About the Xbots workshop

XBots is an Extreme Programming teaching game. It’s based on Robocode, an excellent Open Source game in its own right, originally written by IBM.

XBots builds on the Robocode foundation by providing a CVS repository for each team containing a basic robot. Teams can extend and enhance the robot to their hearts content. XBots also provides ScoreKeeper, a program that initiates a Robocode game every 30 minutes. When the timer expires, ScoreKeeper grabs the latest copy of each team’s robot from CVS, compiles it and dumps it into the robot arena to battle the others. Each battle takes 3 rounds, and at the end ScoreKeeper tots up the scores for each team and another 30 minute iteration begins.

Teams pair program on their own robots, trying to write better strategies for gaining more points in 30 minutes or less. The short timescale forces teams to focus on delivering greatest value first. And it’s surprising how many robots are released into CVS which either don’t compile, or throw exceptions as soon as they start! So programming discipline is also a major factor. (Even the experts sometimes find this hard!)