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Original author(s) Tom Poindexter
Initial release December 1985 (1985-12)
Stable release 1.1 patch level 2.1 / November 22, 2003 (2003-11-22)
Operating system Windows, Linux ELF i686, Linux ELF x86_64, IBM AIX 5.3, HP-UX, PlayStation 3, Solaris 9, Mac OS X
Platform Personal computer
Size 65.5 KB - 140.9 KB, 509.0 (Mac OS X)
Type Programming game
License open-source, GPL

Crobots is a programming game released for the first time by Tom Poindexter in December, 1985. The robots are controlled by a program written in a stripped-down version of C. The robot's mission is to seek out and destroy other robots, each running different programs. The robots can be controlled in order to move around the battlefield, scan the environment to find enemies and fire at enemies using a cannon.[1]

In October, 2013, Poindexter released the source code of Crobots under the GPL.[2]


There have been many crobots clones made. However, very few of them are compiler and virtual machines at the same time; for example there are Java clones that use JVM and C++ clones that use a standard Microsoft compiler.

Proper clones have the same intrinsic functions as the original Tom Poindexter version; sometimes however the direction of angles is changed to match the standard C library's trigonometric functions. The most recent clones are Crobots64 and Netrobots. Crobots by Marco Zora has a C++ subset compiler and a virtual machine with a nice graphic interface;[3] the importance of this clone is based on the new cooperation capabilities between Crobots of the same species, the unlimited number of concurrent Crobots, the floating point math functions and the speed of virtual CPU. Netrobots instead can run over a network, with each robot running in a separate process and being possibly written in a different programming language.[4]

Crobots itself borrows the concept used from the game RobotWar that ran on the original Apple II computer. Robots were programmed in a proprietary programming language that was interpreted and included a real-time view of the game as it was played.


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