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EPG/Player Guide/Robo Runner/Rules

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Introduction to Robo Runner

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/img/TN_runner.jpg

Your people are fighting an intergalactic war and you're right in the middle of it. Only you're not people... you're a Fixer Class robot.

Armed with little more than a welding laser and the occasional chassis upgrade, you have the dangerous and thankless job of fixing hull damage to the StarShip.

The Fixer Class don't have it easy, as there are many dangerous obstacles when repairing hull damage. Thank the maker for the tractor beam transportation system. This helps with getting around the ship quickly, but there are still the cooling shafts, power couplings, launch bays, docking arms, and not to mention... the other Fixer Class Robos.


Given the danger to your very existence, the maintence crew will dispatch one, two, or over half a dozen Fixer Robos to inspect, and if necessary repair, the same list of damaged hull sections. The redundancy helps insure that at least one of the group will get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

Once you've inspected all the locations, in the order determined by Robo Control, your mission is over.

Unfortunately, Robo Control has recently implemented a Robo Ranking system, giving preferential treatment to Robos that finish first. Suddenly whether or not you get your broken plasma pump replaced is related to how well you've been performing your job. Things have become competitive.

The competition is so thick, that it is common for the robos to attack each other just to get ahead. It started with innocent pushing around, but then escalated to using the welding laser not as a tool for repair, but as a weapon for doing damage to other Robos.

To move up the ranks, a robo must not only be agile, but it must be programmed with the most efficient algorithms engineering has to offer.

It's no wonder why the Fixer Class are affectionately known among the crew as...

Robo Runners


Objective

The primary objective of Robo Runner is to be the first robot to inspect, and if necessary, repair all of the ship's hull damage.

If the StarShip has multiple hull breaches, the order in which they are to be repaired and inspected is determined by Robo Control. All damage must be repaired and inspected in priority order (lowest to highest) before your mission is considered complete.

Game play is confrontational, however, and depending on how aggressive your opponents are, lives may be lost. In which case, a player may win by being the last bot standing.


Starting the Game

Once you have created or joined a game, it is listed in Your Game Room.

Each player has a game console, which is accessed from the Game Room, by clicking on their robo name for the game of interest.

The player game console consists of three frames:

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/screenshots/set_position.jpg

  1. The StarShip Map,
  2. The RoboChat Bar, and
  3. The Control Panel

The StarShip map shows the game play terrain, displaying your view of the world, and all player activity.

The RoboChat Bar (available in multiplayer games) is for broadcasting messages to all players of your game. Simply type your message in the chat box, press enter, and the message is broadcasted to all participating players (with a 1 minute delay).

The control panel is where you view the current status of your robot, and program its moves. For detailed control panel operation instructions, click here.

At the start of the game, four direction chips are displayed:

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/du.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/dd.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/dl.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/dr.gif

Your first order of business is to choose which direction your robot will initially point. Keep in mind that your next goal will be to get to damaged hull marked as priority 1. So this should influence your initial direction choice.

To select the direction your robot will initially face, drag and drop the appropriate direction chip to the furthest position on the left. Once your direction chip is in place, press the run button to submit the selection.

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/run.gif

Note that this does not move your robot, but merely points it in a specific direction.


Playing the Game

Once the game is started each player is given 9 program chips at random.

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/1.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/2.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/R.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/L.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/B.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/U.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/1.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/2.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/3.gif


Of the nine, the player must choose 5 to construct a program. It is these five which will be executed to manuver your robot. To choose your program chips, drag and drop the chips into the first five positions to the left, in the order they are to be executed (from left to right).

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/3.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/R.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/1.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/2.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/C/L.gif


This program will result in the following movements: 3 Forward, Right Turn, 1 Forward, 2 Forward, Left Turn.

Once the program is ready, press the Run button. This will submit your program for execution.

Once your program is submitted, you must wait for the other players to submit their hands. The game will not progress until all player hands have been submitted.

The Ready Status lights inform you on who has submitted their hand, and who hasn't. In the example below, you can see the game is waiting on SlowBot, and everybody else has made their move.

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/ready.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/R/R19_R.gif RockBot
http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/ready.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/R/R20_R.gif DeadLine
http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/thinking.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/R/R21_R.gif SlowBot
http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/ready.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/R/R23_R.gif WeeBot

Once SlowBot makes his move, the programs will be executed one phase at a time (in priority order). The StarShip elements will move after each phase. Once the hands have been played-out, new program chips will randomly distributed to each player.

Regarding SlowBot, it may be that he's slow, or sleeping, or that his boss walked in the office, or all of the above. It's hard to tell. Robo Runner is played by people from all over the world in different timezones with different playing schedules. Due to this, games are typically not completed in one session. Please be patient with your opponents. If your game is moving slow, and you need to get your Robo Runner fix, consider participating in multiple games.


StarShip Elements

Ship Hull

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/H0.gif

The ship hull is an inactive element as far movement is concerned. Robots may roam freely along the hull when traveling from point A to point B.

Hull Inspection Point

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/IP1.gif

A robot's primary mission is to repair and inspect the damage to the ship's hull. In the example above, there is no hull damage which needs to be repaired. Therefore, only an inspection is needed.

To inspect the hull damage, you must end a phase on the inspection point.

The order in which damage is to be repaired/inspected is prioritized by Robo Control. The priority is located in the upper right hand corner of orange inspection locator. Robots must perform hull inspections in priority order for them to count.

Robots can occupy or pass-over a fully repaired hull inspection point.

Hull Damage

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/D_Doc.gif

A robot's primary mission is to repair and inspect the damage to the ship's hull. In the example above, the hull is in need of 4 repairs (shown in the lower left hand corner), and its repair priority is 8 (shown in the upper right hand corner).

Once the repairs are complete, the hull will need to be inspected by all Fixer Class robots.

Hull repairs can be conducted by any robot(s) in any order. However, each robot must perform the hull inspections in the priority order determined by Robo Control.

Robots cannot occupy or pass-over a damaged hull space, until all damage to that space has been repaired. If a robot attempts occupy a damaged space, its safety circuitry kicks-in, freezing the robot in its tracks. Similarly, robots cannot be pushed onto a damaged space.

Airlock

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/img/B1/AL0.gif

Robots begin the game at the airlock. When a robot is destroyed, and is rebuilt, it is dispatched from the airlock.

Scanners are dispatched from the airlock when the StarShip is not equipped with Robo Repair Depots.

In the case of Robo Recon games, the Red Squad is dipatched from the red airlock, and the Blue Squad is dispatched from the blue airlock.

Crystal Grappler

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/img/B1/G0.gif

Crystal Grapplers are standard equipment on Recon Class StarShips. They are responsible for collecting Power Crystals from within the nebulas.

If a Recon Bot resides on a grappler while it is retrieving a Power Crystal, a Quantum Implosion occurs, destroying both the Bot and the crystal.

Tractor Beam (Warp 1)

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TB1_R.gif

Tractor beams act as the primary method of transportation for robots navigating a ship's hull. The blue tractor beams move a robot residing on it one space in the direction indicated on the hull.

Tractor Beam (Warp 2)

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TB2_R.gif

Tractor beams act as the primary method of transportation for robots navigating a ship's hull. The green tractor beams move a robot residing on it two spaces in the direction indicated on the hull.

Tractor Beam (Warp 3)

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TB3_R.gif

Tractor beams act as the primary method of transportation for robots navigating a ship's hull. The red tractor beams move a robot residing on it three spaces in the direction indicated on the hull.

Turning Tractor Beams

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TBR1_DR.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TBR2_D.gif

Turning tractor beams rotate a robot 90 degrees when it is being pulled from another tractor beam. If a robot drives onto a turning tractor beam under its own power, it will not rotate. In this case it will simply move in the direction indicated on the hull.

WARNING: Take the time to experiment with turning tractor beams. Mastering them is the most difficult part of learning how to play Robo Runner, but once you do it has a huge payoff.


Twister Beam

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TW0_R.gif

Twister beams rotate robots 90 degrees in the direction indicated on the hull.

Transporter

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TP0.gif

Transporters beam robots from one transporter to another. This mode of transportation is really intended for the crew, not for robots. For security reasons the transporter network is randomized when the robots are initially released form the airlock, but it remains the same throughout the course of the game. So no robot knows where the transporters go at first, but clever bots will learn as they go.

A StarShip may have more than one transporter network. The color of the inner transporter ring marks the network it belongs to (purple, red, blue, yellow).

A transporter network is arranged in a loop. If a network has more than 2 transporters, then no 2 are linked to each other.

To be transported, you must move (or be moved) onto a transporter and remain there at the end of a phase. Rotating on transporters will not result in transport.

If another robot resides on the destination transporter at the time of transport, and both robots are real, they both instantly become virtual.

Thruster

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/img/B1/TH0.gif

Thrusters propel StarShips for intergalactic flight.

WARNING: Thrusters are an advanced StarShip element. It is recommended that Fresh Alloy avoid serving on StarShips which are equipped with them, until they become familiar with navigating a StarShip hull.

For each phase that a bot resides on a thruster, it gets a thruster burn (one point of damage).

If a bot passes over a thruster, it does not get burned, but its movement is extended by 1, and it is lifted from the hull until it lands in the last space. Passing over a row of thrusters has a cumulative effect, extending the bots move by one for each consecutive thruster.

Simplifying the math: if you would pass over the first thruster in a row of thrusters, then add the length of the thruster row to your move chip.

While lifted, the bot passes over all StarShip elements and Space in its path. However, the bot is not lifted high enough to pass over other bots or crystals. If another bot is its path while lifted, the collision will result in a push.

Bots being pushed over a thruster will not get lifted, as lift is a function of momentum and thrust.

Guard Rail

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/R_Doc.gif

Guard rails are safety barriers. Robots and laser fire cannot pass through a guard rail.

Slide Rail

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/RS_Doc.gif

Slide rails are like guard rails, except robots and laser fire are allowed to pass during the specified phase: 2&4 or 1&5.

Power Coupling

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/RP_Doc.gif

Power couplings are sometimes mounted along the ship's guard rails. If a robot runs (or is pushed) into a power coupling, it gets shocked and takes a point of damage. Simply residing on a space with a power coupling will not inflict damage.

Docking Arm

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/RD_Doc.gif

Docking Arms push robots into the neighboring space, directly opposite the arm itself.

Docking arms are triggered in the priority order of the bots residing on their space. That is, the bot with the lower priority value is pushed first.

For a given phase, a bot can only be directly pushed by a single docking arm.

Launch Bay

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/LB0.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/LB1.gif

Launch Bays may be passed over when the launch bay doors are closed. The numeric markings on the door indicate which phases the doors close.

For example, if the door is marked with 2 and 4 then the doors close during phases 2 and 4, and they always will be open during phases 1/3/5.

Launch bay doors close at the beginning of a close phase, and open again at the end of the phase. So robots can safely pass over them, but they cannot safely remain on them at the end of the phase.

Cooling Shafts

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/CS0.gif

Cooling Shafts are dangerous and off limits to robots. If a robot drives into a cooling shaft, it gets sucked into the depths below, and loses a life.

Space

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/CS2.gif

Space... the final frontier. Drive off of the ship, and visit it first hand.

Robo Repair Depot

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/REP2.gif

Starships typically have Robo Repair Depots on the hull. This enables robos to repair themselves in the event they get damaged while performing their duties. To get repaired, a robo must end its turn on a Repair Depot. The amount of damage repaired depends on the number located in the center of the atom (1 or 2). Scanners are dispatched from the Robo Repair Depots.


Repairing & Inspecting Hull Damage

The primary objective of Robo Runner is to be the first robot to inspect, and if necessary, repair all of the ship's hull damage.

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/D_Doc.gif

When the hull is damaged, the robot uses its welding laser to perform repairs. Welding lasers are extremely accurate and powerful tools. A robot only needs a clear line of sight between it and the damaged area to begin repairs. To complete a repair, multiple shots are needed (shown in the lower left hand corner of the inspection locator).

In the example above, 4 more welding laser shots are needed to repair the damage.

Once repairs are complete, the robot must inspect his (or another bots) work. Inspection is done by moving your robot onto the previously damaged area (the inspection point).

All damage must be repaired and inspected in priority order (lowest to highest) before your mission is considered complete.

Note that virtual robots and scanners cannot perform repairs.

The Game Creator allows you to serve on a StarShip with or without Hull Damage. If the ship doesn't have hull damage, then no repairs are required, and the mission objective is simplified to hull inspections only.


StarShip Element Sequencing

Once a phase movement has been executed, the robots are influenced by the StarShip elements. A Robot will only be influenced by the Elements present in the space it occupies. StarShip Elements of the same type will activate simultaneously.

  1. Red Tractor Beams pull robots 1 space forward
  2. Red & Green Tractor Beams pull robots 1 space forward
  3. All Tractor Beams pull robots 1 space forward
  4. Docking Arms push robots into the neighboring space
  1. Transporters beam robots
  2. Thrusters burn robots


When a Robot is moving onto a curve by its own movement it will not be rotated. Neither will a Robot being pushed onto a Tractor Beam by another Robot.

Tractor Beam Intersections: An intersection is a combination of a straight and a curved space. When a Robot is pulled onto the space from the side the space functions as a curve.

Tractor Beam Collisions: If TBeam movement would result in pulling a bot onto another TBeam which is actively pulling in the opposite direction, no movement will occur. For example:

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TB3_R.gif http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/B1/TB1_L.gif

If a bot were on the Warp-3 beam (red), it could be pulled onto the Warp-1 beam (blue) during the red beam's first two activations, but not on its third.

If the bot were on the Warp-1 beam, it would not get pulled onto the Warp-3 beam.


Stalemate situations: If more than one Robot is being pulled into the same space at the same time neither of them will be moved.

Robots pulled by Tractor Beams do not push other Robots. Once all of the StarShips elements are finished moving, the following actions occur:

  1. Robots shoot their lasers
  2. Robo Repair Depots repair damage


Robo Damage

A Robot takes one point of damage every time it is hit by a laser beam. Each point of damage reduces the number of program chips dealt the next hand (4 points of damage equals 4 less chips). Hence, a damaged robot will receive fewer program chips than an undamaged robot, and will therefore be less manuverable.

Damage is shown on your control panel's health meter.

http://www.eyeplaygames.com/roborunner/images/S/E7.gif

There are 3 points of damage shown here.

After a Robot has taken 5 points of damage, its program chips begin to lock in place. Locked program chips cannot be moved, and are red in color. Program chips lock from right to left. The first locked chip will be the 5th (the one on the far right). Such a chip will stay in its position until the robot has been repaired.

A player with 9 points of damage (5 locks program chips) will not receive any new program chips in the next hand. The locked hand will be executed.

10 points of damage results in destruction.

Repairing Damage: Damage can be repaired by rebooting, or by ending a turn on a Robo Repair Depot, or by ending a turn on an Inspection Point.

Rebooting repairs all damage, but in doing so the player loses a turn, and is vulnerable to the StarShip elements and opponent attack. To reboot, select Reboot from the control panel's pull down menu, prior to running your program. The reboot will take effect after the program is executed. This requires a little planning ahead.

To get repaired at a Repair Depot or Inspection Point, the robot must end its turn on it.


Optional Equipment

If optional equipment is enabled (selected at game creation time), then each robo is armed with one of the following options at the start of the game:

  • Twin Lasers
  • Rear Lasers
  • Shields
  • Repulsors
  • Nitro Tanks
  • Clamps

Options are engaged by using the optional equipment activator on the control panel.

Some options can only be activated during a specific phase (phase based), while others may be activated during all phases in the hand (hand based).

The use of options is limited, as they eventually run out of ammunition. Ammunition can be refilled at any repair site. You must end your turn on a repair site to reload. Rebooting also replenishes your option supply.

Note that optional equipment is not effective if activated while a robo is virtual.


Twin Lasers - phase based

Twin lasers allow a robot to shoot two laser beam rounds instead of the usual one. If an opponent is hit by a twin laser, then it takes two hits of damage. The second of the twin lasers is not a welding laser, so it has no affect on hull damage.

Rear Lasers - hand based

Rear lasers allow a robot to not only shoot forward, but backwards as well. A robot armed with a rear laser can potentially fire upon two opponents in each phase of the hand. The rear laser is not a welding laser, so it has no affect on hull damage.

Shields - hand based

Shields protect your robot from opponent weapons fire. If shields are up, your robot cannot be damaged. In addition, your lasers are deactivated, so you cannot inflict laser damage upon others. Note, however, that a bot can still repair hull damage when its shields are up.

Repulsors - phase based

Repulsors protect your robot from opponent weapons fire, and reverse the effect of the opponent's weapon. If your robot is shot upon while repulsors are engaged, the shot is returned to the attacker, and the attacker takes the hit instead.

Nitro Tanks - phase based

Nitro Tanks allow your robot to jump forward one additional space when used in conjunction with a movement program chip. Nitro has no effect on movement when used with a rotational chip.

In the event that Nitro is used during a phase with a reverse chip, the robo will first move back one space, then forward one space (before StarShip elements kick in).

Clamps - phase based

Clamps are an electromagnetic device that locks a Bot to the StarShip for a brief period of time. When clamps are engaged, the robot cannot move (or rotate) under its own power. Nor can it be pushed by another robot.

The robo can, however, be affected and/or moved by StarShip elements.


Virtual & Real Robots

In a multiplayer game, all players start the game as virtual robots. This means they do not interact with other robots. They cannot push, be pushed, shoot, or be shot by others. In addition, virtual robots cannot perform StarShip repairs. Note that virtual robots are still affected by StarShip elements.

If at the end of a hand, a virtual robot is the sole occupant of a space, it becomes real. Real robots interact with other robots, and can also perform ship repairs.

At any time, a space may contain a single robot, multiple virtual robots, or multiple virtual robots and one real robot, but it cannot contain multiple real robots.

Once a robot is real, it typically remains real for the remainder of its lifespan. The exception being transporter side-effects. If at the time of transport, another robot resides on the destination transporter, and both robots are real, they both instantly become virtual.


Robo Priority

Robos are prioritized according to actions they perform throughout the execution of their hand.

The following actions are listed in the order of significance (most significant at the top):

  • kill
  • destroyed
  • reach hull inspection point
  • shoot
  • push
  • move forward/back

The more significant the actions you perform during your turn, the more important your priority will be next turn.

For example, if Robo-A moves around a few times but does little else, and Robo-B pushes an opponent and shoots another, Robo-B's priority will be more important than Robo-A's next turn.

Here's another, if Robo-A pushes and kills another Robo, and Robo-B shoots and kills another Robo, Robo-B gets awarded the higher priority.

One more, if Robo-A is rebooting, or simply rotates the entire turn and doesn't shoot anything, it will have a very unimportant priority next turn (assuming the opponents are doing things).

If there is a tie in action significance, the system will choose who is more important.

In Robo Recon games, the effective priority of the Power Crystal may come into play at times (e.g., docking arm sequencing). The Power Crystal is an inanimate object, and cannot perform any actions. Therefore, the effective priority of the Crystal will aways be the lowest.

Priority Weights
Shoot and kill a real robot +35
Push and kill a real robot +30
Shoot and kill a scanner +20
Die +20
Inspect an IP +10
Push a robot +10
Push and kill a scanner +5
Shoot a robot +5
Fix damage +2
Move (must actually move) +1

The weights in the priority weight table are cumulative. For each action performed, the appropriate priority weight is added.

This may seem like a complex prioritization scheme, but it's not really that bad. You'll get the hang of it after a few turns. Just remember the more you do (this time), the more important you are (next time).

Or forget the details and pretend prioritization is random. :-)


Scanners

Scanners are artificially intelligent robos, which scan the ship hull for microfractures. They have no interest in competing or repairing the ship, but they are armed and dangerous and can be quite deadly if you get in their way.

If the StarShip is equipped with Robo Repair Depots, then the scanners will always be dispatched from them. Otherwise, scanners will be dispatched from the airlock, along with the other robos.

Scanners can be destroyed, but since they can be manufactured at little cost, and the crew is paranoid about microfractures, they are instantly replaced.

The number of scanners in a game is selected at game creation time.

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This page was last modified on 13 October 2007, at 12:57.
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