[CSS_ACM_General_List] General projects for CSS

Nick Anderson mtgathering2000 at hotmail.com
Thu May 5 23:15:04 CDT 2011

Hey, given our general lack of computer-centric activities (within CSS), I was hoping I could get some people's thoughts on a few projects we could do in CSS. I know we tried the Starcraft AI thing (but C++ with AI is tough), the soccer cup (wasn't really there for it, but there's no repeat so...), and some random programming contests (which come and go), and maybe it's just my general absence up until recently, but I don't see a lot being done for the CS part of CSS lately which is a shame.

And thus, two suggestions of what we could do, how we could start it, and how we could get them going:
MARS KOTH - http://www.koth.org/pmars/ - http://www.koth.org/info.html
MARS is "Memory Array Redcode Simulator", Redcode being a language similar to assembly. Basically, you have a small program in redcode (about 20-100 instructions max) which starts a process (or forks into multiple processes, if that's your thing) which does whatever you tell it to; the objective from here is to (A) keep your process(es) running and (B) destroy the other process(es) by making them run an invalid instruction (such as MOV 0,0). KOTH here is "King of the Hill", which is just the term for a competition of multiple Redcode contestants.

This would be nice since most of us don't do anything with assembly so we would be on somewhat level ground for a KOTH.

It would be easy to start up, just let people start on their programs and share them so others can pit them against each other. All it would need is another mailing-list or just something like pastebin would work fine. If we seem to like this, we can move on up to an organized CSS-run KOTH system (possibly with other schools participating as an end goal, but eh).

MUD AI Competition - explaining text games -
I wish I had more links for this, but basically what I'm kind of suggesting is we make a custom MUD which works on the "Balance MUD" system (which I'll warn you is basically impossible to google about to find links since there's apparently a "Mud-balance" measurement for something). This is nice because (A) it's fun, (B) it's easy to get into, and (C) I have experience and could help-with/do a lot of the development. And it really is easy to get into; I (from my experience playing Aetolia for 5 years) know a lot of tech-savviless people who built systems (which handle combat in MUDs) which work just fine (if not better than my attempts). Also, there's a lot of languages supported for scripting a system, Lua, C++, Java, and LISP among them. The biggest challenge, for the most part, is just knowing regular expressions.

It would be tough-ish to start up; none of the MUDs out there are both Balance MUD (which is what I have experience with, but I haven't found a non-Balance MUD system that would be interesting to script AI for) and RP-suggested (allows non-Roleplayers) so we would have to develop a MUD of our own (it's not Halo, sure, but it's still a full program with lots of code). Once it IS made though, we can hold tournaments of all sorts for AI-assisted and pure-AI contestants or whatever.

In any case, I know I suggest seemingly random things from time to time so... discuss I guess.
- Nick
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