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What is BattleCode?

The 6.370 BattleCode programming competition during IAP is a unique challenge that combines battle strategy, software engineering and artificial intelligence. In short, the objective is to write the best player program for the computer game BattleCode.

The BattleCode game in action.

BattleCode, developed for 6.370, is a real-time strategy game. Two teams of robots roam the screen collecting resources and attacking each other with different kinds of weapons. However, in BattleCode each robot functions autonomously; under the hood it runs a Java virtual machine loaded up with its team's player program. Robots in the game communicate by radio and must work together to accomplish their goals.

Teams of one to four students enter 6.370 and are given the BattleCode software and a specification of the game rules at the beginning of IAP. During January, each team develops a player program, which will be run by each of their robots during BattleCode matches. Contestants must master artificial intelligence, pathfinding, distributed algorithms, and network communications to write their player. At the end of the month, the autonomous players are pitted against each other in a dramatic head-to-head tournament. The final rounds of the tournament are played out in front of a live audience, with the top teams receiving cash prizes.