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Variables
Reusing Values in Variables

One reason we use variables is that they allow us to easily reuse values in different parts of our code.

When we reuse a value, it will appear in multiple places in our code. Re-typing that value becomes tedious, which leads to errors, and without a variable name, it becomes unclear as to what the value represents. It may also be unclear as to what that value is meant to represent.

Let’s take a look at the following piece of code. Here we have a number that we reuse in order to make some calculations:

847595593392818109495 847595593392818109495 * 2 847595593392818109495 / 4

Rather than writing the same number over and over again, we can save it to a variable named my_number:

my_number = 847595593392818109495 my_number * 2 my_number / 4

You may be thinking, “But what if my variable name is longer than the value it stores? What’s the point of a variable?”

When we use a value without assigning it to a variable, that’s known as hardcoding. While it’s sometimes faster to initially hardcode values in your program, in the long run you’ll run into trouble — especially if you need to change what those values are.

Instructions

The last time we built our game, we repeated ourselves a lot. Instead of writing out the pattern for each tile, let’s save the types of terrain we want to use to a set of variables that we can use across the board.

Replicate the previous design by making each variable equal to one of the following:

  • grass
  • rocks
  • forest

As you enter your choices, what do you notice about the board that changes?

How was this process different from the last exercise? Did variables make this process more efficient?

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