Ant Wars is a competition which pits clever programs against each other to do battle and compete for food in virtual worlds. Each contestant is a species of ant, which can visualize only the world immediately around him and pheromones left by fellow and enemy ants. Using this information, the ant brain (a simple state machine) must guide the ant towards collecting food at his home ant hill, while fending off or attacking enemies.
Clever use of pheromones and subtle behaviors can create large scale tactics such as raiding, defense, harvesting, and scouting when many ants cooperate.
The winner is the ant colony with the most food on their ant hill at the end of a match.
Discussion about Ant Wars and ant development can be done in the
#ant-wars on Freenode IRC (
has also been used upon occassion, though this is currently atypical.
Please feel free to run an exploratory scrimmage match via this website or view recent matches via the dynamically updating links on the frontpage. Freeform exploration of the site is usually sufficient to give a good general overview of what ant-wars is about. Browsing the ant construction manual is, of course, another common starting point, as are the Forums. A complete bundle, including the visual simulator, is freely downloadable for those wishing to develop ants, explore, run matches locally, and so forth. It is striaghtforward to get going with - feel free to leap into things boldly that way. All project source code is hosted on SourceForge, and is similiarly available for browsing.
Antwars derives from the 7th year ICFP competition (2004), a fun yet highly challenging functional programming competition that annually issues interestingly complex yet terse puzzles to pit (typically teams of) developers to outcompete each other within tight timebounds on a shifting problem space. Scott Miller (scgmille) and Taylor Campbell adapted that year's challenge into an ongoing unaffliated website / open-source project, furnishing their team's visualizer and inviting an open-ended audience to continue to extend the competative play and puzzle gamespace exploration. After a series of releases, several of Scott's ongoing parallel commitments beckoned, and he handed off to one of the site's players, the current maintainer / site owner, Jason Terlitzky (evoke), who iterated a few more releases but was speedbumped by day job involvement as a programmatic team lead for a financial company adapting to U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) legislation. That sidetrack has resolved, and development of ant-wars releases and enhancements is again active.