New Rumble Categories
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.