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tech tantra thursday
   - behind the cosmic curtain with Bill Eberle

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for thursday may 26, 2011

Cosmic Encounter® Online at Facebook     illustration     fb thread


Challenge Question 1
 - Imagine you're the Machine bot. What circumstances trigger you to play your best pod?


The bot code for Cosmic Encounter® Online has some high level thinking (decision processing) and some low level thinking.

a random member game at the Cosmic siteExamples of high level thinking would be “Does it matter?” “How much does it matter?” “Can I win this interaction?” etc.
Examples of low level thinking
are how many pods do I have, what are those pods, how many colonies do I have, etc.; and final decisions for the bot interactions with our game ui widgets: What number do I use for how many ships I'm committing? Which pod do I select to play? Should I ally - yes or no? Should I make a deal - yes or no? etc. . . . which, of course, require some “deliberation” and . . .

we're right back to that high level thinking. Can't do much without it. Bots (AI) or humans.

For humans, high level thinking also involves quite a bit of unconscious “thinking” gestalt awareness and plain old gut level instinct.

Challenge Question 2
 - What do we have to do to keep the Cosmic bots from feeling mechanical?
   How do we simulate “gut instinct” for our Cosmic Encounter® bots?
   Hint: it's simple and tweakable and involves no accumulated knowledge because currently our bots take each request for a decision as a completely new challenge based on what they can know at that point in time, as if they had just started the game and looked around. Yet, somehow it makes the bots feel more “human” - Alien comment: Maybe, that tells you something about humans.

All of the main object methods for bots are defined in the alien Java object code which creates the generic alien object for the game. Some aliens objects override some of those base methods because . . . they are special, or at least special for the current circumstances.

So, there's the basic stuff, what do all the aliens have to know (what does the code have to “see” that the human players can see). And there's the specific stuff for each alien - is there anything special about me that would give me an opportunity to do something different from the other aliens in the current situation . . . ah yes, and then there are those situations, what we called events in our design database. Basically for Bots, it's simple. Every game decision request is a special situation for all alien bots and may or may not be a special situation for a specific unique alien bot, in which case there will be code for that alien object that overrides (trumps) the generic alien bot code.

To whet your appetite for trying to think like a bot, you might want to look at the snapshot of a game with three bots. Imagine you are the REI Bot (if you haven't died yet you're nobody) or the LOS Bot or the ORA Bot (or MAC Bot). What kind of high level thinking do you need? What rules could you make and follow to help you win?

I'll add more to this article about bot AI for Cosmic Encounter® Online if we see interesting discussion threads at Cosmic Encounter® Online at Facebook which would benefit from more in-depth exploration here.

See also, related august 18, 2011 Bot AI tech tantra article.


Thanks. — Bill Eberle (for Cosmic)


Cosmic Encounter® Online at Facebook     illustration     fb thread




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