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May 25th 2002

  • To see the final results of the May 2002 Jrobots Challenge read the Jrobots Challenges page. Here a few comments follow:

    This contest shows a great result: IonStorm won the May 2002 Jrobots Challenge and conquered the Jrobot's GRAND SLAM.
    Finally happened again! IonStorm won the three categories of Jrobots repeating the KillerBees's exploit of year 2000. KillerBees held its position for eight tournaments and I'm curious to see if anyone is going to beat IonStorm soon at least in one category, so...
    EURO PrizeI'm going to award the future winners of Jrobots with the following prizes:
    The next winner (other than IonStorm) of the Single Mode will receive a 5 euro banknote, the Double Mode winner will receive a 10 euro banknote and, finally, the Team Mode winner will receive a 20 euro banknote. If no one is going to beat IonStorm before the end of the September 2002 Jrobots Challenge, the author of IonStorm will receive the full set of banknotes, otherwise only some of them.

    I've chosen the usual euro prizes to follow the tradition started on January and I've preferred those small banknotes because they posses long holographic stripes, while the large banknotes have a smaller hologram ;->. Obviously, it's only a symbolic prize as usual, but it's less symbolic than the last one.

    While IonStorm is the absolute winner of the tournament, thanks to a fine tuning of the Team Mode strategy, Mouth has got three very good second places revealing itself the absolute second best robot in the arena. The old but still strong KillerBees had to be satisfied with a third place in Single Mode and Double Mode, while Germ is third in Team Mode. The other two robots that survived to this challenge are GermPlus and OneEyedWillyII.

    Now the bad news: Myst, Fish and 845bytes are dead. The first two were strong old-aged robots that suffered the competition in the arena, while the last one was the smallest-strongest robot ever written.
    From the novices side: sushkin lost his robots dr1 and dr2. The first was not too bad as its percentage testify.
    Finally, I've lost my DirtyCoward and no other robots of mine are still around in the arena: It's time to think about new strategies :(
    Only SIX robots are now in the arena! And the Alan Lund's Watch utility foresees that only IonStorm and Mouth are going to survive to the next challenge, but since the Team Mode needs at least four robots to work, if no other robot will be uploaded in the arena, I'll save at least the first four placed of the Team List.

    Now you can upload your robots to win the June 2002 Jrobots Challenge (June 1st-29th 2002) aka IonStorm's GRAND SLAM!

  • I've found an interesting article titled: "Replacing heuristic programming with machine learning for a robot in an adversial environment" (in postscript format). The authors describe an interesting technique to train a robot to fight and survive against other robots using neural networks. I suggest this article because the adversial environment that the authors use is nothing else that the Jrobots arena. The authors claim that the neural robot often wins against the simpler robots Rabbit (of course), Rook, Sniper and Counter, but I can't imagine how long we should train our neural network to make the robot win against IonStorm.

  • I want to reassure all the JASTROBOTS' fans that the project is not dead as other projects of mine. The original design document is now largely obsolete because I have greatly refined the concept simplifing the features, limiting the fight of the starships in the space around a few asteroids and dropping (for the moment) the configurability of the vehicles. Neddless to say that this choice makes the game more similar to a three-dimensional Jrobots. The new design is not published yet.
    In addition I have rewritten some code developed for JerkFighters to support the needs of JASTROBOTS.
    Since there are only two weeks before the summer holidays, may be that soon you can test a first non-Java demo of JASTROBOTS. I'm sorry but at the same time proud to inform you that the demo I'm currently developing is not a Java applet, but a Windows application that needs a Win98 system (or higher) with a 3D accelerated graphic card that supports OpenGL.

May 4th 2002

  • The May 2002 Jrobots Challenge starts now.
    Remember that you can send your robots even in the course of the challenge, so you're never too late. The latest robots are stored in the file You can download it to test off-line the behaviour of your robot against the other challengers. To read the results in real-time simply visit the Battle Applet page.

  • Remember also the following facts about this challenge:
    1. A virtual clock generator beats the thinking time of the robots, so you'd better to test your old robots with the latest SDK and possibly modify them to get better performances.
    2. The size limit of the robots was raised to 20Kb.
    3. The compiler of the Java 2 JDK 1.4 is incompatible with the Internet Explorer JVM. Before uploading your robot be sure to compile it with the -target 1.1 option. For example
      javac -g:none -O -target 1.1
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