StarCraft AI Competition Yields Some Awesome Results

StarCraft AI Competition Yields Some Awesome Results

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An artificial intelligence competition was held this week which pitted bots against each other in StarCraft: Brood War to see which AI reined supreme.

At the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) Conference held in at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, this week, 28 bots submitted from all over the world competed against each other and an expert human opponent. Four different tournaments were held: Micromanagement, Small-scale combat, Tech-limited game, Complete game. Each tournament was double-elimination, and winners were determined by who did the best 5-game matches. With Blizzard's blessing, the AI bots hooked into the Brood War API and participants were encouraged to think outside the box when crafting their logic. The winning bot in the Complete Game tournament was dubbed Overmind and it was submitted by UC Berkeley.

The AI bots were also tested against an expert human player: Oriol, a Brood War veteran from the 2001 WCG StarCraft competition. Most of the bots were easily handled, but the best did give him a run for his money.

It's very cool that these competitions are held to further the development of the artificial intelligence used in strategy games. It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated. I hope that game developers at Blizzard and other companies were on hand to pay attention to the innovations of the bots that competed. I'm sure there is a thing or two to learn about making challenging but fun AIs to play against.

A slide presentation of the competition results can be found here but I've listed the winners and runners-up below for each tournament.

Tournament 1 Micromanagement

Winner: FreSCBot
Created by: Florent D'Halluin & Valentin Leon-Bonnet
Description: A simple micro bot based on a multi-agent and state machine model.

Runner-up: University of Sherbrooke
Created by: Anthony Jo Quinto, Steve Tousignant & Frederic St-Onge
Description: The bot uses primarily states machines to make decisions and it can recognize the strategy of its opponent.

Tournament 2 Small-scale combat

Same results as above

Tournament 3 Tech-limited

Winner: Mimic Bot
Created by: Luke Perkins, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Description: The bot mimics its opponent's build order, gaining an economic advantage whenever possible.

Runner-up: Botnik
Created by: Paul S. McCarthy & Robert G. Reynolds, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Description: The bot uses a Zealot rush strategy.

Tournament 4 Complete Game

Winner: Overmind
Created by: David Burkett, David Hall, Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, John DeNero, Nick Hay, Haomiao Huang, Eugene Ma, Yewen Pu, Jie Tang, Dan Klein - UC Berkeley
Description: The bot uses a variety of AI techniques for decisions at various levels of abstraction.

Runner-up: Krasi0
Created by:Krasimir Krastev
Description: The bot uses FSMs based on my knowledge of the game.

Yay Zealot Rush!

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I wish someone would make a decent AI for Civ V...

Wouldn't it be grand if rather than using their amazing programing skills to further research in science and technology they instead just gave us some genuinely challenging AI in video games? My priorities? Bah!

Wait... so the "Tech Limited" bracket winner was a bot that mimicked the "zealot rush" bots strategy...

damn... its bad enough having to rely on a rush strategy, even worse when an opponent mimics you and beats you with it.

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

Ahahahaha I was thinking the same thing. Of course, the joke is, modern computers can wipe the floor with even the most advanced chess player. But in many ways you're right, StarCraft IS more complicated than chess. Imagine having to plan a strategy in chess unaware of what moves your opponent has made. That alone adds several layers of complexity to programming a bot to win.

Still, the machines control chess, if enough effort is put in it won't be long before computers are consistently beating us puny fleshbags at StarCraft aswell.

I suppose we'll always have them beat on the artistry and music stuff, but who really cares about that?

Icehearted:
Wouldn't it be grand if rather than using their amazing programing skills to further research in science and technology they instead just gave us some genuinely challenging AI in video games? My priorities? Bah!

They are furthering research in science and technology, developing AI for games which have incomplete information and incorporate bluffing yields new results in computer science research. A good example of this is poker bots.

Our brains are so outdated...*sigh.*

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

Meh, I can eat those bots for breakfast. AI will always stay behind the human mind because it will always lack three very important features: Imagination, Passion, and WDSFGIGO.

Cousin_IT:

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

In any case, chess doesn't involve clicking several times per second in order to compete.

I wonder how complex Starcraft would get if players were allowed 1 minute to think about their next 1 second move. At the ultra-high-competition level, it probably wouldn't make a difference.

If they can't make a bot that can beat Flash, then it isn't worth acknowledging it.

Chamale:

Cousin_IT:

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

In any case, chess doesn't involve clicking several times per second in order to compete.

I wonder how complex Starcraft would get if players were allowed 1 minute to think about their next 1 second move. At the ultra-high-competition level, it probably wouldn't make a difference.

I take it you've never played chess if you think being slower makes it simpler?

Cousin_IT:

Chamale:

Cousin_IT:

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

In any case, chess doesn't involve clicking several times per second in order to compete.

I wonder how complex Starcraft would get if players were allowed 1 minute to think about their next 1 second move. At the ultra-high-competition level, it probably wouldn't make a difference.

I take it you've never played chess if you think being slower makes it simpler?

I take it you've never heard of Speed Chess then? Thinking time makes a difference to the difficulty of the game. Chess is complex, probably moreso than Starcraft, but trying to compare them is almost entirely pointless because their differences are greater than their similarities.

BobisOnlyBob:

Cousin_IT:

Chamale:

Cousin_IT:

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

In any case, chess doesn't involve clicking several times per second in order to compete.

I wonder how complex Starcraft would get if players were allowed 1 minute to think about their next 1 second move. At the ultra-high-competition level, it probably wouldn't make a difference.

I take it you've never played chess if you think being slower makes it simpler?

I take it you've never heard of Speed Chess then? Thinking time makes a difference to the difficulty of the game. Chess is complex, probably moreso than Starcraft, but trying to compare them is almost entirely pointless because their differences are greater than their similarities.

Take that up with Tito. He made the comparison.

Cousin_IT:

Greg Tito:
It reminds me of Deep Blue vs. Kasparov, only StarCraft is way more complicated.

It only seems that way if you're too dumb for chess

I love chess, it's a timeless and classic game. But there's no way any reasonable person would think it more complex than StarCraft, or any other commercial computer strategy game Real-Time or Turn-Based.

There's only 6 types of units, always arranged in the same layout and number, and with highly limited behavioral traits which never change in-game. The game world is tiny, never varies, has no special features, and all of it is always visible to both players. And these all apply to the numerous special rules chess variations.

i would like to see if i could beat the mimic bot. my stealth stratagy is prefect to counter mimics.

That's actually fantastic. Glad people are pitting AI versus eachother/humans to craft a better and more responsive AI.

dochmbi:
I wish someone would make a decent AI for Civ V...

Oh no you didn't!

Burn!

OT: I love watching AI matches in games.

I'm so lonely.

Skynet...SKYNET...OH F@#K F@#K SKYNET!!!

Cousin_IT:

Chamale:
In any case, chess doesn't involve clicking several times per second in order to compete.

I wonder how complex Starcraft would get if players were allowed 1 minute to think about their next 1 second move. At the ultra-high-competition level, it probably wouldn't make a difference.

I take it you've never played chess if you think being slower makes it simpler?

Huh? You might not have understood my post. I said that being slower makes it more complex. Obviously, if two grandmasters were only allowed 1 second to think of each move, like Starcraft players, their games would be less strategically beautiful.

 

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