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Programming Real Time Strategy (Games) Games Entertainment

StarCraft AI Competition Results 113

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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  • 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).

  • Re:Not equal (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#33908232)

    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 jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:18PM (#33909144) Homepage Journal
    The bot looked like it was pretty good at dancing the mutas around cliffs though, which is usually the downfall of Goliath spam.
  • 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.
  • Re:Not equal (Score:3, Informative)

    by leonardluen ( 211265 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @12:59PM (#33909712)

    as part of the rules for this contest the AI had to have fog of war turned on.

  • 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:Not equal (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 15, 2010 @02:42PM (#33911066)

    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.

  • Re:Not equal (Score:3, Informative)

    by aeroelastic ( 840614 ) <aeroelastic AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 15, 2010 @03:53PM (#33911968)

    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 focus on tech upgrades to mining and farming, and be responsible for constantly supplying the other players with food, stone, etc. The other players would have no economy but would build cavalry, siege weapons, etc based upon what tech their civilization was best at.

  • by dburkett ( 1922518 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @06:10PM (#33913564)
    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 counter, but our mutas can hold their own against corsairs much better than most players. To address your bigger question, the choice of mutas was deliberate. Building any sort of unit controller is just hard and time consuming, so time constraints forced us to specialize, but we think we did a pretty good job. See another team member's post called "Overmind agent overview" for more details.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson