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AI Challenge Forums • View topic - using bot id, history to win

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using bot id, history to win

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using bot id, history to win

Postby jcothran » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:39 pm

If the game included bot id's , would anyone use that to get a better game advantage on knowing certain bot's play history,strategies,strengths/weaknesses?
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby dhartmei » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:59 pm

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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby jcothran » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:28 pm

Thanks, hadn't thought of it in the 'cheating' or collusion context. Was thinking more about how the bots are artificially limited because they have no memory unlike human players.
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby voidptr » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:49 pm

It's definitely possible to recognize the starter bot within the first few moves --- certainly by the turn after it takes its first planet. I have considered writing a little module to recognize the starter bot and play more aggressively against it (since it's pretty easy to predict its actions as much as 10 turns in advance). I don't believe this would be cheating, since the rule about "bot identity" is really aimed at preventing collusion, rather than preventing clever changes in tactics. According to the letter of the law, it's perfectly permissible (and in fact necessary) to base your tactics on your opponent's behavior.

However, I haven't actually written the starter-bot-recognizing module, and I don't expect to. It would be kind of a cool hack, but it wouldn't boost my win percentage any, because it's already easy to beat the starter bot; I don't get any advantage from changing my tactics in that case!

I wouldn't be surprised if a RageBot recognizer could win a few more games against RageBot, but again I think those games are mostly decided on turn 1 --- either RageBot gets lucky and is well on the way to winning, or you kept enough ships at home on turn 1 to repel RageBot, which means he's basically lost already.

Of course, if Alice and Bob got together and decided that Alice's bot would, upon recognizing the behavior pattern "launch 1 ship to planet 1 and 2 ships to planet 2", switch to the strategy "play to lose" --- well, that would clearly be against the spirit of the rules, and I'd call it cheating. But as long as Alice doesn't collude with Bob, and doesn't ever play to lose, I'd say she can certainly try to recognize when she's playing a Bob-like bot.
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby dhartmei » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:50 pm

What's certainly OK is to make your bot's behavior dependant on the opponent's behavior (not its identity).

You can build a memory and upload it together with your code, like of the form "when the opponent does that in the first turn, do this",
or "if the opponent does this, assume he's of this kind, and react so and so".

And you're free to download and analyse any game you can find to build such a memory.

I suspect that as long as you don't try to lose intentionally as part of some collusion scheme, nobody will object (or even notice)
if you figure out an opponent's identity and react to it (or, technically, to its behavior) :)
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby jcothran » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:43 pm

I don't believe the contest organizers have the time or resources to discover evidence of collusion amongst the top contenders so far via 'signaling' between top contending bots, so the bot id requirement doesn't really seem a barrier to collusion style cheating amongst top opponents if that's a concern. The availability of the replay records for download and analysis and the post-contest sharing of the source code should go far enough to avoid cheating or collusion.

Where the bot id fails as a requirement for anti-cheating, it could be used positively to have better bots overall by public sharing of known bot strengths/weaknesses.
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby Terr » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:05 am

I disagree. Not having the ID of your opponent is actually a major stumbling block, because in order to reliably signal between two bots, you'd need to make a lot of sub-optimal (or at least pointless) moves in order to accurately "handshake", moves which would hurt the bot in 99% of matchups.

Not only that, but I'm sure there's enough data in the scoring system to identify places where--among two highly-ranked bots--one seems to mysteriously fail against the other and not against any other peers.

Finally, I disagree that having the enemy bot ID would be a good thing. All it would do is give an incentive to players who compile massive if-then strategy lists based on other players and put "honest" bots that actually strive for good strategy at a disadvantage. It would also punish players who don't make a last-minute re-registration (against the rules for other good reasons) with a new "un-profiled" account.
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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby voidptr » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:00 am

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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby rangzen » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:06 pm

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Re: using bot id, history to win

Postby jcothran » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:46 pm

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