Robocode and others

As expressed in a previous post, I prefer to spend my free time with my kids than with technology (for technology I already have my job). However, when there is an exception to that, I do like to do some sort of smaller projects, like “porting” stuff to Flatpak.

I did my share of Debian and RPM packaging in the past, and honestly I have never enjoyed it (for a number of reasons not really interesting for this post). But “flatpaking” stuff is completely different to me. Maybe it’s my early involvement with it, or maybe it’s my admiration for how its designed, but the feeling when making a Flatpak is of reward, rather than a chore.

Robocode

Around 15 (fifteen!) years ago, while at University, my colleagues and I enjoyed this quirky little program called Robocode: a game where you load multiple tanks coded (hopefully by you and your friends) using a small Java API, and let them fight each other until one stands. At the time, my parents still didn’t have broadband at home, so when I visited them, I spent some time coding “the best” tank (it was more fun and less sad than it sounds…)!

Thus, roughly 5500 days later, I thought it’d be cool to have Robocode in the easy to install/run way that Flatpak and Flathub give us, and I finally made this into a small Christmas project a couple of months ago.

Small detour into other tanks

A couple of years ago, in a brainstorm with my Endless’ colleagues at the time, I mentioned my nostalgic fascination for Robocode, and how it could inspire a mode for an Endless’ game we were testing called Tank Warriors.

Matt liked the idea so I wrote a draft of this game mode for the game developers to follow, and got to test a couple of early versions once it was built. Thus, if you are interested in a more modern approach to Robocode (and using Javascript rather than Java), check out the Tank Warriors on Flathub.

Get it while it’s hot warm

Robocode has been available on Flathub since early January, but only now I found the time to blog about it…
In any case, if you’re getting into programming now, I really hope you enjoy Robocode and that it inspires you to keep learning!

Get Robocode for Flatpak now!

Other oldies

As mentioned, I enjoy porting software on Flatpak in general, but in particular I like porting old stuff. It’s a chance to have often forgotten projects in a way that’s expected to just run. So I am taking this chance to mention a couple of other games I ported a couple of years ago but didn’t blog about.
Those are rRootage and noiz2sa, two psycadelic shooters created by the Japanese game developer Kenta Cho, and they’re among the first games I played on Linux. If you’re into minimalist and psychadelic graphics, be sure to check them out.

I wonder what other cool old software should be made available as Flatpak.

3 thoughts on “Robocode and others”

  1. Hi Joaquim, a very interesting post, thank you very much! I’ve nearly forgotten Robocode, thanks for mentioning it, I also really enjoyed this game! šŸ™‚

    I’m interested in porting the Lazarus IDE (https://lazarus-ide.org), a RAD IDE for FreePascal to Flatpak. I’ve already took the Flatpak tutorial but it seems that the project is too big for me. Maybe you’re interested in flatpaking this application together?

    Best regards,
    Marc

  2. Thank you very much for Flatpaking the Kenta Cho games! Those were also one of the first games I’ve played on Linux.

    I wonder if a project such as Linthesia (https://github.com/linthesia/linthesia) would be difficult to port to Flatpak. It is currently unsupported and there is no Arch Linux package (the AUR version does not compile on my machine), yet I couldn’t find any replacement for this app. I may investigate into that further one day.

  3. I remember robocode pretty well, and I also used it as a basis for experimental works when working at university. You should also get a look at IBM coderally, even if I cannot find any updated places to download it from.

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