Dojo Attack!

We had a blast at the London Python Dojo last night. Food, drink, and location generously provided as ever by Fry-IT (may all their contracts come in on time and under budget!) and a book for the raffle from O’Reilly (may all their titles remain in demand). While the wining and dining (or was that whining and dinning?) was in progress, Nicholas had set up a whiteboard for what-to-do suggestions. When it came to vote, some ideas were thought good but impractical for one evening, and the winner was the original suggestion: Cells.

Well I had misgivings as to whether we could grasp the codebase and get a workable solution in place within an hour and a bit, but it was great. The idea is — within the rules of the game — to pit your agents against the other teams’, trying for a winning strategy combining eating, attacking, moving, and replicating, each of which need, lose or gain energy according to certain rules. The agents can also message others on the same team to communicate, eg, the location of food or enemies. We had four teams, some with agents based on the sample code, others with from-scratch algorithms.

The clear winners were the “white” agents — Team 2 — who’d based their strategy on one of the supplied examples plus an expansion phase which kicked in only once a certain amount of time had passed and involved replicating like mad. On Team 1, we’d gone for a pacifist approach, with some of our agents as “Buddhas”, staying still and eating, the rest “Hungry Ghosts”, eating, moving and replicating. None of them attacked. FWIW, we got wiped out pretty quickly, although that did depend on how far you started from the voracious white team.

The other teams had differing strategies: explorers and eaters; or tribal warfare — which looked hilarious on-screen, as all the yellows suddenly went into warfare mode, sending each other the location of nearby enemies and flocking towards them.

Next Dojo’s in September, but EuroPython’s later this month and I’m sure there’ll be quite a few us there.