Talk:Main Page

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Old RoboWiki is down018:15, 17 September 2017
Wiki spam402:33, 25 August 2017
Spamming attack, reconsider account creation314:50, 24 August 2017
Robocode Online Web Application - what do You think?2602:03, 30 June 2015
Code of Tanks: 3-D PvP Tank Battle Game for Programmers020:41, 27 June 2015
Recent Downtime115:35, 11 June 2014
New Rumble Categories818:38, 23 March 2014
Wiki back online023:32, 8 January 2014
Running Error - Robot is not stopping, forcing a stop118:19, 7 December 2013
MediaWiki update604:56, 18 October 2013
NodeWar, Code & Conquer017:06, 5 September 2013
Spamming Without Links320:43, 26 July 2013
Update problems2102:55, 11 May 2013
Wikipedia article604:25, 18 April 2013
Import Robot to Robocode114:06, 2 April 2013
FightCodeGame ?2904:21, 20 March 2013
Is it ethical to edit other people's bot/user pages?518:05, 19 March 2013
While loop in the 'run' method215:31, 5 November 2012
Help! Since I installed Robocode, my original Java isn't working anymore202:15, 5 November 2012
funny "Robocode has peaked" quote1817:42, 27 September 2012
First page
First page
Last page
Last page

Old RoboWiki is down

The old RoboWiki is offline. Accessing it produces 500 Internal Error.

Is anyone else seeing this problem? Does this happen often? Does anyone need to be contacted?

Never mind.

MultiplyByZer0 (talk)00:08, 17 September 2017
Edited by author.
Last edit: 11:06, 24 August 2017
MultiplyByZer0 (talk)20:23, 23 August 2017

Also, a better CAPTCHA is needed, MathCaptcha is too easy.

I think a question-based CAPTCHA would work. Questions such as:

  • Q: "Name a sample bot." A: One of ["Corners", "Crazy", "Fire", "Interactive", "Interactive_v2", "MyFirstRobot", "MyFirstJuniorRobot", "PaintingRobot", "RamFire", "SittingDuck", "SpinBot", "Target", "TrackFire", "VelociRobot", "Walls"]
  • Q: "Name a robot base class." Q: One of ["Robot", "JuniorRobot", "AdvancedRobot", "TeamRobot"]
  • Q: "What is the default battlefield size (WIDTHxHEIGHT)?" A: "800x600"
  • Q: "What is the default number of rounds?" A: "10"
  • Q: "What is the name of the sample bot in the 'samplesentry' package?" A: "BorderGuard"


MultiplyByZer0 (talk)21:05, 23 August 2017

I like the question based CAPTCHA. I have a low profile wiki where it is enabled for registration, and questions keeps spamers away...mostly. From time to time there is a renegade human who reveal the answer, and spam bots invade. But than I change the question. Last time I changed it was more than a year ago.

Another good measure would be to put all messages from newly registered users in a pre-moderated pool until they prove themselves.

Overall, I think our fort is holding, we just need a way to summon admins a bit faster.

Beaming (talk)02:33, 25 August 2017

On second thought, just IP-ban them all.

MultiplyByZer0 (talk)23:31, 23 August 2017

Spamming attack, reconsider account creation

Due to the recent (May 23 - May 31) spam attack, maybe whe should reconsider the process of creating a user account. Alas I have no idea how to change that, some someone (wiki-host ?) should take some action here. Note that 'Main Page' is redirected to 'Robowiki:Main Page', and I don't know how to revert that.

GrubbmGait (talk)14:18, 31 May 2017

Thanks for reverting so much of the spam, GrubbmGait! I've disabled account creation for now and I'll fix the main page redirect. Still not sure what we should do longer term, but I'm sure there are options... I'll try to look into it this week.

Voidious (talk)16:08, 31 May 2017

Another spam attack happened today.

Dsekercioglu (talk)19:21, 23 August 2017

Blocking some accounts, cant do more from a tablet whole on holiday

GrubbmGait (talk)14:50, 24 August 2017

Robocode Online Web Application - what do You think?

Hey ho!

I was wondering: why there is no serious website, where You can upload your bots, create rankings and tournaments and just battle. Rumble is fine, but be serious - it's has a few functionalities and it's NOT user friendly.

There is a question to all of You: do You want to have such web application? Possibility of uploading bots, instant fights, rankings, tournaments etc...

What would You expect from such application?

I am thinking about gathering a team. With that team we could create a nice webapp.

Guys, please think about it. share Your feelings and thoughts.


Ilu2112 (talk)15:24, 30 January 2014

I've thought about this lately, particularly after implementing a web UI for my own programming game. I have a couple thoughts:

  • First, the online Robocode community is pretty hardcore about bot programming. We have the RoboRumble in place that facilitates that perfectly. A user-friendly, non-IDE development UI is just not something that would grab these people the way it would grab programming beginners, if you ask me.
  • I love Robocode, but... It's ancient. :-) I think you should build something for a new generation of users, not try to prolong the life of Robocode's current code base. Or even work with Fnl to implement this in Robocode 2.

Such a web app would be great for new people. But for new people, I think there are better alternatives.

Voidious (talk)16:40, 30 January 2014
  • It would be nice to have something to replace the Robocode Central, so it is possible to upload and download robots - and the same robot in various versions etc.
  • It could run new types of tournaments, and divide robots into beginner (Level 1), experienced (Level 10?), veteran (Level 30?) or similar depending on how well they perform. Everybody starts as beginner, and then gain higher level, when they are able to beat more than 50% of the other robots at the same level or something like that.
  • It would be great to have a web page or GUI where beginners can put program a simple robot using stuff like graphical symbols (commands) that could be drag'n'dropped, like e.g. "Turn left", "Move forward", and "Fire". And each command could take a parameter value like 90 for "Turn left" 90 degrees. Then it could write the source code on the fly which could be copy'n'pasted, saved and/or compiled for Robocode.
  • Regarding Robocode 2. I am working on a prototype that is platform independent (protocol based). But it is not ready for a web page yet. Lots of details could change. So it is still on the experimental level.
Fnl (talk)00:07, 31 January 2014

Don't get me wrong! I agree with you that the Robocode community skews pretty strongly towards the hardcore. It lacks the infrastructure to attract beginners and nurture/funnel them into the ecosystem. And it's possible we could build something awesome that integrates nicely with what we already have. I just think the ship has sailed on major changes to Robocode that don't include a complete rewrite. I think your efforts would have more impact if you don't chain yourself to Robocode.

Voidious (talk)17:27, 30 January 2014

Wise words, I have to agree with You. Let's wait for other's vote. I am waiting for developer's opinion and general thoughts about Robocode 2, the future of Robocode and possibility of merging Robocode 2 with some kind of online platform. It could breathe new life into this game.

Ilu2112 (talk)17:36, 30 January 2014

FYI a more reliable way to get in touch with the developers is the Google group:!forum/robocode-developers

Fnl and Pavel stop by here sometimes, but they're not that active.

Voidious (talk)18:02, 30 January 2014

Btw, have you looked around at some other games with this kind of stuff? I think it's common to find Robocode with its epic hardcore community, RoboRumble, thousands of bots, and 15 years of history and think it's the only programming game worth looking into. (And it might be, depending on what you're after...)

  • got a lot of attention recently. I didn't dive in but it looks neat and pretty polished. Python and looked like simple game rules with some depth.
  • FightCodeGame is pretty cool. The gameplay seems mostly like a simplistic Robocode clone, but the web site is pretty awesome. The main thing that turned me off (personally) was that they gained launch momentum with a GitHub coding contest and then switched to closed source/for profit shortly after.
  • Nodewar is a pretty simple UI, but I think the gameplay itself is pretty sweet. One of the few games I really feel is pushing the envelope with gameplay. I'd say at least half of programming games (including Robocode) are "2+ tanks on a rectangular battle field with no walls".
  • CodeCombat seems more of a legit "learn to code" style programming game. It's a common strategy for advertising programming games, but for most games, it strikes me as similar to claiming basketball was designed to keep you healthy.
  • is the web UI for my own game, which is a cross-platform desktop app like Robocode. For now just a simple "write code / run battles", but I may build it into something more robust soon.

Oh yeah and is cool too. It's run by one of the main guys from the Core War community.

Voidious (talk)19:23, 31 January 2014

Yeah, even my roboflight is just a '2+ spherical bots in a sphere'.

Chase17:08, 2 February 2014

Hey I think RoboFlight qualifies as pretty new and different. ;)

Voidious (talk)19:15, 2 February 2014

I need to work on it, but I was considering switching it over to C/C++ Lua like Berry Bots. I realize that Java is a lot of overhead, but due to Robocode I am most comfortable in the language.

Chase07:31, 3 February 2014

I think Lua is awesome and totally perfect for programming games, but its relative unpopularity is probably worth considering too. I think Python or JavaScript are probably the ideal languages for attracting people to a programming game right now. But I like Lua and it's a choice I'm still happy with. And if Lua suddenly takes off, I'll be in pretty good shape. :-)

Voidious (talk)15:09, 3 February 2014

You might try out Code of Tanks, a 3-D tank battle game, which is brand new as of this writing. You write your AI in a .NET language, C# or whatever. Whenever you want to play you create or join a room, run your AI and pick your tanks, and watch the battle live in 3-D. You can watch the video trailer at the website to see it in action:

Cotdev (talk)21:11, 27 June 2015

Code of Tanks: 3-D PvP Tank Battle Game for Programmers

For those interested in .NET programming, you might like Code of Tanks, an online PvP tank battle game, brand new as of this writing. It does require some fundamental .NET programming knowledge, but other than that it's pretty simple: you create or join a room with other players, get your AI ready and pick your tanks, and watch the battle live from anywhere in 3-D.

It's in Beta and anyone can try it out:

No tournaments or contests yet, but live battles can be had any time. As a new product you may not find many competitors online when you are, but as more people discover it there may be rooms running around the clock. Until then you can just get some friends to play at the same time and run matches.

Cotdev (talk)20:41, 27 June 2015

Recent Downtime

Hi all. Sorry for the recent downtime. For some reason the HTTP server had stopped, for no discernible reason that I can tell.

It took me much longer than it should have to get around to fixing it, as the only times I remembered were times I didn't have access to it. Sorry about that.

For the record, if anyone sees issues on the site in the future, I can be poked at

Rednaxela (talk)14:30, 10 June 2014

Is there a mechanism to setup a mirror read only wiki? This way we can survive the down time and locate Alex's email as well once the main wiki is down.

Beaming (talk)15:35, 11 June 2014

New Rumble Categories

I don't think code size is a good limiter for different rumble types, because it forces people to do all sorts of tricks which results in very difficult to understand code. In addition, code size is so small compared to memory now that it hardly seems relevant in most cases. What if new rumble types were added where time per tick is the limiting factor: QuickRumble, with half the time, FastRumble 1/4, HyperRumble 1/8, SlowRumble 2x, etc. (Names are arbitrary) This would mean bots in faster rumbles would have to make more time tradeoff decisions, (less precise prediction? more approximate GFs?), and perhaps bots in slower rumbles could find a use for non-KNN classification schemes that required more time. What do you think?

Straw (talk)00:47, 18 March 2014

Tick time size sound like a fantastic idea, I think robocode has some built in constants which potentially can be tweaked for time based rumbles.

But, I would still keep size based categories. I personally amazed how much can be squeezed into small code. It is indeed unreadable, but they set a bar and send a strong hint to me when those little gizmos level my megabot.

Beaming (talk)01:52, 18 March 2014

I'm not advocating the destruction of the codesize limited rumbles, just the addition of time limited ones.

Straw (talk)03:11, 18 March 2014

The problem is categorizing them. Right now they are automatically sorted into the categories, since codesize is a compile time constant. However time limiting is a run time value. You would have to run a number of battles to place a robot. Even then you need to decide if something that is under the certain limit 99.9% of the time but over 0.1% of the time should be in which category, and so forth.

Chase11:13, 18 March 2014

Well, we can make a time tick fixed competitions. Every one participate but bots which designed with time constrains in mind will sort to the top by themselves.

I think it is analogous to current size based system: nano bots participate in mega bots competitions and have good chances, but it is not true in reverse. Though here we can participant selection in advance.

So all we need is good tick measure, which is not that easy with current CPU which tend to throttle and boost their performance.

Beaming (talk)14:42, 18 March 2014

In my model, you could submit any bot to any category, but it would skip turns if it took too long for that category. So time limits implemented the same way they are now, but with different categories.

Straw (talk)05:04, 19 March 2014

The problem I have with this idea, is that the Robocode engine's control over CPU time is far too approximate for that task.

The nature of such a league is to encourage people to push the limit of the alotted CPU time, however one can expect the calibration of CPU time to be off by wide margins between different computers, or even different runs on the same computer.

If one wants to have a league where the CPU time is a primary design constraint for bots, we need an engine with more precise management of this, such as by using Java bytecode instrumentation to assign fixed costs to different Java bytecode instructions... but that... that gets very complicated to implement.

Rednaxela (talk)19:49, 20 March 2014

I agree that would be the best way, and also very expensive to implement. If the VM itself tracked it, that would be another story, but as far as I know, it doesn't.

Chase18:14, 23 March 2014

what would happen if the VM itself tracked it

Tmservo (talk)18:38, 23 March 2014

Wiki back online

Thanks for bringing the wiki back online!

MN (talk)23:32, 8 January 2014

Running Error - Robot is not stopping, forcing a stop

Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 17:43, 7 December 2013

When I start the battlefield,my robot and other enemy are frozen. The println messages are not displayed in the robot console. But the command prompt shows the following error. I check that the cause of error is the addition of node in my queue (queue.add(n)). However, this line of code shall be fine i guess. So I would like to ask how to solve this error message? (this part of my program is for path finding using bfs)

Thank you.

          • BATTLE 1, ROUND 1 *****

TURN 1: StudentRobot* (1) hard deadline exceeded - 532809us

Err> Robot StudentRobot* (1) is not stopping. Forcing a stop.

Err> Robot StudentRobot* (2) is not stopping. Forcing a stop.

Average computation time per turn: 511706

Max turn computation time: 532809

	private boolean pathFinding_BFS(Node start, Node end){
		LinkedList<Node> queue = new LinkedList<Node>();
		while (!queue.isEmpty()){
			Node temp = (Node)queue.poll();
			System.out.println("first node:" + temp.getPointInPath().getX() + " y " + temp.getPointInPath().getY());
			if (temp.equals(end)){
				return true;
				for (Node n : temp.getAdjacentNode()){	
					System.out.println("in node:" + n.getPointInPath().getX() + " y " + 
					if (!n.isMarked()){
						System.out.println("test n");
						queue.add(n);  //problem here
		return false;

	public  List<Point> getShortestPath(Point start){
		Node src = new Node(start);
		List<Point> path = new ArrayList<Point>();
		for (int i=0;i<endup.size();i++){
			Node destination = new Node(endup.get(i));
			if (pathFinding_BFS(src, destination)){
				while (destination.getPrevNodeInPath() != null){
					destination = destination.getPrevNodeInPath();
				return path;
		return path;
Lavenderwong (talk)09:03, 7 December 2013

I don't see any clear problems with that code there. The only way I could see it looping forever is if either setMarked and isMarked are not working correctly, or some other code being called is unsetting the marks in the middle of that loop.

It is possible that this search is just plain taking far too long (>533ms on your computer) because of there being too many nodes to search before it finds the desired end point. How many nodes are you running this code with? If this is indeed the case, you should do one or both of the following: 1) Reduce the number of nodes, and/or 2) Switch from a full breadth first search to a more efficient algorithm such as A*

To figure out what the problem is, I would tend to suggest running this under a debugger, and step through what is happening.

EDIT: Oh, and another possible thing that comes to mind, is perhaps your problem has nothing to do with your node search code. Maybe your robot is just never calling any of the methods that signal to Robocode that has finished it's turn.

Rednaxela (talk)18:05, 7 December 2013

MediaWiki update

So I updated MediaWiki to 1.19 and the LiquidThreads extension. The MediaWiki update script failed when dropping some index after updating LiquidThreads, but everything seems to be working (and wasn't before running the script), so I'm hoping everything's ok and please just let me know if you see any problems. The update script ran OK for just the MediaWiki upgrade, but some things were still broken due to the LiquidThreads incompatibility. Everything's backed up so I'm not too worried - I think it's mainly LiquidThreads that might be messed up.

The wiki font is also back to default size. I'm leaving it for the moment but let me know what you guys think - I'm not sure if I was the only one that wanted it bigger before anyway.

We need PHP 5.3.6 for MediaWiki 1.20, and for that I think we need to upgrade Ubuntu, so that won't happen until I can coordinate that with David.

Voidious (talk)06:33, 8 May 2013

Shoot, we also lost Twitter on the sidebar. I'll get that stuff fixed up tomorrow. And this new LiquidThreads rendering is kind of weird...

Voidious (talk)06:34, 8 May 2013

From memory, you might be able to get around updating ubuntu by adding the 'backports' repository, if it isn't already in. I don't play around with *nix enough these days to be confident with making these kinds of changes =)

Skilgannon (talk)12:27, 8 May 2013

Using this CSS will make the new liquid threads more tolerable (at least to me).

.lqt-post-wrapper {
	border-style: solid none none solid;
	border-color: silver;
	border-width: 1px !important;
	background: #fff;

.thread-collapse-control > a {
	background: none;
	width: 10px;
	height: 10px;
	border: 1px solid silver;

Depending on how you apply it, you may need to include a few more !important tags, I tested it in Stylish on Google Chrome.

Chase13:37, 8 May 2013

I liked the font size the way it was before.

Also, when you update the sidebar, try putting the Twitter feed below the Toolbox. I think that would be more useful.


Sheldor (talk)16:13, 8 May 2013

Upgrading Ubuntu should be relatively painless. i've always had good luck with it and Debian. :)

The site looks nice!

Tkiesel (talk)16:54, 8 May 2013

Alright, I've finally:

  • Reverted the font to non-tiny.
  • Fixed the RoboRumble Twitter feed [1]
  • Restored the @robowiki Twitter feed on the sidebar (actually it's a new one, I guess they killed the old widget).
  • Moved Twitter feed below toolbox, as I think a couple people suggested.
  • Noted that the new widget can hide @ replies, so I'm not afraid to respond to people as @robowiki on Twitter any more. :-P
Voidious (talk)04:56, 18 October 2013

NodeWar, Code & Conquer

A couple more new web based games got on my radar recently.

  • Nodewar - Sleak, web-based, Javascript. Feels lean and mean. I like that the gameplay is not your typical "arena" style battle. Replays are very nice looking and HTML5 (a few at This one doesn't seem very active atm, but I really dig it.
  • Code & Conquer - This one looks really polished and education-oriented. Haven't seen the gameplay yet. Getting a fair amount of attention right now.

This new breed of fully web-based programming games really seems to be taking shape. I dig it! I hope we get some good ones and it brings tons of people into programming and programming games... It's got to be 100x easier to get people to try a game when all they need is a web browser.

But I also wonder about the future of desktop app games like Robocode. One thing I love about the Robocode community is that we contribute a lot of code outside of our bots, like RoboResearch, RoboRumble, running web sites and services, etc. It's sort of like console gaming vs computer gaming - computer gaming gives you level editors, mods, the precision of a mouse. We exercise a lot of freedom on the RoboWiki to do whatever we feel like with Robocode.

Of course you could have games that straddle this line. A fully web-based game that also lets you run your own servers for the hardcore players, or a desktop game with some web features (which is kind of where I'm going with BerryBots).

Voidious (talk)17:06, 5 September 2013

Spamming Without Links

When a recently created account starts posting advertisements, should it be blocked, even if its advertisements do not contain any external links? I'm asking this because I just blocked "Twotogether," who created a page which was obviously spam, but did not contain any external links. If we should only block those who spam external links, I will unblock Twotogether.

Sheldor (talk)15:26, 26 July 2013

IMO? Spam is spam, kill it with fire.

Skilgannon (talk)16:49, 26 July 2013

yep. lots of fire.

AW (talk)18:48, 26 July 2013

As far as I'm concerned, the only difference when the spam doesn't have links, is that it's not automatically blocked as easily. So yeah, all of the fire.

Rednaxela (talk)20:43, 26 July 2013

Update problems

I've got the following major issues:

  • In LiquidThreads, when I type a reply the spinning loading icon never goes away, and the shortcuts at the top never load.
  • When I try to edit the RoboRumble/Participants page it tells me that the server did not receive some of the message and that I should confirm the edits, but it shows me an empty box instead of all the participants data.

These behaviours are seen on both Firefox 21 b6 and Chrome 26.0. I've cleared cache and done a hard reload in both.

Is anybody seeing these?

Skilgannon (talk)21:42, 9 May 2013

Yeah, LiquidThreads spinners all over the place for me. I haven't tried editing the participants list but that seems pretty high priority. Hrm..

Voidious (talk)21:43, 9 May 2013

I'm definitely noticing the first problem. I haven't yet tried editing the participants page.

Sheldor (talk)22:28, 9 May 2013

We seem to be getting a lot of user registrations, did the update break some of the blockers?

Chase01:17, 10 May 2013

Yeah, Rednaxela had some custom things in that got broken. He's working on it now.

Skilgannon (talk)03:24, 10 May 2013

Yeah, the update removed the Math extension which used to be part of the core of MediaWiki, but got moved into an extension. This broke some pages, and also broke the extra math question I added in added to the reCaptcha check. (Besides the extra math question, my modifications also included a "same IP address as received the captcha must solve it" check, which based on server logs was very effective)

Due to the error that was happening on the new user creation page, Voidious reverted back to the traditional reCaptcha extension temporarily, which let that flood of bots register.

Gladly, the custom extension I added which disallows accounts less than 24 hours old inserting external links was still intact after the upgrade, and appears to have foiled those spambots.

Also, I've now reinstalled the Math extension, both fixing some wiki pages and making my modified captcha checker work again, so all should be well now :)

Rednaxela (talk)03:45, 10 May 2013

Good to know. On that point though, I still think KittenAuth/Asirra would be a good auth system (and has nothing to do with me liking kittens, honest).

Chase04:48, 10 May 2013

Asirra was mentioned in some emails that went around. I don't think Asirra is fundamentally any better than reCaptcha for the main problem. I suspect there's a high probability that rather than pure computer-based bots, the reCaptcha system was being broken by a Mechanical Turk style system that farmed the captcha breaking task out to humans. From what I understand that is common these days. Asirra is equally vulnerable to that technique. Assuming that is the case, the reason my modifications help, would be that rather than preventing the captcha-breaking itself, they make it incompatible with some automation systems used to farm out captcha breaking. I have nothing against using Asirra if people want to switch it to that instead of reCaptcha, but at least in theory I doubt Asirra vs reCaptcha makes much of a difference.

Rednaxela (talk)05:35, 10 May 2013

Well fair, I do know Asirra is much more difficult to break then reCaptcha for computers. It might also be easier for humans to do as well ( a few clicks instead of the need to type). It could replace the two captcha systems with one (math+reCaptcha with Asirra).

But I am not going to push the topic if no one else thinks it is a good idea. I do not know the compatibility or reliability of the system, and there is always the ever present "don't fix what isn't broken" mantra as well.

Chase14:14, 10 May 2013

A quick update regarding the RoboRumble/Participants issue: I've confirmed it's definitely related to the total size of the page. I see the error if I click preview there normally, but I don't see the error if I delete half the content of the text box before hitting preview. I don't know why it only started happening after the update though, or what a good fix would be.

Rednaxela (talk)04:25, 10 May 2013

Participants issue is fixed, but the spinners persist!

Skilgannon (talk)10:51, 10 May 2013

Testing to see if the infinite spinning icon is fixed...

Rednaxela (talk)02:53, 11 May 2013

Yep! It's now fixed!

When the infinite spinning icon thing was happening, I checked in the browser for javascript errors. Sure enough, there was an "ext.WikiEditor" error. I looked around, and tried installing the WikiEditor extension, and it fixed the infinite spinning circle issue. It seems that the version of LiquidThreads we got in the update depends on the WikiEditor extension.

Rednaxela (talk)02:55, 11 May 2013

Wikipedia article

Any interest in helping me rewrite the Wikipedia entry for Robocode sometime? We can do it there (like on a user page), but just wanted to bring it up here first. It's all pretty stale, and I think could use a major overhaul besides the first 2-3 paragraphs. I also think the final product should be about half the size of what's there now.

Voidious18:49, 16 April 2013

I was under the impression that the point of Wikipedia was to have a stale and objective article for every subject.

The problem with the Robocode page is that it is not objective. It reads like an advertisement, or a fan's website. It also goes into unnecessary detail in some places, while leaving out important information in other places.

Sheldor19:19, 16 April 2013

Yeah, "stale" like "hasn't been updated in a long time" seems appropriate. Inaccurate information should be fixed or removed though.

Voidious19:55, 16 April 2013

I don't think anyone (on Wikipedia) cares about which robot is best at what and such, and keeping those up to date would be a pain anyway, last update was claimed to be in 2009. So I think the RR@H champions should be removed.

The influencial robots section needs to be adjusted some. For example to me Phoenix's entry reads like an advertisement, and is YersiniaPestis' passing Shadow for a bit really worth mentioning? Plus a few are missing like Raiko/RaikoMX (First Open Source Surfer), Chalk (Open Source kNN), BulletCatcher (Bullet Shielding), MoxieBot? (Bullet Shadows? Was it the first?).

But I wouldn't mind seeing a list of past competitions on there, might give the game more clout.

Chase11:13, 17 April 2013

Yep, I agree on all those points.

Taking a few of the bots on the Open Source page might be a good start for replacing the "influential bots" list. Maybe list more current/past competitions, but with less description of each than what's there now. For movement/targeting techniques, maybe instead of mentioning all those Robocode-specific terms, we could just mention some of the machine learning techniques that are widely used, like KNN, kernel density, multi-variate histograms (VCS), pattern matching, and neural networks.

I'm torn as to whether the wiki deserves its own special mention besides the link below. It is a pretty strong part of the online Robocode community and a resource for anyone doing Robocode, but I'm not sure that means it deserves more than just a link near the top of "See also" or "External links".

Voidious18:06, 17 April 2013

Agreed on all, unfortunately I am super busy again and don't have time to help with this.

I think there should be some sort of heading called "Community" or something like that, where you list the RoboWiki and the SourceForge forums as well as the dev groups.

Skilgannon21:04, 17 April 2013

I agree, and I like your thinking. Could almost copy Open Source wholesale for that section, after converting some of the jargon.

I think a mention in the actual article to the Robowiki would be justified. It is where most of the developments and long running competitions originate (like RR@H). But it might just be at most a sentence like "A great deal of the innovation occurs around Robowiki[External Link], the games premier wiki."

Perhaps a short mention of some of the licensing that occurs in Robocode. Otherwise there isn't really much to say beyond what is already covered.

Chase04:25, 18 April 2013

Import Robot to Robocode

Hello! We are creating our first robots, and we export the robots from eclipse, in .jar doing in the project, right click>Export>Java>JAR File.

In the next box, we export to JAR, but when we try to import the robot to robocode, it complete succesful, but it don't appear in the list of robots.


Cristian10:01, 2 April 2013

Welcome to the RoboWiki!

You don't need to export every time you want to run your robot. This tutorial shows you how to tell Robocode to get your robots straight from Eclipse.

It's also interesting that you say you imported the robot into Robocode, but it didn't appear on the list of robots. I assume that you used the "Import downloaded robot" feature of Robocode. I might've had the same problem with it. Try downloading this robot and then see if using the Robocode import feature works. If it doesn't, just copy the .jar file into the robot directory, and Robocode should recognize it.

This thread isn't really appropriate for the main page discussion; if you don't mind, I'll move it to User talk:Cristiancompany.

Welcome again and good luck!

Sheldor14:02, 2 April 2013

FightCodeGame ?

Anyone checked out ? The web site seems pretty sleek and it all looks pretty active and well organized. After watching some sample battles, and that the #1 ranked bot is ~350 lines of code, I have to wonder how high a ceiling there is in terms of writing sophisticated robots. The gameplay looks pretty much like a Robocode (or whatever predecessor) clone with only blocking API calls.

It kind of annoys me, on principle, that I have to authorize it with my GitHub account even to see things that are read-only, like the rankings. So I haven't done that yet and thus haven't looked into it in much depth.

Voidious03:17, 20 January 2013

Well I have never had much success with normal Robots. Mostly since it seemed like a lot of extra effort for little gain. That is, the rumble was dominated by AdvancedRobots and their non-blocking calls.

I took a look at it, and it is difficult (for me) to write a decent robot on it. Mostly because I would like some kind of debug feature. Supposedly it has a log function to write to a console. But I can't figure out how to access said console.

Chase03:32, 20 January 2013

I played a different Javascript / web-based programming game and also had problems with that aspect. I think it's the browser Javascript console that you need to look at.

(And it was crashing my browser / useless to me for a while before I realized I'd printed like 30k lines to it, which it isn't really designed for, and finally figured out how to clear it.)

Voidious04:17, 20 January 2013

After a bit more work I had a semi workable robot, but I don't think we will be able to apply anything more then rudimentary robocode knowledge to the game.

Chase05:01, 20 January 2013

I made a javascript port of sample.Walls on FightCode. Got #13 place.

MN05:11, 21 January 2013

You're joking? Hah, wow.

Now we just need to make a port of Girl. Which I think is still the highest ranking extends Robot.

Chase08:03, 21 January 2013

Heh. :-) Pretty cool to see sample.Walls in action in a different game.

Down to #45 now: [1] Seeing as the battles are 1 round and I think it may take some manual action to run battles, the rankings may be a couple orders of magnitude less stable than what we're used to with the RoboRumble.

Voidious08:22, 21 January 2013

That #13 place was a stream of lucky battles. Ran some more battles later and the rating kept oscilating between 1485 and 1525.

You can also choose whom to fight against and manipulate your rating by choosing only opponents with high PBI, but I avoided it.

My impressions of FightCode:

The API is simpler than "extends Robot" in Robocode.

No energy drop when firing and the gun and bullets are still invisible to radar. So, no way to detect incoming bullets. But you can assume a bunch of tick-head-on bullets.

No independent radar axis, the radar is always pointing to the same direction the gun is.

No velocity and heading in scans, making even linear targeting a challenge.

No "scan()" method, making bots miss a lot of scans, even when there is a sitting duck in front of their guns. I had to hack Walls code a bit to improve scans, but it is still missing a lot of them. And it is a key strategy in Walls to avoid being crushed by opponents close to walls, like Corners.

I wonder how a rambot will perform there. Since it is hard to keep track of opponents due to limited radar, and the only thing which works together with "ahead()" is "fire()", a bot moving and shooting straight forward can do a lot of damage.

MN15:09, 21 January 2013

Cool, thanks for the info MN. It's worth noting this game is really young - the first version was built from scratch in a month for a GitHub hacking contest near the end of 2012. They also replied to me on Twitter that some new stuff is coming: "we have some feats in the oven for advanced bots: independent queues for radar, cannon and tank; data storage for machine learning"

I'm curious to see how it does. The whole web-ness and feel of it all really impresses me, and I could see a lot of people trying it that wouldn't have bothered to download Robocode. But at the same time, being stuck with the web interface for all your running and testing and unstable rankings might make it hard to retain power users and maintain a passionate community. Support for local and batch battles would be nice, though it wouldn't be my top priority (yet) as a dev either. It also seems like the gameplay needs some work to approach the depth of Robocode, but it sounds like they're working on that.

Voidious18:12, 21 January 2013

What bothered me most was the missed scans, making Walls a lot weaker than it is in Robocode. Feels like bot width is only 1 pixel wide, but didn´t check the engine to be sure.

And FightCode web design is far superior to what RoboRumble is today. Robocode could copy that by having an applet version.

MN21:08, 21 January 2013

I dunno, with the recent Java security issues, I consider Java in the browser pretty much dead.

Voidious21:09, 21 January 2013

I did a bit of tweaking on walls to improve it specifically for FightCode (clone and invisible). I also made a copy of spinbot.

Chase23:11, 21 January 2013

Boo :)

Miked080109:12, 23 January 2013

You're back!

You've been a great inspiration to me. I learned a lot about shrinking Codesize from reading your code.

Are you planning to continue writing nanobots? Maybe you could help me unravel DoctorBob's secrets. :)

Sheldor16:32, 23 January 2013

Thanks! I have uncovered may of Doctor Bob's secrets. You can nearly 100% him if you watch energy drops and reverse direction at around 120 distance. Then just aim a little behind him.

Miked080105:06, 19 March 2013

I meant the secrets of how successful it is, not how to beat it. I am trying my hand at nanomelee, but I haven't had much success. (My robot TestMelee is a really crappy derivative of Infinity.) DoctorBob says it has NanoAndrew's movement, but it looks like there must be a little something more. I wondered if you had ever seen DB's code, or heard something from the author.

Sheldor13:22, 19 March 2013

His code cannot be completely decompiled as he obfiscated it, but if you look around a bit, there are ways of figuring out what he did. Honestly, you can reverse engineer his good pretty easily by the fact that he cannot hit stop and go targets. His radar is lock onto nearest person and charge - which against weaker melee guns and movement works great. The bots that hide in the corner and make small movements counter him well though. Dustbunny does well because it runs from him (and everyone else) :)

Miked080101:27, 20 March 2013

What about reversing or not reversing directions when the enemy fires? It seems like DB's pattern is a lot more complex than reversing every other shot.

Sheldor04:21, 20 March 2013

Hey there Miked. You have interest in fightcodegame?

Chase10:35, 23 January 2013

These guys should be paying me a commission... :-) Welcome back Miked!

Voidious17:00, 23 January 2013

And work. Thanks for the good words! I am still attempting to get caught up with a new job and such. I do intend to keep track of things a bit better though going forward and maybe even update things as time allows.

Miked080105:05, 19 March 2013

I have a nano project that is currently stalled due to issues with my installation of Robocode, but looks very promising. It has three modes of movement, two of them reacting to enemy fire, and a PM gun.

The only problem is, I can't store .5 as a char, it gets rounded down to 0. So, I had to switch to 1 stored as a char and then divided by 2 to decode the value to a double. Then it was a few bytes over, so I had to switch from WeekendObsession's gun to Moebius's gun. But, in order to have any accuracy with that, I needed to add a setAdjustGunForRobotTurn(true);, which cost 5 bytes and still left me 2 bytes over. If you think you could help, I could post my code.

By the way, I recently helped Chase with his Talon project--a nano with MRM. But I have a feeling that there is a more effective way to implement wall avoidance...

Sheldor14:02, 19 March 2013

Send me your version that has the best performance but is only a few bytes over, I might have an idea of how to shrink it... as well as a secret weapon which does the same ;-)

Skilgannon16:52, 19 March 2013

THANKS! If I can get it below 250 with the original gun, it would probably take 2nd from Sabreur, and might even give LBB a rough time (until, of course, Mike updates the tables).

Do you want me to post the code here, on a new page, or actually package the bot and host it on the repository?

Sheldor17:21, 19 March 2013

Just the code is great.

Skilgannon17:35, 19 March 2013

I didn't compile this so there may be a few minor errors. Thanks again.

Epeeist v2.0.0 by Sheldor.  03/19/2013
A NanoBot with multi-mode movement and a Pattern Matching gun.
Codesize: ??? Bytes without any colors.

Epee (pronounced aay-pay) is one of the three forms of modern sport fencing,
along with Foil and Sabre.

Pattern Matching code from simonton.WeekendObsession_S and mld.Moebius,
and a general thanks to all open source bot authors and contributors to the RoboWiki.

Epeeist is open source and released under the terms of the RoboWiki Public Code License (RWPCL) - Version 1.1
see license here:

package sheldor.nano;

import robocode.*;
import robocode.util.Utils;

public class Epeeist extends AdvancedRobot
	//Global variables.
	static double direction;
	static double enemyEnergy;
	static int deathCount;	
	//En garde!
	public void run()
		//Start spinning radar and initialize direction to infinity.
		setTurnRadarRightRadians(direction = Double.POSITIVE_INFINITY);

	public void onScannedRobot(ScannedRobotEvent e)
		//Local variables.
		int matchLength = 30;
		double absoluteBearing;
		double distance;
		int i;
		int index;
		//Oscillating/Random movement.
		if (enemyEnergy > (enemyEnergy = e.getEnergy()))
		//if((enemyEnergy - (enemyEnergy = e.getEnergy())) > (Math.round(Math.random() * chancesOfReversing.charAt(deathCount)) * 111))
		//if( (char) ((enemyEnergy - 1.09  - (enemyEnergy = e.getEnergy()))) < 2)
			direction *= (chancesOfReversing.charAt(deathCount) - Math.random());
			//direction *= (chancesOfReversing.charAt(deathCount) - (Math.random() * 2));
		//Stay perpendicular to the enemy.
		setTurnRightRadians(Math.cos(absoluteBearing = e.getBearingRadians()) + ((160 - (distance = e.getDistance())) * (getVelocity() / 2500)));
		//Pattern Matching.
		/*enemyHistory = String.valueOf((char) (e.getVelocity() * (Math.sin(e.getHeadingRadians() - (absoluteBearing += getHeadingRadians()))))).concat(enemyHistory);

    	// search for a match
    	while((matchPosition = enemyHistory.indexOf(enemyHistory.substring(0, integer--), 14)) < 0);

    	// calculate aim offset
    	integer = 14;
    	do { absoluteBearing += ((short) enemyHistory.charAt(--matchPosition)) /  160; } while (--integer > 0);*/
		//Pattern Matching
		enemyHistory = String.valueOf((char)(e.getVelocity() * Math.sin(e.getHeadingRadians() - (absoluteBearing += getHeadingRadians())))).concat(enemyHistory);
		while((index = enemyHistory.indexOf(enemyHistory.substring(0, matchLength--), (i = (int)(distance / 12.5)))) < 0);
			absoluteBearing += (short)enemyHistory.charAt(index--) / distance;
		}while(--i > 0);
		//Aim at the predicted target.
		setTurnGunRightRadians(Utils.normalRelativeAngle(absoluteBearing - getGunHeadingRadians()));
		//Infinite radar lock.
	public void onDeath(DeathEvent e)

	public void onHitWall(HitWallEvent e)
		//Reverse direction when the bot hits a wall.
		direction = -direction;
	static String chancesOfReversing = ""
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 0 + (char) 1 + (char) 0
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 0 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
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		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
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		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
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		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
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		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
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		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5
		+ (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5 + (char) .5;

	//Preloaded log of enemy movements for pattern matcher.
	static String enemyHistory = ""
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
		+ (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1 + (char) 1
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		+ (char) 7 + (char) 6 + (char) 5 + (char) 4
		+ (char) 3 + (char) 2 + (char) 1 + (char) 1;
Sheldor17:59, 19 March 2013

I'll look at this a bit tonight. There is a savings that can be had by compiling with a different Java compiler. I remember that :)

Miked080101:24, 20 March 2013


Skilgannon has already addressed the issue on another talk page, but I would appreciate any help I can get.

Sheldor04:00, 20 March 2013

BTW, I still feel very that LBB is a pretty cheezy bot. Abusing tables like that probably shouldn't be fair. It takes hours and hours though to get each bot optimized so maybe that makes it a little better overall. besting Moebius is a better accomplishment. At least he doesn't cheat...

Miked080101:30, 20 March 2013

Was kinda bummed to see that FightCodeGame is on its way to becoming for-profit and maybe not-open source: [1] They say the game will still be "free" (as in beer, I suppose).

I mean it's their call and best of luck to them, it just feels antithetical to the spirit that's helped communities for Robocode and other programming games thrive for a really long time. And while there's demand for good programming games - a prerequisite to making money off of something - I personally think there will also always be a supply of good / free / open source programming games that make it really hard to turn one into a business. There's just plenty of people that make their living doing other stuff that are happy to create programming games as a hobby.

Voidious02:18, 20 March 2013

Is it ethical to edit other people's bot/user pages?

The majority of non-archive pages on this wiki are either bot pages or user pages. Many of these pages contain outdated information, or could be improved.

So, is it ethical to edit these pages, even though they were personally made by another user for their own work?

Sheldor00:14, 8 March 2013

For the most part, I think it's fine to edit almost anything on the wiki, particularly if your goal is to improve the wiki and make it more useful to more people. I've migrated/edited lots of such pages. Cigaret and Ascendant are both pages I migrated where I tried to preserve the author's text while also updating inaccurate info and reformatting for the new wiki.

There are a few things I'd consider rude though:

  • Major changes to something like User:Chase-san/NewTech.
  • On Diamond, editing the ranks in "How competitive" seems fine, but modifying "What's special about it" would seem rude.
  • Any major changes to a bot/user page for a user that's active - I'd just say you should discuss it on the talk page first.
Voidious00:37, 8 March 2013

Yeah, my thoughts are if the person is active then ask first, if the person isn't active feel free to add, but think very carefully before modifying.

The only good reasons I can think to modify are:

  • Grammar/spelling (which is fine)
  • Adding links and categories which may not have existed when the author was making the page (also fine)
  • Updating rumble positioning and scores (try to stick a date next to the data that's there, then add a new date with current data).
  • Possibly adding a brief blurb if the bot was particularly influential in Robocode development.
Skilgannon06:51, 8 March 2013

Take for instance my recent edit of AWs userpage. I contemplated it for a moment. But I decided he probably made a mistake, and so I felt it was safe to correct it.

But I wouldn't go through and change the structure of his page, or start adding on a new section. It's his page. So in the end I suppose my opinion is to have a light touch.

I don't completely agree with Skilgannon. Large corrections, yes, definitely. But for minor corrections, you shouldn't have to go through the possibly long process of asking. Such as if you can fix their misspelling of "froward" into "forward".

Chase09:44, 8 March 2013

Is it ethical to edit other people's posts for minor typos/grammatical errors/inaccuracies?

Sheldor18:04, 19 March 2013

I don't think it's unethical, but it might be unnecessary / annoying. :-) I wouldn't do it for discussion threads, but I might on a content page.

Voidious18:05, 19 March 2013

While loop in the 'run' method

I'm unclear as to when the while loop in the run method starts, so I added a debug command there:

while(true) {
	setDebugProperty("startingWhile", String.format("heading: %.1f° at time %d.", getHeading(),  getTime()));
	// ...

But to my surprise, this doesn't get displayed until after the ahead and all the following commands are executed, which I would assume should be the beginning of the second iteration. Is there something that prevents these debug properties from being displayed immediately?

To Wombi: Das ist der Fluch der guten Tat. Ich hoffe, Du bereust nicht, meine Frage beantwortet zu haben.

Astacus02:40, 5 November 2012

I never used setDebugProperty. Always used plain System.out.println.

Probably, setDebugProperty value is only used inside "execute" events, like all other setter methods.

MN15:22, 5 November 2012

Hi mate ...

I gave a little example on your user discussion page Discuss - it's a little more appropriate than the main page. Feel free to ask about whatever bother you - no matter what.


Wompi15:31, 5 November 2012

Help! Since I installed Robocode, my original Java isn't working anymore

Hello, please forgive me if this isn't the right place to post this. I'm a noob to Java; two months ago I installed the JDK from Oracle and played around with the examples from the book "Java - A Beginner's Guide". It worked nicely until I installed Robocode. Now, Robocode is working fine, but regardless which of the example programs I try to run, I get the same error:

cd the_directory_that_contains_Example.class 
java Example.class 
Error: Could not find or load main class Example.class

I tried recompiling Example.class from, but that didn't help. I googled for this error; I found a nice reply at, so I tried to explicitly point it to the class directory:

java -classpath . Example.class

But this didn't help either. BTW, I had added the follwing two environment variables for Robocode, but from what I read, they shouldn't matter:

JAVA_HOME="C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_07"
Path=C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_07\bin;C:\WINDOWS\system32;...

Please help me with this. Thanks!

Astacus21:23, 4 November 2012

Hi mate ... Not sure but i guess it should be:

java -cp . Example

not Example.class. Let me know if this worked out for you

Wompi01:51, 5 November 2012

That's it! Thanks a lot!

Astacus02:15, 5 November 2012

funny "Robocode has peaked" quote

Was just reading oldwiki:RobocodeNG/Archive and came across this choice quote from Albert.

Robocode as it is has reached its maximum. It was more than a year ago that the las truly new idea came (ie. WaveSurfing) and now its all tweaking and optimizing... really boring.

Not sure the date, I think 2005ish. =) And here we are, 7-8 years later, still reaching new heights with our bots. No more paradigm shifting breakthroughs, true, but tons of refinements, many small to medium improvements, and a few pretty big ones along the way. To me, it seems like Wave Surfing was more the beginning of something than an end to Robocode innovation. I think we've taken a more precise and mathemetically sound approach to all aspects of our bots since then.

Voidious17:36, 25 September 2012

Since then we've had:

  1. Precise Intersection
  2. Precise min/max GFs
  3. Bullet Shadows
  4. Kd-trees (and with them, fast log-based targeting)
  5. Super-survivalist bullet powers
  6. Gunheat waves
  7. Genetic tuning of variables
  8. Shoot-everybody melee gun
  9. Melee surfing

A lot of these ideas were dependant on wave surfing to begin with, I agree a little with Albert's quote, but it was a bit like saying that now that the transistor (or vacuum tube) was developed, suddenly hardware design was over. I would say no, it has only just begun =) Once we had wave surfing, the same ideas and stats which we used for gun we could adapt for movement, although the lower quantities of data posed a whole new set of problems. I would argue that before wave surfing, the tweaking of movement profiles was much more boring than what we are doing now (although definitely had a lower barrier to entry).

Skilgannon19:05, 25 September 2012

K-nearest neighbours/kd-trees and genetic tuning in particular are bleeding edge AI techniques that come from outside the Robocode world.

MN21:46, 25 September 2012

New in terms of statistics, I guess. I'm referencing papers for my MSc from the early '90s which were using kD-Trees to speed up KNN search.

Skilgannon22:02, 25 September 2012

Yeah, very well put. At this point, "Wave Surfing" feels to me like a very broad term that would be applied to any intelligent movement system, while there are still so many differentiating details beyond that. I mean, looking at any popular game or sport, most are long past the stages where earth shattering insights can be discovered about game play, but that doesn't mean they are immediately uninteresting. Michael Jordan didn't really do anything new, besides just doing everything better than everyone ever. And he's a pretty exciting chapter in basketball history, if you ask me. =)

Sort of on topic, as I've been working on a new game recently and designing rules, I've been thinking a lot about Robocode's rule set and how much of the game play depth is by luck or by design. It's pretty insane and impressive that the game has held up so well for so long. I try to give credit where it's due and believe it's by design. But then I think about how the scoring had to be changed after release because Mat didn't realize that a non-shooting bot might have the best survival strategy. And how simple the sample bots are, or even the earliest public bots - it's like nobody had any idea where things were going. But maybe if you have some good grasp of game play mechanics at a fundamental level, you don't have to be able to see where things are going to know that you have something with balance and depth. Or maybe Robocode isn't really all that deep compared to what could be, but it's the best we have in a really cool genre and succeeds for lots of other reasons too.

Voidious21:20, 25 September 2012

Robocode is NP-complete as most games with depth. Other games might include chess, go and poker.

But Robocode is more than simply a complex game. Having tanks and bullets as theme makes it a lot more fun. There is an intuitive feel about how a tank should behave. Moving and aiming efficiently is simply not enough, robocoders like to make theirs bots move smoothly or turn their guns without shaking.

The engine being open to everyone, with anyone being able to develop a bot (not necessarily competitive) and also being able to upload them in an open internet environment removes most barriers to entry. And being an AI competition ensures there is always someone to compete against. A great deal of Robocode longevity can be credited to RoboRumble.

MN22:08, 25 September 2012

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 =)

Skilgannon22:25, 25 September 2012

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.

Voidious22:48, 25 September 2012

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 :)

Rednaxela23:03, 25 September 2012

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.

Voidious23:36, 25 September 2012

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.

MN23:16, 25 September 2012

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!

Tkiesel18:02, 26 September 2012

Yeah, I was thinking that the incomplete information aspect has a lot to do with the depth of Robocode as well, but it's certainly also true that the rumble has a lot to do with it's longevity, allowing it to survive quieter periods when some authors are inactive.

The comparison to other NP-complate games like chess, as well as the incomplete information aspect being brought up makes me wonder how chess strategies would differ if the game rules were modified for incomplete information (i.e. you can only see spaces that your pieces either occupy, can move to, or can attack)

Rednaxela23:10, 25 September 2012

Doing a quick search... seems such chess variations do exist: wikipedia:Dark chess and wikipedia:Kriegspiel (chess).

Rednaxela23:14, 25 September 2012

Oops, NP-complete means the perfect move can´t be easily calculated. NP stands for Non-Polynomial runtime complexity.

But yes, imperfect information is a key feature in Robocode.

Perfect information and imperfect information usually leads to 2 completely different paths. The first leading to backward induction style analysis and the second leading to forward induction.

MN23:25, 25 September 2012

Man, "Dark Chess" is a really cool sounding game name. =) And appropriate too.

Voidious23:39, 25 September 2012
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