Grobots is a real-time strategy programming game, in which you write programs to control teams of robots as they forage, reproduce and fight. It runs on Mac OS X, Windows, and (without graphics) Linux. Read the overview or look at some screenshots to learn what's going on.
The programs that control the robots are called sides, and are written in a simple dialect of Forth. There are many sides to play with, and tournament results to ponder. (The current champion is ISI.)
The learning curve is steep, and the documentation is, unfortunately, poor. We're moving it to a wiki, so you can help fix this.
The main discussion forum is the mailing list. If you have a new side you want to show to other users or enter in tournaments, send it there, or post it to the wiki. The authors like to hear from users, but can be very slow to respond.
Grobots is free software licensed under the GPL. Maintenance from the original authors is sporadic, but you can do it yourself: download source and binaries.
(Devon 20120804) After years of very little maintenance, I've recently improved the graphics and statistics and default window layout and performance, and Mike Anderson has made keyboard shortcuts work on Windows. This level of activity is unlikely to continue, but you can get up-to-date builds below.
There will be a tournament on August 13, so please send me your sides, or post them on the wiki.
- (20131207) [Mac] The OSX build now (finally, after nine years) has a pretty icon.
- (20121002) [Win] Tournament length and nonfatal error dialogs now work on Windows. (Patch from Mike Anderson.)
- (20121002) [Win] Improved window layout. (Patch from Mike Anderson.)
- (20120908) Explosions now have their own
shot-type (6) instead of the default (0).
- (20120908) Add Robot now assigns a side ID if the side wasn't seeded.
- (20120824) Tournament scores can now be saved in MediaWiki format, for convenient wiki updating.
- (20120824) Selected robot now shows engine acceleration. Radio rings are now drawn attached to cells, not as separate objects. These, and shields and halos, are drawn as separate overlay/underlay layers, so they behave well when overlapping.
- (20120819) Remove Side now deselects the side. (This was a potential crash.)
- (20120819) When saving tournament scores, don't color anything less extreme than the average score.
- (20120819) New primitives:
- (20120819) Debugger and brain error message now show addresses relative to last label.
- (20120819) Rename Restart/Clear Map to "Clear World", to make it more obvious what it does.
- (20120816) Cast characters to unsigned char when calling
isspace etc. to prevent treating non-ASCII characters as negative, which triggers a debug assertion on Windows.
- (20120812) Syphon trails no longer overlap the robot.
- (20120805) The Windows build now gets its menus from the portable table, not from resources. (patch from Mike Anderson)
- (20120805) Grobots can now use
double instead of
GBNumber. This is faster and simpler, and fixes the longstanding misroundings in hardware.
- (20120805) Sides with duplicate names now add a ' suffix to distinguish them.
- (20120805) Faster brains.
- (20120804) Syphons and forcefields now draw their tails directly, instead of making sparkles.
- (20120804) Usability: When no sides are loaded, the Roster now suggests getting some from the website.
- (20120803) Improved robot graphics. Meters are now slightly larger, for readability. Cells, meters and decorations flash to show hits, repairs, eating, syphoning, and reloading. Crashed or stopped brains have a bright halo.
- (20120801) [Mac] Menus are now generated programmatically rather than from a resource file.
Grobots is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. There are currently four builds:
- Mac OS X. If you're a new user, get the starter kit, which includes some sides and a copy of the documentation. (This runs on both PPC and x86.)
- Windows. If you're a new user, get the starter kit, which includes some sides.
- Windows Headless. This has no GUI, but it can run tournaments.
- Linux x86 Headless. This may be useful for people with fast Linux machines and slow other ones, to run tournaments. You can't learn the game with just headless, though.
These screenshots show the colors but not the action. Grobots is more interesting in motion.
and Warren Schudy