Interesting insight into building a StartCraft bot, and the world of profefessional StarCraft players.

"Real-time strategy games provide an excellent environment for A.I. research and creating bots that are capable of defeating skilled players in this domain is still an open problem," explains Weber. "EISBot is the Expressive Intelligence Studio's StarCraft bot and is part of our dissertation research. It is coded in a reactive planning language and is composed of managers that handle different aspects of gameplay. EISBot selects build orders from a set of replays using case-based reasoning. Our goal is to build a bot that learns how to play StarCraft competitively based on analysis of expert StarCraft replays." ...

"We picked StarCraft specifically because of the active community," Weber tells us, when asked why he and Mawhorter selected the game for their research, versus other alternatives. "In South Korea, hundreds of professional gamers actively participate in tournaments such as the MBC and OGN star leagues. This community generates a large amount of replays that are available for building bots. It also generates a large number of interesting StarCraft matches to watch. StarCraft is played all over the world and there are several active community websites. It's easy to find players interested in playing the EISBot and our bot has already played against players in over 30 countries," he explains enthusiastically.

"Another reason we selected StarCraft was because of the complexity of the game,” Mawhorter adds. "StarCraft has three distinct races and is a well-balanced game; in any particular match up in StarCraft, there are a large number of strategies that are valid. Despite being over 10 years old, StarCraft does not have a dominant strategy. StarCraft has an active meta-game in which popular strategies are constantly evolving. This factor adds to the challenge of building strong computer opponents."

Side note: if there are really hundreds of professional StarCraft players in South Korea, then Blizzard's decision to restrict StarCraft 2's network play by forcing players to use the proprietary Battle.Net instead of private LANs makes a lot of financial sense. If these StarCraft players are all playing on LANs, there's no way for Blizzard to monetize the crazy popularity of their 10-year-old game.

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