On Wed, Dec 05, 2001 at 06:18:51PM -0500, Mark Mielke wrote:
> As the stupidest example, 'clued' humans will attempt to phaser the
> cloaker to obtain their exact co-ordinates, most especially during
> LPS. How much fuel is wasted with 2 or 3 'clued' humans all trying to
> make their best guess, all possibly missing? If the bots were in
> communication with each other, one bot could be assigned the area
> covered by the radius of the enemy ship at all possibly points along
> its phaser line, with a preference offered for the ship with the most
> powerful phaser, at the least range, at the most probable location
> that we suspect the cloaker is at. (Interpolate his co-ordinates given
> the approximatings offered by the server every few updates)

This shows a lack of understanding of netrek dynamics.  First of all, 
phaserlocking isn't that hard, and humans do it better than computers,
because humans do fuzzy things better than computers.  If you feed a
computer bad data (as the netrek server does with cloakers), it will 
take an enormous amount of programming effort to make it perform as
well as a human would.

But that's not even the interesting point.  The interesting point is
that tactical perfection is only a small help in winning netrek games,
and another thing computers are bad at is dynamic strategizing, which
is the most important thing in winning netrek games.

> This would
> also apply to base oggs. Usually, locating the ogger is half the
> battle. Why waste half your fuel on 6 incoming cloakers, just trying
> to find them, when a co-ordinated game of search and destroy would be
> so much more practical? Also, the computer doesn't blink when its
> eyelids get a little dry. No more "we got 6 of the oggers, but the 7th
> got through."

Robot bases are very hard to kill, but they're pretty easy to neutralize.

> Other possibilities include "I'm going to plasma him, press him away
> from you and phaser him, and torp him so that we can distract him. The
> *instant* he phasers you, I'll launch the plasma."

Getting robots to do this level of communication is well beyond the
point of diminishing returns.  Maybe you get one extra plasma hit over
the course of an entire game.

> Just some examples of how *theoretically* a bot team could be
> significantly better than a human team.

Your examples are all in tactical situations.  A tactically perfect
bot, using the best netrek robot strategy code ever written, would get
its butt kicked by any reasonable human team.  Although that's partly
because the people writing netrek robots tend to spend a lot of time
on stupid shit like trying to improve dogfighting and phaserlocking
and not enough time on interesting and difficult problems, like
whether to refuel in place, try to mutual and get a fresh ship, go to
a planet to refuel, or go back to core to pick armies.  (To give one
small example of the kind of decisions robots are extremely bad at).