This project's funding goal was not reached on July 10, 2012.
About this project
MACRObots - Game Snapshot:
- Game Type: 2D Strategy, Tile Based, Code Building
- Anticipated Rating: Non-Violent / Educational / Intellectual
- Single Player: Yes
- Multiplayer Local: Yes
- Multiplayer Internet: Yes
- 3.5" Floppy Drive: Recommended, Not Required :)
- Platforms Supported: PC/Mac/Linux (mobile support anticipated!)
- System Requirements: If your computer was purchased this century, and your internet connection does not involve carrier pigeons, you will probably be fine. Games do not need to tax your brand-new GPU to be fun: fact.
- Synopsis: You create a team of robots' AI and watch them compete against other robot AI in a dynamic and hostile world in this unique video game
Stretch Goals in Mind! Spread the Word!
We have some stellar rewards on the right hand side of the screen available for those willing to help support our project. All rewards, even $5 to the cause, will get you credit as a game backer on our website - with name, hometown, and a small picture! There are other rewards to get your own in-game pixel artwork published, some rewards offer early game releases, and one reward even offers a chance for renown as a MACRObot foe - as you help us design one of the pre-packaged Artificial Intelligence for every player to compete against!
It is hard to pass up infamy and immortality.
In addition to the individual rewards, we have great "Stretch Goals" in mind if as a community we can raise above and beyond the initial baseline goal.
A "Stretch Goal" is an incentive to our backers to raise more funds to unlock better gifts and more content into the final release of the game. With the extra money raised, we can afford to focus more time and energy on the project, which means extra features. So, spread the message, and help us turn this into a community thing. To receive any planned stretch goals, you must have individually pledged the $17 tier or higher to this project.
MACRObots the Project
In MACRObots you are in charge of designing the Artificial Intelligence for a team of autonomous robots. These bots will be sent to a deep-space asteroid where they are supposed to make you rich by harvesting rare resources -- to do that they will have to out-perform the competition and even just survive in the hostile environment. Your task is to design the logic code that will be loaded into your team of robots (an entirely open-ended challenge!). Once you are satisfied with your program, you will upload your unique instructions, and then watch as your MACRObots individually carry out your coded commands to accomplish their mission while directly competing against adversarial robots programmed by other players from around the world.
MACRObots the Community
Our vision of the future of MACRObots is a very strong and passionate online community. Individuals will be able to open a MACRObot code editor and game play simulation program on most any computer type (and eventually mobile devices). You can play locally on your individual copy of MACRObots testing your own code, battling built in pre-packaged AI code, or competing against friends on your personal computer. But for the toughest challenge, players will seek competition online.
The community will be built around the website – MACRObots.net.
The website contains forums to discuss code techniques, feedback to game designers to improve game features, postings of individual high scores, challenge scores, and rooms which allow for competition of players codes versus each other in a ladder based or amateur rules league. Finally, at the core of the online community will be regular MACRObot tournaments. Here is where the best coders will compete their works head-to-head for prizes and fame. Each tournament will feature different distinct map settings, resource settings, and numbers of opponents, etc, to offer new challenges to all MACRObot programmers. As the tournaments continue, we expect the higher level competition to get ever more sophisticated.
In the not-too-distant future... mankind can and must harvest the vast mineral riches of the reachable universe to support their insatiable demand for clean energy and mobile mp3 players. To this end, advanced, autonomous, and fully-commercialized robots are widely used to go to the very edge of the solar system and collect resources for industrial use. MACROCorps, a high-tech robotics company comprised of top engineers from the United States and Japan, is among the well-established players in this industry. With the economically viable resources of the moon already petering out in the last decade MACROCorps has set their sights on the Kuiper Belt asteroids. Recent scientific evidence suggests that a rare crystalline isotope useful in commercial fusion power reactions are particularly abundant in these remote rocks. Collecting and returning even small amounts of these substances to Earth promises to be an economic windfall for anyone who can pull it off. Triggering something of a modern day gold rush! The race is on...
tl;dr (too long; didn't read)...
...You have been hired to design the Artificial Intelligence for teams of autonomous mining robots destined for the outer asteroids of our solar system. You will not be alone, good luck!
How do I Design Artificial Intelligence?
All of the coding of the Artificial Intelligence for your bots is done in a specially designed code-editor portion of the game. The code editor allows you to write one robot task per line of code.
The code editor may sound like a daunting task to some gamer enthusiasts, so let me talk you through how the Artificial Intelligence coding works in MACRObots.
Each line of code is broken into two pieces - the operation code (opcode) and the operators (often called registers). Here are some example beginner level opcodes:
- Scout R1 (where R1 is the register or variable where the type of tile you scouted ahead of your robot gets stored - using registers is where the "intelligence" and decision making part of the bots come alive!)
As you become more advanced in Artificial Intelligence writing, you will begin to find great uses for having the bots make logical decisions:
- GoToIfEqual 0 R1 R2 (go to line zero in your code, the beginning, if R1 and R2 are equal! If not, continue to the next line of code)
- Random R3 (generate a random number, and store in R3)
- Rotate R3 (if R3 is positive, rotate clockwise, if negative rotate counterclockwise!)
For intermediate level Artificial Intelligence designers, hopefully you can already see how this is where the challenge begins! Even though each bot starts with the same lines of code - each bot will be able to make their own decisions and explore their own way through the asteroid, solving problems and accomplishing their mission.
And as you get more advanced in your coding techniques, you have a number of strategies you can begin to employ. You can work on robot communication, robots reading and writing their own code, defending from hackers, or even manipulating the very binary operations that each line of coded text represents. Prepare yourself for a quick "geek out session" –
- Write R1 R2 (write the 32 bit word stored in register 1 from the location stored in register 2)
- Read R1 R2 (read the 32 bit word stored in register 1 from the location stored in register 2)
- CheckSum R1 R2 R3 (calculate a checksum on the data between the start and end references stored in R1 and R2. Place the result in R3)
- ShiftByteLeftCircular, etc, etc.
For those of you who think you would never reach the advanced level of bot coding, don't be discouraged! A little practice and help from the online community will make you look at coding practices in a whole new way - as entertaining as it is educational. With community help, you will find exponential growth in the capability of your mining MACRObot team. You will also find that completing many of the single-player challenges will teach you techniques you can use to be more effective.
All told, the bots already understand and execute over 80 instructions! The build possibilities are practically endless. More action, logic, and mathematical commands are still being developed and included for the final game.
Seeing your bots work together, solve problems, and accomplish their mission, all without giving them any direct orders in-game is a thrill like no other. It captures some of the same appeal that god-games like Populous, Black and White, and Spore have but with less pre-scripted events and feel to the game play. Your imagination is the divine spark for your team of bots.
Players will be able to watch entire armies of bots move synchronized with each other, learn together, solve problems, and successfully strip the asteroid bare of mineral resources... all based solely on the Artificial Intelligence provided to them by you, the player. Your ideas give these little guys life. Watching these programs develop is that same feeling a successful parent might have, when they give their kids all the tools they need to solve problems on their own to deal with challenges in the world and then sit back and enjoy in their kids' successes.
Non-violent, Educational, and Deep Gameplay
MACRObots is non-violent. The intent of the game is to out-think and ultimately out-collect your adversary. Even without violence per se, your bots posses many offensive and defensive abilities, such as the ability to read and write code into friendly and enemy robots! Imagine the possibility of being able to design your AI with the intelligence to continue to write their own code as they solve problems! You can hi-jack enemy robots and turn them into workers for yourself or attempt to design an undercover agent. These are just a few of the endless combinations of deep-strategies to work your code around.
Why Are We Here on Kickstarter?
While our passion and ideas for MACRObots are great, like many freelance video game developers, we have run into the problem of needing more support in order to see this game take on a full life of its own. We are in need of more artistic talent, debugging time and tools, long-lasting and stable web hosting, development account for iOS, and even just community support to know that our time is justified to continue hard work on finalizing this project.
Some of the improvements we are working on:
- Animations for each unique action command run by the bots
- Debriefing tools for each match - full replays, generated graphs
- Streamlined code editor, with "building block" code manipulation
- Music and sounds attached to animations
- Clean up of GUI for code editor and game simulation
- More robot model designs to select (see backer rewards!)
- Advanced game options/features
- Single player challenge maps to stimulate learning new code
- Web server with forums, versus matches, tournament brackets
- MACROcode file encryption
- Mobile platform (Android/iPhone) support
We are hoping to use Kickstarter as Kickstarter says it is intended to be used -- we are literally a couple of guys with a unique idea that we’ve been working on for awhile, but we need the push from outside support to turn our dream game into reality.
Any audible support is just as powerful as financial support to a couple of guys looking to introduce an unseen game genre into the mainstream. Please post and say hello, visit MACRObots.net, give us some feedback in the forums, and pass this webpage onto your friends.
To any and all of you who have read this far in our (we know it is lengthy) post, we give you our utmost thanks!
We greatly appreciate you checking out our game, and hope to compete against your MACRObot AI in the "not-too-distant" future.
P.S. Cyrus and I don't expect to ever be out-coded in our own game... ever... let that be a challenge to you all as well. See you on the asteroid! :(B)
Stretch Goal 1: If we raise $12,000
Everyone who gave at least $17 in support, will receive a second copy of the game for free! Code your artificial intelligence with your best friend, arch enemy, son, daughter, or significant other as you teach each other why sometimes it's better to let robots do the talking.
Stretch Goal 2: If we raise $14,000
Everyone who gave at least $17 for the kickstarter project will receive an additional world-editor for MACRObots. The world-editor, or "danger room", will allow you to create unique scenarios using the game pieces to challenge yourself or your friends in MACRObot code development. This editor could also prove to be invaluable in debugging your own code by systematically challenging your own AI in certain scenarios. This will give you a clear advantage when working on algorithms that will compete in tournament play! The editor is not planned for release with the regular game package.
Stretch Goal 3: If we raise $16,000
Unlock-able achievements will be included as part of our game package! (Read: like Steam Achievements). Everyone always enjoys a good set of achievements which can motivate game play above and beyond. Unlocking all the achievements lets you stand tall in the MACRObots community - and will certainly help you to think about the code in a different light.
Stretch Goal 4: If we raise $20,000
An Android and iOS version is planned. In order to release the regular game sooner we are planning on initially focusing on the computer version, but if the community reaches this goal we will offer a full mobile version of the game (when the mobile version is ready) to those who pledged $17 or more.
(We have plenty more stretch goals in mind, and we will update to add more as the project catches interest from all of you. Help us spread the message and make this project come alive! Use the intarwebs, youtubes, facebooks, and whatever else you can to get some more support.)
- (45 days)