DkIT Computing secure bronze at the national RoboCode finals13 March 2019
Last week, two students from the BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development took 3rd place at the national finals of the RoboCode competition. RoboCode is a competition where teams of 1st year Computing Science students programme robot tanks. The tanks then face each other in a battle arena competition. RoboCode tanks depend on artificial intelligence and computer ammunition to manoeuvre, hunt and fire.
Students need to code all of their tank’s intelligence before their tank enters the battle so that they have a chance at winning the tournament. When they’re coding their tanks the students need to make sure they make them capable of being able to avoid being hit and they need to be intelligent enough to move around the battle arena without any kind of manual control.
The Robocode competition is open to all third level colleges on the island of Ireland. Each college is allowed to enter one tank into the competition. This year, two 1st year BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development students, Luke Halpenny and Vilandas Morrissey were the victors from the DkIT competition, and with that, got the opportunity to represent DkIT at the national finals. The national finals took place on 7th of March 2019 in LIT Thurles. Luke and Vilandas named their tank a very fitting “WildFire”. At the finals in Thurles, Wildfire rallied any opposing tanks it faced into submission in the battle arena. At the end of the qualifier league round-robin stage of the competition, WildFire was sitting proudly at the top of the leader-board.
Unfortunately, WildFire met its match in the semi-final. Here, Wildfire’s journey came to a crashing end. Some pride was recovered in the 3rd place playoff, where, once again, WildFire put in a winning performance. Both Vilandas and Luke were proud to take home the bronze medal from the competition. Derek O’Reilly, senior lecturer in Computing added on the importance of events such as this,
“It is extremely important for students in all areas across the college to take part in extracurricular activities such as Robocode. This is because they allow the student to put into practice what they have learned through theory. Each student learns differently and these type of events help strengthen the learning process as they can experience the practical element of what they’re learning outside the usual environment of the college.”
The DkIT team were mentored by an ex-Robocode finalist, 2nd year BSc (Hons) in Computing in Games Development student James Farrell. Next year, Luke and Vilandas will have the privilege being mentors, as DkIT attempt to dominate the tank arena of RoboCode again.