The goal of the PacBot team is to design and build a robot that assumes the role of Pac-man in the popular arcade game. The team’s work culminates in the PacBot competition hosted by the Harvard Undergraduate Robotics Club, which mimics the traditional Pac-man game. Each participating PacBot autonomously navigates the arena to collect dots (“power pellets”) and avoid or attack ghosts.
THE 1T9 PACBOT
The Pacbot Competition
This competition will mimic the popular game of Pac-Man. It will consist of four “ghosts,” which will be projected onto the arena, and one PacBot, which is the robot each participating team will enter in the competition. Each team’s PacBot must adhere to the specifications outlined below, and the ghosts will follow the specifications provided below. They will navigate in the arena specified below. The objective, much like in the arcade game, is to collect as many “dots” as possible. These are outlined in more detail in the “Arena” section of this document. There will be 4 “special dots” that, upon collection by your PacBot, will enable the PacBot to “eat” the ghosts for extra points. These are outlined in more detail in the “Arena” section of this document. Your PacBot will be given three lives to collect as many of the dots as possible. Scoring is outlined in more detail in the “Gameplay” section of this document. The PacBot with the highest score wins the competition.
- Arena Mimics original arena in the Pacman game with boundaries 4” tall.
- Unlike the original game, PacBots won't be able to exit the arena on the right side and re-enter on the left side of the arena.
- Each grid unit will be assumed to have one implicitly "dot" that will be automatically collected when the PacBot enters that unit.
- There will be four "special dots" in the arena, their functionality is described in the gameplay section
- The dots on the map do not respawn at any time
- The goal of your PacBot is to collect as many dots as possible; this means the goal is to traverse as much of the grid as possible.
- Each Pacbot will have three lives
- Each grid unit that the PacBot enters will grant 10 points. Each of the "special dots" ("Power Pellets") will grant 50 points.
- Entering a grid unit that has already been visited will not grant any points
- When a "special dot" is taken, a signal will be sent to the ghosts to avoid the PacBot for 20 seconds. The ghosts will resume chasing the PacBot after this time.
- In the event that your Pacbot reaches another special dot within the previous 20 second time period, the scared time for the ghosts is reset to 20 seconds
- During this 20 second period, your Pacbot can chase the ghosts. If your PacBot catches a ghost, your team will be awarded 200 points for the first ghost, 400 for the second ghost, 800 for the third, and 1600 for the fourth.
- To catch a ghost, your Pacbot must occupy the same grid space as the ghost
- Once a ghost has been eaten, it will respawn in the ghost house, stay there for a short period of time and will no longer be frightened.
- If a ghost that is not frightened catches your PacBot, your team will lose one life.
- Upon losing a life, a "pause" signal will be sent out to your PacBot and it must stop all autonomous movement. The ghosts will also enter standby mode and return to their home position
- The dots do not reappear when your PacBot loses a life.
- The game ends when a team has lost all of their three lives.
- The winner will first be decided by the number of points, then the number of lives left, then by the time taken to do so.
- Ghosts do not take physical form, but will instead be projected onto the arena.
- Ghosts will be traveling at 7” per second, or 2 grid units per second (Although they may speed up depending on the performance of the participating Pacbots).
- The ghosts will act independently of each other and will not assist each other in locating and chasing your PacBot.
- They will have slight differences in their code to prevent ghosts from following the same path. These differences will mimic the differences of the code in the actual game of Pacman. (Found here)
- When a ghost catches your PacBot, it must enter standby mode and stop all movement. The PacBot and ghosts will be placed at their home positions and then the game will be resumed.
- At the beginning of the game, Blinky will start just outside it's home position, and approximately every 5 seconds, another ghost will exit the ghost enclosure.
- Ghosts are temporarily eliminated when they are caught, and will respawn at their home position. Gameplay will continue uninterrupted when a Pacbot catches a ghost.
More information about the competition as well as detailed Pacbot design specifications can be found here