ICFP Programming Contest Frequently Asked Questions List

$Revision: 1.34 $, $Date: 2002/09/03 05:01:18 $

As we receive questions we will post the questions and the answers here.

You might also want to check a log of some individual answers that we have posted to people.

Q20: Can the player save files during a game?

A: You might write and read files in your current directory, but you cannot assume that a file created in one game will be available in subsequent games.

Q19: It seems like packages reappear in the server during the game. What is going on?

A: The server, when run in continuous mode, happens to insert new packages whenever a new player enters or when there are no more packages, so as to not run out of packages. In the final scoring, packages will not appear during a game.

Q18: Can two robots occupy the same square at the same time? How is this possible?

A: Yes. It can happen that a new robot joins the game at a square which is already occupied by another robot.

Q17: Can a team submit both to the lightning division and the normal division?

A: (Changed) There will be a special scoring in which all lightning division players participate.

Teams that submitted in the lightning division can resubmit an improved version, that will participate in the normal division scoring. Players from the lightning division teams that don't choose to resubmit also automatically participate in the normal division (i.e., no need to resubmit your entries).

Q16: There seems to be a contradiction in one of the individual answers:

 > - What happens if you move to your package destination, then get pushed
 > (the same turn) so that the package is dropped there. Is it delivered
 > then? By me or the pushing opponent? Or must someone pick it up and the
 > immedeately drop it again?

It is not delivered, it is dropped on the new square, and can be
picked up.

This seems to contradict the Pushing and Bidding section, which says that ``When a robot is pushed it drops a random package if it has at least one and then is moved to its new location (if possible). ''

A: There are two different ways in which packages get dropped:
  1. If a robot got pushed, it will drop a package
  2. If it issued the correct drop command
If a robot drops a package (for whatever reason) and it ends up on its destination location, the pacakge is considered to be delivered and the robot which dropped it gets the points. So the task description is correct, and the answer to the question should have been "The package is delivered by you".

Q15: Can we assume that the actual tournament will not have players entering in the middle of the game, or should we be prepared for that to happen?

A: You should be prepared for players entering in the middle of the game.

Q14: What happens when two robots on top of each other get pushed? Do they move together?

A: Yes.

Q13: When a robot dies due to an overbid, when exactly is it removed from the game?

A: It is removed before any other robot's commands are executed.

Q12: Why can't I calculate the destination/location of all packages?

A: A player's knowledge of packages is intentionally incomplete. It is left to you to deal with partial information.

Q11: Is there any limit to the number of robots in a single game?

A: No.

Q10: What is inside the packages?

A: We do not know for sure, but we believe they contain dead robots.

Q9: Can a team submit more than one entry?

A: No, any team can only participate with one player in the competition. However, if you participated in the lightning division, see the answer to Q17.

Q8: How hard is the limit on CPU usage?

A: It's a soft deadline. If after a game, it turns out that a player that made N turns used more than N cpu seconds, the judges may disqualify the player in that game.

Q7: A single instance of a client is not supposed to be able to run multiple games. Right?

A: Yes. The program will start, connect to the server, control one robot during one game, disconnect from the server and terminate.

Q6: Should we use a TCP/IP socket protocoll?

A: Yes

Q5: Can players join while the game is running

A: Yes.

Q4: Is the map transmitted upside down?

A: Yes, in a sense. It is transmitted from south to north, squares, (1,1), (2,1), ..., (width,1), (1,2), (2,2), ..., (width,2), (1,height), (2,height), ... (width,height).

Q3: Does a robot keep its score if it dies

A: Yes, the score a robot gets in a game is the score it has when it dies (or the game ends).

Q2: What happens to dropped packages?

A: If they are dropped on their destination, the disappear from the game, otherwise, they stay on the square where they were dropped until a robot picks it up. See the section The Packages in the task description.

Q1: Will a test server be available?

A: Yes, see the page on game servers.
ICFP Programming Contest 2002