in reply to Perl Tanks

caution, brainstorming ahead. beforewarned that there is an 80% probability of the overuse of phrases like "i think" and "could potentially"

i personally don't think it should be turn-based; i think some things should have to take a certain amount of time (like maybe moving) but leave as much as possible up to the robot itself; that way there is a good reason to optimize your algorithms for speed.

for instance, make them move the bullet themselves, and just provide a few arena methods for them to call. for instance, $arena->collide($bullet, $enemy) might return true if $bullet and $enemy occupy any of the same space, and automatically damage $enemy.

actually, further thought reveals that they'd maybe gain more by optimization if each one forked off and communicated back to a parent with requests. which starts to stray from the ultra-simple goal. do others think that gaining something by optimizing your code is worthwhile?

and really, you may only need to create a small handful of arena "commands" --

creates a new object, likely a bullet. this perhaps has size ("mass") limits, both on individual items, and on total mass of all objects in existance for a particular owner.
Move ($obj, direction) or ($obj, location)
moves an object. automagically checks for collisions, deals damage, etc. probably has a maximum distance to move an object that is inversely related to the item's "mass" (number of pixels). probably automatically destroys objects that leave the arena or take too much damage -- a 2x2 bullet takes a lot of damage from a 20x20 tank, presumably.
Destroy $obj
maybe not necessary, since most objects should be destroyed by Move at an appropriate time, but if you want to auto-destroy bullets that stray too far from you without waiting for them to hit something, maybe you should be able to.
Look $direction or $location
get data about a part of the playing field. presumably in some pre-determined, easily digested form. possibly not.
for extra panible possibly make these more restrictive. for instance, make objects only able to move themselves (which means each object (read: bullet) needs to do its own looking, but still comes through your pipe, and make Move and Look rely on an object's curent Direction property, which can only be set via a call to Turn:
turns an object, changing its direction. making this only work up to 1 degree per call would potentially severely limit the movement algorithms for bullets.
both of these could potentially reduce the threat of heat-seeking missles and make the algorithms have to be more robust, i.e., more interesting.

then again, i might be playing a totally different game.