Chapter 2. Hunt the Wumpus


This chapter covers

  • Writing your first real program
  • How programs work
  • Some easy ways to organize programs

Now that you have Python set up and installed and know how to enter and run a test program, let’s get started with writing a real one. I’ll begin by explaining a few of Python’s basic features, and then you’ll create a simple text-based adventure game called Hunt the Wumpus.

As you progress through the chapter, you’ll add features to your game, building on the initial version. This is how most programmers (including the author) learned to program: learn just enough about the language to be able to write a simple program, and then build up from there. In order to do that, you need more knowledge—but you only need to learn a little bit more to be able to make small additions to your program. Repeat the process of adding small features a few more times, and you’ll have a program that you couldn’t have created in one sitting. Along the way, you’ll have learned a lot about the programming language.

In this chapter, you’ll experience the early days of programming first hand, as you write your own version of Hunt the Wumpus. The text-based interface is ideal for your first program because you only need to know two simple statements to handle all of your input and output. Because all of your input will be strings, the logic of your program is straightforward and you won’t need to learn a lot to start being productive.

What’s a program?

Your first program

Experimenting with your program

Making the caves

Fixing a more subtle bug

Clean up your code with functions!

Fixing the wumpus

Bows and arrows

More atmosphere

Where to from here?