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Programming Real Time Strategy (Games) Games Entertainment

StarCraft AI Competition Results 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the teaching-skynet-the-zerg-rush dept.
bgweber writes "The StarCraft AI Competition announced last year has come to a conclusion. The competition received 28 bot submissions from universities and teams all over the world. The winner of the competition was UC Berkeley's submission, which executed a novel mutalisk micromanagement strategy. During the conference, a man versus machine exhibition match was held between the top ranking bot and a former World Cyber Games competitor. While the expert player was capable of defeating the best bot, less experienced players were not as successful. Complete results, bot releases, and replays are available at the competition website."
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StarCraft AI Competition Results

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  • I for one (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, 2010 @10:51AM (#33908120)

    am terrified we're actively pursuing the ability for our robot overlords to have the perfect micromanagement strategies.

    • by e4g4 (533831)
      Well - I'm not worried until the genetic engineers breed and train mutalisks for our robotic overlords to micromanage.
      • by durrr (1316311) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:19AM (#33908464)
        Overlords can be spawned from hatcheries, your real enemy is the robotic overmind. Know the difference, it could save your life.
    • If they can't learn macro, though, then they won't have an We just have to make sure we don't teach them how to use/build their unit-producers.
  • Not equal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday October 15, 2010 @10:51AM (#33908122) Homepage

    By default, I'd say that a well-designed bot in an RTS would have an advantage over all but the best players. Since there is so much to keep track of, software would win out over wetware.

    Bots in an FPS are one thing, but when you have dozens of units, a build order, multiple fronts, resources, and more to track all at the same time, the infinitely scalable multitasking of a bot would certainly come in handy.

    Or maybe I'm off base?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Alsn (911813)
      A bot would always be superior in multitasking, but the most important ability in Starcraft(which the article is about) is decision making which is really hard to program for an RTS bot. Or at least, so it would seem as I've never seen an RTS AI that hasn't cheated and at the same time been challenging.

      It doesn't matter if you have the best multitasking in the world if the opponent can just outright kill you cause it has more stuff.
      • by durrr (1316311)
        Good multitasking can win even if you have more stuff. Kiting and withdrawal of units low in hp from battles can make a huge difference. SC2 reapers with some kiting and finesse can wipe out a much larger force, or simply outrun or avoid your troops while destroying your base. Combined with more troop types and activated abilities you can make a huge difference depending on micromanagement/multitasking capabilties.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by immakiku (777365)
          Examples like that are rare. Taking your example of SC2, there's few scenarios where superior micromanagement can turn a big disadvantage. From experience, most silver+ level players do not just NOT micromanage their units. They just do it without taking a hit in their macromanagement or they do it less effectively than top level players. Even in the reaper vs ling/roach scenario, a player who's seen the situation more than once will know how to properly react (without needing to excessively waste APM defen
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Alsn (911813)
          Of course it can make a huge difference, but no matter how good your multitasking is, tanks still don't shoot up...

          The point is, it's really easy to just outsmart an RTS AI once you figure out its tendencies. No matter how good it's multitasking is your own won't be bad enough that your flying units all of a sudden forget how to shoot down.

          Having an intricate knowledge of counters and economy and timings(at least as far as starcraft goes) has always been superior to multitasking, but only to a point.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MoriaOrc (822758)
            Just to add on to your point. In the Mutalisk micro video, it's pretty clear that the mutalisks are prioritizing destroying siege tanks over goliaths. While that might be all well and good in some sort of base defense, or ground/air simultaneous attack, the videos are all of an air-only attack on the enemy base. The siege tanks are literally doing nothing but taking hits, while the goliaths represent the only actual threat to the Mutalisks (except the turrets in the final part of the video). Add on to t
        • by brkello (642429)

          This is true, but it doesn't matter how good your micro manage is if the units aren't in the right place. Simple drop strategies and resource starving are going to beat these types of bots.

          • by JTsyo (1338447)
            That's why the AI should always rush. This would reduce the possible counters the human player would have. Once there's a few units out, split them into 3 groups and harass the player (ie attack workers, supply, production). If the player comes with a superior force against one, retreat it. If he splits his forces, engage if it can win. Other than the top tier players, no one can handle microing 3 fronts while still keeping up with marco.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you're not, and it's interesting that these Ai's only have as much knowledge of that game as a normal player would, no magic ESP or extra resources to make up for in efficiency. My favourite one was an AI that could play the game for you, but you as a human would give it overarching decisions, I couldnt find it on a quick google but there's a video of someone playing on youtube and I reckon it'd beat me hands-down.

    • Re:Not equal (Score:5, Informative)

      by imgod2u (812837) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:06AM (#33908310) Homepage

      It's a huge advantage but it's only one part of the game. Many would argue that overall strategy is far more important than micro-management.

      One of the top protoss players (WhiteRa) in SC2 (former SC1 player) has a relatively low actions-per-minute (APM) count compared to most players. Yet he still comes out on top by a lot.

      Being able to multitask and micro-manage is definitely an advantage but a far more important ability is being able to plan on the larger scale. I've never seen an AI capable of harassment techniques, guerrilla warfare and exercising map control. Multi-pronged attacks are also something that it should theoretically be great at but it never really tries.

      • by immakiku (777365)
        In addition, addition APM does not equate effective actions. You have to know which units to move where to maximize advantage. This is again something the computer will have a hard time doing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kaizokuace (1082079)
        I agree with you whole heartedly. I am a Go player, so I understand that strategy and intuition come in to play with this type of game where "war" is concerned. The most advanced Go programs can't defeat a low level player. Being able to look at the board as a whole and not a series of spaces seems to be beyond these AI. In Starcraft I would imagine that an AI can't plan ahead for the types of actions a human would take. Being able to micro manage and deal with skirmishes and build orders and such is just a
      • by crossmr (957846)

        Multi-pronged attacks are also something that it should theoretically be great at but it never really tries.

        Mostly because if standard AI did this, players would raise hell. No human can really keep up with 2 100% controlled and coordinated attacks. Mainly because we have to split our resources between them. The AI could realistically perfectly control 2 attacks with all the skill that a human player could devote to a single attack.

        Even with all the hot keys in the world you still need to flip your view bet

        • Re:Not equal (Score:4, Interesting)

          by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:58PM (#33909704)

          > No human can really keep up with 2 100% controlled and coordinated attacks. Mainly because we have to split our resources between them. The AI could realistically perfectly control 2 attacks with all the skill that a human player could devote to a single attack.

          The biggest problem is the INTERFACE of the game. Let me know when I can create on-the-fly Picture-In-Picture overviews of the map in real-time, so I _actually_ can attack/defend on multiple fronts.

          Sad to see RTSs really haven't changed in 20 years ;-(

          • Re:Not equal (Score:4, Interesting)

            by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday October 15, 2010 @02:10PM (#33910662)

            The biggest problem is the INTERFACE of the game. Let me know when I can create on-the-fly Picture-In-Picture overviews of the map in real-time, so I _actually_ can attack/defend on multiple fronts.

            An interesting modification to StarCraft which would give AIs a run for their money would be cooperative play where several users operate one team on the field, and where the several users have a hierarchy and delegate command of corps of units to other players, maybe one player handling resources while another scouts while a third consolidates the offensive force.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Not "would" - does. That feature has been in the original StarCraft ever since. The original Age of Empires had that feature, too.

              It's sad that they didn't include this in SC2 though.

              • by iluvcapra (782887)
                I wasn't aware of this, I'm an idiot :)
              • Yes this is definitely the best feature of original SC! I loved how the team of players could also choose different races. And you started with the command structure of player #1 (Human CC for example), but you got your own drone or probe as a starting worker to build a Nexus or Hatchery later!

                Personally I love coop in a RTS! Another game that had this feature was Conquest: Frontier Wars. Excellent game too. I recall one match where we had 3 players vs 2 players, with each side controlling only one empire.

            • by JTsyo (1338447)
              This is already possible in SC. You can have teams command just one "player".
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by aeroelastic (840614)

              An interesting modification to StarCraft which would give AIs a run for their money would be cooperative play where several users operate one team on the field, and where the several users have a hierarchy and delegate command of corps of units to other players, maybe one player handling resources while another scouts while a third consolidates the offensive force.

              This is basically what we would do in 4 v 4 Age of Empires. The person farthest from the other team would be "resource bitch". They would focu

        • by Pulzar (81031)

          Mostly because if standard AI did this, players would raise hell. No human can really keep up with 2 100% controlled and coordinated attacks. Mainly because we have to split our resources between them. The AI could realistically perfectly control 2 attacks with all the skill that a human player could devote to a single attack.

          The great equalizer is that the computer would be leading half of his army to each attack, which would lead to annihilation of one of his two groups. Depending on what damage to the ba

          • by crossmr (957846)

            That's hardly an equalizer. The player would also lose a chunk of his forces in battle and there is no guarantee that the player is keeping 100% of his forces grouped in one spot. The point is with 2 completely controlled attacks, it's quite likely they could easily attack your resources and wipe that out while keeping you busy somewhere else.

      • by guruevi (827432)

        A lot of it is imho putting the human player on guard, playing mind games and making the other player think that you have more than you actually etc. something that most bots are inherently immune to. Intelligence and demoralization beats brute force most of the time in human warfare. Especially in electronic war games you can easily sacrifice a couple (or even a whole lot) of units in order to take the majority of the army out of position.

        Look at Iraq for an example, there was bunches of brute force, the U

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Depending on the game harassment can be fairly easy to acheive. I occasionally play Age of Empires 2 with a friend. While perhaps not by design, the AI does occasionally comes up with really annoying strategies. For example sending a bunch of militias into my base relatively early, accompanying a number of builders who immediately proceed to build a stone wall straight through my base. If you're playing on a space-constrained map that can really distract you and cost you a few minutes to completely get sort
    • Re:Not equal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:08AM (#33908330) Journal

      Bots in FPS ARE a completely different thing, as setting up an auto-headshot sniper that will hit the player before he can get the bot into view is not that difficult to make. That field will never be an even battle.

      Strategy games are a little different though. A Bot essentially has no "better" way to evaluate the player than any other player would evaluate the player. Say in Starcraft, the Bot scouts the player - and determines he is a little behind in what he would expect the player's army count to be. This could mean a number of things: The player made a mistake, the player is saving up, or theres something the player has that you have not found yet. How do you proceed?

      Now - when you get to the pro level of gaming, you worry a little less about your opponent's build and worry more about not letting them know yours. Walling and other defensive techniques become just as important as scouting your opponent. The game becomes highly a higly reactive scenario as opposed to proactive. If you know what your opponent is doing, you can counter it and that puts you much further ahead, possibly ahead enough to crush them.

      So the problem eventually lies in getting an AI to properly counter a players actions. Making an AI react to players is much harder than giving an AI a plan and telling him to execute. Because essentially the reaction is only as smart as whoever is programming the AI. And if you are a better player, capable of keeping other people from determining your plan, you can beat an AI who is trying to determine yours.

      Don't get me wrong, the ability for computers to instantly Micro and Macromanage all of the units and resources at once does give it some serious advantages, but deep in the heart of it: The AI will only be a little better of a player than the person who programs him. (Or her, if you program female AI's like GLaDOS)

      • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday October 15, 2010 @01:14PM (#33909956) Homepage

        Or her, if you program female AI's like GLaDOS

        You will be Zergrushed. And then there will be cake.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bytestorm (1296659)
      Ideally, you can watch your opponents prior matches and tailor your strategy to defeating him. A computer might have a harder time doing that, but a person would be able to recognize the weaknesses of a strategy on the spot. Starcraft is very much rock-paper-scissors.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by e4g4 (533831)
        Starcraft is only rock-paper-scissors if you don't scout.
        • Starcraft is only rock-paper-scissors if you don't scout.

          It's still RPS even if you do scout, the only difference being that if you scout, you know the player will choose rock, so you know to choose paper.
          Essentially the, it's rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock-zergling-zealot-marine-mutalisk-archon-[...]

          • by e4g4 (533831)
            Except that in Starcraft, you can kite your scissors (and other micro) and still beat rock.
        • by brkello (642429)

          Uh, you scout and realize they have paper so you build scissors. What are you talking about?

    • by KarrdeSW (996917)

      This would be true for initial battles against that AI, but at some point, the human player will come to understand the AI's tricks, which will always be finite. Even if the AI is sophisticated enough to change strategies when faced with possible defeat, it would be entirely possible for a human player to learn how to stay "on the threshold" so-to-speak and simply overrun the AI at the right time.

      Knowing the AI's strategic plan is ultimately more important than being able to micromanage with more efficienc

      • I've seen a lot of AIs that have a general strategy that they stick to like glue. I'd love to see an AI that continually evaluates its current position, and if it sees a loss trend, switches tactics.

        When you're doing the right thing, but slowly bleeding out to inevitable death, you might want to lower your risk aversion and try something else.

        Beyond that, some way of evaluating a player and keeping track over multiple games - and comparing known players and their styles to new players to make predictions,

    • While a bot will certainly be able to macro and micro better than a human, human players are closing the gap and I don't think that the current gap is all that much between humans and machines.

      On the other hand, the creativity gap between humans and machines is always in the favor of humans. At best (as of now), machines can only be designed to react, and their "creativity" is limited to a book of plays. Once you know the machine's playbook, you can easily defeat them. So they are only as good as how well

    • by brkello (642429)

      I disagree. Starcraft 2 has a lot of different strategies to account for. Sure, the bot should do a better job of being able to micromanage, build efficiently, not screw up on food, etc but a decent human will beat it because it will struggle to account for tricks that a human can come up with. A good human will implement its strategy on the fly. They will scout, see what the bot has and develop a counter. It has a big army? Do some drops in the back of their base. And usually a bot will have a flaw..

      • by snadrus (930168)
        I've found that strategy in SC2 also. A few early invisible guys slip to the back of their base and kill off the workers, then it's over. They don't often realize it happened, they attack with their remaining army, and they freeze.
        On the other hand, the SC2 AI is great if it should always on the offensive. My team has been hit with coordinated attacks that prevent us helping each other, especially when they run away.
      • by JTsyo (1338447)
        But usually the human will lose a game or two before he figures out the weakness. If the AI is programmed with 4or5 styles, it might be harder to figure out the counter. The AI still could have a fundamental flaw you can exploit but as long as you can adjust the AI you can reduces it's weaknesses with experience.
    • by immakiku (777365)

      Your idea is correct, but the use of the word infinite is off-base. That's like saying chess is infinitely variable. It's simply not true. There's only a small number of openers in both games. And from any situation, there's only a small set of viable next moves (somewhat true in chess - especially true in SC where the game flow depends heavily on what happened before).

      In the beginning two minutes of the game, if you have more than 40 APM you're just doing something excessive. Even through midgame, until yo

  • Important note (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday October 15, 2010 @10:55AM (#33908170) Journal

    Uses Broodwar, not Starcraft 2, and not just the original.

    Just saying. (Cause when they mentioned Ultralisk Microing, I thought about SC2 and how Ultralisks are terrible units there simply because they block your units making Micro a huge pain, and it wasn't so bad in BW when your units could take a bit more of a beating).

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:05AM (#33908302) Homepage Journal
    So the winner is just a Muta harassment bot? I have to wonder if the top level human player just spammed some Corsairs or Valks? It didn't seem like the AI was particularly good at changing strategy if the opponent countered. Spreading out the Mutas would help against a Corsair or Valk counter though, since both of those units rely on the Mutas natural tendency to clump to get maximum effectiveness.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Against Muta's? Just spam Goliaths.

    • by teko_teko (653164) on Friday October 15, 2010 @01:05PM (#33909818) Homepage

      It's actually pretty interesting technique that they used. They don't just clump up the mutas. From the results page:

      Contemporary StarCraft wisdom tells us that the best way to use mutalisks is to clump them. In human versus human battles, this makes it difficult to single out the weaker mutalisks, because the units are stacked on top of each other. However, UC Berkeley’s team identified a flaw in this tactic; it reduces the damage output of each individual mutalisk, because not all mutalisks will fire when using this tactic. Instead, they employed a model in which mutalisk are always moving, maximizing damage output while simultaneously maximizing movement.

      Video can be found at the bottom of the page [ucsc.edu].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dburkett (1922518)
      I'm a member of the team that built the winning bot (the one that wrote most of the mutalisk code, actually). One of the things we found out is that, as an AI, it's completely possible to keep the mutas' dps up without clumping them -- humans mainly have to clump them because they can't issue individual orders every second. When the bot is up against corsairs or valkyries (or any other unit that does splash damage), the mutas deliberately spread out to avoid getting splashed. Corsairs are still a good co
  • Any 'learning' bots? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JSBiff (87824) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:28AM (#33908594) Journal

    Anyone know if anyone has ever created a bot that has the ability to learn from losses and wins, to figure out what works and what doesn't (both what it is doing and what the enemy is doing, then use that in the future to predict what the other player is *trying* to do and come up with a counter)?

    I've not played a lot of RTS's, but I've played a few, and the thing I've noticed is, if a strategy works against a bot, even if there's a fairly obvious counter, it will always work against that bot.

    The RTS I've played the most is Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, so I'll use an example from that: There are a collection of different bots available which will use different strategies. Now, the player can build a strategic missile launcher, which builds nukes. You can also build a strategic missile defense which will build 'seeker' missiles which will shoot down incoming nukes.

    Some of the bots will build SMD's, some won't, but in no case does it build an SMD based upon the player/opponent's actions. That is, it doesn't check to see if you have started to build any Strategic Missile Launchers before it begins to build the defenses. The bots that don't build defenses won't build them even if you are building one. This means on the one hand that the bot wastes resources which it could have used otherwise, to build defenses, while on the other hand, if it doesn't build them, you can pretty easily and quickly defeat the bot with a nuke or two. Alternatively, instead of building a strategic missile defense, the bot *could* try to use someattack method (for example, if you don't have good air defenses, it could hypothetically try a targeted attack with a bunch of bombers or gunships to either destroy the SML, or the engineer units which are constructing the SML).

    However, the bots never seem to be smart enough to attack the obvious threat of a strategic missile launcher. It seems like the only way the developers found to make the bots harder is to make them much more efficient at building up their economy and spamming out lots of land-units to try to attack the player.

    When I get a chance, I want to try SC2, but right now, I'm in a period where I'm not playing games as much as I used to, and trying to reduce my gaming down to almost none while I get some more important things done in RL. It'll be interesting to see how the AI differs in that game.

    • by Dakman (824764) on Friday October 15, 2010 @01:06PM (#33909838) Homepage
      A bot that learns from loses? An interesting game. It seems the only winning move is to be Korean.
    • by dorianh49 (988940)
      It's just a matter of getting the bot to play tic-tac-toe against itself. Unfortunately, it may not see the point of engaging in any "war" games after that.
    • by jlf278 (1022347)
      Plenty of bots learn as they go. Some simpler ones might learn the layout of a level (counterstrike) or a room (roomba) through trial and error. You can imagine it would not be that hard to create a simple database that maps the geometry of such spaces to a reasonable resolution. Similarly, you could create a database of tactics in Starcraft for openings to easily identify the most effective ones all else being equal. Unfortunately, it could be difficult in a Player vs AI situation to gain enough high-q
    • by kodomo (1100141)
      that's not a good idea, everybody knows what would happen if you try it.
  • There are software competitions in chess, and they're getting pretty exciting now that the software can play at a grandmaster level. I think it would be pretty cool if this sort of thing made it into games like Starcraft. In any case, I'm happy that bots and their authors are getting some prizes and recognition, because I think their work is incredibly important and fertile. Bots are out future.
    • by sagematt (1251956)

      In any case, I'm happy that bots and their authors are getting some prizes and recognition, because I think their work is incredibly important and fertile. Bots are out future.

      I, for one, welcome our new bot overlords.

    • by JTsyo (1338447)
      There are no prizes, it's a lie. They do get the recognition. Maybe some developer would be interested in using a variant of their bot for a game.
  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:20PM (#33909186)

    Competitions like these are great, but they (and games like SCII) really make me pine for an RTS with a robust in-game scripting language. I would like to write complex auto-executing instructions for my units like "Pursue but never enter the firing zone of a known enemy turret or siege tank" or "If your energy > X and enemy of type Y in range R, cast spell S" or "If you are unit type X, always position yourself between friendly unit type Y and the enemy". You could confine the script to some reasonable specifications (say, no more than 1000 queries and 100 orders given per second) if you want to deter brute-force approaches.

    This is a totally different problem than writing a good AI, you would be focused on writing powerful tools that aid, not replace, a human player by letting him specify his intent on a higher level than "go here" or "attack that". Better visualization of what's happening would be an integral part of this too. I would love to have SCII give me an overview of what units/building I have, what they are doing/queued to do -- even better if they are grouped into functional 'squadrons'. Being able to have multiple panes/monitors looking at different things would help to.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I'm old and slow and want to leverage my experience writing rule-based logic to beat the whippersnappers that can click faster than I can and keep more things going in their heads at once :-P.

    • by m50d (797211)
      A group of my friends have been working (slowly) on such a project for a while now. Though it's pretty much ended up being a client-server RTS where everyone writes their own client.
    • by ThePyro (645161) on Friday October 15, 2010 @01:41PM (#33910328)
      Have a look at the Spring Engine [springrts.com] if you haven't already. There are a variety of RTS games, including some high-quality variants of Total Annihilation, which use the Spring Engine and allow for all sorts of client-side scripting through Lua. There are a variety of client-side lua "gadgets" that players have written already. You can move your units into custom formations by drawing lines or squiggles with the mouse; there are widgets to automate using air transports to ferry units between factories and rally points; there are even widgets to automatically alert the player when certain dangerous units are spotted. IIRC, someone was even working on a script for kiting with long-range units.
    • by Jainith (153344)

      I kinda liked the "less control" approch of Majesty.

      Your units actually think for themselves, and respond differently to your "reward" incentives. To me this makes for a more "realistic" experince than the "hive mind" approach of the standard RTS (Where the player controls exactly what every unit does.)

    • by Salamande (461392)
      Did you ever play Carnage Heart [wikipedia.org]? It sounds a lot like what you're thinking of, though this was from the mid- to late-90s. My friends and I played this all through college. We eventually came up with some pretty ridiculous strategies.
    • by islisis (589694)

      I'm glad to see a potential player base for this type of RTS. I would also love the ability to select from scripted build orders. Just let me fine tune bits of my second-nature strategies in game and let me concentrate on scouting and such.

    • I think this is an awesome idea. I would love to play a game like supreme commander but options like that. It would turn every game into a real battle of strategies, instead of who can best micromanage their resources.

  • by Myji Humoz (1535565) on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:27PM (#33909308)
    There seems to be a very wide range in the abilities of the winner and runner up bots that might not be noticed by someone unfamiliar with Starcraft. In order of appearance:

    1) In the flying units versus flying units match, mutalisks (guys with wings) should have focused the scourges (little 'c' shaped guys) because scourges have about 1/5th the health of a mutalisk, but can suicide to take out 5/6ths of a mutalisk's health. Red ai focused scourges, the other ai didn't, with disastrous results for the other ai.

    2) In the match with infantry, the players had medics, which heal other units but can't attack, and marines/ghosts, which can do damage but can't heal each other. One ai moved medics with ghosts such that the medics could actually heal. The other ai just left the medics a mile away from the combat, and got slaughtered. Furthermore, the AIs didn't bother with formations, which meant that half their units spent the entire fight trying to get into range. A precombat formation lets almost all the combat units start firing as soon as the fight begins.

    3) The red zealots retreated in the face of numerically superior opponents, while the teal zealots just attack moved no matter how many they had. Teal zealots didn't focus fire, which meant that they lose units sooner, and thus had less damage output compared to red. In addition, red failed to kill the pylons (600hp) powering the buildings (a lot more than 600hp). Neither player built their bases to maximize the number of pylons powering their vital gateways; each pylon usually powered only one building.

    4) In the fight with dragoons (orange spider things) versus tanks, the protoss (orange) could have frozen half the enemy tanks with a single stasis spell by sneaking the arbiter (flying spider thing) to the back of the tank formation. Furthermore, the protoss could have focused the science vessel (floating teal circle) that was preventing them from being invisible. It would have been a slaughter if the vessel had been focused, as teal would have had no real way to hit the orange units.

    5) In the match between Overmind and Krasi0, the article talks about mutalisk clumping preventing some of the mutalisks from attacking. However, the point of the stack is that when one guy is in range, everyone else is. Also, the attack animation is so fast that for all practical purposes, the flyers can shoot while moving. They use their mobility to get out of range of infantry units, then zoom in to pick off outliers when their attack cooldown is finisihed. In actual competition, the terran player would usually rely on a strategic placement of static defenses and a highly mobile cluster. However, the terran (defending force) built tanks, vultures, and goliaths (mech guys that shot missiles) with the flaw that tanks and vultures can't shoot air, and are thus almost useless versus the mutalisks. The mutalisks spent the second half of the clip shooting tanks rather than focusing down the goliaths volleying missiles into them. The terran AI prioritized repairing tanks as much as goliaths, and didn't place tanks next to goliaths to soak up bounce damage from a mutalisk.

    In general, the AI had problem with understanding the priority in a fight. That is to say, they often had no sense of what units are critical to a position or what units pose the most threat. They didn't arrange their units to maximize their effectiveness, and often failed to alter their behavior based on the other party. It's a fun contest, but I'm not sure the AIs could beat a moderately skilled player who understands tactics AND strategy.
    • by DeadDecoy (877617)
      It sounds like the ai is trying to apply an overall strategy where several smaller strategies might make more sense. For instance, you could have ai's for goliaths, infantry, tanks, etc that could be coordinated by a larger, more general strategic ai. The only problem is that most ai's aren't structured as hierarchical models so you lose some of the nuances in using a unit correctly. I bet if you could design a more accurate learning model, it could have something akin to a strategy.
    • Generic VS Specific (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nemyst (1383049)
      I think quite a bit of this can be attributed on generic versus specific behavior. I am not an AI programmer, and I just glanced at the page and videos, but from what I gathered most of the AIs had hardcoded strategies that they would follow blindly. Then, the strength of the AI was directly proportional to the quality of the strategy that was implemented. They would use very specific patterns and follow them systematically.

      What I would be curious about would be a more generic AI. Instead of using known s
  • jizzed in my pants when I read this finally I get to test the best of the best! and I met a AI sometime last month that *was* more flexible in that it could be any race. It was a little underdeveloped, because it was mostly just a structure for others to add their ideas/AI on. and writing mutating code is VERY hard, especially for SC. give them a break.... please.
  • UC Overmind (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dlwh (1922516) <dlwh@berkeley. e d u> on Friday October 15, 2010 @08:15PM (#33914440)
    I'm with the winning UC Berkeley Overmind team. ( http://overmind.cs.berkeley.edu/ [berkeley.edu] ) We're very excited to have won the competition, and we're hopeful that soon we'll be able to create an agent that can beat the very best humans.

    Here's an overview of our strategy. Broadly, our agent always plays Zerg, and its primary objective is to apply constant pressure to our opponents, which will let the agent continually expand to improve its economy. To that end, our agent had three primary tools: a scouting worker that harassed early, zerglings that provided early defense, and mutalisks which basically force the opponent to stay in their base. Our agent would make decisions, based on what it observed, to trade off between these different forces. It might build more zerglings if it sensed more early pressure, or it might skip them altogether if our opponent wasn't going to attack early.

    Our choice of mutalisks was deliberate. They are a highly mobile all-purpose air unit that can mass up and cause significant damage in a short period of time. Also, they don't have bounding boxes, meaning that they're more amenable to computer control. That choice proved to be really valuable, because a lot of the opponents seemed to have preferred ground armies. However, there are many other strong units. For example, the other agent in the finals (Krasi0) was truly impressive with its ability to repair units.

    Anyway, on our page we have a couple of videos, and we'll have several more by tomorrow (Saturday).

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

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