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Thread: Bot video analysis (LONG)

  1. #1
    Basic Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Bot video analysis (LONG)

    First off I’d like to make a request to Chris to make a command that will spam the –dumpbots command once or twice every second.
    I’m not too good at remembering to copy/paste it into chat when killing things and for me the most glaring issues that I’ve encountered are pretty much all cases where the bot starts acting in conflicting ways. I assume that means certain values are quickly changing causing the AI to change its mind in rapid succession. Hence, to better look at this behavior more than just a single dumpbots would be good.

    The following video shows about 6 games (3 or 4 played with 2 friends) against NORMAL bots and showing many of their bad moments, particularly I’d like to point out the conflictions in AI near the start as being the worst. I’d say the video shows gradually less severe bot cases.

    Without further ado, here is the video and descriptions of what’s going wrong.
    I bolded certain time stamps, the ones I think are very good examples of what they're doing wrong and how they should be improved.

    TL;DR: Read the bolded time stamps and part 1. Alternatively, just watch the video.

    PART 1 – 00:00 – 02:06 – Early laning conflicts (this entire part is critical)
    This is basically showcasing some early laning abuse, the first 3 I specifically set up to show it. In the other 6 games that I played normally I didn’t use these tricks (intentionally), because basically it’s extremely cheap and starting with 500+ gold and almost 2 free levels makes the game kind of redundant.
    The bots have a tendency to shuffle around when using these tricks or start an attack animation on you only to cancel it at the last second for no apparent reason.

    00:00-00:24 – Quite possibly the worst conflicting behavior. If you’re on the safe lane, simply right after the creeps start fighting come up from the side/behind and start attacking the enemy heroes. They’ll run away at first, but once they’re a certain distance away from the creeps they want to go back, yet at the same time realize they have to run from the attacking heroes. They end up shuffling on the spot till they’re at about 30-40% health. This can be done as any hero, ranged or melee, with an ally or without, against any bot setup.
    The only time you’ll ever be in danger using this tactic is if you’re 1v2 with someone like Alchemist against a Tidehunter/Juggernaut or Sven/Bane combo. But that is literally it, if you’re 2v2 it’s a double kill for free.
    00:24-00:49 – Sort of the same, but on the suicide lane. Block the creeps enough to allow you to run around the side shop, then simply start harassing. As you can see the bots start acting in conflicting ways again. There is a decent chance that they jump on you if you’re 1v2 so don’t try this unless you’re a strong ranged.
    00:49-01:24 – Proving just how easy it is to kill both heroes even if you’re 1v2 melee on the safe lane. Also note how Kunkka ran back and started last hitting creeps as he wasn’t the one being attacked.
    01:24-01:40 – Shows very well how they try to attack you only to change their mind at the last second. Other than that nothing too special.
    01:40-02:06 – Included mostly because it’s basically the same as the other tricks, but this time shown at a higher level. They appeared to be completely ignoring me until Bane died also, as they didn’t even do their attack-cancelling like usual.

    PART 2 – 02:06 – 04:21 – Wrong priorities
    Basically this is bots just going horribly wrong in their priorities. Tanking creeps for no reason, ignoring a player who is attacking them, things like that.
    02:06-02:21 – Razor for whatever reason runs into my face and then promptly continues to auto attack some creeps while I bash in his skull
    02:21-02:43 – Bane just completely ignores me for ages, even when he finally acknowledges me by brain sapping and then sleeping me he immediately forgets about me again and continues last hitting creeps despite his very bad position and low health.
    02:43-03:01 – Vengeful Spirit tanks some creeps down to 30% health for absolutely no reason while I’m standing next to her, I have dust on me so she could perfectly attack me but instead tanks creeps and almost dies. (Correction, she does, she got sun struck later)
    03:01-03:46 – Vengeful Spirit tanking creeps for no reason again. Followed by Tiny prioritizing last hitting creeps over saving his team mate/killing enemy heroes that are diving. Followed by Windrunner and Crystal Maiden prioritizing Forge Spirits over heroes (and generally putting themselves in a bad position).
    03:46-04:05 – I could argue that the enemy team was diving too far but I don’t think it’s enough to make a point out of, more to the point Bane just randomly forgets about his team and prioritizes those important last hits over getting away from 3 heroes. Sure, Bane couldn’t see us at first but being so far into enemy territory without his team should ring some alarms, additionally he kept on attacking a creep for another 3 seconds or so even when he saw enemy heroes.
    04:05-04:21 – Tiny prioritizing creeps once again while I’m bashing his skull in.

    PART 3 – 04:21 – 06:07 – Pathing
    This part is bots pathing into their obvious deaths, some worse than the others, but all of them have much improvement available.
    04:21-04:33 – Juggernaut should’ve pathed further to the north then towards the west. This would’ve kept me and the creeps from damaging him too much. Shortest path isn’t always the safest.
    04:33-04:44 – Lina and Crystal Maiden chasing me towards the mid tier 1 tower. Realizes they aren’t going to get me. They both walked the shortest path back to their own towers, except Lina ran into 2 heroes and a tower.
    04:44-04:57 – It’s kind of a borderline this one, Vengeful Spirit survived after all but seeing as she was already being attacked it wasn’t a very wise path to go through the river. If not for Windrunner missing her Power Shot she would’ve died.
    04:57-05:09 – A case of pathing not being able to be combined by the looks of it. Once Razor saw my arrow, he completely dedicated his pathing to dodging it. In doing so he wasted so much time that I caught up and killed him. The ideal situation here is that his ‘run away’ and ‘dodge arrow’ pathing are combined to find a path that can do both. (Namely, running north-east) Right now, it can only do one at a time.
    05:09-05:26 – Why did she decide to eat a tree a mile away? If she had just stunned me and ran off I wouldn’t have been able to get her, no need for any Tango’s.
    05:26-06:07 – Take a good look at the map. This is just team coordination failing at its core. They appear to come from Roshan’s lair at first, I don’t know why they were there but they decided to go to bottom and gank Sniper. Sniper however ran back so they turned around. Then wanting to go back to middle to defend. However, Bane and Windrunner want to push bottom is seems. Tiny isn’t sure what to do and seems to want to run through the secret shop to defend middle, Razor thinks otherwise and goes straight through the middle. The result is a completely split team causing Razor to get picked off. Sadly I didn’t realize just how confused their team was while playing otherwise I’d have done a dumpbots command.

    PART 4 – 06:07 – 10:55 – Random things
    First section is mostly weird initiations, third part is a bit showing what you could call a ‘reverse lane initiation’, third section is just showing some AI errors/areas for improvement
    06:07-06:47 – This part is just generally weird. Bane suiciding, Sven suiciding. Windrunner and Razor suiciding for a Zeus kill that they had no chance of getting anyhow. Then Tiny putting himself in a very bad situation followed by him prioritizing creeps over heroes. To top it all off Crystal Maiden then attempts to survive by running all the way back South-West through tower range instead of quickly getting out of it by running North-East.
    06:47-07:02 – Sven teleporting in at very low health. If he hadn’t teleported in at the other end of the tower or Windrunner wasn’t there he’d have died easily.
    07:02-07:23 – 2 heroes 1 by 1 teleporting into 4 heroes. I don’t know why they even -started- channeling the teleport, however this and the previous scene is a perfect example of why they should check the safety of their teleport location both before teleporting and just before finishing the teleport.
    07:23-07:55 – First of all looking at these recordings again I felt that perhaps the AIs start to considering the priority of dodging the arrows less and less as the game progresses. Sure, it doesn’t do that much damage when you got 2000 health, but it’s still up to a 5 second stun.
    Secondly, the bots are just trickling in 1 by 1 and getting themselves killed.
    07:55-08:08 – Bane was invisible and tries to attack us. He didn’t know Razor was nearby but he wouldn’t have managed anything 1v2 either.
    08:08-08:15 – The Crystal Nova was already fairly risky, but to then stick around and try to initiate 1v2 as Crystal Maiden against the enemy carries when the t3 is already down is completely suicidal.
    08:15-08:27 – This kind of seems more like a Force Staff-specific bug, I would imagine she wanted to Force Staff herself backward to avoid being caught but it seems she used it before she turned around, causing her to push herself into the enemy team.
    08:27-08:52 – Bots just appear to completely ignore me after I manage to dodge their stun and they fail to kill the courier.
    08:52-09:13 – This is the ‘reverse initiation’ that I mentioned earlier. What happens is that if you cast a spell on bot #1, bot #1 will run away, while bot #2 will attack to try and scare you away from #1. However, what often happens here is that #2 puts himself in a far worse position than #1 is who immediately started running. What you can basically do is to just throw your harassment spell out on a Sven being supported by a Crystal Maiden, Sven runs away while Crystal Maiden runs into you to scare you off. Obviously, you’re just going to explode Crystal Maiden.
    09:13-09:20 – Same as previous scene, it was obvious we weren’t engaging on Bane and just harassed, but Sven wasted half his mana pool. If we had a stronger ganking combo we probably could’ve jumped and killed Sven.
    09:20-09:37 – Bane buying back with only 8 out of 47 seconds left on respawn. Bots should become exponentially more reluctant to buy back as their respawn time goes down.
    09:37-10:05 – Just kind of showing how clunky bots are to human pings. After spending 10 seconds getting Juggernaut into position he decides that I want him to stand in tower range and afk. Then when he finally understands what he should be doing he runs away when Zeus is at 10 health while he is at 40%.
    10:05-10:16 – Just showing the latest version of the Roshan bug.
    10:16-10:41 – While watching my recordings for scenes to put into this video I realized just how many times Razor completely wastes his link. He should get closer before linking and try to stay close while it’s up. He shouldn’t do a max range link unless the target is already stunned, it’ll just break instantly.
    10:41-10:48 – Kind of random and perhaps not an issue at all but I laughed at how I didn’t take damage from Sven thanks to Bane. Did Bane think to initiate on me by sleeping? Or did they think I was initiating on them and they both used their CC to give them some time to run away?

    Lastly I'd like to mention something that I didn't include in the video which is bots and using escape abilities. Currently, they use their abilities when they are running away and at critical health.
    The problem here is that often times this is too late. Juggernaut and Windrunner are good examples for this, Juggernaut often times only uses his spin at 10 or 20% health, after the enemy used all their spells to stun him. Similarly when you're chasing Windrunner she uses Windrun when at 10% health and promptly gets finished off by a spell, when she could've used it at 100% health and outrun us, never allowing us to even catch up to her.
    Basically the bots should realize that if they simply continue to run normally, they'll die. Hence, they should their escape spell RIGHT THERE rather than when they're virtually dead.

  2. #2
    Valve Developer
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    I won't be able to dig into this for a bit (going to be out of the office for a few days), but this is really fantastic. Thanks a ton.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    They’ll run away at first, but once they’re a certain distance away from the creeps they want to go back, yet at the same time realize they have to run from the attacking heroes. They end up shuffling on the spot till they’re at about 30-40% health.
    I find it positively marvelous how closely this references "Runaround" by Isaac Asimov, the short story from I, Robot (and the first appearance of the Laws of Robotics).

    I guess you've probably read I, Robot, ChrisC, but if you haven'tyou really should read "Runaround". It's like the master of science fiction was anticipating your job.

  5. #5
    Basic Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Haha, that is an exact fit yeah.
    Damn equilibrium's.

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