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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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  • 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:Not equal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alsn ( 911813 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @10:56AM (#33908198)
    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.
  • Re:Not equal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bytestorm ( 1296659 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:09AM (#33908346)
    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:Not equal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e4g4 ( 533831 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @11:36AM (#33908682)
    Starcraft is only rock-paper-scissors if you don't scout.
  • 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.

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

    by MoriaOrc ( 822758 ) on Friday October 15, 2010 @04:34PM (#33912482)
    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 that that IIRC goliaths take less damage to destroy then siege tanks.

    Most human players would realize to attack goliaths before siege tanks in the same scenario, since they are both a softer target and a more immediate threat. Destroying them first means the Mutalisks could continue to harass the enemy base without taking any harassment back. However, the AI doesn't realize this and keeps attacking siege tanks whenever they are present.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.