(Back to the MAIN page.)
Randar will not be doing
any more news or editorials.
However, some of this site's links to the world of Bots will continue to be updated from time to time.
Here are the archives that go all the way back to 1998. Read all about the history of the First Person Shooter Bots from one writer's perspective.
Saturday: March 1, 2003
SNIPPING ABOUT SNIPING!
If I was going to give out awards for one of the best mutators of all time it would have to go to Dade's TrueSniper2 mutator. Why, you ask, for such a simple one weapon tweak MOD? Well, there is beauty in simplicity! Dade's mutator takes Unreal Tournament: 2003's Lightning Gun and simply does it better. (He also has turned it into an Automatic Sniper Rifle in his other mutator. And, it's a dandy too!) I never really cared for the "messiness" of UT2K3's LG. And, it was a little slow on the up-take. Dade fixed all of that and brought back the feel and balance of Unreal and Unreal Tournament's good ol' Sniper Rifle but with an all new look. Just makes me all warm and fuzzy thinking about it. Dade's TrueSniper2 — updated for UT2K3's latest patch — is available right here. You have got to give it a try! And, thanks Dade for making this new version available.*
STOP THE PRESSES!
Dade just sent me the new and improved version of TrueSniper2 — version 2.5! It now comes with an "ini" file that allows you to configure TrueSniper to your heart's content. Does TS fire too fast for your liking? Do you think there is too much ammo for it? Don't like the trail? Change it! Wow!!! Dade, thanks again for not just doing it right, but for doing it better! Get the new version here.*
Sunday: February 23, 2003
THE PHOENIX WILL RISE FROM THE ASHES!
ancient belief death is not necessarily the end of all things. In
fact death is just an illusion. We shall see! The metaphysical
question — "to BE or not to BE" — will be
answered sometime in the relatively near future. We eagerly await the
return and rise of that mythical Phoenix. Stay tuned! (And no, Randar
has not completely lost it.)
Friday: January 17, 2003
First, Happy New
Year! And, second, Happy Birthday — Randar's
Bot Page is now five years old! And, third, if you are going
to get the Bots, you had better get them while the gettin's good. I
have been going through the pages and updating the links. I am
finding that more and more Bots and Bot MODs are vanishing. The sites
that once hosted many of them (like Bot Epidemic) are no more and
there is no hope that most will find new homes. Even more distressing
is the fact that many of the file sites that once served as glorious
repositories for all things Bots are either closing down or moving to
register/pay for use. I have lost some Bots and Bot MODs links and
they are apparently gone forever. A search on Google turns up nothing
but dead links. Others (like CRBot for Quake II) I have been able to
rescue and now have it available to download from my site. But, alas,
I have limited space to devote to the Bots. Another thing I am
finding is that many Bot sites that are still up have not been
updated for months. So, it appears that most Bot projects (especially
the older ones) are closed. Then there are those singularly excellent
MODs like TotalWar Xtreme for Quake III Arena that can only be found
on one last remaining link. Once that site closes, TotalWar is gone
forever. The MOD called Ultimate Devastation for Quake cannot be
found anywhere. So, what is Randar to do? If things continue as they
are, Randar will not have much left to catalog in another year or
two. Are even Randar's Bot Page's days numbered? Well, the truth is,
everyone's days are numbered! But, I will keep this site going as
long as it is feasible. Perhaps YOU or YOUR SITE could host a Bot or
two! If you would be willing to host a Bot or two, let me know. If
you find the lost Bots and Bot MODs, let me know. I have collected
some of the best Bots and Bot MODs out there and archived them to a
couple of CDs. If you have space somewhere on a server where you
could make the best of the Bots available I would be more than happy
to send you a burned set of CDs. Let me
Monday: October 28, 2002
MAKING THE GOOD STUFF
It is finally
good to see some good—no
great—quality maps for Unreal
Tournament: 2003 coming out of the Unreal community! My thanks to all
who make the Bots look so good. In honor of the occasion I decided
that my TUTORIAL
could use a little more tweaking. So, I decided to reformat it and
list every other Bot and Pathnoding Tutorial that is on the Web in a
more concise way. (Now there is no excuse whatsoever for anyone to
release a map that is not properly pathnoded!) Surely I have missed
one or two. If you know of one that I have overlooked, let me
Sunday: October 13, 2002
MAKE MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF!
Well, I have just spent several days downloading practically every new Unreal Tournament 2003 map out there and thoroughly play-testing them especially with the Bots in mind. What have I found? Basically that far too many mappers out there don't know what they are doing and their maps show it. Now, mind you, I have never built a map from scratch. I have taken existing maps and re-built them by modifying them somewhat. I have also pathed scores of maps for Bot-play over the years. So, all of this makes me no expert. But, most of the maps making an early showing are hardly worth the download.
There are a few notable exceptions: DMDeck16]i[Beta, CTFComArray, and DMReigncaster. Wow! These maps are superb. They rival the maps that come with UT2003 in every way. Remember, I play-test maps especially with the Bots in mind. And these maps are pathed for the Bots. You simply must get these works of art. The mappers that crafted these beauties knew what they were doing and it shows in every way. By the way, there are a couple of other very good maps that did not make the grade simply because they were pathed incorrectly. Also, there are a few other maps out there that are pathed well but they aren't great like the above three. (Of course I could have missed a couple of "Randar Hall of Famers." If so, let me know.)
Now, I know what you are thinking: "Randar is being very hard on all the mappers out there." Yes I am. Why? Because there are plenty of tutorials on map making. And there are plenty of tutorials on how to path the maps for the Bots. But, it looks like no one is reading them!!! (I have recently revised my own Tutorial on this site and added a couple of killer links if anyone is interested in how to do it better.) Please realize that I know that many of the maps being released are "first time maps." I have no quarrel with novice mappers getting their feet wet. But, please learn your craft and learn it well. Go to the numerous map sites and get the word of the mapping gods and then go forth and conquer. But, it is very frustrating to go into a map that was obviously not done by a newbie and find that they completely left out the pathnoding, or they did it all wrong.
So my gripe is not with the newbie mappers but with those who should know better. I have a list of about six other maps that are worthy contenders for great maps, but they failed at the Bot level and I had to go into them and rework the pathing. Now they play as good as they look. (By the way, I have seen quite a few maps in my time that are pathed a whole lot better than I could ever have done. Thus I know that there are quite a few pathnoding experts out there that can run circles around me. I bow before them in humble adoration.)
BOTTOM LINE: All
you newbie map makers out there, go ahead, make your first map and
release it to the UT2003 community. But, be willing to learn from all
the master map makers out there and don't make junky maps. There are
already too many of those. (You should know that quite a few of the
Bots made me write this. They like to play on well crafted and
beautifully pathed maps too. So, let's do it for the Bots! Besides if
you don't they told me that the next time I played they were going to
team up against me and give me a good fragging until you all started
respecting their wishes more. And thank you very much. Now, excuse
me, I have to go and talk to my therapist some more.)
Thursday: September 26, 2002
THE BOT-GOD SPEAKS!
What kind of
webmaster of a Bot page would I be if I did not mention that Steve
Polge has given the Bot world his words of widsom. Go here
to read his interview on Bot AI. You will also find the words of
other, lesser known, but very important deities.
Monday: September 16, 2002
BE WE MISS YOU!
I have not heard from Bot Epidemic in a very long time. I am afraid that the longer we fail to hear from them the greater the chance that they will not be back. The reasons are rather simple. First, Bots, while still going strong, are just not a priority in the gaming community. We can be very thankful that the Quake and Unreal series are still giving them a place. But, it looks like the Bots (as we know and love them) are probably going to be phased out for all around higher intelligence in First Person Shooter and Action games. There will probably always be a place for offline deathmatch opponents, but I rather doubt that we will see any major developments in the realm of third party add-on Bots. (Hey, I could always be wrong! And, I hope I am. But this is how I see it from my perspective.)
It should be noted that I just went through THE BOTS page and updated the links. I had to delete at least twenty or so links on that page alone. I had just done this only a couple of months ago and the results were basically the same—more deleted links. Quite a few of the sites that used to archive the Bots don't do so anymore. We are actually in danger of loosing some very good Bots! I have archived a few of the choice Bots (Gladiator, FrogBot, etc.) and placed them on my page for your downloading pleasure. (I have basically maxed out the 10 Megs that I have for my page, so I can't archive much of anything else. Sorry.) By the way, I still can't bring myself to delete the links to all the Bots and Bot MODs that were on BE. So, there they stand as a tribute.
A perfect example of a Bot MOD that is getting harder and harder to find is the TotalWar Xtreme MOD. I don't think that most people even know about it, but it is a quality MOD. It has some of the best looking Bots and weapons of any MOD I have ever seen. The original site has gone down and I was able to find it only on an obscure archive site. If there is one MOD that you have got to try before it is lost to the Botting world forever, it is this MOD. Download it! I don't think that you will be disappointed. (There is one little problem though. This MOD had a couple of different releases. I think this is the only one that works.)
Second, from a pragmatic standpoint, if Randar's went down for a very long time it would be extremely difficult to bring it back up to speed. In fact, it would take an herculean effort to do so. Basically, the truth is, there is also no longer much of a demand for Bot news anymore. So, this site may be the last refuge for Bots. Yes, there are a few Botting pages out there still going. Some are devoted to one or a few Bots or Bots on one gaming platform. But, most of these pages are not being updated very often. Over the years I have written about the future of Botting and I have always been hopeful. But, right now, I just place a giant question mark over the world of Bots. In conclusion, all I can say is, "Enjoy them while you can!"
One more thing. I
have been busy downloading and archiving as many of the Bots and Bot
MODs that I possibly can. Of course I am only archiving to CD those
Bots and MODs that I am personally interested in. I might suggest
that you do the same. In other words, if you have any Bots or Bot
MODs that you have wanted and still have not downloaded, then do so
while the gettin's good! Maybe I should start a "Save the Bots"
campaign. Maybe not.
Saturday: September 14, 2002
The fourth generation of Bots arrived last night and they are better than ever! The Unreal Tournament 2003 Bots are everything we have come to expect from Epic and Company. I am not sure whether it is just because the Bots play better or because they look better. The graphics are simply stunning in UT2003. (I currently have a Verto G4 Ti4400.) The gameplay physics will (literally) blow you away. The netcode is wonderfully stable. The four levels that come with the demo are superb. (If these are the "worst" levels in the full game, then we are in for a treat.) I sometimes wonder how much better all of this can get. With each incarnation, the Unreal series has managed to stay on the cutting edge. My only hope is that Bots will continue to evolve with the technology. Who knows, with the Bots, someday maybe human players will not even be necessary. Now, if I can just get some Bot to keep this page up-to-date.
I suppose that I
have to find something wrong with UT2003, so, here goes. I simply
hate the Glop/Gloop Gun! I never thought it was worth much, and it
still isn't. (When I first picked it up I thought, "Hey this gun
looks great! I wonder what it does?" Then I fired it and
realized all it was was a stupid Glop/Gloop. Bummer!) I wish there
were a way to ban or disable any item or weapon from the game. (Yes,
I know that this is what MODs and Mutators are for. But, This feature
should be standard in UT2003.) Epic, are you listening? Anyway, all
of the other weapons do not disappoint.
Tuesday: September 10, 2002
Yes, again! Why
the move to Cox? Well, broadband for one reason. Earthlink is a great
company, but they could not supply Cable or DSL in my area at this
time. So, Cox it is! Hopefully, this will be the last move . . . for
now. I guess, that's life. Everything changes. Nothing stays the
same. Sort of like events in the world over the last year.
Saturday: August 31, 2002
Okay boys and girls, Bot Epidemic has been "found" . . . well, sort of. A couple of enterprising detectives tracked down the defunct web site to an FTP in Germany. Apparently somebody does not want to see BE gone. What we have here is a massive (50+ Meg) download that probably includes all the files that were the Bots on BE. So, if you really, really must have something that BE once had, have at it. But, be warned, Randar has not personally inspected this monster download.
NOTE: I just downloaded (09-11-02) the Bot Epidemic file listed above! What I found as I went through this "autopsy" was, of course, mostly the remains of our dear dear departed friend. But, some of you have wondered about all of those priceless files. Most of the files are Eraser Bot route files. There are hundreds of them. Unfortunately there are very few other Bot and MOD files from all the other areas of BE. There are just a few FrogBot files and other miscelleanous zip files.
Friday: July 26, 2002
THE TRIALS OF BEING A BOT
It is tough being a Bot these days. Having to live up to our expectations after Quake Three Arena and Unreal Tournament is rather difficult. It will probably be difficult to do much better than the Bot makers at Epic and id. So, kiddies, in order not to raise any of your hopes, I will just lower expectations. Hired Team Trial (Gold) is not a Q3A or UT killer in any sense. What is it? Well it is a little offering out of Russia that has hit the bargain bins here in the U.S.A. For under $10 it is probably worth it for the Bots . . . but don't expect much more than an adequate game of old fashioned deathmatch.
Please understand that HTTG is really designed for LAN and Internet play and it comes with all the game styles we have grown fond of. There are the obligatory deathmatch and team deathmatch modes as well as Capture the Flag and Domination and Infiltration. This 3D first person shooter would be very impressive if it debuted a couple of years ago. The graphics are nothing special (even with everything turned all the way up) and everything looks like "fullbright" is set to the max. The sounds are below par and the game play is only average. (In truth it looks like this game was never really finished. You will see what I mean when you fire it up and see the front end user interface. Also, there is a menu selection for "Intro" but it does not work. What "Intro"? The first time the game loaded there was no intro. I peeked on the CD and there were some avi videos that supposedly were the intros, but they were nothing special.) The weapons are mediocre at best and none of the maps are award winning. So, is there any redeeming value to HTTG? Yes, if you are a rabid Botaholic! (Oh, and by the way, the box for HTTG is beautiful.) Now, let me stress again, that only the deathmatch games are worthwhile. The Bots just don't have what it takes to carry off the other game styles.
If you are going
to get the game, forget the "Trials" (i.e., ladder-like
progression) and go straight for the "Network" game and
then add your Bots. Make sure that you have TCP/IP installed and you
can play on the server you create. (If you go through the "Trial"
you have to play a mix of games that the Bots don't end up playing
very well. But if you you really want to do the Trial the easy way,
hack the "Shine.ini" and change the "Player"
section "mission" to 27 and all the Trials will be opened
up.) While HTTG is not the best Bot game I have ever played, it is
still better than most of the Bots that have shown up in some of the
Console games. Oh well, buyer beware and all that. Get the game if
you can't get enough Bots and if you can get it cheap.
Sunday: June 23, 2002
TO BE OR NOT TO BE FILES
Well, we are all still waiting on BotEpidemic to come back up. But, while we wait, here is a "back door" to access all of their great files:
As you have noticed, I have not removed
any of the dead links that point to BE or their sponsored sites. For
now use the above link to find what you are looking for. Hope this
helps you in your search for Bots and Bot MODs that were part of BE!
Friday: June 7, 2002
UPS AND DOWNS
Well, it's house cleaning time again. I am going through the site and cleaning up links. It is depressing! We are losing more links in the Bot World than we are gaining. This is becoming a noticable pattern. From my count we have reached the point of no return. Until recently we gained as much as we lost. Now it's a loosing proposition. Over the last couple of weeks I have found an incredible number of "dead" links on this site. I have been unable to track most of them down to new web addresses. I have also tried (in a few instances) to store as many files locally as I can. But, my site is limited to 10 Megs, and I must choose only the smallest of the best to preserve. Is Randar's Bot site going to be the last refuge for Bots and Bot MODs? The fact is, most of the other Bot Preservation sites have also "died" a slow and agonizing death. I am thankful for the last few that remain. Once again, I will keep this Bot Resource Site going as long as possible.
As you know, Bot
Epidemic is still down. And, with it at
least thirty plus quality links are still in limbo! If we don't get
BE back, we will loose some very important Bots and Bot MODs. I also
noticed something else: Cyberjacking. A lot of sites have been
"cyberjacked." This happens when their domain name is not
renewed and someone else comes in and takes them over. (This is what
happened to BE.) I apologize for not catching some of this earlier.
Sometimes the cyberjackers redirect their links to some rather slimy
sites. I think I have deleted such links. Anyway, I try to clean up
this site at least twice a year. My dusting is done for now.
Saturday: May 4, 2002
IT IS TO BE!
Everyone has been
holding their breath about Bot Epidemic.
I have heard from FrikaC and even the great Ze0 himself! All those
rumors about BE's untimely demise were greatly (or is that gravely)
exaggerated. What Ze0 told me is that he is doing his best to get the
site back up and running. There are a few technical glitches that
hopefully can be worked out soon. It would be a crying shame to have
BE slip into the Netherworld. Let's hope for a speedy resurrection of
the number one Bot site in the world. Stay tuned . . .
Saturday: April 20, 2002
TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
It looks like Bot
Epidemic (BE) is no more. Sadly that not
only removes the Number One Bot site on the Internet, but it also
takes away some great Bot resource pages like Ultimate Devastation
for Quake, the Frog Bot MOD sites, the Team Fortress Bot site, and
some of the Frik and FrikX Bot sites as well. Hopefully some of the
Quake MOD makers that were on Bot Epidemic will relocate their
excellent Quake Modifications and Bots. But, for the moment they are
in limbo. One thing that I have done is to recover some long lost Bot
MODs for Rogue's Mission Pack Two:
Dissolution of Eternity and Zerstorer:
Testament of the Destroyer. There are
Frik Bot add-ons for both of these excellent Mission Packs and I have
them on my site on the BOT
MODS page. Look down to the
section on "Special MODS for Quake that you can Modify to add
Reaper, Omicron and Frik Bots." This section also has Bots for
the PainKeep, the Rocket Arena, and Hipnotic's Mission Pack: Scourge
of Armagon MODs. You must not overlook these classics in the Kingdom
of the Bots . . . they rule!
Thursday: March 28, 2002
THE FORCE OF BOTS
Well, well, well, guess what? Bots are going to be included in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast! Of course there will be computer controlled players in the single player missions; but, here is the word from one of GameSpot's previews of the game:
"And speaking of computer controlled characters, you'll be able to play any of Jedi Outcast's multiplayer maps with bots instead of humans, if you're so inclined."
So, are Bots dead? Of course not! Not when a major game company like Lucas Arts and Raven include them in their latest epic. I suppose that all it takes to keep the Bots going is to give them the power of the force. I for one can hardly wait for the soon-to-be-released Jedi Knight II. Life is good indeed!
THIS AND THAT
Since my last foray into updating this "Miscellaneous" section, I have played a few games. Here are a couple of quick reviews. First, I have played the full game of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. In my opinion (see below) it has got to be one of the better First Person Shooters ever! Now I am waiting for the upcoming mission packs. Next, I have played Command and Conquer: Renegade. It's okay and it is nice to re-create the C&C world for the FPS genre; but, the game is not very "cutting edge." Yet, it is still rather enjoyable. And finally, I just played through Red Faction. All I can say is that if this came out a couple of years ago it would have been pretty good. But, there is just too much out there that is so much better. Wait for this one to go in the bargain bin. One more thing. Speaking of the bargain bin. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter is already in the bargain bin but is a top notch hands down best buy! This is a must have and if you haven't played through the First Encounter do so. I can hardly wait for the third encounter.
RANT AND RAVE
I have a confession to make: My name is
Randar and I was the one who bought John Romero's Daikatana.
There, I said it. I have been in therapy for months and as part of my
healing process I had to take this step towards recovery. Having
played through most of the game I did however learn something. Randar
is not a team player. Let me explain. In Daikatana
you start out as a one man fighting machine—an army of one. But
soon you are forced to join with a couple of idiot AI characters and
baby sit them through the rest of the game. I soon found that the
only way to keep my sanity was to command them to stay put at the
beginning of the level and then go it alone. Of course I had to go
back to the beginning of the level and then escort them to the next
area. After doing this for the umpteenth time I had an epiphany!
Randar is not a team player. I do not like team or cooperative games.
I would much rather do it myself. Hmmm. Who says that playing stupid
video games does not teach you anything? I have come to other
insights as well while blasting through FPS games. Maybe I'll write a
book. Maybe not. I think I will keep all those other precious
psychological insights to myself for now. Otherwise they might be
coming for me soon.
Friday: January 11, 2002
BOTS? WHO CARES?
Well I still care a great deal about Bots, but the Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Demo made me ask, "Who needs Bots?" Why, you ask? Because this single level, single player demo (based on the Q3A engine) was so impressive and the AI so incredible I actually found myself not really caring if the multiplayer aspect of the game will come with any Bots for deathmatch. The AI in the single player mission (both team based and enemy AI) was very, very good. The action was so intense that I actually wanted to play this level over and over. Sweet! I suppose that I actually won't mind if Bots are not included in this game. It IS that good! (Of course, it would ALWAYS be great to have Bots in the multiplayer deathmatch levels.)
What does this all mean? If single player, mission based first person shooter games will keep on improving the in-game AI of team members and enemies, then I will be happy. One of the things that needs to be done in the single player games is to make it replayable. That means: (1) Random enemy placement; and (2) Random scripting of enemy AI. Too many games in the past were much too predictable. You always knew where the enemy was going to show up and what he was going to do. Sometimes these scenarios were well scripted, but after you played it once or twice it got boring. It would be great to have multi-scripted enemies and missions which would change depending on what you choose to do. Some games have a little of this, but the gaming community wants more.
Now, on a little different note, I also have played through Return to Castle Wolfenstein. I have seen this Quake III Arena based game totally trashed in the media, but I really enjoyed myself. However, after playing it once or twice, there is not much point of playing the single player missions again, for some of the reasons stated above. There aren't any Bots for the multiplayer game which is rather like Team Fortress, with its class based teamplay. There probably won't be either. Too bad. But, so far, the class based team Bots just don't seem to cut it very well. It is just so much better to play with real players on team based missions. The Bots of course shine in regular deathmatch play, but it is a lot of work to program individual Bots to be able to play well in team and especially in class based team games. That brings up another minor point about RTCW. It has no straight deathmatch multiplayer game. I guess that is not a real problem since most every other Q3A based game will have it. But, I still prefer regular old deathmatch to team/class based games.
By the way,
Randar's Bot Page
is now four years old . . . and so is Bot
Epidemic! Happy Birthday BE!
Wednesday: December 5, 2001
Well, I have been
doing a somewhat thorough house cleaning on this site. What I noticed
is that I had to delete far more dead links than I added new ones. In
fact, I only added one or two new sites. The only new Bot that I have
word of is the possibility of a Bot included in Soldier
of Fortune II. That is good news! (I
have now been told that there will also be Bots in Duke
Nukem Forever and Counter
Strike: Condition Zero. That is even
better news!) But, the reality is that Bot making overall appears to
be slowing down somewhat. I have also noticed that a lot of sites
while still up and running have not had many updates in a long, long
time. And, even the major gaming news sites rarely have information
on Bots and Bot MODs anymore. I also sort of noticed that a lot of
killer MODs that supported Bots are not being updated. This is
especially true for Quake III Arena. What does all of this mean? Have
Bots outlived their usefulness? Are their days numbered? Certainly
not if I can help it. But, I am only one voice in the wilderness. It
is YOU, the good people of First Person Shooter games that can make a
difference! You must ask . . . no, DEMAND that Bots be a part of the
games you love and play. For my part I will continue to keep this
site as a current archive of all the Bots for all the FPS games out
there. But, don't let this site become a museum. Alas, if such is
inevitable I suppose that I will make a good curator of all those
historical curiosities called Bots.
Thursday: October 25, 2001
MOVING TO EARTHLINK! (IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOU ARE ALREADY HERE!)
Please note that Randar's
Bot Page is moving from Qwest to
Qwest is moving to MSN and MSN is no place for any self- respecting
Bot page. So, since EarthLink is one of the top ISPs I decided to go
with them. They literally got my account up and running in less than
thirty minutes with no glitches. Please
be sure and update your links to this page.
HERE IS THE NEW WEB ADDRESS: http://home.earthlink.net/~gbppap/
I will be trying to make sure that all the links and files on this site are intact. It will take just a little while so your patience is appreciated. (I will be creating my new email accounts shortly, so until then the email links will be down.) Thanks.
Saturday: September 22, 2001
THE BUSINESS OF LIVING
After the events
of recent weeks, many things seem trivial—and
they are! But, sooner or later we must get on with the business of
living our lives. A wise man once said: "When times are good, be
happy; but when times are bad, consider! God made the one as well as
the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his
future." So, as we all get on with the business of living, we
need to consider what really matters most. So, well this page
continue? Certainly! But, it will (as before) be merely a trivial
pursuit, not the main event. What is YOUR main event? Again, that
same wise man said: "It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every
man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than
laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the
wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the
house of pleasure." Where is YOUR heart?
Saturday: July 28, 2001
Webster defines "fricassee" as "meat cut into pieces and stewed in gravy." Yep! That's it! But, it should be spelled "Frik-as-see" because playing the new-and-improved FrikBotX for Quake will make you feel just like that. I have always been impressed with the Frik Bot, but THIS Bot rules! What is more, Ryan Smith (the code-god of this Bot) has made FrikBotX "open source" which means that MOD authors can add the FrikBotX to their creations! The FrikBotX uses waypoints to navigate the maps, but it can also dynamically learn the maps as it goes. Ryan says that this is not a good idea, but I am here to tell you that they still do a pretty good job. I fired up Q1Edge (a remake of Quake II's The Edge, but for Quake) and found that the Bots covered the level rather well. There were a few minor problem areas and one or two places that the Bots got hung up, but putting in four or five Bots more than compensated for their glitches. (Most other Bots don't do a very good job with this map!) Ryan has hardcoded Quake's Deathmatch waypoints into FrikBotX and they play these levels better than most any other Quake Bot out there! (Does that mean that the FrikBotX is better than the Reaper and its improved clones? Absolutely! Better than Omicron and Frog? Well, I'll have to let you decide that but the FrikBotX is at the very least in the same class as Omicron and Frog. Quite an accomplishment, Ryan.) The FrikBotX is one of the most natural playing Bots out there. In other words, it is almost human. Enough said. Go get it! For now you can get it here. Soon, you will find it here.
As you might have noticed there is a
new little sideline here at Randar's. Down on the left menu there is
a new link to my page for "Console Bots." It is not all
that earthshaking in the scheme of things. But, I just want to do my
best to keep tabs on all the Bots out there. I am sure that I have
missed a Console Bot or two. If you know of any Console Games from
any platform that has Bots for their First Person Shooter games,
please let me know!
Tuesday: June 26, 2001
RANT & RAVE
Okay, I'm about to let it rip. Hold on to your socks. I want to know whose brilliant idea it was to have the file download sites (FilePlanet/GameSpy) start requiring a log-on procedure which first requires you to sign up for a personal account? If that is not bad enough, when you do log on after creating your account, you are thrown into a queue and have to take a number and wait for service. (Sometimes a VERY long wait!) Ever since FilePlanet started this queue it has been a royal pain to download anything from their experimental site. The trouble is, this "experimental site" may become the wave of the future.
Only an "idiot" — I say this lovingly because I have been there, done that — would fill out all the personal information that is asked for during the sign up process. Who wants to become fodder for every marketing scam and scheme out there? Don't tell me that all these sites promise you privacy. Read any industry paper out there and see what a lousy job the Internet is doing with our personal information. So, again, why would any thinking individual disclose anything to the marketing industry. They already know all they need to know. They already know more than enough about us. I don't know about you, but I get more than enough junk mail and spam and telemarketer calls. The fact is, I NEVER reply to junk mail, spam, or telemarketing calls. I seriously wonder about the people who do, who obviously keep this nefarious industry going.
Well, I was going to download Mr. Pants newest excessive creation for Elite Force, but after going through the aggravation and fury of it all, I decided it was just simply not worth the trouble. By the way, it is obvious that more than a few people are irked at this new scheme. How do I know? Easy. I signed up with all bogus information and had to try several times before the account I was creating was accepted (i.e., not already taken). It is apparent that people are creating fake accounts, so what's the point? (I suppose that in time they are going to have to verify your legitimate email address and other information before they can register you. Oops! Hope they don't think of that.)
Okay, I know that some of you out there probably think I am paranoid as I sit behind my firewall. But, the fact is, I have been around longer than most of you who read the gaming pages. The government and big business never think they have enough information about you. They always want more. Then, when they have what they want, they rarely ever do you or me any favors with what they've got. What it all comes down to, I suppose, is money. Someway, somehow, it is all about separating a man from his money. After all, that IS what advertising is all about. (Hey! Come to think of it that is what governments are about too!) I am weary of it all. That is one of the reasons this page is just a humble home page on a lowly ISP. You will notice that there are no inane ads or annoying banners or irritating pop-up screens. Oh yes, about that firewall. Call me paranoid if you will, but why do I get at least a couple of port probes every other day or so? Hmmmm? Some of them are certainly harmless, but when I tracked down the IP address of one probe, it took me to a page that basically said something like, "Hi there! You found me."
So, what do YOU think about the possibility of the file sites requiring sign-ups and log-ons? What has your experience been? Do you mind this continuing invasion of your personal privacy? Maybe you love cookies too? Let me know. What is more, let FilePlanet and GameSpy know what you think! Do you want to have to sign up and log on to download files? Perhaps that is what the future holds. I know there is no such thing as a free lunch. But, I will not go quietly into the night.
P.S. Flame me if
you must, but if I don't really take myself too seriously, you
probably shouldn't either! Remember, this page is a silly little
hobby for me and not all that important in the grand scheme of
things. But, I do have to tell you, doing this page is still fun, and
doing this little rant sure makes me feel all better now.
Sunday: May 20, 2001
Well, I am actually talking about Rune. What a game! Good story line. Great cut scenes. Excellent voice acting. These people really did their research into Norse mythology. After tweaking my Nvidia card to fix a texture problem in water and fog, I found Rune to be a visual feast for the eyes. Overall, a very satisfying gaming experience. Even multiplayer is an enjoyable, albeit different experience. There are no "shooting" weapons here. Everything is up close and personal. A great change from the usual deathmatch experience. (A funny thing I noticed only toward the end of the game. There are no viking women except for Hel [but she is a goddess] and that dead woman toward the end of the game in Ragnar's town. I guess this is a man's game . . . grunt, grunt.) Anyway, if you are looking for an FPS that is a little out of the ordinary, you can't go wrong with this excursion into Valhalla.
Wednesday: April 11, 2001
It's not dead, it's Undying. Wow! What a game. (It ranks up there with DuesEx and System Shock II for single player story line games.) So, you notice that I have not updated in a very long time. Now you know why. I guess that some of you might think that I am no longer very serious about this sight. But, that is another problem. I also just finished Serious Sam. Ah, the good old days of maiming mindless masses of monstrous mutants. Also, there was this curious little girl named Alice that I just had to see to believe. Boy, did she ever keep me busy. What a gorgeous game. (I had to go out and get a new 3D graphics card to play this new games. My Voodoo 3 just would not cut it any more. I got a Hercules Prophet II MX, and it gives me the edge I needed to play all of these powerhouse games.) And then my son had to go and buy Tribes2. At least that game comes with Bots. And for the deathmatch levels they are pretty good. But, don't expect too much out of the Bots for the other game styles. The biggest problem is that the Bots do not use the available transport systems. Since the Tribes2 levels are simply huge, there is no way for the Bots to easily travel across a level to, say, capture the flag. I do not understand how Sierra could have this game in planning and production for so long only to have them end up crippling the Bots. Well, like I said, throw a bunch of Bots in the deathmatch levels and enjoy a fairly good game. Perhaps you can forgive me for not giving this site the attention it deserves. There are just too many games to play and so little time. (Oh yes, I am fixing broken links here and there, as always.)
Saturday: February 17, 2001
There are quite a few Quake III MODs out there that have a grappling hook, but now there is one that the Bots know how to use: Freestyle! This great little MOD includes several different kinds of "styles" of game play from regular deathmatch, to instagib, to lithium, and there is even a new one called rox. But, it is the grapple that makes it interesting. You can choose the game play style you want for each Bot and thus determine whether or not they will use the grapple. And use it they do! They will even use it as a weapon against you. Ouch! It's about time someone taught the Bots how to use the grapple. (If I remember, the last time was in Quake II Three Wave CTF?) The Bots and the grapple . . . now there is a wild combination that changes the dynamics of the entire game. You simply have to see this MOD to believe it. Download it here.
Friday: February 16, 2001
IT'S A CORKER!
There are few Quake III MODS that really impress me but the Corkscrew MOD by Firestarter is one of them. This fantastic five star MOD is a refreshing twist on the good old InstaGib game. The best thing about it is that this MOD does not suffer from the all too common "Bots Go Stupid" syndrome in so many Quake III Arena modifications out there. Firestarter has tweaked this MOD for the Bots and they play it well. (There is one little disappointing "bug" in this MOD. The Bots cannot play a pure space map without it eventually crashing. We hope that Firestarter can eventually fix this problem. But, even with it, this MOD is perfect . . . well, almost perfect.) There are several configurations for Corkscrew that really enhance the game. (It even has an "Excessive-style" config!) And, the beauty of the Rail-Trail is a sight to behold. Oh yes, you have got to learn to Rail-Jump in this MOD. It's a kick! So, what are you waiting for? Get it here.
BOTS GO STUPID?
Speaking of the problem of the "Bots Go Stupid" syndrome . . . they don't have to go stupid any more. There is now absolutely no excuse for the Bots to ever go stupid in a Quake III Arena MOD. Why? Because CyberKewl of the Hellfire Arena has written a great tutorial on how to get the Bots to move through the maps properly when modifications are made to the game. You see, the problem is on too many Quake III Arena MODs, if you change the basic game play so that there are no items for the Bots to go for (like in InstaGib) they just sort of go stupid and camp. CyberKewl and others have solved this frustrating little problem. And CyberKewl has shared his genius with the MOD making community. If you have a MOD where the Bots go stupid check out this link. Or, if you know of a MOD where the Bots go stupid, send this link to the MOD author.
Monday: January 29, 2001
WHAT IS BETTER THAN QUAKE III ARENA?
In answer to the above question: Eternal Arena and Hellfire Arena! These two front-end menu MODS for Quake III Arena are fantastic! Eternal Arena is made by Corven and Hellfire Arena is made by Malcolm Lim. Both of these front-end MODS add a ton of tweaks to Quake III Arena and, what is more, each MOD adds several different game modes to the mix. Hellfire has the classic InstaGib. But, what makes it shine is the fact that Malcolm has finally figured out how to get the Bots to run the level in the InstaGib mode. (The trouble with several InstaGib MODS is that the Bots either end up camping or they just go stupid. Malcolm actually makes the Bots think that all the goodies are still in the level so they keep on moving throughout the map. Excellent!) Hellfire also has added a new weapon model or two. The Flame Thrower is superb and the Machine Gun has been upgraded. Also, the Fun game configuration really is. . .fun! Eternal Arena also has all the latest and greatest game and menu tweaks and modifications. As with Hellfire, you can control just about every parameter in the game. And the game modes in Eternal Arena are topnotch. One of my favorites is Telefrag InstaGib. You have got to play this! One of the best things about both of these MODS is that practically everything they do works wonderfully with the Bots. You can download Eternal here, and you can get Hellfire here. What are you waiting for? Go get these five-star MODS now!
A NEW LITTLE LINK
After all this time I just had to add a new page here at Randar's. You will find it in the left-hand menu. It is under the Other Links heading and it has all kinds of links to computer related sites. I know . . . I know . . . it has nothing to do with Bots. But, it does have to do with another area of great interest to me: Computer Technology. Actually if you want to learn all you can about computer technology this is a great place to start. There are quite a few links to hardware pages and computer system and information pages. There are even links to some important Internet security sites. The page also has links to some great file sites for drivers, programs, shareware and freeware. I also have linked to some of the better search engines on the web. (You can always go hereto search for more Bot stuff.) If you have run across some great sites that you think I should add to the Computer Links Page, please let me know. Thanks!*
Friday: January 12, 2001
RANDAR IS THREE!
Happy Birthday! Randar's Bot Page is now three years old. Wow! Where has all the time gone? (By the way, Bot Epidemic is also around three years old. Congratulations!) It looks like most Bot pages have faded away, but the Bots are still going strong. So, as long as the Bots are doing well and I am having fun with the page, I look forward to another year at Randar's. Thanks for your continuing interest in this site.
THE MOD MAN
I am always on the lookout for a good MOD page. While there are plenty of MOD pages out there, most don't keep current with all the MODS. There is one glorious exception: THE MOD SQUAD! This page at PlanetUnreal covers all the MODS and Mutators for Unreal Tournament. It simply does an excellent job. What is more, it also notes whether or not the Bots like the MODS and Mutators. I went through all of the MODS and Mutators recently and because of the excellent and current reviews, I was able to significantly update my BOT MODS section. My thanks to THE MOD SQUAD for maintaining a five star site! If you want a thorough review of nearly every MOD or Mutator for Unreal Tournament then go visit THE MOD SQUAD now! (Now, if I can just find a MOD site for Quake III Arena that does a good job at MOD reviews and Bot support in the MODS, I will be a happy man.)*
Wednesday: December 27, 2000
Q3ATA IS GR8!
I have been reading about all the "problems" people have been having with Quake III Arena: Team Arena and I have noticed that several have ripped the Bots, if not the game, so I had basically decided that I was not going to bother with Team Arena. But, I started feeling guilty because, you see, I have this Bot site. And, Quake is what started it all. And .. .well, Best Buy put Team Arena on sale this week for $18 and I just could not pass up that kind of deal!
Honestly, I do not know what people are talking about when they are trashing Team Arena. First let me tell you that I have not even gone online to try out Team Arena with human players, and I don't plan too. Why? Remember, I have a lousy Internet connection for online games. (I may try Team Arena over a LAN sometime. But, I don't LAN too often.) Therefore, my impressions about Team Arena are ONLY from my experience with the Bots. The basic question is: "Is Team Arena worth getting only for its Single Play feature?" My answer is, "YES!"
Now, back to the "problems" that people are having with Team Arena. I think that some of the problems may be because Team Arena needs a fresh install. I put Team Arena on a different drive with a fresh install of Quake III Arena first. (Also, I have noted that when you finish an install of Quake III Arena you ALWAYS need to make sure that you do a reboot!) My system is a AMD K-6 400 with 128 Megs of RAM and a Voodoo 3 -3000 with only 16 Megs of RAM. I have had to turn some of the settings down, but Team Arena still runs respectably. The bottom line is, do a fresh install of Quake III Arena and Team Arena and reboot. (By the way, I still have my 117 version of Quake III Arena, and will be keeping it around because there are still quite a few MODS that are not compatible with version 127.)
Then there are the Bots. That is really what I am interested in, obviously. I have read that their AI is "worthless" and that they play "stupid." Well, I know that the Bots aren't "human" and they never will be. But, both my son and I noticed that they are somewhat better overall than the original Quake III Arena Bots. Again, I don't know what game the reviewers who trashed the Bots and Bot AI in Team Arena were playing, but I have not seen what they were talking about. Yes, sometimes the Bots go a little "stupid "but I have played with humans who do the same thing. Overall, I am impressed with the Team Arena Bots. Let me say it one more time. Humanely is ALWAYS better than Bot play. (Unless the humans are really bad players. And, by the way, I have played humans whom I have thought played like Bots!) There is no disputing that. But the Team Arena Bots will give you a good game. Just don't expect the Bots to be human. Let the Bots be . . .well, Bots.
There is something else, though. The Single Player mode in Team Arena is almost worthless. It is just too limiting. All you can do is play a predetermined game. You can't customize much of anything. Id, what were you thinking? In Quake III Arena, in Skirmish, you could choose the number and name of the Bots you wanted to frag. Why did you gut the Single Player mode? Well, forget the stupid user interface for the Single Player mode. (Someone will probably write a MOD that does it better anyway.) When you want to play a single player game with Bots, START A SERVER! If you start a server you can customize the game all you want. In fact, starting a server will allow you to play the Bots and maps of Quake III Arena. Wow! Starting a server is the only way to go. After starting a server, when you are in the game you can also add more Bots, if you want. (Provided you have the correct settings.) So, the moral of the story is this: There is always a work around to most any problem. This is what has made Quake such a fantastic game. If you don't like it one way, you can make it work another way. The MOD making community has been doing this for years. So id, it's okay that you "goofed" on the Single Player interface for Team Arena. We can work around it, and someone will come along and do it one better. Just keep on making games that can be MODified and the love affair we have with you will go on and on.
Monday: November 27, 2000
ARE BOTS DYING OUT?
As I was updating my page over the last several days, it struck me that there were so many NEW links (and even a couple of new Bots!) that I have had to add. Now some of this is certainly due to the incredible interest in the Half-Life Counterstrike MOD, but I still have had to add several new links to newly found Bots and Bot MODS and Mutators and Bot sites. Some have recently been proclaiming the end of the Bots, and surely they won't last forever, but I have been busy ADDING more links then I have had to delete. (If you have not done so in awhile, go through the various Bot and Bot MOD and Bot site pages and see what I mean! There are over four hundred links to specific Bot related sites here at Randar's Bot Page!) For a while I was wondering about the future of this page and I decided that one of the ways in which I would tell if it was time to pack it up and move on was if I was having to delete more and more links from this site. But, that has not happened yet. All this tells me that all is well in the world of Bots. As long as there is a growing interest in Bots, I will do my best to keep this site current. Thanks for your support and encouragement over the last couple of years.
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
I have been playing First Person Shooter Games ever since Wolfenstein and DOOM. Then along came Quake and everything changed! Why? Because id opened up the game and allowed it to be modified by the Quake community. It was because of this that Bots were born. For the last two years I have been watching the Bots grow up. The first Bot I ever tried was BGBot. Then I found the Reaper. I was hooked. I think that I have tried out almost every single Bot for Quake that was released. Along came Quake II and I continued to test all of the Bots for the next generation of Bots. Then a little game called Unreal made its appearance and I was torn between the Quake Bots and the Unreal Bots. Finally the Bots grew up and Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena burst upon the scene. Since the release of Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament I have been trying out all kinds of MODS and Mutators, specifically the ones that allowed for decent Bot play. Now, after all this time I have determined that Unreal Tournament is the winner, hands down! The reasons are simple. First, the Bots are better and adapt themselves to more styles of game play. Second, the Mutators for Unreal Tournament make the game even better. Quake III Arena just does not measure up. Don't get me wrong, Quake III Arena is great, but Unreal Tournament does Bots and Bot MODS better.
Even in the little things, Unreal Tournament does it better than Quake III Arena. Basically I have always felt (and I still do) that if you want a quick and dirty game of Deathmatch with human players, Quake III Arena is the way to go. But if you don't have a LAN or a good Internet connection, Unreal Tournament is the way to go. That actually brings up one of my major gripes with Unreal Tournament. It is one of the slowest loading games I have ever seen! Quake III Arena is slick and quick. I like that. So, I probably play Quake III Arena with the Bots a little more than Unreal Tournament. But, you just can't beat a good game of Chaos Unreal Tournament with the Bots. If you have not tried Chaos, you are missing something special! I know that Chaos is slated for Quake III Arena, but, as usual, the Mutator community is a lot faster making Mutators than the Quake III Arena community is at making MODS. Anyway, like I have said before, it really does not matter whether Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena is better . . . PLAY BOTH!
Thursday: October 5, 2000
BEAM ME UP!
I just got Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and have played it rather extensively. In a word: WOW! Raven has done it again and has given us a first rate game based on another id engine. Raven, you seem to outdo yourselves every time! (In fact, you seem to always do id one better.) Keep doing what you do! Elite Force is divided up into two games: Single Player and Multiplayer. The Single Player game is one of the better First Person Shooters I have ever played. The story line and plot is great. It draws you in like few games do. The Multiplayer game is also very good, but the Bots just don't seem to measure up to the quality of the Quake III Arena Bots for some reason. Overall, the Quake III Arena Bots play a much better Deathmatch game than the Elite Force Bots. (And, the Unreal Tournament Bots play better than both!) In a word, buy Elite Force for the Single Player game, not for the Bot Holomatch. But, Deathmatch on a LAN with human Trekies is always fun. However, for LAN play, I enjoy Raven's Soldier of Fortune more. (No, I don't play any games over the Internet. It use to be fun, in the good old days of Quake. But, to play now, you really have to have something other than a 56K modem to get reasonable pings.)
Tuesday: September 12, 2000
A LITTLE THIS AND A LITTLE THAT
I have thoroughly revised and updated the BOT FAQ. This FAQ now has a much better format. In addition to defining what a Bot is and how they work, it now reflects the three generations of Bots for the FPS genre. I have tried to make it rather inclusive of most of the Bots out there. The FAQ is also becoming a sort of history of the Bots from their early beginnings up to the present, and looking into the future. Go give it a read and see what you think. (Of course if anything needs to be corrected or added to it, just let me know.) I also added a great little tip to the U/UT Tutorial about getting the Bots to jump over a void. (Thanks to Nitin and Clay for that tip!) And, as always I have added quite a few links to THE BOTS and the BOT MODS pages. I have noticed that there are quite a few new and upcoming Bots for the Half-Life Counterstrike MOD. I may have to give them a section all their own.
On another note,
my son rented TUROK III: Shadow of
Oblivion for the N64. It is a pretty
good game, especially with the Expansion Pack. But, the thing that I
particularly took notice of was the fact that it comes with Bots for
multiplayer! They are actually not too bad, and they are far better
than the Bots in TUROK: Rage Wars. So, if you like console games and
want to try out some Turok Bots, then check out Turok III. (And don't
forget that Perfect Dark for
the N64 also comes with multiplayer Bots. They are better than the
Sunday: August 20, 2000
AVP AND ME!
I just got Aliens versus Predator: Gold Edition (Millennium Expansion Pack) and am I impressed! This first person shooter's single player game is good enough, but it is the Multiplayer mode where this game really shines. In fact, it rocks! The multiplayer levels are creepy enough, but add an Alien and the game is downright scary. This game makes LAN deathmatching a whole new experience. After a while, deathmatching players like yourself has a sort of sameness to it all. Don't get me wrong, I still like Q3A and UT, but that is just the way it is. (Of course this is exactly why various team and class-based deathmatch MODS have made their appearance. Great idea for a great change of pace!) Well, in AVP you can be a Marine, a Predator, or an Alien. Each plays with a noticeable difference and has different skills, weapons, and abilities. The Alien can climb walls and ceilings with the greatest of ease. And, boy is it fast! The Predator has a powerful arsenal and is as tough as a junk-yard dog. The Marine . . . well, he has the biggest weapons and lots of armor, but is the physically weakest of the three. AVP also comes with unique styles of gameplay: regular old Deathmatch, Species Deathmatch, Cooperative, Predator Tag, Alien Tag, and Last Man Standing. There is even a Skirmish mode where you are thrown in to a level with about three billion angry Aliens or Predators. Fun! (How long can you last?)
I do have a
couple of complaints. First, most will probably find that the game
may have a little problem with balance among the three species. But,
maybe that is not a real problem. In a LAN game, pit two Marines
against an alien, and you have a wild deathmatch experience. Or, make
sure that the Marine comes in with the Flame-Thrower! Haha! Crispy
critters! Try various team combinations. The Multiplayer menu has all
kinds of options. Second, one of the weapons is just plain stupid:
the Pistol. What a waste! (I dare you to kill anything with it,
except maybe another Marine.) Fortunately, in Multiplayer, you can
turn it off. In fact you can turn all the weapons on or off according
to your fancy. Great idea! Thirdly, the game has "Bots."
Well, I might be missing something here, but what is the point? Here
is the problem. You have to use "cheat" codes to activate
the Bots, but when you bring them in they are put right in front of
you. Imagine creating an Alien Bot right in front of you in a
Deathmatch level. Why would you want to do that? If you can close the
console and get out of its way fast enough and escape, sure it will
follow you; but, when you kill it, it does not respawn. So, you have
to "create" another Bot which will appear right in front of
you. Like I said, what's the point? (If I have missed something in
the AVP Bots, please let me know.) Really, I suppose that these
"Bots" are no different than using the "summon"
command in Unreal to bring in a Titan. Of course, the Titan is big
and slow. The Alien is like greased lightening. Anyway, you won't
play AVP for the Bots, you will play it for the wild Multiplayer
Deathmatch experience. For all the information about AVP and more,
here is one of the best sites out there:
Monday: August 7, 2000
IT'S A REAL HOOT!
DMHootshak was originally created for Infiltration for Unreal by Sidney 'Clawfist' Rauchberger. This level was, in my opinion one of the best Bot levels I have ever seen or played. The only little problem was that it was not pathed correctly (a problem that I quickly remedied). The Unreal Bots then played this level exceptionally well. Besides all of this, Clawfist had done a wonderful job creating this map. The layout, lighting and textures were perfect!
Then along came Unreal Tournament. While there were (and are) lots of great levels out there, I missed DMHootshak. The only problem was UnrealEd for Unreal was "broken" on my system, and I could not port it over to Unreal Tournament. (No, I could not just drop it into UnrealEd2 for Unreal Tournament because it was bound to Infiltration for Unreal.) Bummer! Epic then graciously released the final patch for Unreal and it fixed whatever was broken with UnrealEd. Now I could do what I wanted to do for a long time.
I went into UnreaEd for Unreal and exported DMHootshak as a t3d file. Then I ran it through U1-to-UT.exe and imported the resulting file into UnrealEd2. The only problem was that none of the textures from the original level for Unreal imported. So, tragically, I had to make a command decision and texture the level myself. This also demanded that I choose the textures for the sky-box. Well, I am not a mapper. And I am not great at doing textures. DMUUTHootshak does not look as spectacular as it did for Unreal. The fault is mine, not Clawfist's.
However, since Clawfist did such a great job with the lighting, and since all of that did import, the lighting is still superb! Even with simple textures the level still looks good. I made the sky-box reflect a nighttime scene, and that works well. If you don't like the looks of the level, blame me. But the architecture of the level is simply great for Deathmatching the Bots. The Bots go everywhere and get everything in this level. And this level plays especially well with the Infiltration, Insurrection, and AgentX Mutators for Unreal Tournament. (See the BEEFIER! update below.)
I want to
personally thank Clawfist for giving me his kind permission to tweak
and port his level over to Unreal Tournament! Oh yes, download
Saturday: August 5, 2000
weapons based Mutators for Unreal Tournament just keep on coming.
First there was Infiltration,
then there was Insurrection,
and now there is AgentX.
There is also Tactical Ops and
Strike Force and
others. (And, don't forget old Serpentine
for Unreal.) I have to tell you that
these realistic Mutators are some of the very best MODS around! Of
course Infiltration is the most polished and has the most options,
but don't overlook the smaller weapons pack Mutators found in
Insurrection or AgentX. They are just plain fun! What is more is the
fact that the Bots love and play all of these Mutators perfectly
well. Personally I have found these Mutators to be far more
satisfying in terms of human or Bot play than just about any other
MOD for Unreal Tournament. (After these Mutators, my next favorite
MODS for Unreal Tournament would be Ureal4Ever, Tremor, and
HolyWars.) If you have not played these realistic MODS then you are
missing the very best part of Unreal Tournament. For all of these and
other Mutators for Unreal Tournament go to my BOT
MODS page for all the links.
And, if I have left out any killer real-world weapons based Mutators
for Unreal Tournament, please let
me know! Thanks again, as
Wednesday: July 19, 2000
There are at least FIVE Console games out there that feature Bots, and one is "perfect." You have to see the newest N64 game: "Perfect Dark." This is one of the best console games ever! (It has more options than I have ever seen, especially in multiplayer.) Perfect is in the same genre as N64's Goldeneye 007, and I believe it is made by the same people. While Goldeneye is one of the highest rated First Person Shooters on the Console, Perfect Dark is better. And Perfect Dark has Bots! (Now I really don't care for Console games. Particularly I don't like the controllers. Give me a mouse and keyboard combination any day. But, I watched my son play Perfect Dark and wow! am I ever impressed.) Actually, I am more impressed by the game than the Bots, but they are pretty decent. If only they would port Perfect Dark over to the PC. It would then be . . . well. . . PERFECT!
And, since I
brought it up, here are the other four Console games that have Bots:
Duke Nukem 64 for the N64; Forsaken for N64; Quake II for the
Playstation; and Turok: Rage Wars for N64. Now I have to tell you,
most of the Bots found in these Console games are a great
disappointment. The only real exception is Forsaken. The Forsaken
Bots are great! If you know of any more Console games that feature
Bots, please let
me know. Thanks!
Wednesday: July 5, 2000
me that a new release of Quake III Arena building tools called
Q3Radiant is now available. This program comes with a new bspc, the
program used to generate the .aas navigation files for the Q3A Bots.
If mappers want their levels to be more Bottable it is highly
recommended that they use the new bspc program. Hidayat tells me that
he generated a whole new set of aas files for the Q3A maps and the
Bots play them better than ever! He also sends in the following tip:
"I recommend you unzip the original aas files from the Q3A
pak0.pk3 and run bspc with the "-reach" option. This way it
just recalculates the reachability without having to reprocess the
whole bsp which will save you quite a bit of compile time."
Thanks for the help, my friend. To get the latest Q3Radiant files and
patches go here.
Sunday: June 4, 2000
Q3A vs UT
I know, I know, it has been done a
zillion times . . . but not like this! Forget which is better. Why
not do both in one at the same time? What in the world am I talking
about? Why, I'm talking about Tremor,
one of the newest mutators for Unreal Tournament. This mutator
emulates Quake III Arena and even though it is not anywhere near
final version nirvana, it is one of the coolest modifications around.
This is one must have MOD! Perhaps one of the best things about
Tremor is that the Bots play it right out of the box. This
mutator-MOD attempts to capture the essence of Quake III Arena and
combine it with the best of Unreal Tournament. And, yes, it has all
the killer weapons of Quake III Arena. While they are not fully
modeled, animated and skinned, you can still get a great feel for the
potential of this mutator. To get an idea of the quality of the
rendering of the arsenal, you must check out the Rocket Launcher. If
the other weapons get this kind of attention, we are in for a treat.
The author is working on several flavors of Tremor and currently is
attempting to balance the weapons, but you can still enjoy this MOD
to the max. What are you waiting for? Go download Tremor
Thursday: June 1, 2000
Monday: April 17, 2000 (Update!)
Well, I have been totally immersed in System Shock II these last several weeks. I found it on sale for $15 and I could not resist. This is one great game. I highly recommend it. System Shock II has one of the best (i.e., most intelligent) story lines I have seen in along time. I loved the twists and turns of the plot. If you play this game, you must play it alone in the dark. A quality sound system is a must and of course you need a high end system with a 3D graphics card. It has been a long time since I have played a game that actually scared me to death. (I think DOOM was the last one that gave me that feeling.) You should note that this is a First Person Shooter with excellent role playing features. You have a choice of playing one of three characters, each with their own unique specialties. Shock II is one very long playing game, so don't expect to blast your way through to the end in just a few hours. I guess you can figure out why I have not updated my page in quite some time.
I have another confession to make. I have also been busy with Soldier of Fortune. (Another reason I have neglected the Bots.) First, let me say that this game is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. (There are actually two versions of this game. The other one is more "tactical" and less graphic.) It is, in fact, one of the most realistic games ever. The story line is superb, the missions are excellent and the in-game cut scenes are the best yet. I was drawn into this game almost as much as System Shock II. Raven has done it again. I am very, very impressed with the quality of their work. Once again, they have taken an id game and "done it better"! Deathmatch is a blast . . . much better than Quake II. (In fact, I just don't really play Quake II deathmatch anymore; with or without Bots.) Speaking of Bots, the only things missing from Soldier of Fortune are Bots! Now if someone would just port a Quake II Bot over to Soldier of Fortune, it would be perfect.
UPDATE: A Soldier of Fortune Bot is coming!
Saturday: March 25, 2000
GOTTA LOVE THOSE M&Ms
First, I want to give a special thanks to Arjan and AlleyCat. Arjan has helped me find a ton of new links, and AlleyCat sent in a new tip for the U/UT Tutorial. I have added quite a few new links to the BOT MODSpage. There are now well over 100 Mutators for Unreal Tournament alone. Quake III Arena is not far behind. Since these two most excellent games have Bots built into them, most every MOD or Mutator will work with the Bots. On my BOT MODS page, rather than link to all the MODS and Mutators one by one, I have decided to link to those pages that specialize in MODS and Mutators for Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. (There are quite a few of these as well.) Also, when I try out a Mutator or MOD that I think is especially worthy of the Bots, I will have a link to it. Obviously with the hundreds of Mutators and MODS out there, I will not be able to try them all, so some great ones may not be individually listed. But, they will be found on those pages that specialize in MODS and Mutators. So, go and enjoy all those tasty M&Ms!
Saturday: February 26, 2000
QUAKE BOTS NEVER DIE!
I have just
reviewed two Classic Quake Bots that prove that Quake will live
forever! These Bots are the CronosBot
and the FrikBot.
Each one is still in production and each one has had recent updates.
Both Bots are now worthy inductions into my "Quake Hall of Fame"
found on the BOT
REVIEW page. (Any Bot reviewed
there is a worthy "Quake Hall of Fame" Bot!) I like the
Frik Bot for its aggressive, in-your-face fighting. This Bot plays
best in a group free-for-all. I like the Cronos Bot for its
satisfying game playing experience. The Frik and the Cronos are two
different Bots with two different styles. I like that! I like the
variety. But, each Bot brings something else to the Botting world.
The Cronos comes with an excellent mini-pack of arena levels built
right into the pak file. (Parboil has done a very good job creating
these five levels.) The Frik, well, this Bot has been ported over to
a ton of MODS including Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of
Eternity. That's right! You can now play the Quake 1 & 2
MissionPack's levels with these updated Bots. The Frik also plays the
Zerstorer MOD - my favorite all time partial conversion for Quake.
But, the Frik plays even more MODS, and has even become a part of
various Quake projects. To learn more about these Quake Bots, go
page to link to these and other fine Quake Bots.
I suppose that I should make passing mention of the fact that I recently rented and played TUROK: Rage Wars. In a word, it is kind of, well . . . pathetic. This Turok N64 arena style game is supposed to be in the same class as Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. It is not even close! If this game came out early on, it might have had a chance. But, after Turok I and Turok II, this is a step backwards. What is even worse than the graphics and the gameplay of Rage Wars are the Bots. Yes, this game comes with Bots! But, these Bots are . . . well . . . pathetic. Again, if these Bots came out a couple of years ago, they would be okay. But, with the current state of Bots as seen in Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena, the Turok Bots are very disappointing. (Even most of the Bots for Quake and Quake II are better!) Let me tell you about the game in simple, easy to understand terms. First, the levels are all the same - monotonous, indoor, boring and boxy. No sweet eye-candy curvaceous graphics here. Secondly, the Bots are dumb as dirt. I saw them on more than one occasion get stuck or go stupid. Thirdly, this is no fast paced game. Nope, this game is at best, slow and plodding. Even with its multiplayer feature, playing against real players is still boring. Ugh! How could Acclaim release such a retro-game? TUROK: RageWars is simply outrageous! I guess I am just simply spoiled by all of the great Quake, Quake II, Quake III Arena, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and Half-Life Bots out there. But, come on, admit it. You've snuck out and played TUROK: Rage Wars. I know you have! You just had to see what it was like, didn't you? And, if you haven't, after this review, you are dying to go try it out now. So, when you do, tell me what YOU think.
Friday: February 25, 2000
I have been busy working behind the scenes, cleaning up this site. I have archived the "Miscellaneous" information so this page should load faster. (But the "Archive" pages will not!) I also have added to the BOT LEVELS page. And you will notice that the table of contents (to the left) now has a separate page for all the BOT LAUNCHERS. Also, the BOT REVIEWS page has been updated and expanded. And, the links on all the pages have been checked. This brings me to my point. If you know of any links that this site is missing that somehow specifically relate to Bots, please let me know. I am trying to keep this site as up-to-date as possible so that it can continue to be a Botting Resource Page. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
AN IMPORTANT REQUEST
I have noticed
that some Bot files and MODS are getting harder and harder to find.
Case in point, the Quake Navy Seals project is hard to find. (I have
a link to it on my BOT
MODS page, but I have had to
hunt it down several times in the process of updating.) So, I was
thinking, if any of you Quakers out there have Bots and MODS that are
worth preserving in the archives of Quake history, why don't you
upload them to CDRom or FilePlanet? Please make sure, however, that
you have the last complete version of that worthy MOD. Some time ago
I uploaded the ReaperFX Bot and the Drastic Reaper Bot to CDRom to
insure that these worthies were archived and preserved for the
future. I am sure that there are others that need to be saved as
well. So, fire up your FTP programs and start uploading!
Tuesday: February 1, 2000
I just revised my "Pathnoding Unreal Levels for the Unreal Bots" tutorial. It has been merged with the information I have posted previously about the Unreal Tournament levels and Bots. This tutorial now contains information for both Unreal and Unreal Tournament and their Bots, and it begins with a section on "Pathnoding Unreal Tournament Levels for the Unreal Tournament Bots." You can access it in the table of contents under "U/UT Tutorial " or just go here.
Saturday: January 22, 2000
THIS LEVEL ROCKS!
There have been quite a few levels released for Quake III Arena. Some of them are simply amazing. For instance, "Gateway" is perhaps one of the most original maps I have ever seen. But, it comes with no Bot file and the Bots could not play it anyway, even if they wanted to. Then there are all those conversions of older Quake and Quake II levels. Many of them are nice, but the Bots only like them if they are built from the ground up for Q3A. (Some authors are doing that very thing and the Bots are most grateful!) And of course there are a lot of brand new levels that are simply wonderful. But, every once in a while a level comes along that simply ROCKS!
That level is ThunderDM by Pirate. (Actually, there are two levels ThunderDM1 and ThunderDM2. For a local download, see below.) Do you remember Marathon? It was a game (mostly) for Mac. Well, I keep hearing about this killer game, and I first came across a reference to it in a Marathon level converted for Unreal. It was called DMThunderdome, and it was great. Now, the Marathon Thunderdome level has been completely redesigned for Q3A and Pirate has done an excellent job. ThunderDM is basically an arena style level. (I am kind of partial to arena levels. They bring out the best in the Bots.) It has a large arena with a trench running all around the perimeter. In the middle of the arena Pirate has placed three JumpPads. Two fire you to the upper ledge that runs around the arena and connects to two rooms at opposite ends of the arena. One JumpPad rockets you straight up to a BFG tower high above the arena, with walkways leading to a couple of upper rooms at opposite ends of the arena. Think of this arena as circles within circles with a pair of two rooms at opposite ends of the arena, one set basically on top of the other. Thus, this level is symmetrical and perfectly balanced. (ThunderDM1 has all of the weapons except the Rail. ThunderDM2 includes the Rail.)
What I like best about this level is its simplistic elegance. This level lends itself to deathmatch play. It is fast and furious. But, what is just as important as human play, in Quake III Arena, is Bot play. Several well designed levels have made their appearance, which play wonderfully for human players, but are horrible for Bot play. It actually looks like they were designed only with human play in mind, with little thought being given to Bot design. (For instance, "The Roman Baths" is a simply gorgeous level that beautifully renders an ancient architectural form. Too bad the Bots don't play it very well at all. Please don't get me wrong. I love this level, but the Bot's don't. In fact I had to argue with them about deleting it off my hard drive. I won. It's still there.) Pirate has not forgotten about Bot play in his level. In fact, the Q3A Bots were in his mind during level design and execution. Here is a little tip he gave me:
"First, make everything a multiple of 64 units. Every weapon placement and door height and level goes by this rule. Therefore, the Bots reachability file is tiny, but the routes are complex. I didn't have to use magnetism to keep the Bots in the main area, they WANT to be there naturally. . . . The spawn points form a boundary. They are placed in a bounding circle around the center jump pad."
It would be difficult to find a level that the Bots play better. They go everywhere and they get everything. They play this level like human players. Put in a handful of Bots on any skill above "Bring it On," and you are in for one wild time. The Quad, Regeneration, and Haste are in this level, and the Bots will get them all. So, watch out! In a word, this is how Bot level design and execution should be done. To put it simply, if you design a level for great deathmatch play for humans and give a little thought to how the Bots will play . . . and yes, think about the limitations of the Bots (Have you seen the level called "Kaos"? The author got away with putting lifts in the map, but he had to go to a lot of trouble to get the Bots to even use them. Generally the Bots don't do buttons and lifts. Kaos is an "exceptional" Bot map—it is "exceptional" in that normally the Bots would not even play it, but in this map, they do!) . . . the map will probably support great Bot play as well. (And please don't forget the aas file!)
Thanks Pirate for
making such a great Quake III Arena map. And thanks for making it
such a delightful Bot map at the same time. And thanks for letting me
put it up on my site. Okay, what are you all waiting for? Go download
it now! You can get it locally, right here.
(By the way, for the moment, this is the ONLY site that has BOTH
versions of ThunderDM. This file is 844 KB.)
Monday: January 3, 2000
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE Q3A BOTS
I have been learning about the inner
workings of the Quake III Arena Bots, and I am impressed.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of things that I have come across.
First the Bots cannot play levels that are converted from Quake II.
Well, they can play them, but not very well. You will find that some
of the player StartPoints are broken for the Bots and they will
either just stand there and do nothing, or they will stand there and
fire away. (Besides this problem, some areas of the converted maps do
not even seem to be routed.) I created new aas files, but that did
not help. The solution? Don't convert
Quake II levels for Quake III Arena. Now
that is most unfortunate, because there are some killer Quake II
levels out there. But, several of the features of Quake II levels
(i.e., ladders, etc.) are not supported in Quake III anyway. (I would
love, however, to see Q2DM1, "The Edge" re-created for Q3A.
It has been converted, but, it is, of course, Bot-broken.) It appears
that all the new levels built for Q3A play beautifully for the Bots,
when the corresponding aas file is created for that level.
NOTE: I sincerely hope that we are not going to see a bunch of wholesale junk conversions of Quake II levels for Quake III Arena. Please, if you are going to do a Quake II level for Q3A, start over from scratch and build it right. The Bots will be happy you did! Even more importantly, you will be able to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing.
Second, the BSP Converter Tool (that creates the aas files needed by the Quake III Bots to navigate the level) is FANTASTIC! This is the way that ALL Bot level navigation should be done. Laying individual pathnodes in the map creation process is a royal pain. (Even if you do a perfect job, the Bots generally take predictable paths in the network. This is especially obvious in CTF.) Having the pathnodes automatically laid down by the player who first must move around the level is also a pain. (It is very difficult to get a map completely pathed using this method. And it is hard to go back and "fix" an area that is not working very well, without starting over.) The BEST solution for Bot pathing has got to be Mr. Elusive's BSP Converter Tool that automatically processes and routes the level for Bot play. This method was used with the Gladiator (Quake II) and is now being used with the Q3A Bots. Unreal Tournament's UnrealEd has an automatic Path Node generator, but it does not do a very good job, and you still have to go in and place all the specialized nodes. As some of you have written me, most mappers just do not want to go to the trouble of pathing the levels for the Bots. They would much rather use a program that does it for them. If only Epic would write an automatic pathing program for UT that really works!
Oh, one more
thing I have noticed about the Quake III Arena Bots: If you try to
lead a team of Bots in CTF, you are going to spend ALL your time
giving orders and only end up becoming very frustrated. It just is
not worth it trying to be the team leader. The solution? Just let one
of the Bots play leader (they can type a whole lot faster than you
can anyway), and then either follow their orders, or do whatever you
want (that seems to be what most human players do anyway). I have to
say that Unreal Tournament has Q3A beat to pieces on this number.
When you order the Bots in UT, they really seem to stay on task. In
Q3A, the Bots do what you want for a little while, and then break
off. Now, I know that there are all kinds of commands you can type
(or bind) for the Q3A Bots, but really, who wants to go to all that
Friday: December 31, 1999 (FOURTH UPDATE!)
HERE ARE THE LINKS!
I now have the full version of Unreal
Tournament (and Quake III Arena too) and I have been looking at
UnrealEd and some of the levels in the game. I have even downloaded a
third party level or two. Guess what I have found? Not even Epic
always paths the levels correctly for the Bots! So, I guess I should
not be too surprised if user made levels are not done correctly. For
instance, go into DM-Morpheus and notice where the Redeemer and the
Armor are placed. The Bots can NOT make that in one easy jump. In
fact, you will see them repeatedly try to do it, but fail. (This
makes them excellent sniper bait.) Going into UnrealEd, I found that
there was indeed only one set of Jumpoints for each of these items.
There must be two: one to the first level and then one to the items.
It is very easy for you to go in and correct this error. Just move
the first LiftExit of each jump to the second jump area, and create a
whole new set of Jumpoints for the first jump. (Look at the original
set for pointers, but be aware that you will have to nudge the nodes
around to get the Bots to make both jumps correctly and retrieve the
items. So, use UnrealEd to play the level.) This does bring up an
important point for level authors. One
of the best ways to learn how to path Unreal Tournament levels for
the Bots is to go into UnrealEd and look at Epic's game levels!
UPDATE: Mouse of RealCTF just informed me that playing UT in a mode other than the default "Hardcore" mode can "kill" some of the pathnoding for the Bots because it changes some of the player (and thus the Bot) physics. Since I play in "Classic" mode, and the jump height is lowered in this mode, this is why the Bots could not make the jumps to the Redeemer and the Armor in DM-Morpheus. What Mouse has uncovered is a limitation in pathnoding for the Bots. In other words, changing the mode or style from "Classic" to "Hardcore" to "Turbo" will effect the pathnoding for the Bots and their ability to use some of the nodes properly. (By the way, Mouse told me that there IS a "broken Bot-jump" in the level. The Bots cannot make the jump from the bottom platform to the building. They hit their heads on the building and then fall into oblivion. So, I guess that even Epic still does not always path their levels perfectly. But, then again, neither do I. One more thing. If you want, you can correct the problem jump by moving the JumpSpot over, closer to the edge of the building. You also, may have to tweak the corresponding top LiftExit. And you might have to turn the bAlwaysAccel to "True.")
UPDATE: Quite a few excellent maps are making their appearance, but many are not optimized for the Bots as well as they could be. Here are a couple of pointers to tweak the levels for the Bots. I will be adding to this update as new "tweaks" are found.
* The Bots can do Hammer-jumps and use the Jump Boots. But, make sure their is a reason for them to make these jumps. Place an item in the immediate area that the Bots are to jump to. (In other words, do NOT expect the Bots to do most jumps if there is nothing for them to actually get when they make the jump.) Also, set the bImpactJump (in the JumpSpot's properties sheet) to true for BOTH the Jump Boots and the Hammer-jumps. Next, be sure that you place Jump Boots in the general vicinity of the jump that you want them to make. If you put the boots at one end of the level, and the jump is at the other end, the Bots will rarely, if ever, make the jump. But, if the boots are in the immediate area of the jump, they will first run and get the boots and then go to the Jump Spot.
* The Bots always seem to have trouble going through portals. They frequently get hung up in them. To correct this, the best solution that I have found (and I have tried everything) seems to be to put an item on BOTH sides of the portal just a short distance from the actual portal itself. This seems to make the Bot "see" through the portal and then move through it to get that item.
* One of the most obvious things that could be done, that is not apparently being done by too many mappers, is to go into "Spectator Mode" and watch the Bots play the level. First put in one Bot and watch it for five minutes, then put in several more, and watch them for another five minutes. (Switch between the Bots by pressing the "Fire" button on the mouse.) This simple test will uncover most any problem with the pathing in the level. What, of course, you are looking for is any problem area. Do the Bots get hung up on something? Do they get caught in a loop? Do they get all the items? Do they go into every part of the level? Do they make the jumps? Do they use the elevators correctly? Do they go through the portals?
* In CTF maps, Salvation let me know that if the Bots don't go for the flags the only thing you can do is delete the flags, replace them, do another "Path Define" and then it should work. Now, The-Crow has just confirmed that this does work. I have also found this little hint to work in other situations as well. For instance, I have found some lifts that refuse to work, even though it looks like everything is okay. I deleted all the related nodes and laid down fresh ones, did another "Path Define" and it came back to life. Try it on dead links.
Latch sends in this tip: "With some help, I've found that the height of the flagbase actor is critical. If the flagbase is too high, even though it is still attached to the floor and has blue paths to it from other nodes, the bots will ignore it. They'll run right by it. Simply
lowering the flagbase so that its node-path connecting point is more even with the blue paths fixes it."
* I have noticed that when you fire up a map in UnrealEd, the log will give you an error if you use "BumpOpenTimed" on your movers. The message tells you that Bots do not understand this. So, use "StandOpenTimed" instead. This brings up another interesting point. Read the log file that is created when you build and play a map in UnrealEd. It gives you a ton of information about your level and may point out a few problem areas.
* Now, all of you probably already know this one, but it took me forever to find the answer to this frequently asked question: "What is the difference between the red and blue paths after you do a "Paths Define"? Well, it is simple. BLUE lines from node to node are the best routes, and the Bots will usually choose to take these paths most frequently. RED lines mean a less desirable route. The Bots will take red routes, but blue is better! Sometimes by tweaking (i.e., moving) the nodes you can change a red path to a blue one. But, sometimes, no matter what you do, the path will remain red. Just remember: BLUE IS BETTER! There, now you know.
* I am amazed that I am still finding so many maps that are not properly pathed for the Bots. (Even some of the major UT Map sites are not catching the glaring pathing errors in some of the better maps they have reviewed. Many of the maps that are getting high scores are Bot-broken.) Some of the UT maps I have downloaded have pathnodes, but a "Path Define" was never done. Other maps do not have the elevator's LiftExit and LiftCenter nodes properly tagged and placed. And some mappers are just putting JumpSpots in the level without the proper LiftExits and their tags. This will never do. PLEASE read the tutorials listed below! I have even found the need to go back and re-read Polge's tutorials to figure out a few Bot-problems. I actually missed a few tid-bits on the first read. So, my advice is to read it again.
In addition, I thought I would provide a few links to some excellent sites that have tutorials on how to path Unreal Tournament levels for the UT Bots:
First you MUST go to Epic's site for Steve Polge's two "Unreal Creature Care and Feeding Guides" for Unreal and Unreal Tournament. Next go to my own Tutorial for Unreal and also Sharky's Lesson on pathnodes, as well as GreyGore's Q&A. Finally, especially for Unreal Tournament, you MUST see Schlacht's Pathnoding Notes. (You can still learn quite a lot about pathnoding in Unreal Tournament from Unreal tutorials. But, for the important differences, be sure and look at the Unreal Tournament tutorials by Polge and Schlacht.)
These tutorials should make every Unreal Tournament mapper an expert when it comes to pathing the Unreal Tournament levels for the Bots. There is now no excuse to make any more Bot-broken maps.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING IMPRESSIONS
Now I'm not going to go into a full blown review of Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena, but they are both a Bot-blast. My first impressions of each game and their differences are still pretty much the same, but they are summed up by the comment of my son: "For straight Deathmatch you can't beat Quake III Arena, but for Teamplay and all of its variations, like CTF, Unreal Tournament is the winner." There is just something about Q3A's fast and furious deamatching Bot-action that reminds me of the "good-old-days" of Classic Quake on the Internet or on a LAN. In fact, when I was playing the Q3A Bots, many times I forgot I was playing Bots. All of those different Bot personalities make for a wild game.
Unreal Tournament's Bots are in some ways
just as good. But the thing that places UT a step above Q3A is its
extensive menuing system in and out of the game. The UT Bots are
highly configurable. The Q3A Bots are not . . . at least not yet.
(With some third party utilities, maybe the individual Bot config
files can be edited?) But the Q3A Bots don't have to be configurable
since you can, in Skirmish, choose the Bots you want to play against.
Each Q3A Bot has its own unique skills and skill level. And, there
are over thirty different Bots.
NOTE: You can look into the Q3A "pak0.pk3" file with WinZip. Just associate the pk3 extension with WinZip and take a peek at all those files! (WARNING: Do NOT use compression on the pk3 file with WinZip!)
The look, sound, and feel of each game and game Botting experience is . . . different. As I said before, different is GOOD! After all is said and done, my advice is to GET BOTH! I probably like both Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena equally well, but for different reasons. One more thing, if you are trying to make up your mind as to which one you will get (if you just simply can't get both), may I suggest that you get both final demos. I think that the demos capture the essence of each game and give you a great sampling of what the full games are all about. Have fun!
Thursday: November 18, 1999
I know that this is a Bot page, but I just have to rave about the little downloading utility called Go!Zilla. I had all but quit downloading any files over two or three megs. My connection was either too slow, or too flaky. Go!Zilla solves all of the downloading headaches I have been experiencing. It will find the best ftp's and most of the time it will allow for a download to be resumed if your connection times out, or if you just need to "cancel" it and start it again some other time. There are, of course, quite a few more options, but this utility is simply amazing. It is a MUST download. So, what are you waiting for? Go get Go!Zilla here.
QUAKE3 TEST DEMO!
Well, one thing is for certain, I would not have even been able to download this puppy on my 56K modem without Go!Zilla. It took a while, but I could download it in several sessions. Anyway, on to the real purpose of this page. The latest version of the Quake3 Test Demo has Bots! And, they are . . . different. I have been playing the Unreal Tournament Bots for quite some time. (See the September 18, 1999 review of the Unreal Tournament Bots.) Time for a confession: I have fallen in love with the Unreal Tournament Bots. They are everything I look for in a Bot. (I know, I know, I need help.) I was NOT expecting the Q3 Bots to be clones of the UT Bots, and my hopes were not disappointed. Please note, I very much WANTED the Q3 Bots to be different! I have only been playing the Q3 Bots for a very little while, but they have a unique style all their own. In fact, each one of the Q3 Bots has a style all its own. (I know that you can give each UT Bot a unique personality, but most players, may not go to the "trouble" to configure each UT Bot individually. All of my UT Bots were the "same" . . . that is, they all played the same. And, that was fine with me. The only thing I would do is change their basic skill levels from time to time.)
Back to the Q3 Bots. Because each Q3 Bots has its own style of playing, if you put more than one Bot into the game, you get a VERY challenging game. With just one Bot, you learn his or her style and then you master and dominate. Easy. With several different Bots it is pure mayhem. I love it! (I understand that you will be able to configure each Bot in Q3 even more, but each one is already different. And, yes, you can always adjust the basic skill level of each Bot. When I tried the easy, "I Can Win" mode, the Bot was so easy it almost never fired on me. Notching it up one level to the "Bring It On" skill made a big difference. There are five basic skill levels in all.) Even with the different styles of play for each Bot, on the second skill level with four Bots in free-for-all, I could still hold my own and pull ahead. I guess all of this is to say that I am going to have to go back into Unreal Tournament and fiddle with all those settings for each individual Bot.
Well, now for the real question: Which game and game Bots do I like better? (I will let the big-boys in the FPS world do battle over the plethora of technicalities and such. As for me, I'll just take the "low road" approach and keep it all light and fluffy.) So, which game and game Bots do I like better? It is not really as simple as that for me. I like VARIETY. That is why I still play several of the Quake Bots and Bot MODS. (Guess what? I don't really play any of the Quake2 Bots and Bot MODS much anymore, though I still like CRBot and Chaos Deathmatch with the Havoc Bots.) I still play Unreal especially with the Infiltration and Unreal 4Ever MODS. (But, I don't care for the regular Unreal weapons at all anymore.) Now, I have Unreal Tournament and Quake3 Arena to play. At the moment, I think I like Unreal Tournament more than Quake3 Arena, but not by much. I can say, right now, that I like the "feeling" (i.e., the way the game plays) of UT more than Q3A. (Yes, the "feeling factor" is very subjective.) One more thing, I think that UT actually looks better than Q3A, but Q3A looks sweet. And, though it might not be "fair" to bring it up, the fact that UT allows for some pretty fantastic Mutator MODS, gives it a definite edge over Q3A in my book. (Of course Q3A will also have its MODS, but will they be as easy to implement and play?) Another thing, the front-end interface for UT is about as good as it gets. Okay, now that I think about it, I seem to like Unreal Tournament quite a bit more than Quake3 Arena. But, all of this is just my opinion. You decide for yourself. You make up your own mind. Hey, here is a novel thought in the Q3A verses UT debate: GET BOTH!
NOTE: After further play (I have now played through the entire Test Demo Tier, and have also played numerous skirmishes.), I found Quake3 Arena to be better than my first impressions may seem to indicate. I still think that Unreal Tournament surpasses Q3A in several areas (Bots, Interface, Level of Customization, Mutators, etc.), but I am REALLY enjoying Quake3 Arena! And, I am enjoying the Q3A's Bots! I will wait for the full releases of both games before I hazard an opinion on which game is my favorite. (I know, I know, it still looks like I lean toward Unreal Tournament.) Hey, this is going to be fun. I can hardly wait. Stay tuned . . .
UNREAL TOURNAMENT TUTORIAL FOR THE BOTS
Several of the sites have mentioned it, and so has a friend or two, but everyone who has any interest in making levels for the Unreal Tournament Bots MUST read Steve Polge's Unreal Tournament AI and Gameplay for Level Designers. I had a couple of you ask if I was going to write an Unreal Tournament tutorial for the UT Bots like I did for the Unreal Bots. Well, it is all a moot question now. The master has written his own most excellent guide to pathing the UT levels for the UT Bots. I don't see a need for any other to be written. Now, there is no excuse to release any UT level that is not optimized for the Bots. The fact is, Bots are an integral part of Unreal Tournament. Steve's tutorial is jam-packed with all kinds of tips and tricks to get the Bots to play at their optimal best. Please, please read this tutorial! WARNING: If you make a UT level that isn't pathed for Botplay, don't be surprised if you get an angry letter from some Bot out there asking you to kindly read Steve's lesson and then re-do your level. (Hey, I could go on a crusade, or something!) You will find it here.
INFILTRATION NOW FOR UNREAL TOURNAMENT!
The team over at Infiltration just released their Mutator for Unreal Tournament. This, in my opinion, is THE BEST MOD EVER! Ever since downloading the Infiltration MOD for Unreal, I have not played the Unreal Bots any other way. (Well, except for the Unrel4Ever MOD.) As you know, this MOD changes all of Unreal and Unreal Tournament's weapons to real-world weapons. The Beta version for UT has the M9 (Pistol); the M90 (Shotgun); the M16 (Assault Rifle); the MP5 (Submachine Gun); the PSG and the Robar (Sniper Rifles); the AT4 (Launcher); and Hand Grenades. What more could you ask for? (Well, they are probably going to include even more weapons in the final version for UT!) The Infiltration Mutator even has a swell configuration menu that is accessible from UT's own MOD menu. (Aren't Mutators great?) This is THE ALL TIME MUST DOWNLOAD for Unreal and for Unreal Tournament! The Bots love Infiltration! Randar loves Infiltration! What are you waiting for? Get it now! Download it here.
All right, I admit it. Late one night I could not help myself. I just had to download the Nerf Arena Demo. I know it seems like a "Nerf" game has to be for wimps rather than real men and women who love a gib filled game of deathmatch . . . but I kind of liked it. (Hey, don't laugh, a lot of reviewers have given it high marks!) As you know this game is based on the Unreal Engine, and it looks and plays beautifully. I think that I will buy Nerf Arena when the price comes down.
DOWN WE GO AGAIN
I have also recently purchased Descent3. (I got it for a great price!) I really enjoyed Descent I & II, though they were almost the same thing. (Actually the Thief Bot in Descent II was fantastic! It had wild AI and made the game a blast. The rest of the Bots in the Descent games are kind of boring.) Descent3 is more of the same, only better. The graphics in D3 are as good as they get! (And you finally get to venture outdoors.) Pure eye-candy. Sort of like Unreal, but in a spacey sort of way. The controls and customization features are superb. My only real complaint is that the intro and cut scenes are poor quality, by today's standards. I guess I'm spoiled by all of the high-quality, movie-like productions that graphic artists are now producing for most games. Descent3's just don't measure up. But, don't let that detract from the overall look and feel of the game. This game only has about fifteen levels, but they are long and involved. (So far, I have not found the D3 levels to be as exciting as the Thief Bot levels in Descent II. But, I have not gone very far into D3 yet.) Overall, Randar would rate Descent3 as a 6.5 out of a ten star game.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
And one last post in this mega-update: There are two MODS in Classic Quake that you simply MUST try! The first is the Ultimate Devastation MOD by Malcolm Lim. This MOD has the Reaper Bot . . . on steroids! Not only that, but UDM has a bundle of weapons, old and new that will blow you away. There are also runes galore, and more. I recently have had the privilege to preview the 1.5 beta version of this MOD and it is even better than before! It has more weapons and smarter Reapers, plus a ton of tweaks including new sounds. It should go without saying, but the only way to play this baby (and any Quake MOD for that matter) is in GLQuake. This MOD looks simply gorgeous in GLQuake! UDM is going to be one of the top five or six Bot MODS for Classic Quake. Keep up the great work Malcolm! Go get UDM here.
The second is the FrikBot
by Ryan Smith. Though this new Bot is in its early phase and has a
little ways to go to match the Reaper and especially the Omicron and
Frog, it is still very well done. (To overcome any of the FrikBots
limitations, be sure and play against several at a time in any given
level.) However, Ryan's FrikBot has an edge that no other Bot has:
This Bot can play in a some major MODS that previously did not have
any Bot support. Now they do! This Bot can play the fantastic
Zerstorer MOD, which I think was one of the best Quake MODS of all
time. The FrikBot can also play BOTH of the Quake Mission Packs. And,
that's not all, it can play in the PainKeep MOD and several other
MODS for good old Classic Quake. (See! Quake ain't dead!) Be sure and
go to the FrikBot's homepage to see all the FrikBot ports to these
and other MODS, and let Ryan know how much you appreciate all of his
hard work on the FrikBot. Keep on tweaking the FrikBot, Ryan. Great
job! Go get FrikBot here.
Thursday: October 7, 1999
As you know, the Quake Bot wars continue to rage on. But, sooner or later a winner must be declared. As good as many of the Classic Quake Bots are, NONE are equal to the Omicron. This Bot was programmed by Mr. Elusive and has some of the best deathmatching skills of any Bot out there. He is also the programmer of the Gladiator for Quake II, and now he has been brought in as a consultant for the Quake III Arena Bots. (This is one of the best decisions that id could have made for Quake III Arena. The battle of the Bot programmers has begun. Epic has Mr. Reaper, and id has Mr. Elusive. Let the games begin!) Mr. Elusive has demonstrated his incredible Bot programming talents with both Omicron and Gladiator. What is even more impressive, at least to me, is the fully functioning pathnoding program that comes with the Gladiator. Elusive knows what he is doing. (If you want to see the quality of Mr. Elusive's talents, just look at the documentation that comes with both the Omicron and the Gladiator!) We can expect great things from the Quake III Arena Bots.
But, back to Omicron. Another Bot lover has taken note of the excellent qualities of the Omicron and has dedicated an entire web site to it: Skorpion's OmiBot Page! You really MUST visit his page. Skorpion has gone to an awful lot of trouble working on pathnoding or waypoint "ent" files that allow the Omicron to play at his very best. In fact, Skorpion has quite a selection of route files for some of the very best Quake maps out there. Now, I know what you are thinking, "I thought that the Omicron can play on any map?" That's right, but the "ent" files allow for the Omicron to play even better. By using a modified version of QBSP you can easily optimize the maps for tweaked Omicron play. And Skorpion has made it easy enough for all of us Botters to route the maps ourselves and play the best Bot for Classic Quake. (What are you still doing reading this? Go to Skorpion's page and download everything on it!)
One more thing.
If Mr. Elusive would finish the Gladiator Bot for Quake II, like he
did the Omicron for Classic Quake, the Gladiator would be the Number
One Bot for Quake II . . . even better than the Eraser.
Friday: September 24, 1999
A NEW FAQ FOR YOU
Well, so it's not
really new, but it is thoroughly revised and updated. Randar's BOT
FAQ is now ready for your
reading pleasure. Now, if you are new to all of this Bot stuff, and
don't know where to begin, this FAQ is must reading. And, if you are
well acquainted with the ways of the Bots, then read this FAQ with a
critical eye and see if there is anything else that needs to be said.
(And, who knows, perhaps I said something wrong?) There is one thing
I know about doing a Bot page, and only one thing, and that is the
fact that there are quite a few of you out there that know a whole
lot more than I do about Bots . . . and most everything else for that
matter. So, if there is anything that I need to be enlightened on,
please kindly let me know. Thanks!
Saturday: September 18, 1999
Well, I have tried out the Unreal Tournament Demo and all I can say is FANTASTIC! This is what a game should be. I have played UTD over a LAN and it was flawless. (No, I didn't play it on the Internet.) But, as you know, this page is all about Bots, so I will concentrate on the Bots in UTD. For starters, this game is one of the most highly configurable games ever. The user interface is superb. Epic got it right! For the Bots alone there are eight basic skill settings. But each Bot is customizable and has settings for Skill Adjustment, Favorite Weapon, Accuracy, Alertness, Camping, Combat Style, and Jumpy Behavior. And of course there is an Auto Adjust Skill selection. What more could you ask for? On the easiest setting the Bots really are easy. And, each skill increment does make a difference. I have noticed that if Bot developers can get this right, they usually get everything else right too. To put it simply, this ain't no ordinary Reaper. Bot AI has finally made a quantum leap forward. There were only a few times where I noticed stupid Bot behavior. (One was on DMPhobosDemo, where the Bots get stuck in the rafters. Hey, I bet I could tweak the pathnodes just a little bit and . . .)
Anyway, as you
know, the Demo comes with four basic game styles, but I have a
preference for good old deathmatch. But, now there is a twist:
Insta-Gib Deathmatch! This is much like Rail Arena, but with a fully
powered up ASMD Shock Rifle. WOW! Also, new to Unreal are "Mutators."
These allow variations on the deathmatch games: low gravity, Insta
Gib, and single weapon arenas where the only weapon in the game is
the Pulse, the Rocket Launcher, or the Shock. Of course there are a
couple of other game styles that come with the demo: Domination, and
Capture the Flag. The Bots do fairly well with these. Probably the
best way to play the Bots in these team games is to use the Bots to
fill out a team with a human player on each team giving orders to
each Bot. (Yes, you can give very specific orders to each Bot, or to
the entire squad.) If the finished product is as good as the demo,
then we are all in for a real treat. By the way, I have not had a
single glitch with the Unreal Tournament Demo. It looks, sound, and
plays beautifully. Quake III Arena—WATCH OUT!
Friday: August 20, 1999
A MOD OR TWO
A little while ago I tried out Infiltration for Unreal and, in a word, this MOD is superb! Like Serpentine (also an excellent MOD), this MOD changes all of the weapons in Unreal to real-world weapons. If I had to choose between Serpentine and Infiltration, I would probably go with Infiltration. But, my advice is to play them both and make up your own mind. Infiltration comes with two or three different kinds of "Bot" games available, but the best use of the Bots is in straight old deathmatch. Some of the Infiltration maps are fantastically huge. (You really must see Sub-Base!) But, the SteetFighter level is great Bot-fun. It looks like the Serpentine MOD is basically finished, but Infiltration is still in production. The next release should fix a few bothersome bugs. Go to the BOT MODS page to check out Infiltration.
Another MOD worth
your time is RiEvEr's port of Steve Yeager's ACE
Bot to the Holy Wars MOD for Quake II.
This port was done "quick and dirty" but it is very, very
well done! The ACE Bot has always been one of the better Bots for
Quake II, and it has been coded to know and play Holy Wars rather
nicely. This MOD comes with nine levels that ACE seems to know fairly
well. Go to the BOT
MODS page to check out the ACE
Bot-Holy Wars combo.
Friday: July 2, 1999
UNREAL MISSION PACK
I have just played through most of RETURN TO NA PALI and, though it is not one of the greatest mission packs ever, it is still very, very good. (Na Pali is far better than, say, Quake2's MPs, which were at best very mediocre. One of the best partial conversions I have ever seen has got to be Quake's Zerstorer. And Quake's two MPs were pretty good. Hey, while I am at it, did you every play Malice? ) Anyway, I simply enjoyed returning to Na Pali and exploring the Unreal world once again.
Now to more Bot related stuff. There are seventeen levels in Na Pali, three new enemies (The Space Marines are great! And, yes, this is Bot related because you can play against the Space Marines in Bot play!), and three new weapons. The new weapons include a Combat Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher, and a Rocket Launcher. I love these new weapons, but the GL and the RL are a little bit wimpy in the sound department. They are just too quiet. Each weapon has an alternate fire mode. The CAR fires five explosive rounds at once. The GL allows the grenade to be remotely detonated. (Learn to use this feature and you will rule the Bots!) And, the RL allows the rocket to be guided to the target. There is also a Cloaking Device. Overall, the Bots use the weapons and the Cloaking Device rather well. But, when will they ever quit blowing themselves up with the Eightball and the other explosive weapons?
This mission pack only comes with six deathmatch levels, and they are rather average. You will find much better levels at almost any Unreal level site out there. (But other levels must be converted to Na Pali so that they can include the new weapons. This should not be too hard though. By the way, Na Pali comes with UnrealEd which should make the conversion of old maps rather easy. I'll give it a try and let you know.) Two of the levels are basically un-playable for the Bots, especially DMSunspeak—one of the worst levels I have seen in a long time. I don't even know what DMHazard is all about. The best levels, in order of my preference for Bot play are: DMStomp, DMAthena, DMTerra, and DMDaybreak. There are a few new deathmatch modes that the Bots can play. One of the more interesting ones is Marine Match where you play the Space Marines you meet in the game. Now these are supposed to be "more deadly" than the regular Bots, but I could not tell a lot of difference on the easier or the harder skill levels. There is also a Gravity Match, but the Bots can't handle that one very well. Then there is Cloak Match, and since the Bots can use the Cloak, they can play the game. Finally there is a mode called Terran Weapon Match which uses ONLY the three new weapons and plays like a regular Deathmatch game. As you already know, the Bots are only as good as the levels designed for them. Well, there are a few areas in several of the levels that obviously weren't designed for the Bots. And, it looks like some of the levels could be tweaked for better Bot play. But, overall, the Bots in Na Pali are a very pleasant diversion . . . until Unreal Tournament! (Be sure and see the UT movie on the MP disk!)
NOTE: You can easily play ANY deathmatch map from Unreal and any third-party deathmatch map by dropping it into the Na Pali maps (UPak) directory! If you then choose Terran Weapon Match, you will have all of Unreal's regular weapons changed to the new Na Pali weapons. The conversion is automatic. Neat! Also, you CAN easily add the Na Pali weapons into any Unreal deathmatch level if you fire up UnrealEd—the one in the Na Pali systems directory—and save it with a new name (like DMNPxxxx.unr) and then place it in the UPak directory. Then you can play ANY deathmatch level with the new Na Pali deathmatch modes, like Space Marine. One more thing, if you want to convert an existing deathmatch level to Cloak Match, you do not apparently have to put in the Cloak. But, you may want to take out all the Stingers, since, for some reason, they become the Cloak. (As you push up the skill level on the Space Marines for Bot match, they do seem to be a little bit better . . . maybe. But, I am still not sure they are "more deadly" than the regular Bots. As I continue to play the Na Pali Bots, the skill settings just don't seem to work like they do in Unreal. That is, a skill "3" Na Pali or Marine Bot is not much different than a skill "0" Bot. In Unreal there IS a difference. Is anyone else noticing this?)
So, how does Return to Na Pali rate
according to Randar? The single player game is very enjoyable and
most of the level design is probably about as good as Unreal's. The
story line picks up where Unreal leaves off and perhaps is a little
more developed than Unreal's story line was. But, obviously, all I
really care about is BOTS!!! As far as Bot play goes, the Na Pali
Bots are not much, if any, different from the Unreal Bots (Version
2.24) . . . but why would they be? However, Na Pali does add a couple
of new deathmatch modes and three new weapons. And then there are the
Space Marines. (Hey, didn't Half-Life have marines and didn't I say
that, with their fantastic AI, they would make great Bots?) Well, I
will have to play the Space Marines a little more to see if they are
really that much better in the AI department than the regular Unreal
Bots. But, on a scale of one to five stars, I would give Return to Na
Pali FOUR STARS!
Tuesday: June 8, 1999
One of the best MODS that I have come across has got to be the SERPENTINE MOD for Unreal. This MOD replaces all of the weapons with real-world weapons and ammo. Excellent! There is only one problem. There are not very many levels that play this MOD very well. Why? This MOD has some of the most realistic gameplay ever, and it demands that the level creators craft their levels with realism in mind. All weapons have to be re-loaded and carefully aimed. There is no targeting crosshair, in the middle of the screen. Some of the weapons use alternate fire and have a sniper (scope) mode. These weapons do realistic damage, and most don't kill in one hit unless you are a very good aim . . . or just lucky. (Of course there is the "tank killer," but you are just as likely to blow yourself away as any player. And, the fragment grenades can also do a nice number on you as well as any enemy if carelessly used.) One of the best weapons for all around use has got to be the Ithaca shotgun.
Anyway, there is one level that comes with Unreal that is fairly good with Serpentine: DMTundra. However, this level needs a little tweaking for the Bots. (And, yes the Bots play Serpentine rather well!) So, fire up UnrealEd and load DMTundra. There are a couple of places that need additional pathnodes. First, the water areas do not work for the Bots—especially the well. Place at least four pathnodes on the edge of the wooden piers in the well, right at the edge of the water. Then, in the ice room, add a few more nodes at the edge of the ice so the Bots can get out of the water. Next, add a few more pathnodes along the walkway that leads to the superhealth. Do a "Path Define" and save the level. (If you need a little help using UnrealEd for pathnoding, see my TUTORIAL.) This should make the level play significantly better. Now the Bots will go just about everywhere. One last thing, if you want to try it out, you can place the "tank killer" (RPG-7) in the level. To do this, while in the game, just go to the location you want to place it (the roof is good) and type "summon invisibility" at the console.
One more thing, the Bots can't really use the grenades very well, so a level like DMMorbias won't work, unless you replace the Eightball and its rocket ammo in UnrealEd with some other weapons/ammo . . . try the goop-gun (it will be the Ithaca) but don't just use this weapon throughout the level or the Bots will rarely use it over the Colt .45. So, put in a nice variety. (The Bots seem to use different weapons for different purposes, such as long range or close up, etc.) Be sure and save this level under a new name.
You can go to the Serpentine
web site or find a link to it on my BOT
Monday: April 26, 1999
I just got a new system: AMD K6-2, 400 with 128 Meg of Ram and a Voodoo3-3000 (AGP)! It comes with a games bundle. And one of those games is Unreal 2.22r which is designed to run on the Voodoo3-3000. (Actually, it was supposed to come with Unreal Tournament. But there is a coupon for UT in the box.) This tweaked version of Unreal is sweet. (Some noticeable differences include special effects for the invisibility and the shield belt.) Even better, it comes with new Deathmatch maps: DM-Cybrosis, DM-Letting, DM-Loxi, DM-Mojo, and DM-Shrapnel. What is more, they are pathed for the Bots. While I wait for Unreal 2.24(?) I am going to get reacquainted with Unreal. With the Voodoo3 everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is turned up to the max. The only gripe I have is that this version of Unreal did not come with UnrealEd. But I uninstalled everything and then re-installed the original version of Unreal (plus patches) and then installed 2.22r over it. Everything seems to work and now I can tinker with the nodes once again.
By the way, I am happy with the Voodoo3-3000, and I really don't have any complaints. Most games work VERY nicely on my system. (Rogue Squadron is one of the only exceptions. The work-around is to go into DirectX and turn off Direct Draw and/or Direct 3d. Then, it runs perfectly. Oh yes, I can only get the 640X480 resolution in GLQuake. And, Legacy DOOM does not let me play any sound. But, that is probably the fault of my Sound Blaster Live.) Perhaps, after 3DFX releases updated drivers, most conflict issues will be resolved.
In the upgrade
process I also went with Windows98. I like it! When I was loading a
ton of software on my system (Hey, I have to fill up my 13G
hardrive!) some stupid shareware program hiccuped and trashed the
registry while it also squashed a critical windows file or two. This
was the easiest re-format and re-install of the operating system
ever! I am glad this did not happen with Windows95 . . . come to
think of it, it did! Windows98 may still be a "virus," but
it is less of a "virus" than Windows95.
Monday: April 19, 1999
No, I am not talking about some new MOD for Quake or Quake II, I am talking about the "Bots" in X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and X-Wing Alliance. In both games you have the options to go up against "artificial (AI) opponents"—Bots! In X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter you play against them in the Melee missions. In X-Wing Alliance you will find them in the Combat Simulator under Quick Skirmish. In both games you will be able to customize your "deathmatch pilots," but in X-Wing Alliance, the customization features are absolutely fantastic and almost limitless. You can choose from dozens of fighters and non-fighter ships, etc. (The Tie Advanced rules!) You can select the AI you want to play against. You can even choose from several different mission types and scenarios. (Again, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter is rather limited in all of this, but it still has great "deathmatch Bot play.") Well, how do these "Fly Bots" play? In a word, wonderfully. There are several different skill levels and each one is noticeably different from the next. If you put them on the novice level they really are easy. But if you put them on ace or above, watch out!
If you like the flight simulator experience combined with the glory that is Star Wars, AND if you love Bots, then X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and X-Wing Alliance are for you. (Oh yes, the single player missions are not bad, if you like that sort of thing. I don't care for them myself, but both of these titles have received very high marks in the Star Wars games genre.) By the way, you do not need a very high end machine to play the skirmish missions in X-Wing Alliance. (I have a P166, MMX with 64 Megs of RAM and a lowly Monster 3D card.) BUT, if you want to play the single player missions a low end system simply won't cut it!
Monday: March 1, 1999
One of the things
about Classic Quake that truly amazes me is how it is still alive and
kicking after all these "years"! Most games come and go.
But Quake may very well live forever. One of the reasons that Quake
lives on, is because of id's decision to release the source code—a
totally brilliant move on their part. Another reason is QuakeC, the
programming language for anyone interested in creating a MOD for
Quake. If there is one site that has done more to keep Quake alive,
it has to be Coffee's AI
CAFE. This is THE site to go to if you want to learn QuakeC
and if you want expert instruction and wonderful tutorials. Coffee
has quite a few of his own QuakeC MODs that are worth looking into as
well. His latest creation is "Bomb Squad." If you want to
find more links to Quake and Quake II programming, start with the AI
CAFE and also check out the BOT SITES
page as well.
Monday: February 23, 1999
Well, I just played through Turok2 and I will give you some of my thoughts. First, I tried the N64 version and really liked it, but the controls take some getting use to. Then, I bought the PC version and the controls are smooth and totally customizable. I am actually playing Turok2 on the minimal spec machine, and it really does quite well. (I have a P166-MMX with 64 Meg of RAM and a Monster 3D card.) The only real problem that I had with the game was installation. It was a pain to get Turok2 to recognize my Monster 3D and then when I finally got all of the correct drivers, the "fog" effect (which "fogs" out things in the distance) did not work. Everything was black where the fog should have been. So, I dumped the Monster 3D drivers and went for the 3DFX drivers that are on the Turok2 CD. Now it runs beautifully and looks luscious!
NOTE: I also installed Turok2 on my son's machine (P200 with 32 Meg of RAM and a Monster II 3D card) and I had similar problems getting the game to use the right drivers. But, finally I got all of the settings right, and the game looks even better on his machine! This time, though, I was able to actually use the Monster II 3D drivers.
Now, about the game itself. There was just something about the original Turok that I really, REALLY enjoyed. And Turok2 is a marvelous sequel to the Turok epic. The original Turok was huge, but Turok2 is humongous. The six mega-levels in Turok2 are all exotically different. The enemies are fantastic and have impressive AI. And the arsenal . . . well, it is almost too much to handle. (There are well over twenty weapons!) But, there is a down side.
Simply put, this game will not appeal to everyone since its size makes it such an incredible challenge. (Yes, Randar had to cheat to finish the game . . . maybe you will understand why.) This game goes on, and on, and on. The levels are not only monstrous, the missions are complex. The fact is, you can NOT do a level only once; rather, you have to eventually go back to each level to complete secondary and even tertiary objectives. (If you are really good, you won't probably have to go back a third time.) There was just no way that I could finish this game without a walkthrough. Each level has one or two missions that must be completed in order to exit to the hub and advance to the next level. But there is also a secret weapon piece that must be found in each level. And, in addition, there are talisman (special powers) that must be collected to enable you to ultimately find all of the keys to open up the arena for the final boss. All of this means that in order to finish the game without cheats you could expect to spend a very, very long time with Turok2. Now, that is not a bad thing, if you like this kind of game and have the time and patience to search every area of each level two or three times.
That brings me to an interesting point. I think that some people just have a certain talent for figuring out these puzzling games. (Sort of like the old Rubic's Cube!) I wonder how many times I got "lost" in the various levels, or how many times I could not figure out where to go next? Actually I did fairly well, but there are two levels that took me quite a while to complete. Nevertheless, I still like Turok2 and I look forward to Turok3! (Yes, the game leaves room for another episode. Don't they all?)
Oh yes. There is
one more thing. You have got to fire up Multiplayer Turok2. (It comes
with GameSpy Lite.) Any game company that releases a multiplayer
game, from now on, without having some kind of automated Internet
server link, should be ashamed of itself. This is the only way to go!
It was so easy to jump on to the Internet and find a viable server. I
actually got pings in the middle to high one hundreds! But, perhaps
that is because not everyone is playing Turok2 over the Internet.
Because I had so much fun with Turok2 over the Internet, I thought I
would go back to playing a little Quake and Quake II over the
Internet . . . now I remember why I do the Bots! Even with GameSpy I
could not find an Internet Quake or Quake II server with a ping less
than around 300. That is ridiculous! Alas, I remember the early days
of Quake when I used to get a descent ping and thus a great Internet
deathmatch experience. But, no more. Too bad. I guess it's back to
the Bots for me . . . well, maybe I'll do Turok2 deathmatch over the
Internet. (You have not lived, until you have been a Raptor!) That
is, until it to gets too "pingy." By the way, the Turok
deathmatch is pretty good, but, some changes will have to be made to
weapon balance. My only real gripe is that when players choose
colors, their character looks "cheesy" (i.e., lousy).
Monday: February 8, 1999
A FOND FAREWELL
I have noticed that it is getting harder and harder to find any of the Client Side Bots. Their links and their web pages are slowly disappearing. To confirm my suspicions I contacted Darrin Cullop, author of the Pandora Bot, and here is what he had to say:
C/S bots are going out of style ... They've become synonymous with cheating. Id has done everything they can get rid the world of CS bots, and people are starting to get the hint ... It's sad, but true.
Well, I suppose that the days of the Client Side Bots and their web sites are numbered. You can find the last of them listed on the BOT SITES page. (But, you will find that most of the links on the Client Side Bot pages that still exist, that point to other Client Side Bots and Bot projects, are dead. And, if there are pages for the Client Side Bots, they usually have not been updated in a very long time.) And so, we bid them a fond farewell . . .
STILL GOING STRONG
Now if you are
worried about the Server Side Bots going the way of the Client Side
Bots, let me calm your worries. It seems that the Server Side Bots
are not going to fade away anytime soon. In fact, they are stronger
than ever. (If you still don't know the difference between, Client
Side and Server Side Bots, please see my BOT
FAQ.) Quake II Bots and the
Unreal Bots are here to stay. (And don't forget that Quake Arena and
Unreal Tournament are soon to make an appearance!) But it should also
be noted that the Quake Bots are not only going strong, they are
making a come back of sorts. That is right, there are still a couple
of Classic Quake Bots in production. And there are even a couple of
NEW Quake Bots and Bot MODS that are creating quite a stir in the
Quake World. Have you seen the Holy Wars
Frog MOD? Also, watch for the appearance
of the Square Bot.
On a personal note, there is just something about the Quake Bot
deathmatch experience that is still unsurpassed. Have you tried the
or the Omicron,
or the Omicron in Rocket Arena?
And then there is the Estep Bot.
If you have not tried Estep (especially the female version), then you
have missed out on an incredible improvement to the Reaper Bot. One
more thing, Bots are coming to Starsiege:
Tribes! For all the links to all the
Bots, go to THE
BOTS page. So, the Server Side
Bots are indeed still going strong!
Saturday: January 30, 1999
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
Well, as you may have noticed, I lost my counter. If anyone knows of a FREE counter, please let me know. I do not want a counter that requires advertising or any other conditions. I am just looking for a small, simple little counter to keep track of the thousands . . . well hundreds . . . okay, the couple of people who kindly visit my page every day. Please email me with any information. Thanks!
I have been busy behind the scenes cleaning up this page. I have streamlined this site and hopefully it loads ever so slightly faster than before. (I don't know about you, but I am frustrated with all Internet Web pages these days that are getting slower and slower, taking longer and longer to load, because of all the advertising and fancy code. They look great, but my 28.8 modem is starting to complain. So I am going to do my best to keep this page "lean and mean" and fight the bandwidth bloat.) I deleted the few graphics that I had on a couple of pages. I also have gone through most every link and surgically pruned the dead or dying ones. There are a couple that are questionable, and I am waiting to see if there is any life left in the sites they point to. I have also tried to make the pages more consistent and the headings for each section have been revised to better describe the links that follow. Now, I have to tell you that probably no one but me would notice these subtle changes. But, they make me happy. One thing you might want to check out is the BOT SITES page. This page lists not only the best Bot sites on the web, but the best sites for the Client Side and Proxy Bots as well. Also, I have greatly expanded the links to those sites that deal with AI and Bot programming. So if you are wanting to build a Bot, or just curious about how the Bots work, be sure and browse the links on the BOT SITESpage. If you know of any links that need to be added to any of my pages, please let me know.
ON THE LEVEL
I have noticed
that some Unreal levels created before 2.20 are sort of "different"
when they are played under the latest version of Unreal. There seems
to be some occasional lighting changes—particularly to
the torchflame. (But even then, the torchflame is not effected in
every old level. Go figure.) This, however, can be easily changed by
going back into UnrealEd and changing its DrawScale number. As I
stated, this only seems to happen with a few levels. But, a more
serious little "problem" has come to my attention. I went
back to some of the levels that I had optimized for the Bots before
version 2.20 and have noticed that now, under 2.20, the Bots don't
always play the level like they did before (i.e., they did not play
as well or they got hung up where they never did before). Hmmmm. It
seems that in a few cases something happened to the level's
pathnoding. Now, I have only seen this on a couple of levels, so I
suppose that it is no big deal. But, I am going to have to go back
into UnrealEd and tweak a few levels again. Let's hope that version
2.21 does not have any surprises in store, especially for the Bots.
Hey, exactly when is 2.21 going to be released?
Friday: January 22, 1999
Well, I have been sitting on this unusual page for a long, LONG time, and I have decided that it is about time I shared it with you. I ran across it almost a year ago, and I realized that I had stumbled across the "dark" side of the Quake community. (Hey, maybe everyone already knew about this page, so I am the last to know.) But, I found the information fascinating. The information is provided by "FullaHate" and the name kind of says it all. Some of what he says is controversial to say the least. His page is called "Online Acumen." The particular page that I have linked to is entitled: "Reaper Bots Don't Cheat" and so you have the gist of what the article is about. But, you should know this article touches on all kinds of Reaper Bot related matters (and more), and it even has some information about the Omicron. In fact, if you want to know how to make a Reaper Clone, this is one place to start! Now for the disclaimer: If you go to this page, you are on your own. The opinions expressed on Online Acumen are not necessarily those of Randar's Bot Page or its sponsors. After all this, if you still want to go to the site, click here.
Saturday: January 9, 1999
A HUNTING WE WILL GO
Well, I had to go and do it. (No, I didn't kill Bambi!) I just had to try out the number one selling genre of FPS games in the world: The Hunting Games! (And, no, I'm not a Redneck!) Actually I found CARNIVORES: A Prehistoric Hunting Experience for $9.99 and I could not resist. Since I like dinosaur games (I loved Turok and can't wait for Turok II), and since I was rather disappointed with Tresspassers, I thought I'd go for it. My verdict? For what it is, and for as cheap as it was, it's pretty good! I would give it four out of five stars. The graphics and the 3D engine were actually very well done. (It supports 3DFX!) The controls were customizable and rather smooth. The weapons (there are only four of them: a compound crossbow, a shotgun, and a rifle . . . with the option to turn them into a tranquilizer gun/dart) are okay. (What, no rocket launcher? I know, I know, I am one sick puppy.) There are quite a few options to play with. The scenery (a choice of six islands) is very nice. The dino-AI is pretty good. And, gameplay is acceptable. I supposed you notice that I am not really raving. Hey, this is a HUNTING game, not a fast action shoot-em-up, kill-everything-in-site FPS. (And there are no Deathmatch Bots!) You actually have to think and strategize. So it is different. I find it a pleasant diversion. This game takes a little getting use to and it takes some time to build up points to go from Novice, to Advanced, to Expert. Each level allows you to go to different islands and choose different dinosaurs. Eventually you will face Velociraptors and the dreaded Tyrannosaurus Rex! Of course there is a cheat (in game play type in "DEBUGON") but you can still all too easily become a dino happy meal. All in all, if you want something a little different, a little more pedestrian, yet perky, take CARNIVORES out for a walk on the prehistoric wild side.
Friday: January 8, 1999
OPEN FOR BUSINESS . . . WELL, SORT OF
RANDAR'S BOT PAGE is now officially on USWest.Net! But, the move was not without casualties. I have to learn Netscape Communicator and its publishing features. (I would rather just use WordPad and WS-FTP!) Also, I must change some of the links in every html page that point to this site, and this will take some time. Be aware that the ARCHIVE page links will be rather messed up for some time. So, please bear with me. Also, this page on the old server hit 36,500+ in exactly one year—that's 100 hits a day. I'm happy. I hope you are too, and I hope this page continues to fill a niche in the Bot world. Thanks!
Monday: December 28, 1998
As I announced some time ago, RANDAR'S
BOT PAGE is going to be changing ISP's. So, for the
moment, there will be no more updates. Hopefully I will get this page
to its new ISP on USWEST.NET before ioNET pulls the plug on this one.
This page will "officially" start its move on January 1,
1999. If all goes smoothly, I will put a "Closed" sign on
this web site with a new forwarding address and a new email address.
Thanks for making this a great year. I look forward to continuing
this Bot page into 1999. See you on the other side.
Monday: December 14, 1998
Two Quake II Bots have made their appearance recently and I must say, they are very impressive. These two Bots are ICE and Gladiator. In my opinion, if the authors continue to develop these Bots they could easily rival the Eraser! (Some of the other Top Bots—like 3ZB, CRBot, ACE, and even Secant, could have given Eraser a run for its money, but their development, for the most part, has come to an end.) The Gladiator is the newest of the two and its first-edition "demo," while rather limited, is an excellent showcase of what this Bot can do. All I have to tell you is that Mr. Elusive (of Quake's Omicron Bot) is the author of Gladiator, and you know that this Bot is going to be great. The ICE is already up to version 0.3 and its list of features goes on and on and on. This Bot does it all! And what is more, it comes with its own Bot Launcher called ICER. The fact is, these Bots are getting too complicated to not come with their own specially designed Launcher. Future Bot authors take note! To download these Bots and any of the others, be sure to go to THE BOTS page.
Equally impressive is Unreal's
2.20 patch—this is a MUST download! The only problem I
had with the patch was having my fully tweaked Unreal.ini file (which
contained all of my customizations) wiped out. So, be aware that you
basically start from scratch with your Unreal configuration. Anyway,
what about the Bots? Well, they probably do play a little better . .
. maybe they even play smarter. One thing is for certain, the Bots
are a lot tougher! On skill "0" the Bots strafe and dodge
like an experienced Deathmatch player. And their aim is a little too
good. Against a Bot set at skill "0" I can barely hold my
own on most maps. Hmmm. If this is the "easy" skill setting
then I had better not even bother with the higher skill settings.
(Does anyone else think that the Bots are much too hard on their
lowest skill setting? Do the skill settings even work properly?)
Anyway, you might want to take a look at the Unreal.ini entries for
the Bots under the header "UnrealShare.BotInfo." There you
will find quite a few new entries, which if they really work, might
add quite a bit to the Bots. These entries include values for skills,
accuracy, combat style, alertness, camping, and favorite weapon. Now,
I am not sure if they work or not, and, I am not sure to what degree
they will actually change the Bots, but it looks like some of these
values can only be changed by hacking the ini file. If you would like
to experiment with these entries, please let me know what you come up
with! And, let me know if you find the skill settings to be "broken."
You can drop me an email here.
To download the 6+ Meg patch for Unreal 2.20 go to any of the major
Unreal sites found on the BOT SITES
page. One last thing. Does anyone know how to enter the value in the
Unreal.ini file that will always have the Bots start at the same
skill setting? It seems that much of the time that value gets reset
to "1" in the menu that accesses the "Base Skill"
of the Bots. Your help is appreciated. Thanks!
Wednesday: December 2, 1998
Well, it has been a while since my last update. As you know, very few of us who run websites do so "professionally." For most of us it is a hobby. And, sometimes our "hobbies" have to take a back seat to real life. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I have just not had the time nor the inclination to keep this page on the cutting edge of the Bot world. That is why I no longer do the NEWS. My page has evolved (or is that "devolved") more into a "Resource Page" than anything else. I hope that it still fills a niche in the Bot-loving community. I plan to keep all of the links on these pages current, and add any new links that I run across that impact the world of Bots. One more thing: this page will more than likely be moving to a new ISP by the first of January.
BITS AND PIECES
I have not done much with this page in the last month, but I have checked most of the links and added a few here and there. I have also slightly re-ordered some of the links on THE BOTS page as well as the BOT MODS page. You will find that the best Bots and Bot MODS are moved to the top of the list along with a word or two describing them as such. Of course all of this has to do with my opinions. And, of course, I have not tried out every last Bot or Bot MOD—but I have tried out most of them. Here are the winners . . .
The Best Bots for Quake: Omicron, Frog, Reaper (Quake, Estep), and Zeus.
The Best Bots for Quake II: Eraser, 3ZB, CRBot, and Ace.
The Best Bot MODS for Quake: Requiem, Killer Quake Pack, and the Ultimate Weapons MOD. Also, for Special MODS see PainKeep and Rocket Arena with the Omicron.
The Best Bot MODS for Quake II: Chaos Deathmatch and Three Wave CTF with the Eraser. (Also, try out Rocket Arena II with the Eraser as well as Rail Arena with the Eraser.)
THE DOOM BOT!!!
Now, not much is ever said about the DOOM Bots—yes DOOM has Bots—but the DoomBot based upon Legacy DOOM is rather good. (The Nexus Doom Bot is not far enough along, yet.) In fact it is good enough to justify loading DOOM and DOOM II back on to your hard drive. (Yes, the Legacy DoomBot can play either the DOOM or the DOOM II wads!) There are a couple of things that you need to know to play the DoomBot: (1) They don't pick up anything. Instead they come equipped with the Chain Gun, the Rocket Launcher, and the Plasma Gun. (2) Make sure that you play them in levels that have the same weapons that they do. Or, you can use the cheat "IDFA" to give you the weapons and ammo you need. (3) The doombot.bat can be modified to change the skill levels. (4) You can warp to levels using the DOOM Legacy console. But some levels need to be "processed" by "adding" them to the wad. The way you do this is to go to the console and type in "map xxxxx.wad." Next, you have to find which DOOM or DOOM II map has been replaced and go to that map from the console. (5) Don't expect the DoomBot to be like the Quake, Quake II, or Unreal Bots . . . But the DoomBot does bring back that old DOOM deathmatch experience. Very nice! Oh yes, if you want to download the Legacy DoomBot go to THE BOTS page.
NOTE: A new version of the DoomBot was just released. This version allows the Bots to pick up and use all the weapons! (The Bot can now even use the BFG.) Also, it appears that the current version cannot play the original DOOM wad. And, all maps must now be loaded through the doombot.bat file. The map the DoomBot is now set to play is probably one of the very best DOOM deathmatch levels ever—"Dead Simple."
Wednesday: November 11, 1998
I HAVE FORSAKEN BOTS
Now that I have your attention, let me put it a little
differently. My sons recently got a Nintendo 64 and I picked up a
used copy of Forsaken—AND IT
INCLUDES CPU DEATHMATCH OPPONENTS IN ITS MULTIPLAYER MODE . . . IN
OTHER WORDS, IT HAS BOTS!!! (How come no one told me this before?)
Now, Forsaken is available for the Nintendo 64, the PlayStation, and
the PC platform, and I assume that all of these versions are
basically the same. (I was informed that there
are no CPU opponents in the PC or PlayStation version. What a shame
Acclaim! Oh well, maybe these game companies will one day catch on to
the plain and simple fact that Bots make a game more re-playable and
much more enjoyable. If id is successful with Q3A, maybe the gaming
community will wake up to how great Bots really are and start
demanding that Bots be a part of every FPS. We can only hope.)
Basically, Forsaken is a Descent-like game on Speeder Bikes. The
graphics are cool, there are a ton of weapons, and the game play is
fast and furious. But, what about the Bots? In a word, excellent! I
was blown away by their AI—literally. (Hey, I am a mouse and
keyboard man, not a controller-joystick player. I will have to
practice.) These Bots are good. In the little time that I have played
them, I could not detect any problems. As for the single player part
of Forsaken—who cares when there are Bots! (Once again, the
enemy AI in single player is rather predictable. And, remember, I
don't usually care for the single player mode in most FPS games.)
But, the multiplayer is great and, of course, that is where you play
the Bots. Move over, Quake and Unreal Bots, there is a new Bot in
town and you guys just might be forsaken.
Open ARCHIVES TWO.