Halo 2 has bots!?!

This paragraph seems to suggest that.

Aaron and Luis have been automating the stress testing. That means they have about 35 debug Xbox systems running overnight, with Master Chiefs running around pretty much randomly, tossing grenades and jumping around blasting aimlessly. In theory, if he gets near a vehicle, he could jump in and drive it around too, but since the system is automated, nobody’s actually around to witness the insane nocturnal antics of 35 Master Chiefs.


I don’t think that paragraph suggests that. Automated testing usually are scripts set up by programmers to stress test game systems.

Yeah, I imagine it’s just set up to try and reproduce bugs in problem areas

It also sounds like 1 Master Chief on each of 35 Xboxes, so don’t get your hopes up.

  • Alan

Microsoft games is big into automated testing. They just cobble together some dirt-simple AI designed to run from objective to objective shooting everything in its path, make it invulnerable, and let it run overnight. Or they just have it randomly wander the level. It’s good for uncovering spots where you’d get stuck and unusual crash bugs. There’s a big difference between that and fun bot AI, though.

Microsoft * is big into automated testing. Win2k was running stress on over 5000 machines a night, for the 6 months prior to ship.

Yeah, automated testing rules.

For sure. It saves QA a lot of time doing mindless repetitive tasks and saves their sanity as well. The big challenge is setting up useful automated testing in games.

Automated testing. Who’da thunk it.

Oh well.

Grasping for straws, but doesn’t that line about being able to get into a vehicle if automated Master Chief wanted to hint at some level of dynamic AI?

AI that behaves randomly for testing is easy. AI that acts convincingly like a human player is hard.

Probably it’s just coded up so that when an action is available (e.g. “press X to enter vehicle”), there’s some chance the testing script will execute it. Of course, depending on the complexity of the script the agent may not be able to exit the vehicle, or may sit around in the passenger seat doing nothing, etc.

You ever see those “AI” players in BF1942 that sit around manning a rear-facing fixed machine gun position back behind friendly lines? Writing bad AI is easy – it’s just a finite-state machine. Writing good AI (i.e. human-like behavior) is hard.

  • Alan