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SuperCorners - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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SuperCorners. Problem.

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  • The Corners sample robot has a simple strategy: first, move into a corner of the arena, and second sweep the gun back and forth forever, firing whenever an enemy is scanned. Open Robocode and begin a new battle with Corners as a participant. Watch a few rounds, paying special attention to the way in which Corners moves to a corner. How does it move to the corner?

  • Upon deciding on a corner (see the source code if you’re curious as to how it chooses), the robot heads directly to one of the walls then turns left, until it reaches the corner. This is inefficient (especially on a 5000x5000 battlefield!). A better strategy would be to move directly to the corner, rather than to the wall first. Build a better Corners: one that moves in a straight line into a corner.


public void goCorner() {

    stopWhenSeeRobot = false;   // We don't want to stop when we're just turning... turnRight(normalRelativeAngle(corner - getHeading())); // turn to face the wall to the "right" of our desired corner. stopWhenSeeRobot = true;    // Ok, now we don't want to crash into any robot in our way... ahead(5000);             // Move to that wall turnLeft(90);               // Turn to face the corner ahead(5000);             // Move to the corner turnGunLeft(90);        // Turn gun to starting point


Turnright normalrelativeangle corner getheading
turnRight(normalRelativeAngle(corner - getHeading()));

  • First, notice that the parameter being passed to turnRight() is a return value from normalRelativeAngle(). Go to the definition for this method and read the comment. It says “returns angle such that -180<angle<=180”; in other words, it gives us back an equivalent angle to the one we gave it in the given range (going back to high-school geometry, remember that any angle is effectively equivalent to an angle in the range 0-360? Here it’s just the same, except we subtract 180). If the return value is negative, the robot will turn LEFT, not right. Basically, using this method gives us a ‘neatened up’ value, so that the robot does not rotate inefficiently (i.e. more than 180 degrees in either direction).

  • Second, corner has 4 possible values. Look through the code for parts where corner is assigned. It begins at 0, is sometimes incremented by 90 in onDeath(), and is set to –90 if it gets to 270. What are the possible values for corner? –90, 0, 90, and 180.

Re write time
Re-write Time

  • Now that you understand the inefficient version, save as, and rewrite the goCorner() method.

  • Hints

  • First, solve for a specific case. It turns out that the easiest corner to get to generally is the bottom-left, because this is the origin (see Robocode API); so figure out how to get there first, test this, THEN generalize your solution so as to move to any given corner.

  • This is basically an exercise in elementary trigonometry: once you know the math behind it, the code is easy. Step away from the terminal, get a pencil, a ruler and some paper, and draw some robots. Then come back, look at the API and see which methods you will need to call.


  • We can clearly see that to achieve the desired heading, we must rotate right 180 – heading + A degrees.

  • The heading is a known value: we can access it by calling getHeading(). What about the angle marked A?


  • High school geometry tells us that tanA = X/Y; so A = tan-1X/Y. X and Y are the coordinates of our robot and are very easy to find: there are methods for accessing these values in the Robot class (what are they?)

  • The class Math from the standard java library contains a number of static methods for computing trigonometric values. Look up Math in the Java API and find a method for computing the inverse tangent.

  • Now we know all of the values, all we have to do is translate into java code.


  • We want to turn right 180 – heading + A degrees. A = tan-1(X/Y).

  • So we can replace this:

  • turnRight(normalRelativeAngle(corner - getHeading()));

  • with something like this:

  •     // note the use of toDegrees(). atan() returns a value in radians     // also remember to import java.lang.Math     double a = Math.toDegrees(Math.atan(getX() / getY()));     // note that we used normalRelativeAngle() here. This is not     // strictly necessary but makes sure the robot always turns in the     // direction that will be fastest     turnRight(180 – getHeading() + a);


  • And don’t forget to remove these lines:

  •     // Turn to face the corner     turnLeft(90);     // Move to the corner     ahead(5000);

  • Since we’ll already be at the corner by this stage.


  • There are a few problems that you may have noticed with our design currently:

    1. Moving ahead 5000 units is no longer guaranteed to get the robot to the corner

    2. If the angle to the corner is small, the robot does not make it all the way to the corner, but collides with the wall and stops

    3. When the robot sweeps its cannon, it does not search the entire battlefield

Fix 1
Fix #1

  • The longest distance possible from our robot to the bottom left corner will be traveled if the robot begins in the top right. According to Pythagoras, this distance is the square root of w2+h2, for battlefield dimensions w and h. The largest possible values of w and h are 5000, so if you solve the equation you will find the longest distance to be a little over 7071. We can round up and replace:

  • ahead(5000);

  • With:

  • ahead(7072); // a larger number would be fine as well

Fix 2
Fix #2

  • Robots width is 40.

  • What does this mean for our code?

  • Not much at all; as the diagram shows, the only change is the side length of the triangle that A is inside.

  • Replace:

  • double a = Math.toDegrees(Math.atan(getX() / getY()));

  • with:

  •     double x = getX() – getWidth() / 2;     double y = getY() – getWidth() / 2;     double a = Math.toDegrees(Math.atan(x / y));

Fix 3
Fix #3

  • This is a big problem. The above two problems would nearly be  tolerated (nearly), but this problem severely impairs the performance of SuperCorners.

  • Consider this, the final line of our goCorner() method:

  •     turnGunLeft(90); // Turn gun to starting point

  • This used to be fine, because it was guaranteed that our robot would always be facing a wall. Now, our robot could be at any angle! This is not too big a problem though. Look at the run() method: the gun first sweeps left 90, then right 90, add infinitum. Since we’re in the bottom-left corner, we want our gun to face east; in other words, to have a heading of 90.

  • We need to turn the gun left by the current heading (which would face it straight up), minus the desired gun heading, which is 90 degrees. So we should replace:

  •     turnGunLeft(90);

  • with:

  •     // you may want to use normalRelativeAngle() here     turnGunLeft(getGunHeading() – 90);     // note that this is equivalent to     // turnGunRight( 90 – getGunHeading());

Further modifications
Further Modifications

  • Generalizing the behavior so as to allow movement to any corner is left as an exercise. It is simply a matter of reflecting the angles used in different directions.

  • The most effective strategy would in fact be to move to the nearest corner. Can you modify it to do this?