funny "Robocode has peaked" quote
I think the coolest thing about Robocode is the fact that it has incomplete information, but some information. As in, we don't know what they will be doing, but we can see what they are doing now, and we don't know where they shot, but we can tell that they shot. I'm not sure if this was accidental or not, but it allowed for an extremely complex set of strategies to emerge, and I think it is something which you should attempt to incorporate into BerryBots if you can =)
But yes, I totally agree with MN here, without the rumble and the competition it provides Robocode wouldn't have been nearly as interesting =)
FWIW, I have absolutely been trying to keep some good dynamics with incomplete information in BerryBots. But I haven't spent enough time writing bots yet to get a good feel for what I have so far.
I think what I'll end up with in BerryBots is significantly more information than you get from Robocode on an open battle field, but you also don't see anything beyond walls (besides death events), which is pretty major. I also think that between the visibility stuff and how I'm planning to model the coding of teams, team play could be a lot more fun and popular than it is in Robocode.
Out of curiousity, with regards to teams... how large teams are you thinking of? Some of the videos you've showed with a bunch of bots bouncing around make me think it would be kind of neat to do large swarms if it can be done with acceptable performance :)
Well, I'm certainly leaving the door open for huge teams (say 20, 50, 100 bots?), which I also think would be awesome. Running more than a few complex bots at once is probably not going to be a great experience on the Raspberry Pi, so running huge numbers of bots isn't a major focus just yet. But it should be fine on modern computers.
The big difference in how I want to handle teams is it will just be one program controlling multiple bots, instead of independent programs with only cumbersome messaging between them. You'll have a global view from the visibility of all your bots and be able to control them individually without messing with communication protocols or anything. This should also offer performance gains - the engine has a lot less line of sight calculations to deal with, running 2 Lua states with 50 bots each seems a lot nicer than running 100 separate Lua states, and the bot author can eliminate duplicate processing that would probably exist in each bot if they were running separately.
Imperfect information (invisible bullets) is what makes learning strategies dominant.
If radars could see bullets, Robocode would easily degrade into a ramming game. Imperfect information was probably intentional.
I agree that the game would be much less interesting with visible enemy bullets. However, I don't think that the game would devolve into ramming, or at least, not only ramming at the higher levels. It might make an interesting Robocode sub-species.
Actually, make the bullets visible, crank the gun cooling rate up, and get rid of the turret so that a bot can spit a bullet out in any direction it wants.
With visible bullets, the focus would become (in addition to ramming) the construction of configurations of bullets in air that are impossible to dodge. Pinning the enemy into a corner so that they have limited dodging options would be paramount.
The counter-resonse would be to shoot down the incoming wall of enemy bullets, though this means that one is spending time on defense rather than offense. The refinement of that would be finding the pockets of space-time that bullets could serve both a defensive and offensive function! This would probably represent an investment of processor cycles way beyond what has our bots skipping turns these days.
It'd still be interesting, but probably not as interesting. That information asymmetry really makes things fun!
Visible bullets would lead to perfect dodging or perfect bullet shielding, unless many other variables were also changed, like tick-bullets and bullets which don´t collide with each other, or obstacles in the battlefield.
At sufficiently close range, perfect dodging and perfect shielding would not be possible. While strategies besides rambots might be viable, they would need to be close range strategies.
As an aside, robocode with tick-bullets (even with invisible bullets) could be interesting. With the currently usual bullet power values, I'd suspect that would make it possible though, for bots to make wide enough bullet interesection "shadows" in waves to always stay 100% safe. With smaller faster ones that might not be such a stalemate though.