Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2000 19:03:45 +0100
To: RARS mailing list 
From: Tim Foden
Subject: Re: Hello Again

At 18:10 21/08/00 -0700, you wrote:
>Hello again,
>Just stopping in to say hi.  I've lost contact to this list when my ISP
>went out of business and then to top it off i redid my whole computer
>system so all my addresses and files are sort of misplaced.
>Anything new happening here in the past couple of months?

I assume you know that there has been a racing season in progress?

It is currently on hold while Gian-Carlo is on vacation.

The last race that was run was dated: 2000-07-16.

Sparky3 came 1st in both races :-))  (A bit lucky I guess)

Current top 6 robot standings:
K1999   168 pts (France)      Remi Coulom
Sparky3  81 pts (UK)          Tim Foden
Felix15  77 pts (Netherlands) Doug Eleveld
DougE1   53 pts (Netherlands) Doug Eleveld
JOCOSA82 40 pts (Mexico)      Jorge Cervantes
Bulle2   40 pts (Belgium)     Marc Gueury


I think it would be interesting for authors to give a quick explanation of 
how their robots work, and a bit of the history.  Especially the ones not 
currently publicly available.

Sparky was about the 6th robot I wrote.  All the others were lane driven, 
and quickly got very complicated to code, debug and improve.  They 
attempted to optimise the driving path by recognising s-bends etc.  The 
first 3 cars (Mouse1, Mouse2, Mouse3) used circular arcs to drive around 
corners.  The next (Ellipser) used ellipses, and this was a quite 
successful car.  However it still ran off the track a lot.  My 5th car used 
a spiral (Spiro) for the arc, but it was difficult to perform many of the 
calculations required as the robot ran around the track.  I decided that 
there must be a better way... So I had a look at the "other" tutorials... 
the ones by Ralph Scott.  :)

This lead to the development of Sparky.

Sparky looks ahead into the distance to find the longest straight line it 
can find.  This straight line will be a tangent to a curve.  In essence, 
Sparky uses this information to plot a course upto and around the next 
curve.  It uses ellipses to generate the driving lines around curves.

If anyone has any questions about Sparky please feel free to ask.

[I really should get around to cleaning up the source of Sparky and 
releasing it to the public domain.]


Personally I would be interested in authors quick explanations of bots like 
Bulle2, Felix15, JACOSA98 and K1999 work.

I guess that Bulle2 is similar to Bulle?  But I don't understand how it works!

Felix15 seems to use some formulas to push the car away from the edges of 
the track?

JACOSA82 look has a very similar driving path to Sparky, but seems to be 
let down by using circular arcs for corners?

K1999.  King of the Hill!  Looks to use a global path optimisation 
scheme.  I wonder whether there would be some curve that could be used to 
piece together to make a similar path?

Cheers, Tim.
Tim Foden