Balancing of Release 3.0 config

Please use this thread to discuss all changes/issues/tweaks with the new config balance, before the deadline of Friday 16 August 2019 @ 18h00

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I have tested the harness, I somewhat feel that the new harness broke score strategies a lot.

I feel that we need to consider one / some of the following:

A) Slowing down the spread of lava
B) Limiting the spread of lava to a small arena (even radius of 5) where we can still try and play for score and survive. If we are not Aggro
C) Lowering lava damage to 2 per round, or possibly only damaging active worms, (So that a worm does not take 9 damage per β€œmove” on lava)

These are simply my thoughts, I just feel that a lot of the score strategy has been somewhat broken.

So I feel we need to consider re balancing the score / kill strategy a little so that there is some meaning in racking up score still. I would also like to hear what other contestants think.

I like the new harness. I would be happy to build a solution for it. I just feel currently it renders too much of the old strategies and tactics pointless.


My initial thoughts: The new rules are better, although 93% of my previous strategies are down the drain. The new rules are more about the best killing machines & survival of the fittest, where the old rules rewarded the best diggers & bullet avoiders.

I agree with Willie that with the new rules give a very low priority towards working for a high score. I would have changed one or more of the following in the rules: 1) Lava flowing a lot slower 2) Reduce Lava damage to 1 or 2 HP per round. 3) A snowball could remove a 3x3 block of lava.

Please can you change/correct the following:
Swap the starting position of Worm 21 with Worm 22. This will make the map and the worms symmetrical to equalize the playing field for both players.


I quite like the new rules.

With the previous rules, bots could easily win just by going off in opposite directions and never meeting each other in the game world. The new rules allows players to still do that, for a while, but then forces them into close quarters - and considering that the finals are on a big screen at ComicCon, I think spectator value will be so much better now.

With that said, the lava is quite aggressive - not in terms of damage (3 seems fair), but in terms of coverage. Perhaps a slightly larger open area will be beneficial at the end, where bots can still try to dodge bullets? Maybe 3x3?


I like the new rules, feels like playing PUBG, it also stops you from running away and like the original worms, you need to now make your worm survive to the last round

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I think the rules are exactly what is needed for some proper competition. It prevents participants’ worms from hiding for the entire duration of the 400 rounds. I personally don’t see too much point in that and practically helps in avoiding complex AI. When it comes to the knockout phase of the tournament, the entertainment factor certainly will play a bigger role and with this I reckon it could make it very exciting.

I think with a happy medium in terms of the aggressive level of the lava, participants should be able to either opt to run from the lava or take the damage if necessary - suppose their strategy is to ride the edges of the lava, for what ever reason. I personally wouldn’t want to see lava damage less than 2/3 HP per round otherwise the feature itself could become void/invalid.


I like how the rules changed the game.

My suggestion for community review is that when dirt is dug that for two rounds lava doesn’t flow into that spot. That would enable the last brave worm to tunnel outside of the safe zone without taking lava damage. That is until it runs out of dirt. I think the possibility of this strategy makes scores important again, and it can lead to some very exciting games.


I like the new rules, it forces bots to engage each other and not just dig or run around the map.
The lava damage is enough to have some bots make calculated moves across lava.


From what I read above the new rules are overall liked and that we will see some new strategies.

As for the scoring strategies that are a bit less efficient, the score was supposed to be more of a tiebreaker for if both teams survive or eliminate each other at the same time. Although it is a valid strategy, like some people mentioned, a showdown will have more spectator value.

Thanks for the feedback so far. Please remember the balancing feedback deadline is Friday 16 August 2019 @ 18h00

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My thoughts:

Love the new rules, definitely makes for more exciting matches!

It does drastically change the game though, personally I think games would be even more interesting/exciting if going for score was still a valid option. The ideal for me would be if they were equally valid, so a β€œminer” bot beat a combat bot about 50% of the time.

I don’t think lava damage should go down, but what could be changed is to a) leave a small arena in the middle until turn 400 (as others have suggested) and b) perhaps make the lava flow more slowly.

+1 for swapping worms 21 and 22. I think there might be a slight advantage for player 2 (but I’m not sure).


Just wondering, Would we know about Rule Changes next week?

I have been holding off on my updates as the way lava is handled will determine my bot entry.

I believe I can push a great solution with minor tweaks. I mean my core is solid, so I just need to adapt it to the new β€œProblem”. Looking forward to the next 2 weeks, I will really push it.

Will push a few more days in on the challenge. It is a really great challenge this year.

Hi @WillieTheron

We will post a preliminary set of rule changes after the deadline, and the actual implementation and release should be available early next week.

The tweaks seem simple enough to implement, but lets wait until this gets to the code before we make promises :joy:

After playing the new rules lots of rounds, I am now more OK with the lava and the damage it does per round.

Would love this change in the lava flow algorithm:

Lava must flow around the dirt and not through/over it. E.g. if you have a 9x9 grid of dirt with air in the center, then that center spot will never get lava until a worm digs an opening. This will also means that the highlighted lava (the Z characters) would not have been there yet, but would take some more rounds to flow in:


Remember to swap the starting position of Worm 21 with Worm 22.

Looking forward to the next competition.

Mr Kuifie

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A peak into some of the changes on the 3.1 Balance tweaks branch

Symmetry between opposing professions. Star colors indicate which player the worm belongs to

Breathing room in the Engame arena

  • Fixes to the Snowballs causing other commands to be ignored

  • More fixes and tweaks might be added until the deadline

We have decided not to implement some of the ideas on this thread, although we really want to because of how cool they are :smiley:, but we have to keep complexity in mind.

As much as we want to give the veterans a really interesting game to code for, we also want to keep the barrier to entry low so that people new to programming can use this as an opportunity to hone their new craft.

In short, we intend for the game to be easy to explain, but hard to master :wink:

Hi, thanks for the updates. My suggestions:

  1. Swap the starting positions of worms 21 and 22 so as to have symmetry. The asymmetry of the worms might give a particular player an advantage, depending on their strategy

  2. Include the status of opponent worms spells (i.e. banana worms and snowballs) in the state file. Like the previous command property, we can track these ourselves but it would be convenient if it was readily available to us. In some strategies worms would behave differently to an opponent worm which has spells available.

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Looking at that arena, It feels fair

Score has a chance, but aggro also has an interesting strength as well. I will build an aggro bot to test the limits of my current bot, As they say, The ultimate defense versus the ultimate offence.

I think we will see a few Aggro bots in the finals now. I might enter one myself. But I will try my hand at a hybrid approach.

Thanks for considering that, I already had my bot worked out in case there was no mercy for lava, but it would have looked completely different. I will wait for the new harness and fix my entry bot, and get my bot tournament ready… Looking forward to the playoffs.


The final balance tweaks have been released in 3.1 :smile: