Mainly destined for kids and youths, this module is the first of H.urna games dedicated to learn programming without having to write any line of code. Players will instead drag blocks to tell our mascotte Globo how to escape the mazes.

While professional programmers create softwares by writing lines of code for a computer to interpret, you get started here with a visual programming tool you can freely play with. And don't worry, this game is progressive so you can learn programming concepts step-by-step.


Still : the difficulty may be interesting even for those who usually do programming ; )

Below is a small passage about mazes and their origins, but you may also directly jump to the game section to keep it straight.

Why do we enjoy so much mazes?

“Your mind is a walled garden. Even death cannot touch the flowers blooming there.”
(Ford - Westworld)

For thousands of years, humans have been fascinated by mazes and labyrinths : they built them, told stories about them, created games and puzzles around them, and even studied animal comportments within them.

Please note that maze and labyrinth does not have the same meaning. Compared to mazes there are no tricks or dead ends on labyrinths : they have a single circuitous path instead (they are unicursal) and are most often used for relaxation, meditation or spirituality.


According to ancient Greek legend, the original maze was built by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarusto to house the Minotaur : a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. The legend further tell that Daedalus had so cunningly made the maze, he could barely escape it after the construction.

From the mythological mazes of Ancient Greece to the massive vegetation / ice / stage / corn mazes of the 21st century, here is 3 of the main reasons why we think mazes are so attracting.

Entertaining

Maze are confusing and comforting at the same time : we are lost, but heading toward an existing exit. It makes it very entertaining and addictive.

Since the 16th century, mazes were meant to entertain, as well as to provide private, out-of-the-way places for secret meetings. Nowadays, they are in all forms and you may find them everywhere : on almost all of the cereal boxes, at amusement parks (e.g. Alice in Wonderland, Mirror labyrinth at the fair), in board games (e.g. the game that's literally named "Labyrinth"), in video games (almost in all of them), in movies (e.g. the film that's literally named "Labyrinth") etc.

Educative

Children seem to have an almost immediate and deep natural connection with mazes. They will take on the challenge of almost any maze. Maze provides the experience of problem solving while kiddos see it as a game. Instead of hurt feelings or embarrassment a classical problem may have, mazes assist anyone to calm down, make transitions, and focus.

Mazes particularly help children to develop skills such as:
- Planning and brainstorming various strategies.
- Getting spatial representation and developing orientation.
- Scanning complex environment and memorizing paths.
- Relaxing.

Spiritual

There is love in the labyrinth
There is darkness in the labyrinth
The exit may not be where you think it is

We all are on a path. The labyrinth is a metaphor for life's journey; a symbol that creates a sacred space and place that takes us out of our ego to that which is within. Ancient labyrinths were designed to be serene and introspective. In some lands, young men would walk through a labyrinth as part of their initiation into adulthood.

Unicursal labyrinth patterns like the “Itoi” (“Man in the Maze”) above may represents life's cycles, eternal motion, and the choices we are confronted with. The right choices lead us to a point of harmony with all things, no matter how hard or long the road taken. At the center of the maze is a circle, which stands for death. Death is not the exit, but the beginning of a new journey and, thus, to a new cycle.

Oh my Glob !
Globo was travelling across some dimensions when he got stuck within its inner mazes !!
We told him to avoid the loop, but it couldn’t help.
Now… We have to connect and guide him back to its capsule.

Drag block instruction on the right panel to tell Globo what to do to join its blue capsule without hitting a wall. Remember : a program is just a series of instructions that tells a computer what to do.


There is 3 possible outcomes Globo may encounter with your instructions: Globo gets to the capsule, Globo did not reach the goal or Globo hit a wall.
For the two last cases: retry by changing your blocks and click on play.

You are now ready to tackle the challenges and save Globo.

Below are the descriptions and programming concepts covered by each level. You will also find the a solution for each of them.

Levels 1 - 2 : Simple instructions

Those are the warm-up levels, here you can discover and play with the blocks interface. Still, the second level start to require some spatial representation and the relativity of an instruction (e.g. turning left depends on the current direction of Globo).

Level 1 - Help Globo going to the capsule!

Use only 2 blocks to instruct Globo to go straight to the goal.


Level 2 - Life isn't always a straight path

Use the turning block to tell Globo to turn left or right.


Levels 3 - 5 : Loop

Those levels introduce the concept of 'Loop’ : what make programming so convenient when we want to repeat the same operation any number of times. Use here the "repeat-until" block to create a loop. Put instruction blocks inside the loop, they will be executed on each run (or iteration) through the loop. The loop condition is here set to stop only once the goal is reached.

Level 3 - Minimize your effort

Reach the end of this path using only two blocks. Use the 'repeat-until' block to run other blocks more than once.


Level 4 - Minimize your effort - Part II

You can fit more than one block inside a 'repeat' block.
5 blocks are needed to solve this level.


Level 5 - Minimize your effort - Final Part

Be careful : inside a 'repeat-until' block, the condition is tested only at the beginning of each iteration (of the loop). You don't need to put all your code in the loop.
6 blocks needed for this one.


Levels 6 - 9 : Conditions

Until now you've programmed a series of instructions that get executed no matter what. But sometimes, you only want to do something only when a certain condition is true. For instance you arrive at your house, if your door is close, you will have to open it to enter in your house.

This is the same with programming, you have to tell the computer what to do depending on the conditions (variables). You will guide Globo using if blocks to tell him to check some condition before taking an action.

Level 6 - Conditional blocks - Part I

The if-block in this game lets you check if there's a path in a certain direction. Use this block to turn when needed!


Level 7 - Conditional blocks - Part II

So close and so far... Sometimes the maze seems more complicated while the logic behind a solution stay the same.


Level 8 - Conditional blocks - Part III

Can you solve this challenge with 6 blocks to spare? You can use more than one if-block within the loop; then be careful with the order of your instructions : it has its importance.


Level 9 - Conditional blocks - Final Part (Advanced Player)

If-Else, a new conditional block : Sometimes you want to take one actions when a condition is true, and otherwise do something else. For instance, this time you are in the front of your house which is locked. If you got the keys you may unlock it to enter, but otherwise (else) you could ring the bell hoping someone could unlock it for you.

Note: It's important to set the condition order carefully since the program always checks the "if" condition first. If it's true, it will always skip the else statement.

Even if it’s look much more complicated, there is still 6 blocks needed for this one.


Level 10 - Bonus level (Advanced Player)

The bonus level is for advanced user, but is very funny and not that difficult in the end. Do not hesitate to change the animation speed to make it quicker ;)

Since childhood, I have always heard that to get out of any maze I should always walk with my right hand on the wall. This level is the perfect one to test this assumption, and trust me, it’s very fun to visualize. This strategy is best-known as ‘the wall follower’, ‘left-hand rule’ or ‘the right-hand rule’.


Caution:
This strategy only works for simply connected mazes : when all its walls are connected together. You can easily represent the possible failure on more complex maze.

You are now on a labyrinth where a wall is alone in the middle (not connected to any other) and you start with your hand on it. What this strategy will results in?
You infinitely turn around this unique wall and get lost forever...

Jump in Hurna Explorer to play and solve yourself the 10 mazes Globo is stuck in.