My computer discovered playing games

The other day I read about the current c’t programming contest and got addicted immediately. The task is to create a program which plays the Atari Asteroids game from 1979:

Unfortunately they do not send that gem to everyone :-), but they do send the original 8 KB of ROM, so you can play it on the MAME emulator.

So far I got the emulator and the game running, and have a Python script which tracks the objects and their velocity vectors. I spent half of the weekend doing the vector analysis bits with good old pencil and paper. Reviving all the maths bits from school (about 11 years ago) was a lot of fun! Now I have useful formulas for determining the shooting angle to hit a moving comet from a moving and decelerating ship, determining if and when two moving objects with given radius collide, etc. In my head I have a first cut of a strategy, too.

Now I just need to find some time to actually implement all of this…

Once the contest is over, I’ll publish my sources, in case anyone else is interested.