My name is Paul Evans, It's been 6 or 7 years since my last bot change.
Robocode is a terrible addiction and my bot SandboxDT has not been changed since 2004 but I am pleased to see it is still in the top 60.
It has recently come to my attention that a UK Charity (The Raspberry PI Foundation) is about to release a new computer on the market - this computer is the "Raspberry_Pi".
The foundation's aims are to manufacture a computer so cheap that anyone should be able to afford it (The "B" model will be $35) - their purpose is to get youngsters programming again - not just learning to use Word and Excel.
Robocode is a good fit to these aims and I would like to ask this community to help bring the joy's of programming to the next generation of youngsters.
What I would like to see:
Stage 1: An all inclusive distribution of OS and Robocode and relevent Robocode/Java documentation - The Raspberry PI will boot from an SD card into a linux OS - to get prospective coders into Robocode lets make getting Robocode up and running as easily as possible (as easy as PI).
Stage 2: As for stage one but with an ide customised for Robocode - libraries loaded/configured in an default project/robot ready to go. (BTW The compuer has at most 256MB ram (shared by the GPU) and runs a arm processor at 700Mhz).
Stage 3: Let's try and get the really young ones involved - Java is fairly heavyweight - can we have robots written in lighter languages such as Python (Jython?) or some other language or script. A distribution like this needs to be really easy to get started - most parents and teachers do not code - at primary school there may be no effective IT support.
Stage 4: Tanks, Bullets and warfare ain't to everyones taste - however Robocode has an excellent headstart in that because it has a very effective sandbox for allowing strangers code to run in - it provides an excellent environment to allow code swapping and running without risk - ideal for schools. It would be nice to see if the Robocode Physics and display could be exposed in a nice interface to allow the teaching community to develop new games - I want to encourage developers, not plagiarisers - by changing the physics of the game a teacher could force the youngsters to experiment and write their own code not just lift a bot from the internet.
It's been a long time since I've been an active part of this community - and I know I'm asking alot - I have no affiliation with the Raspberry PI or the Foundation but I have been a school governor and have been unimpressed at the level of IT skills being produced out of UK schools - I think Robocode and the Raspberry PI can help.
I you think this is a good cause please promote this page on the home page of the wiki to ensure all in the community can see it - fix up any links etc that I haven't done - feel free to take the lead. As a sweetener if the community takes this project to heart I'll give details of an innovation in SandboxDT not released to the community to date (and which I think is unique to DT)- I may even start to develop again.
Hi Paul, it has been a long time. I've also been reading about the Raspberry PI and find it a very interesting project, with a philosophy similar to Robocode, making coding accessible to everyone. It would take someone much more knowledgeable than me to make it happen, though. It would be akin to making java/Robocode run on a smartphone, with many technical limitations. A very interesting variation would be one robocode robot running on each PI, but that would take a complete redesign... Anyway I really hope someone makes it happen, even if just to finally know the secrets of SandboxDT or to see you take on the current, and apparently invincible, Robocode King. :) --ABC 12:28, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi ABC - still at it I see - good to talk to an old adversary (I have a smile on my face as I type). I see some things have changed - It looks like IBM managed to release robocode which is nice - so there is a chance to make sure it works on the Raspberry PI - I think it will fit into RAM OK but I think we'll need to loose the bullets and go for a football type game if it's to have wide appeal in education - have you ever looked at the robocode source - is this even possible? -- Paul Evans p.s. no-one is invincible.
Sure thing, it has been an open source community project for a long time now, with lots of changes/fixes/improvements. But I'm not the best person to talk about it, I've been inactive for years. Flemming N. Larsen is the main developer now, and there are lots of current (or more recent) players that know much more about the current state of Robocode than I do. I know about the current King's _apparent_ invincibility though, he reminds me of another great player from a long time ago... :) --ABC 16:35, 6 February 2012 (UTC)