of a region
- sudokuRegionRight – a cell that is along the right edge of a region
- info – the section that contains the link to this page
Using the code
This code has been designed to play well with others. It introduces only one global symbol, the name of the Sudoku function. However, it does use the jQuery framework (included in the download).
You can instantiate a Sudoku puzzle within any HTML element using the following code:
new Sudoku(elem, ngivens)
where elem is the DOM Element that will contain the puzzle, and ngivens is the optional number of givens to display (default = 36).
For every new puzzle, the script generates a completed solution and then randomly chooses the location of the givens to reveal. The algorithm for generating the puzzle can probably be made more elegant, but it works. The generatePuzzle() function is called recursively, beginning with the first cell and progressing to the last one. At each cell, the numbers 1 through 9 are attempted in a random order until no conflicts are found and we successfully recurse through the rest of the puzzle. Thus, if no solution can be found for a given combination up to this point, we backtrack through the recursion and try something else. This could certainly be optimized — for instance, we could keep track of unused values within the current row and only try those. But I’m not certain that the benefit of that optimization wouldn’t be offset by the additional array manipulation required. Ideally, this is a problem for graph theory — perhaps one day I’ll attack it from that angle.
For checking conflicts, the script maintains arrays of arrays: an array of rows, an array of columns, and an array of regions. Each element of these arrays is an array of DOM elements: the “input” element for each cell. Each of those elements also has back-linked properties for its row, column, and region. Thus, when the “onchange” event occurs for a cell, we can easily check it against the other cells that might conflict.
For more details, see the comments in the code.
UPDATED 2009-02-17 to add styling for cells corrected by “Solve”. Also added readme.txt and license.txt.