Saturday, July 30, 2022

Story Post: Bout #20: Hard Hat vs The Dark Lord [SingularByte vs Brendan]

Two feared Operators are facing off against each other for the first time… They’re meeting in the Operator pit, and, yes, they’re greeting each other, Brendan leans in for a hand-shake, SingularByte accepts - Oh! Brendan was wearing a shock pad and gave SingularByte a small jolt. The Hard Hat team leader looks annoyed, but that’s just Brendan being Brendan - what else can we expect of BlogBot’s resident bad boy?

To the left of the arena, it’s Hard Hat - the yellow dome with the sky-high kill-count! And the Hard Hat Army are out in force tonight, cheering the bot on as it runs through its calibration round of manoeuvres.

And to the right, in position 16 - the Dark Lord! That’s a nice touch, Brendan has had red LEDs installed in its eyes so they look like they’re glowing from deep inside its skull. All hail the Dark Lord!

AND THEY’RE OFF!

Already this is a battle of position and attrition. Hard Hat is holding its line, making evasive motions, while Dark Lord leaps threateningly forward to position 6. This triggers a response from Hard Hat, who bypasses around Dark Lord to position 16. Dark Lord turns slowly and then starts creeping forward, one step at a time, from position 6 to position 11, while Hard Hat keeps a watching brief and maintains evasive motions - until Dark Lord moved into square 11 and then that’s it, Hard Hat is off again, bypassing away from Dark Lord back to position 4.

The crowd are split - about a quarter are gripped by this tactical dance of position and counter-position, while the remainder are very bored and want something to get hit by an axe.

A pattern is starting to emerge here - Dark Lord turns around and shuffles forward one step at a time from 11 to 8, which sends Hard Hat back to 16, which in turn prompts Dark Lord to turn around again and creep back to 11, at which point the cycle spins around again!

The crowd have started booing - a chorus of vikings in the front row has started chanting “BLOOOOD, BLOOOOD” in a deep baritone. Hard to tell whether they’re here for Hard Hat or Dark Lord.

...

Well, the pattern has now repeated for three iterations, and we’re about to start the fourth - but at turn 60, that’s the siren for SUDDEN DEATH! It’s immediately clear that neither bot has contingencies that kick in at this exact moment in the bout, so it’s a matter of who the pattern disadvantages most - and Dark Lord, with its relatively central position, looks very safe, as the new changes to the Sudden Death format mean that there are much more explosions to go around at the outer edges. Sure enough, Dark Lord keeps Hard Hat at the margins of the arena as the explosions creep in - and there it is! At turn 67, Hard Hat attempts an evade but there’s no cheating the arena floor!

Dark Lord wins by TKO!

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