Hi Hayden,

Ah, I see. Well, as a matter of fact arrays are very useful. In fact,
I'd go as far as to say a programmer that doesn't understand and can't
use arrays can't program anything very productive as software such as
games depend heavily on the use of arrays to keep track of large
amounts of data. They are, perhaps, one of the most importantconcepts
to master in computer programming. Here is a few practical examples of
using arrays in games.

In Mysteries of the Ancients did you ever wonder how the game keeps
track of if Angela is walking/running on stone, dirt, ledges, chasms,
etc? It is very simple really. The entire game level is loaded into a
large array, and every time Angela takes a step the WalkLeft() and
WalkRight() function checks the array to see if the next step is a
chasm, lava pit, fire pit, or if the surface has changed from stone
floor to a crumbling ledge, etc. If the array has a wall there the
player stops moving and can't move forward. There are other ways to do
collision detection mathematically, but an array is the most basic and
most practical way to keep track of a large map like that.

Many board games like Ches also use arrays. To create a Chess board
you would define an 8 by 8 2d array and then populate the board with
the game pieces. Instead of checking a game pieces location with every
other piece on the board manually you can just check the array if
there is something in your way. For example, doing something like
piece = board[4][4]
will return the piece if any that would be located at (4, 4).Of
course, there is another way to do this and it would be a tedious task
of checking the location of all 32 game pieces and see if any of them
is located at (4, 4) when you can simplify that just by using an array
as shown above.

As I said just about every board game I can think of would use an
array to store information like this. In Monopoly you might use an
array/list to keep track of the name of each square.

board = ["Go",
"Mediterranean Avenue",
"Income Tax",
"Baltic Avenue",
"Reeding Railroad"}

The advantage of an array or list here would be huge. Instead of
having to manually write 32 if statements to return the name of each
and every square you can simply populate an array with those names and
get the name of the square just by passing it the player's location on
the board
print "You are at " + board[x] + ".\n"
would print out the name of the square. If you have multiple squares
of the same type you can handle them with one if statement instead of
multiple if statements like this.

if board[x] == "Chanse":
#End if

Without the array here you would have to check each chanse square
individually like this.

if x == 5:
#End if
if x == 25:
#End if

As you can see for a very large program an array would save large
amounts of time in programming and save you from many headaches. With
an array here you could simplify something as determining if the
player is on a chance square by seeing if the location returns that
type rather than going around the entire board checking the board
square by square.

Anyway, I'm glad you braught this issue up. One of the things I'm
trying to do with the tutorial as well as creating sample games in
Python is to try and get some of the key concepts of programming
explained in language perhaps the common person can understand. I've
always had a nack for things like programming and pick up concepts
rather easily. Other people, such as yourself, are completely baffled
by concepts and ideas that are crystal clear to me. One reason I think
that is because most programmers like other computer geeks just aren't
able to speak plane English without tossing in technical termonology
and advanced concepts that the common person just doesn't understand,
and in my experience most people just aren't very good math students.

For example, a lot of the concepts and terminology in programming such
as variables, integers, floats, arrays, etc are taken right out of
your high school Algebra textbook. Sheesh, I learned about variables,
arrays, floating point numbers, etc all by the ninth grade. Wehn i
talk to the common person out there they are like "what's that?"

It is one of those moments you want to grab the person and ask them
"where on earth were you in math class when the teacher was teaching
this stuff too you?"  Of course, the  answer is pretty simple. They
probably never understood it back then, or was too busy getting
stoned, smoking pot, or day dreaming than to care about getting an
education in higher mathematics. Whatever the case I've discovered in
order to explain programming we litterally have to take them back to
ninth grade and recover some math concepts like what is a variable,
and how to use them such as
c = a+b
which is practically the first thing you learn in high school Algebra,
and is essentual for learning programming. Programming is based on the
asumption you have had some Algebra, and for games like TDV some trig
and calculous  would go a long way to making the game operate
correctly. If you don't have those  fundimental concepts in place
before programming it is no wonder it doesn't make sense.


On 11/27/10, Hayden Presley <hdpres...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> What I'm not seeing is, at least with arrays, when they're that useful?
> Consider if I make an array. Then, I have to assign each index a value
> anyway, no?
> Best Regards,
> Hayden

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