Writeup thanks to QzarSTB, Geir1983, Davaned and community contributions
Botarena is a fully autonomous PvP showdown. Contestants only action is to pick their spawn, everything else is hands off including code changes. Come to #botarena for more information!
Round Participants and Rules
Botarena 205 started on Saturday the 25th of January with 11 participants: dignissi, eduter, Geir1983, Maxion, Qnz, QzarSTB, Robalian, Saruss, Shibdib, Snowgoose and Tigga.
Within BotArena the fully automated screeps AIs battle each other during a two week period in which every decision has to be made by the code itself, with the sole exception of the starting location for the first spawn. The initial safe mode duration of 20k ticks can be used to adjust for any small issues that arise after which the server is fully locked down. At this stage the tick rate gets increased to 5 ticks per second and the bots really start wreaking havoc.
The round ended with a clear victory for Geir1983. His AI single handedly took down six other players and at the end he controlled eleven fully operational RCL8 rooms. His armada of creeps roamed around the single-sector wide map killing everything on their paths. Two players managed to survive throughout the two week period (Snowgoose and QzarSTB) with each having a single RCL8 room with a spawn, therefore sharing the second place for this round. The round got very close to a full wipe for Geir1983 which would have happened if he had had just a little bit more time.
The early game was nerve wracking due to the PvP spectacle in the south-west corner of the map. The very aggressive and dominant players Tigga, Robalian and Geir1983 all spawned within just a couple of rooms distance in the south-west. The engagements and fighting for map control got very intense within this part of the map. This resulted in Robalian getting killed and both Tigga and Geir1983 significantly behind in economy with respect to the other players. All the action was being streamed live on twitch by thmsn using the screeps3d client.
The race to GCL2 was won by Snowgoose with a fair margin but due to issues with his expansion code he could not really profit from this. Saruss was second to get to GCL2 and was really picking up the pace with his remote mining at this stage.
The Rise of Geir
The aggressiveness in the south-west sector continued even while other players were already reaching GCL2. At this stage Tigga was pretty much over-committing to map control, putting less than 25% of his income into the upgrading of his room. With Robalian gone, the harassment was mainly focussed towards Geir1983 who was having an extremely difficult time securing his remotes for the additional income. This changed completely when QzarSTB expanded into the room that connected Tigga with the remote mining rooms of Geir. Shortly after this event, Geir1983 was able to safely remote mine in three additional rooms which started the economical boost for his empire.
During the mid-game the highly energy efficient rooms of eduter started to show off. Upgrading his GCL with over 50 energy per tick he reached GCL5 even while most players were only at GCL3. He even managed to stay ahead of the rapidly growing empire of Geir1983 for the first week, until his rooms started getting attacked by powerful squads of creeps from both Geir and Saruss.
At around day 8 of the round things started to heat up. Eduter had been a target of Geir1983 and held off his attacks for a long time, but in the end his rooms eventually fell. This triggered a new wave of attacks across the map and led to several players being wiped and losing rooms in short succession. Next to fall was Saruss, who despite his strong early game had encountered problems expanding after his second room. Tigga was the next to receive the full focus of the attacks launched by Geir1983. As his economy was already far behind, his rooms also fell after countless waves of attackers tore down the ramparts and eventually drained the remaining energy reserves. By the the end of the round Snowgoose and QzarSTB were still standing, each with a single RCL 8 room.
Some interesting new tactics were spotted during this round, both Snowgoose and QzarSTB utilized extensions as a clever way of transporting energy. This new strategy allows energy to be mined and placed directly into extensions by the static miners and then by spawning a creep only to instantly sacrifice it, allows other creeps to pick up the energy dropped in the tombstone. Both players showed good progress on the GCL charts with no (or minimal) external mining using this tactic.
Snowgoose also displayed a maze like wall structure designed to prevent the popular Quad formation of creeps entry to the base. This strategy would prove very effective against Geir1983’s creeps as they aimlessly wandered the maze and lacked focused targeting. The outer perimeter of walls is made up of weaker walls, but the inner layers are constantly reinforced. In the end the walls of the Snowgoose maze were breached a few times, but not in time for the safe mode cooldown.
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