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4.16: Data Structures and 2D Lists

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    mainBoard = getRandomizedBoard()
    revealedBoxes = generateRevealedBoxesData(False) 

    The getRandomizedBoard() function returns a data structure that represents the state of the board. The generateRevealedBoxesData() function returns a data structure that represents which boxes are covered, respectively. The return values of these functions are two dimensional (2D) lists, or lists of lists. A list of lists of lists of values would be a 3D list. Another word for two or more dimensional lists is a multidimensional list.

    If we have a list value stored in a variable named spam, we could access a value in that list with the square brackets, such as spam[2] to retrieve the third value in the list. If the value at spam[2] is itself a list, then we could use another set of square brackets to retrieve a value in that list. This would look like, for example, spam[2][4], which would retrieve the fifth value in the list that is the third value in spam. Using the this notation of lists of lists makes it easy to map a 2D board to a 2D list value. Since the mainBoard variable will store icons in it, if we wanted to get the icon on the board at the position (4, 5) then we could just use the expression mainBoard[4][5]. Since the icons themselves are stored as two-item tuples with the shape and color, the complete data structure is a list of list of two-item tuples. Whew!

    Here’s an small example. Say the board looked like this:

    Figure 17

    The corresponding data structure would be:


    (If your book is in black and white, you can see a color version of the above picture at You’ll notice that mainBoard[x][y] will correspond to the icon at the (x, y) coordinate on the board.

    Meanwhile, the "revealed boxes" data structure is also a 2D list, except instead of two-item tuples like the board data structure, it has Boolean values: True if the box at that x, y coordinate is revealed, and False if it is covered up. Passing False to the generateRevealedBoxesData() function sets all of the Boolean values to False. (This function is explained in detail later.)

    These two data structures are used to keep track of the state of the game board.

    This page titled 4.16: Data Structures and 2D Lists is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Al Sweigart via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.