Not enough hours in the day
I can't believe how long it has been since I was last active.
Life keeps me quite busy, but I still think about RoboCode from time to time. I'm tempted to come back for awhile and update RoboJogger (finally get it to a stable 1.0 version), and maybe even work on a robot (maybe take a new look at the missed turns issue XanderCat had in the first couple of rounds).
I hope everyone is doing well!
I'm honestly not too excited about trying to improve on XanderCat in 1:1 combat. Deminishing returns and all. I'm actually more interested in updating my robot framework to fully support melee combat, and then building my first real melee robot. Not sure if I will just expand XanderCat for this, or create a separate robot (maybe XanderClowder).
I did a quick review of XanderCat vs Spitfire. Spitfire is my bot that only does bullet shielding. If you do a compare of these two robots in the rumble, you can see that the bullet shielding implementation in XanderCat is still failing frequently. Spitfire outperforms XanderCat by wide margins on many robots vulnerable to bullet shielding. So while I was thinking of just doing melee work, I may also go back and see if I can fix this deficiency in XanderCat again, as doing so could make a significant impact on it's overall performance. There are two things I can do for this.
First, I may need to do another round of trying to cut some fat out of XanderCat to address the missed turns issue that was previously (and I assume still is) a bit issue related to this. First on the chopping block would probably be the scenario for ramming other opponents, which was just there for fun. I'm sure there are other places that can be improved as well.
Second, I may need to tweak XanderCat into sticking with the bullet shielding for longer before jumping to other modes. Possibly making it continue trying to bullet shield if the number of missed turns is enough to be interfering. There is a balance to be achieved there between improving against bullet shielding vulnerable opponents and degrading performance against opponents who are not vulnerable to bullet shielding. But based on comparisons, I think trying harder to bullet shield is probably the way to go, as XanderCat is some 20 to 30 APS points lower than Spitfire against quite a few opponents. That's pretty significant.
I find that it is convenient to treat my bot the same as enemies bot inside the code. I.e. each bot has full information on past and present battlefield situation. My bot would fire real bullets, enemies would make "virtual" decision on firing, which mine is dodging. That assumes that enemies using similar guns and strategies. So I might even have a rough guess at which opponent an enemy fires in melee (if they use same decision tactic) and dodge or not dodge such bullet.
One can even attemt to extend it, and predict which way the enemy would dodge in melee taking in account not only my bullets but other enemies too. But this is CPU expensive and leads to missed turns, so I do not use it. Though, I feel it can be done relatively fast.