This year contestants implemented AI to manage robotic vacuum cleaners.
The game has massive-multiplayer style, which is strongly different from our previous games, which were usually either single-player (e.g. in 2010) or player-vs-player (e.g. in 2013). All 50 participating teams compete altogether in every game. Each player manages 10 robots, which drive on the round field. If a robot collides with another smaller robot (or with passive immobile "food"), then the former devours the latter, and its area is increased by the area of the devoured object. The player who devours everything wins (this surely happens since game field is gradually contracting). Game score of arbitrary player is defined as the overall area of all his robots at the best (for him) time moment. As size of robot increases, its speed decreases. That's why the game has turbo mode, which allows to double robot speed from time to time.
In order to avoid technical problems with running 50 solutions simultaneously, we decided to restrict the competition to a single programming language, which is Lua language. This is not the first time when we have to ask contestants to use this language. The game is launched in a single OS process, and each player lives in its own sandboxed Lua-state. As a result, it is possible to run a game with 50 players even locally on an ordinary computer.
The game was launched in a loop approximately every three minutes during the tour. Only the most recent solution of each team took part in the game. Since about the middle of the tour we started to show the results of current games on a big TV or a projector in each classroom. Supporters were stuck near the TV in the jury room, which looked approximately like this:
Of course, the most interesting games were in the middle of the competition, when players' strategies changed dramatically. During some time these games can be downloaded from the server, for instance using the "download.bat" script. Here are the videos of several games (youtube-playlist of all games; good quality videos can be downloaded from here):
An hour after the contest started: run 100
Two hours after the start: run 150
Three hours after the start: run 175
Three hours and a half after the start: run 200
Four hours and a half after the start: run 230
After the tour ended: run 256
Now you can download (related to the game):