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It is worth emphasizing again that we can make this change now without even checking
whether anything will break elsewhere. Because we have changed only private aspects of the
Room class, which, by definition, cannot be used in other classes, this change does not impact
on other classes. The interface remains unchanged.
A by-product of this change is that our Room class is now even shorter. Instead of listing four
separate variables, we have only one. In addition, the getExit method is considerably simplified.
Recall that the original aim that set off this series of changes was to make it easier to add the two
new possible exits in the up and down direction. This has already become a lot easier. Because we
now use a HashMap to store exits, storing these two additional directions will work without any
change. We can also obtain the exit information via the getExit method without any problem.
The only place where knowledge about the four existing exits ( north , east , south , west ) is still
coded into the source is in the setExits method. This is the last part that needs improvement.
At the moment, the method's signature is
public void setExits(Room north, Room east, Room south, Room west)
This method is part of the interface of the Room class, so any change we make to it will
inevitably affect some other classes by virtue of coupling. It is worth noting that we can never
completely decouple the classes in an application; otherwise objects of different classes would
not be able to interact with one another. Rather, we try to keep the degree of coupling as low as
possible. If we have to make a change to setExits anyway, to accommodate additional direc-
tions, then our preferred solution is to replace it entirely with this method:
* Define an exit from this room.
* @param direction The direction of the exit.
* @param neighbor The room in the given direction.
public void setExit(String direction, Room neighbor)
exits.put(direction, neighbor);
Now, the exits of this room can be set one exit at a time, and any direction can be used for an
exit. In the Game class, the change that results from modifying the interface of Room is as fol-
lows. Instead of writing
lab.setExits(outside, office, null, null);
we now write
lab.setExit("north", outside);
lab.setExit("east", office);
We have now completely removed the restriction from Room that it can store only four exits.
The Room class is now ready to store up and down exits, as well as any other direction you
might think of (northwest, southeast, etc.).
Exercise 6.8 Implement the changes described in this section in your own zuul project.
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