How Your PC Can Make You Better at Warcraft

| 14 May 2009 20:09

Java developers have converted a neural network interface to act as a second pair of eyes while playing Warcraft

Defense of the Ancients is a scenario for Warcraft 3 that is heavily influenced by Starcraft, and the map "Aeon of Strife". However, it does have a eye blistering array of differing spells to use, and micro-managing has been somewhat of a nightmare until now.

The DOTA Autoscript uses a neural network (similar to your own brain) to analyze, decipher and queue actions happening on screen. While the script is running in the background, it keeps a constant watch on what's happening and runs it through its own expert system to determine what your best course of action is.

All this is done purely on what is on screen, rather than triggers in the programming. The beauty of this neural network though is that because it works graphically, it can use a recognition system to understand what buffs are where, even if you change the screen size. It also can recognize a "recharging" buff as well, so it can be ready for use as soon as it recharges.

To give you a taste of its versatility, pressing one key activates the entire expert system to queue up all available attack spells on the current target, which will all release as soon as they finish recharging.

If you're defending though, the text to speech interface will tell you just before your defensive spells are extinguished, so that you can immediately bring them back up to strength.

How it does that is explained on the site (with reference to Paris Hilton, no less) but it does leave one question.

Who's actually playing the game at this point?

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Zeeky_Santos:

i on the other hand think that this removes all skill from playing. the true difficulty of the game (that made it fun) was because only the 1337est micro management could save you from oblivion. getting a script to do this is considered haxxors.

True skill from playing DotA is from being able to LH/deny well, knowing when to gank/push etc plus general knowledge of the hero your playing. This tool does none of this and never will. If your bad at the game this app will not help you.

I see this as more of a newbie aid and its the main reason I assist in the project but have no use for it myself (Except on Invoker).

I still do no understand how this crappy little article of ours got on here and slashdot though.

Portkins:
I... Hate... Dota...

User was hated for this post.

if you have nothing good to say don't say anything at all.

i on the other hand think that this removes all skill from playing. the true difficulty of the game (that made it fun) was because only the 1337est micro management could save you from oblivion. getting a script to do this is considered haxxors.

Extravaganza:

shirin238:
Now I wanna play again as well... Does it work on Vista?

Excuse me, what was the last (Real) game that didn't run on Vista??

KOTOR 2

RAWKSTAR:
Reminds me a bit of DemiGods...

demigods is based on DotA

The_root_of_all_evil:

You think we're misinformed. Perhaps your assumptions are incorrect.

To clarify, here are the specific lines that I consider "misinformed":

While the script is running in the background, it keeps a constant watch on what's happening and runs it through its own expert system to determine what your best course of action is.

"Course of action" is a very generous way of describing what the program gives you. It's actually just using a hardcoded list of spell priorities. In other words, if you have stun A ready, it will use it and any other relevant attack abilities when user hit the button '4'. If stun A is on cooldown but stun B is available, use B and any other relevant attacks when the user hits '4' instead. It doesn't tell you when to use it, who to use it on, or any of that. It doesn't tell you where to go. It just allows you to instantly cast multiple spells quickly instead of one at a time, which is slower just because you are human.

If you're defending though, the text to speech interface will tell you just before your defensive spells are extinguished, so that you can immediately bring them back up to strength.

This makes it sound like the program "knows" when you are defending. It doesn't. It is aware of your cooldowns for all of your spells (if you are using one of the heroes it has been trained for) and comes up with the best combo available based on the priorities as I mentioned, so I really don't understand why it was implied here that it is context-sensitive. In fact, looking at the list of heroes available http://dota-autoscript.com/blog/manual/ there, I don't see any abilities listed that have the function you are describing. I can't, off the top of my head, think of any heroes in the entire game whose abilities you would ever want to "bring ...back up to strength", which I assume means recasting them, regardless of the context (again, it can't make context-sensitive decisions). It does have the ability to cast phase boots as soon as its cooldown is complete, which still doesn't fit what you are describing, but that's the closest I can find.

EDIT: Also forgot about the final line: "Who's actually playing the game at this point?" since, as I'm trying to explain, DotaAutoscript really doesn't do as much as the article implies. I realize that this line is mostly in jest, but some people are going to read it and really think that this DotA game is getting played for them. This is NOT wowglider!

The_root_of_all_evil:

Who's actually playing the game at this point?

I do, on a daily basis. Sounds interesting, that's pretty awesome.

The_root_of_all_evil:

tanek:
I'm thinking the "Who's actually playing the game at this point?" was more asking whether it is the human or the computer actually playing in the case described. Not asking if anyone still plays DotA. Could be wrong, but that is how I read it.

I'm glad someone got it :)

Damn it, that nullifies my point.

The_root_of_all_evil:

As I said, quite clearly, I think, it acts as a second pair of eyes. That being said, the neural network could easily be used to identify enemies using exactly the same system.

I suppose theoretically it could in the very distant future, but it doesn't now and it probably never will.* The only thing it is trained to recognize are the static images at the bottom of the screen that represent your abilities. It has absolutely zero knowledge of your current situation. That's my point about the nukes - there's a very limited number of ways to use them, and in fact the order to use them were hard coded ahead of time, so it's not even really figuring out much there on the fly.

As I said, I have actually been using Dota-Autoscript for a couple weeks now, and it doesn't do nearly as much as people seem to think. You throw the word "neural net" around and people think your program must be awesome. It's really just a minor utility, clicking faster for you.

*-Training a neural net for this would be way more than what they have now. The images it recognizes are static, whereas recognizing 3-D enemy models from any possible angle while in motion is a whole different thing. It would not be feasible to run such an analysis on your computer in real-time.

oneplus999:
Hah hah both here and Slashdot seem to think autoscript is somehow taking over gameplay for the human. Both are ridiculously misinformed, though I realize there is some jest there.

You think we're misinformed. Perhaps your assumptions are incorrect.

As I said, quite clearly, I think, it acts as a second pair of eyes. That being said, the neural network could easily be used to identify enemies using exactly the same system.

Yeah he means when such a script is fully developed, who will be playing - the human, or the computer?

I'm not really surprised something like this came out. In fact, lots of tools have been used before in WC3.

Still, you make a good point. I find the technology cool and all, but once this thing gets going, all of a sudden it's less about the player and more about the player reacting to what the script says.

It could absolutely screw over the definition of "experts/pros", as well as maybe making an impact on tournaments and the like.

Reminds me a bit of DemiGods...

shirin238:
Now I wanna play again as well... Does it work on Vista?

Excuse me, what was the last (Real) game that didn't run on Vista??

Hah hah both here and Slashdot seem to think autoscript is somehow taking over gameplay for the human. Both are ridiculously misinformed, though I realize there is some jest there. For one, you don't have a huge range of abilities in DotA. Usually it's anywhere from 2-5, depending on your hero and items, the only real exception being the Invoker, with 14 spells and then additional abilities from items. Normally, the combos are going to be pretty obvious. For example, I'm going to stun this guy, then hit him with a damaging spell, then another damaging spell, then my other stun. All autoscript does it figure out your spells and casts them all at once, faster than you could have. It's not really figuring out anything that wouldn't have been obvious to even the most novice Dota player. The only real benefit is that it does it faster than you can.

Basically, if you think figuring out which spell to cast is an important part of DotA, then you've clearly never played DotA. It's important yes, but there's a hell of a lot more going on than that.

EDIT: Btw been using Dota-Autoscript for a couple weeks now.

tanek:
I'm thinking the "Who's actually playing the game at this point?" was more asking whether it is the human or the computer actually playing in the case described. Not asking if anyone still plays DotA. Could be wrong, but that is how I read it.

I'm glad someone got it :)

tanek:
I'm thinking the "Who's actually playing the game at this point?" was more asking whether it is the human or the computer actually playing in the case described. Not asking if anyone still plays DotA. Could be wrong, but that is how I read it.

Edit: Oh, and to actually respond to that question, it seems that the human input is fairly minimal, with the computer making all the decisions and tracking all the abilities. So I'd say the computer. Shall...we...play...a...game?

Nope, lemme download this script to have the computer play it for me.

Now I wanna play again as well... Does it work on Vista?

I'm thinking the "Who's actually playing the game at this point?" was more asking whether it is the human or the computer actually playing in the case described. Not asking if anyone still plays DotA. Could be wrong, but that is how I read it.

Edit: Oh, and to actually respond to that question, it seems that the human input is fairly minimal, with the computer making all the decisions and tracking all the abilities. So I'd say the computer. Shall...we...play...a...game?

i still play it a lot, its one of my favourite ones ever :P now i gots a hankering for some mapha.... or maybe stronghold

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