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United Bot The ultimate beast is being given birth right here! Half-Life 2

View Poll Results: Dedicate the United Bot to HL2 ?
yes (but try to make it portable tho) 8 100.00%
no, stick to the current game driver architecture 0 0%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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United Bot for HL2?
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botman
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Default United Bot for HL2? - 16-05-2004

Since all of the bot developers here have HL1 experience, I was thinking it would be neat to take all that combined knowledge and create a United Bot for the Half-Life2 universe (and not try to support any other engine, just HL2).

Gabe has stated that Valve has ported HL1 MODs to the HL2 engine (TFC, CS, DoD, etc). I imagine the gameplay of those ports will be pretty much identical to the HL1 version except with new maps (possibly larger worlds), and some additional goodness resulting from the new physics system (using Havok), for example, barrels or crates that you can push down on top of people, doors that can be blasted open, etc.

I'm hoping that Valve will also have standard deathmatch with HL2 weapons (like the manipulator gun), but this is yet to be seen.

I can e-mail some key people at Valve to confirm whether HL2 will support fake clients (bots). I'm pretty sure Valve wouldn't leave out this feature since they spent so much time and money getting the Official Counter-Strike bot added to HL1. It would just make sense to port that code over to CS on HL2 as well.

NOTE: I'm pretty sure we won't get the HL2 SDK before anyone else (so don't even ask about that), but there's plenty of generic bot design that can be done before the HL2 SDK and engine is released. I would imagine we would want a navigation mesh type navigation system (since waypoints are big pain in the buttocks to create and automatic waypointing just doesn't do a very good job). We will also need to be able to handle some of the more dynamic things in the HL2 universe (like obstacles being moved around), so there should be some provision for steering around obstacles that aren't shown in the nav-mesh.

Let me know you thoughts on this and perhaps we can simplify the United Bot problem by sticking to a single engine, but supporting the major MODs that show up for HL2.

botman
   
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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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DrEvil
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

count me in.


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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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stefanhendriks
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

it is a very very good idea! Count me in too. In fact, in a few months when HL 2 gets released (well that is, assuming its end-summer) the HL 1 bots will not work on the updated mods-engines either. And we have to move on...


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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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Pierre-Marie Baty
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

That is a question that needs a bit of reflection.

If we drop support for various games engines and stick to one but with multiple MODs support, then the bot will not be much different than what I'm trying to do with RACC at the moment.

If we do this, it will also mean that our bot will be tied to the life cycle of this game. As soon as HL2 dies, the bot becomes useless and dies too.

It was furthermore obvious to me that our multi-engine United Bot would support HL2 very early.

Sticking to a game engine allows a more tight integration with the game code, easier access to more facilities, and focus on one representation of the game data. Doing a cross-engine bot is much more complicated for sure, but definitely doable. ALL aspects of a smart bot are doable. Show me one that isn't. It demands more time and sometimes requires crafty methods, but that was the purpose of the game driver.

I honestly don't know what to think. I need to know how YOU were seeing the immediate future of the United Bot before botman proposed this idea.

Botman, which was the diagnostic you had to make of our current situation that led you to submit this idea ?

I'm interested in everybody else's point as well.



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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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@$3.1415rin
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

but this more engine independant idea isnt bad either, but for this we'd need more time and more coordination ...

( last friday I didnt went to a good party, because i just had to sleep, no way to do anything else ... when this continues like this, i'm some zombie in summer )


   
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stefanhendriks
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

well, lets say when the United Bot (multi-engine) works with the HL 1 engine, a HL 2 game driver should not be hard to write either? If the concept works then i think we could better stick to that idea. If not, then a HL 2 (multi-mod) bot is the way to go. I don't think HL 2 will die soon...


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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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DrEvil
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 17-05-2004

Exactly what engines were you all planning on supporting with a multi-engine bot?


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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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Pierre-Marie Baty
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 18-05-2004

HL1 because of the knowledge we all have of it

Unreal because of the knowledge botman has of it

Development for these two would have been started in parallel once a reliable method of communication between UnrealScript and a third party DLL had been set

HL2 a short time later

Other FPS engines upon request.



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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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Zacker
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 18-05-2004

I think its cool enough if the bot just supports both HL2 and most of its mods.
   
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Re: United Bot for HL2?
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botman
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Default Re: United Bot for HL2? - 18-05-2004

"Botman, which was the diagnostic you had to make of our current situation that led you to submit this idea ?"

It will be difficult to do anything more than a very simple bot for most other engines. Unreal has the disadvantage of only being able to use UnrealScript (which is slow). I have my doubts about being able to pass data back and forth between the Unreal game application and some other application running externally. The biggest limitation in Unreal is the lack of being able to parse the map files automatically (there's no source code available that allows you to open an Unreal map and determine locations of objects and/or polygons in that level). The only way Unreal maps could be parsed is to open the level manually in UnrealEd and save the map out in text format.

As far as any other engines, I have no knowledge about whether bots are even possible in any of them. I've seen some news posts about bots in BF1942. I know that QuakeIII supports bots (but haven't seen any bots implemented outside of the engine's existing bot code). I know for a fact that other games (like Halo PC for example) can NEVER have bots because the engine just doesn't support the concept of fake clients (even though people claim dropping AI monsters in Halo multiplayer maps is bots, it ain't).

I did talk to someone at Valve and confirmed that HL2 will support fake clients (bots). I was told that the Official Counter-Strike bot written for Condition Zero is already up and running the HL2 ported version of Counter-Strike. I was also told that it should be a little easier to work with bots in the HL2 engine (than it was in the HL1 engine).

My thought was that it's better to make a damn good bot for a handful of MODs on one engine (and support every possible feature of each of those MODs) than it is to make a moderately good bot that runs on several different engines (especially if you have to compromise on one engine just to make it workable on several other engines).

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