This tutorial is for advance players, idea is to save time to not to do common mistakes and to avoid using non-ideal solutions by knowing more about hardware and other basic properties of a cell.
Hardware - prices and mass Edit
processor memory - 1/20 credit and 1/50 mass per memory cell
engine 800 credits, 16 mass per 1 unit of engine
constructor 100 credit, 2 mass
energy 1 mass, 50 credits per 500 storage, and 0 mass and 500 credits per 500 current energy
solar-cells 2000 credits, 72 mass
eater 100 credit, 2 mass
syphon 160 credit, 3.2 mass syphon *(distance/5+1)
(syphon has non-linear distance price, what makes it 7 times lighter and cheaper for 100 distance than linear!)
repair-rate 400 credits, 8 mass
force-field 800 credits 16 mass force-field*(distance/10+1)
bomb - 250 credits, 7.32 weight for 1000 bomb
blaster - it has many non-linearities in price. it fire rate price is not linear when it firces more often than once per 10 frames or less often than once per 50 frames. it firepower price is not linear when it has damage less than 1 per shot.
Hardware - details Edit
processor - processor units are must have, but if you are planning to do heavy math then its better to use separate unit with no energy storage. In this case calculations still will be done, but they will not take any energy. useful for "mastermind" type of unit. Processor memory cost quite a lot. its much better to always set it to 0, and use variables in code, they are much cheaper
engine - physics in game limits speed of cells by decceleration, and bigger the speed is, bigger the decceleration is. and the bigger engine you have the the more % of your cell it takes in mass and less acceleration each engine unit provides because of own weight. practical limit is 0.4 unit of engine per cell. in many cases it is better to replace engine with force-fields. by doing this you may travel as fast and with the same cost but you will also be able to transfer food or allies nearby.
constructor - optimal size for constructor is slightly smaller than eater to leave some energy for sensors, weapons, force fields, etc. you need to have 1-6 constructor value in your seed to reproduce fast enough.
energy - energy storage is cheap, but it is very risky to store large amount of energy in a cell, because if it will be killed the energy lost from storage may be comparable to the price of the unit itself. thats why its better to keep this value under 500-1000 units and use syphon or eater for the rest.
solar-cells its 20 times more expensive and 36 times heavier than eater. you may add microscopic solar cell just to keep your unit from going to 0 energy, but it is way too expensive to use it instead of eater on a large scale. some additional energy storage or more syphon help may work better
eater - your initial seed should have 2-8 eaters in total on your units. if it will have less, you will not able to survive in a long term, if it will have more, you will not survive in a short term.
syphon - its nesesary to support fighting units to make them more lightweight and reduce their energy storage to reduce loss when they will die. some of your non-combat units should have some. because of it non-linear distance price and linear unit price its cheap to have it for really long distance with small rate.
enemy-syphon - it can be useful for reading opponents max energy storage by syphoning it and comparing it current energy (robot-energy) and your syphoned rate to maximum enemy syphon rate. apart from this its is useless because syphoned depends on opponents % of energy left. when opponent has 33% of energy left your syphon works 3 time worse. it hits instantly unlike other weapons, but its still very hard to precisely track opponents cell, because you have to do it each frame.Even if you will sucsesfuly use this tactic opponent may easily counter it by adding another 500 energy storage and never using it, what will make your tactic instantly several times worse against this enemy.
robot sensor - has to be big enough to see incoming enemies. it takes about 10 unit of a distance to speed up your cell and another 10 units to not to scan each frame(latency). in a standart tournament rules you rarely will need more than 30 units sensor, because even with it you will abel to see several opponents around. so 20-30 is optimal. may be less for fighters (10-20) if your other cell has long range scanner.
food-sensor - has to be more than 5 units (at such radius your cell will barely survive) and less than 30 (thats when your opponent territory starts)
shot-sensor - optimal radius is 5-15 units. it would be good to have more, but evasion math is quite complex and would take too much time to calculate each path of bullet, instead of just a few closest ones.
armor - optimal armor is 100-400. this will help to avoid one-shot kills.
repair-rate - it is useless in most cases. opponent can concentrate fire on your single cell, but you cant concentrate repairing. what mean that in a fight it is useless. it may have some sense if you have many cells and can retreat before being killed.
shield - it isnt useful to retreat for fighters because it rises it shield too slowly. it isnt useful for eaters, because they cant use syphon(its affected by damage reduction) to give away their energy. it isnt useful if unit has worse penetration ratio than 10% (90% damage reduction). and most modern sides dont use the shields and stop using them if they wereusing it (as with rat side), and developers probably will change or make the shield obsolete sometime in future.
blaster - it bullet speed depends on a distance linearly. because opponents cells may easily achieve 0.2-0.25 speed you have to use distance of 20-25 at least, otherwise they can easily dodge your slow bullets. but you cant hit a dodging opponent on a distance greater than 10 because it will have enough time to speedup. so best option is actual distance 10, blaster distance 20+, damage 1+. firerate once per 10-50 frames.any values outside of this will significantly decrease efficiency. blaster pushes an opponent in opposite direction when hit. it is excellent against folowing close combat units or missiles. large units are affected more than small. what makes large missiles or large close combat units useless. blaster bullet speed is affected by your cell speed. so accelerate at your enemy before shot, so your bullet will be faster. actual fighting distance is about 3 times smaller than your distance of a blaster.
granades - basicly you have to always use blaster, because granades are so much less powerful per cost and mass. grenade is about 10% cheaper and makes 50% less damage with comparable weight.
force-field - you have to use this for food collection, otherwise your eater units will waste their time.If your eaters are busy only 50% of a time, it equals to have only 50% of eaters left. You have to use it to guide your missiles to achieve speed any greater than your opponent cell have. speed of the object works in a similar way as engine would accelerate it, but object does not have to cary a heavy engine. so maximum speed is bigger. force-fields and engine works the same way, in meaning that you may have installed engine of 0.5 units or forcefield with 0.5 units and 0 distance, they will provide the same acceleration to your cell.
bomb - it radius grows as a square root of bomb value or about that, so its better to use several small bombs, rather than one huge bomb. another reason for small bomb is that you have to use forcefield to accelerate your bomb. if you will put an engine on a bomb, you will make it heavier. if you will put too much bomb in your missile, it again will be too heavy to be accelerated by forcefield. without a forcefield your enemy will retreat fast enough from your bomb and if it has a blaster it will slow down your missile. optimal bomb size is 500-5000.
Other characteristics of a cell Edit
speed - Optimal speed is about 0.15-0.25. it is required to dodge enemy shots and chase or run away from enemy. speed above 0.25 is nearly impossible to achieve and speed of 0.15 is very easy to achieve and in general there is no need to not to have at least 0.15 speed.
size - cell with a weight about 20 suffers some penalties like increased price and weight. but penalty becomes comparable with bonuses from concentrated fire and armor only at the size of 25-35. so optimal cell size is about 30. even non-combat units works much better at large scale because it takes too muhc computation to distrcibute food evenly though lots of small units. and it is easy to have storage of non-eaten food under large cells and nearly impossuble to have the same for small cells, mainly due to complexity in calculations. so aproximately the same weight is valid for economical units too. optomal size for a missile is much smaller with optimum size of 5-15, because otherwise it cant dodge, cant be accelerated by force-fields, and is affected by blasters pushes more. same could be applied to a small dodging unit.
cobination of repair-rate, armor and shield efficiency compared to blaster - blaster shot for distance 30 and firing rate 10-50 deals about 2 damage per 1 energy. with dodging only about 1/10 of shots will hit a target. so in total blaster deals 0.2 damage per 1 energy. average unit cost about 2000 and has about 200 armor. So if unit does not retreat, opponent will deal to you damage that will cost 2 energy to restore, while he will spend 1 energy. if your unit will retreat and repair, then opponent will force you to spend only 0.4 energy for each of his 1 energy. this makes repairing useful if unit can retreat. shield with damage penetration of 10% may make it even better, but most cells ignore shielded opponents. because if cell has a shield it cant do anything offencive.
radius formula is something like 0.2 + mass/100 but formula is not linear, large cells are not that large. this makes two options for best radius, first one is near the mass of 10, any smaller mass will not reduce radius significantly, and another is at the mass of 30, where penalty from size is comparable with benefits from concentration of armor and firepower. larger cells are not that effective because of armor penalty.