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A survivalist bot is a bot that is good at outsurviving its opponent. The Robocode scoring rules favour bullet damage over survival, though SandboxDT takes survival to a level where it actually overcomes this constraint. So there is absolutely a point in exploring the survivalist path even if you are not a survivalist purist like David McCoy et al.
I fail to make good survivalist bots. Firing weaker bullets alone doesn't cut it. So this is a call for experience, knowledge and speculation on the subject. -- PEZ

I've also noted that MogBot is a superb survivalist, I suspect because he doesn't fire full power unless he's "Sure" he'll hit because he got a really close match on the pattern. -- Kawigi

Marshmallow uses it's VirtualGuns stats to fire weaker bullets in segments where none of the guns hit better than a given percentage. This helps survive some, but it really doesn't make Marshmallow a survivalist. I have tried fireing bullet power 1.5 instead of power 3 and this raises my hit ratio considerably, but survivalistically it doesn't pay enough to even remotely make up for the loss in bullet damage score. Which are the tricks? Some of you survivalist experts, spill some of your beans please. -- PEZ

I tried at some point to make a survivalist energy-management system where I would try to detect if I couldn't hit my opponent worth beans (less than 12% hit-rate means that survivalistically, it's not worthwhile to shoot any power of bullet), but then he couldn't hit me either, I can just fire at a power that is .1 lower than my opponent does (unless I can finish him off), and hope he'll run out of energy before me. It worked well against a few robots, and not as well against some others. -- Kawigi

At the risk of stating the obvious, I think the idea of not firing higher powered bullets needs to be coupled with a good gun and superior movement in order to work. DT is perhaps the apex of this path. It's guns are very accurate and he is hard to hit. He gets minor upticks in energy every time he hits you, you waste energy trying to hit him. Sounds easy doesn't it =^> -- jim

I'm afraid you are all too correct. Unless you have guns in the class of DT maybe you shouldn't try to walk the survivalist path in order to compete with normal Robocode rules. -- PEZ

I consider my DynamicDistancing algorithm to be purely survivalist in every sense, even if it causes me to move closer to my opponent a lot of the time. If I can get to a distance where (benefit-penalty) is a positive number, I should be able to out-survive my opponent, and if I can find the place where (benefit-penalty)/(benefit+penalty) is a higher positive number, I should survive even better. Anything that keeps close tabs on how to get the very best possibly energy advantage is a survivalist technique I think. -- Kawigi

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Last edited May 18, 2006 21:47 EST by Florent (diff)