Mouse Escapes Maze

Voice Card  -  Volume 4  -  John Card Number 30  -  Sun, Feb 5, 1989 5:33 PM

There is no such thing as programming without debugging, and most bugs are about as entertaining as a broken sewer line. But occasionally bugs can be wild and wacky and, after some time has passed, humorous.

Such a bug occurred while I was putting the final touches on this issue's installment of Mr. Wizard. For my own amusement I added a button that, when pushed, caused a simulated mouse to wander completely at random through the Cube of Crete maze. This can be done, in essence, with a single HyperTalk command: "Click at the location of ANY button." Since each room in the maze contains a button for each exit, this command, when used from inside a repeat loop, will simulate random motion.

If you have ventured into the maze yourself, you can well imagine the cacophony of animal noises that results. When the mouse began running I stretched out on the couch and listened to its progress. (Once you get used to it you can easily visualize the paths taken by listening to the mooing, buzzing, howling, etc.)

When the sounds suddenly stopped I wandered back to the computer screen to see what happened. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a mouse on the rampage, moving through Archipelago at high speed!

Somehow the little bugger had broken through the exit and pushed the Archipelago button. Once there he began pushing buttons at random. By the time I caught up with him he had entered the voice volumes, worked his way back to volume two, and was gazing fondly at Paul's etiquette card.

When you think about it, the Archipelago system is itself a vast maze, with each card a room and each button an exit. The Cube of Crete is really a maze within a maze. But never fear; I have trapped the guilty mouse and he will not return!