LRUG Ruby Fight Club for October
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Benchmark mode

This fork converts battleship to a benchmark mode of operation to test different rubies.

To test a different ruby (jruby in this example), run:

rvm install jruby
rvm use jruby@battleship
# export any options you might need
time bundle exec ruby bin/play.rb contestants/lrug/gunther/gunther_player.rb{,}

Different rubies environment variables

In testing I found that jruby requires these options:

JRUBY_OPTS='--1.9 --server -J-Xmx1024m'

And rubinius requires these options:

RBXOPT=-X19 rbx -v

The slides for my initial results are here:

The game

Long version: see [Wikipedia](\))

  • Each player starts with a fleet of 5 ships, of length 5, 4, 3, 3, and 2.
  • Each player places their ships horizontally or vertically on a 10x10 grid; this is not visible to their opponent.
  • Players take turns to fire at positions on the grid, gradually revealing where their opponent’s ships are and are not located.
  • A ship is destroyed when every cell of a ship has been hit.
  • The winner is the first player to destroy their opponent’s fleet.

You lose if:

  • You do not place the correct number and size of ships.
  • You place your fleet in impossible positions (ships overlapping or partly off the board).
  • Your code raises an exception.
  • All your ships have been sunk.

Additional rules

  • The official interpreter is Ruby 1.9.2.
  • The player will not have access to the game objects.
  • The player may require Ruby source files from within a lib directory in the same place as the player file (i.e. players/player.rb can use players/lib/foo/bar.rb via require "foo/bar".)
  • A file should not implement more than one player class.
  • The judge’s decision is final.


Play takes place on a 10x10 grid. Co-ordinates are given in the order (x,y) and are zero-indexed relative to the top left, i.e. (0,0) is the top left, (9,0) is the top right, and (9,9) is the bottom right.

A player is implemented as a Ruby class. The name of the class must be unique and end with Player. It must implement the following instance methods:


This must return an ASCII string containing the name of the team or player.


This is called whenever a game starts. It must return the initial positioning of the fleet as an array of 5 arrays, one for each ship. The format of each array is:

[x, y, length, orientation]

where x and y are the top left cell of the ship, length is its length (2-5), and orientation is either :across or :down.

take_turn(state, ships_remaining)

state is a representation of the known state of the opponent’s fleet, as modified by the player’s shots. It is given as an array of arrays; the inner arrays represent horizontal rows. Each cell may be in one of three states: :unknown, :hit, or :miss. E.g.

[[:hit, :miss, :unknown, ...], [:unknown, :unknown, :unknown, ...], ...]
# 0,0   1,0    2,0              0,1       1,1       2,1

ships_remaining is an array of the ships remaining on the opponent's board, given as an array of numbers representing their lengths, longest first. For example, the first two calls will always be:

[5, 4, 3, 3, 2]

If the player is lucky enough to take out the length 2 ship on their first two turns, the third turn will be called with:

[5, 4, 3, 3]

and so on.

take_turn must return an array of co-ordinates for the next shot. In the example above, we can see that the player has already played [0,0], yielding a hit, and [1,0], giving a miss. They can now return a reasonable guess of [0,1] for their next shot.

The console runner

A console runner is provided. It can be started using:

ruby bin/play.rb path/to/player_a.rb path/to/player_b.rb

Players are isolated using DRb.

A couple of very basic players are supplied: StupidPlayer puts all its ships in a corner and guesses at random (often wasting turns by repeating itself). Human Player asks for input via the console.