From: "Tom Holub" <doosh at>

> On Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 06:29:24PM -0800, Trent Piepho wrote:

> > I think what he saying is that each client should receive the same
> > position, so that multiple clients can't communicate and derive more
> > information.  It really would have no effect on human players with
> > clients.
> What I'm saying is that I think it could have an effect on human players.
> If there are two base defenders and a base trying to phaserlock cloakers,
> they are going to react differently if they're all getting the same
> incorrect position, compared to if they're all getting different incorrect
> positions.

I agree with Tom and I think the randomization code should be left the way
it is.  I do this "averaging" in my head based on where I see my teammates
aiming.  It's a cool little thing about the game, IMO.

If I ever write my bot team, my goal will be to make them as intelligent as
possible, not to take advantage of the computer's faster reacion time or
instant communications with other bots.  If I were using Freebot, and if it
is as good at fighting as is claimed here (i.e. if it's noticably better
than me), I might even tone it down.

Incidentally, last weekend I had dinner with old friends Marc Huber and Mike
van Lent (we were Ph.D. candidates together at the Michigan AI lab; they
actually completed their degrees).  Mike is considering writing a book on AI
and computer games, and Marc and I were trying to get him to include a
chapter on netrek.  As far as I know, Marc's bot team is the only one that
was an integral part of a doctoral dissertation in AI, and his focus was
limited to "plan recognition" (his bots tried to infer what other players
were doing by observing their behavior).  So he never spent much time trying
to optimize his team to play its best against real teams.

The problem is more difficult than you probably think, but it's certainly a
worthwhile endeavor :)

I would really like to have a go at it, but I'm afraid of starting something
I won't be able to follow through on.  Perhaps if it were a competition...
say, Freebot gets released for everyone to use, and we have a robot team
ladder system, or even just periodic contests.  We could put together a
basic downloadable Freebot team, make it available, and people could have
fun tweaking or developing from there.

Dan Damouth