Game idea: “Bicameral”, a bot-programming Ingress-like game.
Ingress is an AR game where, using your smartphone’s GPS, you visit IRL landmarks which are “portals” in the in-game universe. You then “hack” or “access” these portals to receive items, which you can then deploy to other portals to claim them for your team. Once a portal has enough items deployed, they can be linked together. Three linked portals form a triangular area. The point of the game is to have the most claimed area.
There are other items too: defenses you can set up for your portal, bombs to attack other team’s portals’ items so you can then claim them, etc. You can strategically create links to block off potential links for your opponents.
I had an idea for a bot-programming game that is like Ingress. Instead of humans playing an AR game, you program bots to move around the game world and access landmarks and link them. Bots can be as simple or sophisticated as you want. They can coordinated with each other, or use simple algorithms and rely on emergent behavior (like ants or other colony insects).
I originally had an idea for a theme of Neanderthal-like humans wandering areas. The human player acts as the cognitive part of their bicameral mind, programming them what to do. Instead of portals, you have sacred sites. Instead of deploying resonator items, they build alters. You then want to link alters and also destroy the alters of the other team.
This could be implemented as a HTTP game with a REST API for issuing commands for your bots. The bot-controlling program could then come from anywhere, or even just be a human-controlled player (though humans have jobs and need to sleep).
This would also be a perfect information game, with the positions and statuses of the sacred sites and bots in the game world known to all.
The bots would have to handle several interesting programming problems:
- Finding new targets, and prioritizing targets.
- Calculating efficient travel paths to target sacred sites.
- Knowing when to attack and when to reinforce alters.
- Various traveling-salesmen type problems.
- Coordinating with several different bots, including bots on the same team but controlled by other programmers.