Planet Wars: You Can Still Participate

The Planet Wars competition has been running for a month now and the deadline for submissions is Saturday the 27th of November 2010.

Don't let the fact that it has already been running for a month dissuade you from participating. If you're an experienced programmer a weekend of solid work will get your bot in the top 500 (out of a little more than 3000 participants currently) and maybe even in the top 100. If you're less experienced perhaps a week or two of work will get you the same (and if not, you will still learn a lot!).

Some perspective: my bot briefly entered the top 25 this weekend (but it's on its way out of the top 50 currently) and I've been working on it in my spare time the last two or three weeks. I'm not experienced in AI programming and I've got a full time job, a wife and two young kids to distract me.

So, grab a Common Lisp starter pack and get hacking!

One tip: The map format is very simple (check the maps directory in any starter pack). Make simple maps to test your attack and defense routines on.

Some helpful links:

  • dhartmei's TCP server: with this you can play games against others from your own machine (ie. without uploading) and it gives you more games in a shorter amount of time than the official server.
  • JBotManager: I use this utility exclusively for replaying games.
  • Test scripts for running your bot against the example bots on all the maps. If you win against these bots 95% of the time you'll end up in the top 500 and if you win against them 100% of the time you'll probably end up in the top 100.
  • A strategy guide with links to other strategy guides.
  • Parsing the game output state: this will allow you to get a played game back from the official server in a way that can be fed back into your bot. This has helped me find some bugs of games where my bot crashed on the official server which I missed when testing locally.

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