I'm done with the discussion of cheating vs. non-cheating. It's
entirely pointless.

It is obvious that a bot should attempt to exploit its skills, and
minimize its weaknesses.

It is also obvious that the real reason that server Gods choose to
disable certain configurable features for clients connected to their
server, because they feel that a computer-aided ensign human has the
potential to be better than a non-computer-aided commander. Why? 
Because they get the best of both worlds. Science fiction novels and
movies have made references to this throughout modern history. It is
no fun playing a game, if you can't compete with the other guy,
because half of his skill isn't skill at all.

What is truly not cheating, is an independent bot. The human
'advantage' is removed.

Independent bots that cannot organize within themselves, almost always
end up sucking. Why? Because *any* disorganized team usually sucks.

What will my experiment prove, or not prove? It will allow the
complexities of Netrek to be properly quantified.

What does this give to people who play Netrek just for the fun of it? 
Absolutely nothing. What does it give to the more academic players who
are actually interested in the details of the game? Intrigue.

It isn't about being impressive, or about winning. It is about learning.

Tom thinks it isn't possible, or that it won't be effective. Other
people think it is the ultimate cheat. How is this range of opinion

Because it hasn't been done.

K... back to Brian, and my response to him...

On Tue, Dec 11, 2001 at 05:41:04PM -0500, Brian Paulsen wrote:
> Now, in practicality, I agree with you on many points.  One, a bot has to be
> smart enough to do the right things even with playing with human teammates.
> Why?  Well, because I had some generous server gods who let me put FreeBot
> on their server to do some testing.  If I required teammates to open up a
> socket connection to communicate with the bot, I think that would've come to
> a halt fairly quickly.  Personally, I'm intrigued by how a bot performs with
> human teammates.  If it can do that well, having it perform with fellow bot
> teammates shouldn't be much more difficult.

Initially I don't plan on ensuring that this will work, however, I've
left room for this in the implementation. The targetting layer decides
who is best qualified to do what. If it can guess that a human team
mate, is already pursuing this goal, or if there is some way for it to
understand simple messages sent by the human team mate such as "escort
me to Den", this can be accomplished.

A potentially interesting twist to this may be... how well would 8
separate robots work, each guiding only themselves, communicating
using simple netrek messaging, vs. how well do they perform as a true

I don't want to set the bar too high for initial implementation, but
I also don't want to cross off the above possibility.

A bot team that could function as a collective, a set of two or three
sub-collectives, or all complete individuals.

*I* am intrigued. I don't really care if anybody else is, although I
certainly look forward to working with those who are similarly intrigued.


mark at mielke.cc/markm at ncf.ca/markm at nortelnetworks.com __________________________
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