The archive-diving continues (I’m checking all my old floppies and archiving everything that looks interesting).
Found a ZIP file WARBOTS.ZIP. This is yet another Robot War type program, this one written by Chris Busch in 1990. Unlike Robot War (which has a vagely BASIC-like syntax) or Arena (x86 assembler, urgh) the syntax is very Pascal-like (which figures, since Chris wrote Warbots in Turbo Pascal).
Now, for some reason Chris decided to encrypt the robot sources supplied as examples. But, Tyler Akins tells us that it’s a simple XOR “encryption”, and some fiddling with ICY Hexplorer armed with the hunch that “vitiex” is most likely “repeat” gives us the hex key 040c for the first line of scanbot.war. After that it gets tricky, “Ehh | 5” translates to “Add y 1” using a key of 040c0c — so the key changes by some rule. I really don’t have the time to figure it out but it’s obviously not that tricky.
This at least gives an idea of the syntax.
Warbots doesn’t run in a DOS box under Windows (2000 and 7 tested) so that’s all I have for now.