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A programming game in which one writes Tcl programs to control a robot, which must survive a battle with other robots.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. WHAT IS TCLROBOTS? 2. INSTALLATION AND DEMO 3. SYNOPSIS 4. THE ROBOT 5. THE BATTLEFIELD 6. THE ROBOT TCL LANGUAGE 7. THE ROBOT HARDWARE INTERFACES 7.1. Basic syscalls 7.1.1 scanner 7.1.2 dsp 7.1.3 alert 7.1.4 cannon 7.1.5 health 7.1.6 drive 7.1.7 speed 7.1.8 heat 7.1.9 loc_x 7.1.10 loc_y 7.1.11 tick 7.2. Team syscalls 7.2.1 team_declare 7.2.2 team_send 7.2.3 team_get 7.3. Convenience syscalls 7.3.1 dputs 7.3.2 rand 7.3.2 callback 1. WHAT IS TCLROBOTS? TclRobots is a programming game where you write a Tcl program to control a robot. The robot's mission is to survive a battle with other robots. At least two robots compete during a battle, each running different programs (or possibly the same program in different robots). Each robot is equipped with a scanner, cannon, drive mechanism. A single match continues until one robot is left running. Robots may compete individually, or combine in a team oriented battle. A tournament can be run with any number of robot programs, each robot playing every other in a round-robin fashion, one-on-one. A battle simulator is available to help debug robot programs. The TclRobots program provides a physical environment, imposing certain game parameters to which all robots must adhere. TclRobots also provides a view on a battle, and a controlling user interface. TclRobots require Tcl 8.6 since it uses coroutines. TclRobots is licensed under the Simplified BSD license. See LICENSE for information. 2. INSTALLATION AND DEMO Download the game and sample robots from tclrobots.org. Run "tclrobots" (Linux/Mac) or "tclrobots.exe" (Windows) depending on operating system. In the Files listbox, Double-Click on the "samples" directory for sample robot programs. Click on "Select All" Click on "Run Battle" 3. SYNOPSIS tclrobots Tclrobots without any command line arguments starts TclRobots in interactive mode. The user interface (described below) is used to select files, start battles, tournaments, or the simulator. If command line arguments are specified, tclrobots starts in tournament or single battle mode using the specified files. Command-line arguments (in any order): --debug : Enable debug messages and lowered health for quicker battles. --gui : Use GUI; useful in combination with robot files. --help : Show this help. --msg : Disable robot messages. --n [N] : Run N number of battles. --o [FILE] : Set results output file. --seed [S] : Start with random seed S to replay a specific battle. --t* : Run tournament in batch mode. --version : Show version and exit. [robot.tr] : Add one ore more robot files. 4. THE ROBOT All robots in TclRobots are constructed equally. What differentiates the robots' behavior is the control program that you write. The robot has the ability to move, look for, and shoot at, other robots. Robots use a compass system based on 0 to 359 degrees, with 0 pointing due east, 90 due north, 180 due west, and 270 due south. The robot's drive mechanism can be controlled to move the robot in a particular direction, at some speed. Direction is expressed as an integer degree heading 0 - 359, and speed is 0 to 100 percent. The motor is inefficient above 35% speed, and begins to overheat. When a temperature heat index of 200 is reached, the motor cannot be operated over 35% until cooling allows the heat index to drop back to 0. While the robot is very agile and stable, safeguards are built into the interface to prevent the robot from tipping over while trying to turn at too fast a rate for any given speed. The following table represents maximum speeds at which a delta course change can be made: Degrees of Maximum Speed course change ____________________________ 25 or less 100% 25 - 50 50% 50 - 75 30% 75 or greater 20% If a course change is attempted at a speed above the maximum for the change, the drive is disengaged (speed set to 0) on the present course. The drive mechanism also allows the robot to turn faster at slower speeds. Speed Rate of turn ____________________________ 25% or less 90 25 - 50% 60 50 - 75% 40 75% or greater 30 At 100% speed, the robot travels at 20 meters per second. Robots are also subject to acceleration and deaccelearation, a linear constant of 20% of the maximun speed per second. Each robot is equipped with a scanning device, which can be pointed independently of the current drive heading of the robot. A scan can be initiated in any direction, 0-359 degrees. The scanner has a variable resolution capability, detecting other robots within a maximum of +/- 10 degrees from the scan direction. If a scan finds a robot, the distance to the opposing robot is reported. However, if a resolution greater than 0 is used, the scanner's result may be reported inaccurately. In this case, the distance reported may be off by as much as 10 meters for each degree of resolution (up to 100 meters in error for a +/- 10 degree resolution scan.) A high resolution scan (0 specified for resolution) will return accurate results, subject to cannon barrel heat distortion (see below). If two or more robots are in the scan's resolution, the closest opponent is reported. It's also possible to distinguish various opposing robots, as the scanner has a rudimentary digital signal processor, and each robot has a arbitrary signature. A robot program can also be alerted when it is the subject of a scan by another robot. The signature of the scanning robot can be determined, but not it's heading or distance. A cannon is the robot's offensive weapon, firing a shell at opposing robots. The cannon has a maximum range of 700 meters, and can be aimed independently of the robot heading. Damage to all surrounding robots from an exploding shell is assessed as follows: Meters from % Damage explosion incurred ______________________ 6 25% 10 12% 20 7% 40 3% While the robot has an large (unlimited) cache of shells available, it can only reload fast enough to have one shell in the air at maximum range at any one time (approximately 4 seconds). Cannon shells are grouped four to a clip; after a clip is exhausted, it is ejected and a new clip loaded in place. The effect is that on every fourth shell, the reload time is tripled (12 seconds.) The cannon fires its shells in a high arc; a shell will not impact into another robot that might be in the line of flight. Shells travel at 200 meters per second toward the target. Each shell fired causes the cannon barrel to heat up. The heat rising off the barrel distorts the view of the scanner. If the temperature of the barrel becomes too great, the scanner is rendered useless. At lesser temperatures, the heat distortion will cause the scanner to return inaccurate results, a random plus or minus meters equal to the total heat of the barrel (one unit of barrel heat = one meter error.) Firing a shell causes the barrel temperature to increase by 20 heat units. The normal cooling rate is 2 units per second. The scanner always reports 0 for range while the barrel temperature is above 35 units. The scanning beam, however, still registers upon other robots in the path of the scan, triggering a scanned robot's alert procedure. The cannon barrel does not have temperature sensor. Various feedback registers in the robot can be accessed by the control program, reporting the current amount of damage, x and y axis battlefield location, current speed, and an internal clock tick. Robots have health expressed as a percent value. Health starts at 100% and decreases with damage. When 0% health is reached, the robot is "dead", and ceases to function. However, damage has no effect on operational ability. A robot with 1% health operates as well as one with no damage. 5. THE BATTLEFIELD The battlefield in TclRobots is a 1,000 by 1,000 meter square area. Walls surround the battlefield, and robots running into a wall will suffer 5% damage. The coordinate system is based on increasing x and y axis values from the southwest corner: bottom left is (0,0) and (999,999) is the northeast (upper right). Upon start up, robots are placed in random quadrants. 6. THE ROBOT TCL LANGUAGE Robot control programs are written in the Tcl language. The robot programs are run in separate safe interpreters. The following Tcl commands are available: after append apply array binary break catch chan clock close concat continue dict eof error eval expr fblocked fcopy fileevent flush for foreach format gets global if incr info interp join lappend lassign lindex linsert list llength lrange lrepeat lreplace lsearch lset lsort namespace package pid proc puts read regexp regsub rename return scan seek set split string subst switch tell time trace unset update uplevel upvar variable vwait while The following Tcl commands are not available: cd encoding exec exit fconfigure file glob load open pwd socket source unload 7. THE ROBOT HARDWARE INTERFACES The following Tcl commands are the interface to the robot's hardware; the syscalls. Each interface command takes 1 clock tick to complete, except the scanner command, which requires 2 clock ticks per execution, and team communication commands team_get and team_send execute without delay. Commands that take arguments will return -1 if any argument is out of valid ranges. For degrees, valid values are 0-359; for speed, 0-100, for resolution, 0-10, for cannon range, 0-700. 7.1 Basic syscalls 7.1.1 scanner NAME scanner - Find other robots by scanning the battlefield SYNOPSIS scanner degree resolution DESCRIPTION The scanner command invokes the robot's scanner. Degree must be in the range 0-359. Scanner returns 0 if nothing found, or an integer greater than zero indicating the distance to an opponent. Resolution controls how wide in degrees the scan can detect opponents from the absolute scanning direction, and must be in the range 0-10. A robot that has been destroyed is not reported by the scanner. Cost: 2 ticks. 7.1.2 dsp NAME dsp - Get information on last scanned robot SYNOPSIS dsp DESCRIPTION The dsp command returns a list of two integers, the first element is the digital signature of the last robot found using the scanner. The second element is the percent of health the scanned robot has remaining, 1-100 percent. Each robot in a battle has a distinct signature. If nothing was found during the last scan (scanner command returned 0), then the dsp command will return "0 0". Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.3 alert NAME alert - React on being scanned SYNOPSIS alert proc-name DESCRIPTION The alert command names a procedure to be called when the robot is being scanned by another robot. When the robot detects it has been scanned, the proc-name procedure is called with one argument, the dsp signature of the robot that performed the scan. If proc-name is null (""), then the alert feature is disabled. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.4 cannon NAME cannon - Fire the offensive weapon SYNOPSIS cannon degree range DESCRIPTION The cannon commands fires a shell in the direction specified by degree, for the distance range. Cannon returns 1 if a shell was fired; if the cannon is reloading, 0 is returned. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.5 health NAME health - Get information on current health SYNOPSIS health DESCRIPTION The health command returns the current health, 1-100 percent. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.6 drive NAME drive - Move the robot on the battlefield SYNOPSIS drive degree speed DESCRIPTION The drive command starts the robot's drive mechanism. Degree must be in the range 0-359. Speed must be in the range 0-100. Any change in course that falls outside the "Degrees of course change" table (see "The Robot", above) will cause the robot's speed to be set to 0 along the current course. A speed of 0 causes the robot to coast to a stop. The drive command returns the speed set. If the drive is currently overheated, the maximum speed during overheating (35%) will be set. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.7 speed NAME speed - Get information the the current speed SYNOPSIS speed DESCRIPTION The speed command reports the current speed of the robot, 0-100. Speed may return more or less than what was last set with the drive command because of acceleration/deaccelearation, drive overheating, or collision into a wall. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.8 heat NAME heat - Get information on current motor heat SYNOPSIS heat DESCRIPTION The heat command returns a list of two integers, the first element is the overheating flag, 1 if the maximum motor heat value was attained, otherwise 0. The second element is the current motor heat index, 0-200. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.9 loc_x NAME loc_x - Get information on current position on X axis SYNOPSIS loc_x DESCRIPTION The loc_x command returns the current x axis location of the robot, 0-999 meters. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.10 loc_y NAME loc_y - Get information on current position on Y axis SYNOPSIS loc_y DESCRIPTION The loc_y command returns the current y axis location of the robot, 0-999 meters. Cost: 1 tick. 7.1.11 tick NAME tick - Get information on the current clock tick SYNOPSIS tick DESCRIPTION The tick command returns the current clock tick of the battle. The clock tick is set to 0 at game startup. Cost: 1 tick. 7.2 Team syscalls 7.2.1 team_declare NAME team_declare - Join a team of robots SYNOPSIS team_declare teamname DESCRIPTION The team_declare command sets the team alliance to the teamname argument. team_declare is only effective the first time it is executed in a robot control program. team_declare returns the teamname value. Cost: 1 tick. 7.2.2 team_send NAME team_send - Send a message to all team mates SYNOPSIS team_send data DESCRIPTION The team_send command makes the argument available to all other robots with the same teamname. Data is a single string argument, and can be any value or list. If a team has not been declared with the team_declare command, the team_send command has no effect. Cost: 0 ticks. 7.2.3 team_get NAME team_get - Get messages from all team mates SYNOPSIS team_get DESCRIPTION The team_get command returns a list of team members and their current data values. Each element of the list returned is a list of the digital signature of a team member and that robot's last team_send data value. If a team has not been declared with team_declare or all of the other members of the team have not declared a team or are dead, the return value is an null list. The robot executing the team_get command is also excluded from the return list. Cost: 0 ticks. 7.3 Convenience syscalls 7.3.1 dputs NAME dputs - Print a message SYNOPSIS dputs args DESCRIPTION The dputs command prints a message in the GUI message window. Dputs accepts any number of arguments. Cost: 0 ticks. 7.3.2 rand NAME rand - Generate a random number SYNOPSIS rand max DESCRIPTION The rand command uses the Tcl mathfunc rand to generate a random integer between 0 and (max - 1). The seed value is randomly set at game startup. The seed value is reported at battle end to enable the possibility to re-run battles. Note that since Tcl mathfunc rand is not cryptographically secure you better not let your TclRobot select your passwords. Cost: 0 ticks. 7.3.3 callback NAME callback - Schedule actions for later ticks SYNOPSIS callback time script DESCRIPTION Cost: 0 ticks.