The 3D Simulation competition appeared as a sub-league of the Simulation League in 2004.
The 3D simulation competition increases the realism of the simulated environment used in 2D simulation league by adding an extra dimension and more complex physics. From 2004 to 2006, the only available robot model was a spherical agent. In 2007, a simple model of the Fujitsu HOAP-2 robot was made available, being the first time that humanoid models were used in the simulation league. This shifted the aim of the 3D simulation competition from the design of strategic behaviors of in playing soccer towards the low level control of humanoid robots and the creation of basic behaviors like walking, kicking, turning and standing up, among others.
In 2008, the introduction of a Nao robot model to the simulation gave another perspective to the league. The real Nao robot from Aldebaran robotics has been the official robot for the Standard Platform League since 2008, and using the same model for the simulation competitions represents a great opportunity for researchers wanting to test their algorithms and ideas before trying them into the real robots. The interest in the 3D simulation competition is growing fast and research is slowly getting back to the design and implementation of multi-agent higher-level behaviors based on solid low-level behavior architectures for realistic humanoid robot teams. Further information Simulator, base codes, and other tools can be found at 3D Tools.
In consecutive years, the number of robots was increased continuously and reached 11 vs 11 in 2012. 2013 saw the first competition in which teams were able to use heterogeneous robot types, i.e. variations of the standard Nao robot. Also, a first drop-in player challenge showed the performance of the teams when playing with unknown teammates of other teams. In the following years, the league has showed a variety of technical challenges: running, passing, shots to goal, goalkeepers, etc. Many skills were enhanced in teams and in the present, we can see many high-level matches where agents use artificial intelligence, setplays, and strategies to outperform their opponents.