Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Best Bot Match Games: Team Fortress 2 [POST UPDATED 9/24/16]

[POST UPDATED 9/24/16 - Updated version of TF2 and Standalone now available]


So I wanted to do something new with this blog. Up to this point it has been entirely about a certain popular FPS series but I'd like to change that. Being this community generally likes games involving bot match and A.I. skirmish modes, I thought I'd start a series of posts highlighting the best of every genre. If it is a game and it has an offline custom match mode against computer opponents (A.I.) and it happens to be an awesome game, I will try to mention it on this blog at some point. Games on my to-do list include Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (2003), Company of Heroes (2006), and Sid Meier's Civilization V (2010).

But first I'd like to start with a game that is still firmly in the PvP FPS genre, Team Fortress 2.

A brilliant team-based shooter that is balanced, polished, and fun with a unique art style. Critics loved it, receiving a 92.60% from GameRankings, a 92 from Metacritic, and a 96.36% and 96 respectively as part of The Orange Box.


Talking about a Valve FPS game its hard not to draw comparisons to other games made by the same company, particularly Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Strictly in terms of competence of the A.I., Team Fortress 2 is much better. Both games share a similar A.I. framework that was designed specifically for Left 4 Dead (2008). This includes a very impressive navigation system that results in realistic and independent movements across map environments without the use of static waypoints.

Considering bot match was officially part of CSGO when it launched in 2012, it was surprising to see how unimpressive the A.I. bots were especially in comparison to previous efforts in Counter-Strike: Source (2004). And it was even more surprising to see how good the A.I. bots were in TF2 considering it was a feature added only to the PC version years after its original release and mostly kept under the radar. And reaching a high level of competence long before CSGO came out.


Well what makes a great bot match? There are 2 very important factors I consider:

1. The A.I.'s ability to utilize all of the mechanics in the game. This is something developers often skimp on. Lets look at CSGO as an example. When you first start up a bot match it becomes immediately clear what the biggest flaws in the A.I. are. First of all bots never buy on pistol round. Why? I'm not saying they need to always buy something, but a little touch such as occasionally buying on the first round goes a long way towards immersing the player and making it feel more like a match with real players. And this is sort of related to the next point.

2. The A.I.'s ability to be unpredictable, aka the randomness factor. As an A.I. coder, I understand the importance of making A.I. unpredictable. However it is also important to balance intelligence with randomness. A.I. that is too random is not intelligent and A.I. that is too logical is also too predictable. Finding a balance between those two aspects is how you make great A.I. bots. Going back to CSGO as an example, when the first round begins all of the bots run down the middle of the map every time. Why? Sure its probably the most logical course of action to check out the center of the map on the first round but when this happens at the beginning of every match it is incredibly predictable and ultimately boring. The bots become less predictable in subsequent rounds but it is still a big problem.

The A.I. bots in TF2 manage to avoid these glaring issues. Some of this is likely due to the inherent design of the game. There are 9 classes to choose from and each one has a distinct play style. So when A.I. is designed, it must be designed for each class. That fact coupled with random class selection leads to some of the most dynamic bot matches I have ever played. I've seen 3 pyro bots on one team roaming around like lunatics. I've seen 2 spies on one team relentlessly harass an engineer bot on the other team. The shear number of gameplay possibilities is staggering. I never get bored of playing with these bots. I just never know if my next match will be up against 2 snipers and 3 demomen or 3 engineers and 2 soldiers. Both scenarios will lead to a completely different outcome.


TF2 bots only use the default loadout. Being this is most reminiscent of the game when it came out in 2007 its perfectly fine. For people who prefer "Team Fortress 2 Classic" this is the full experience. TF2 bots use all of the weapons that originally shipped with the game and the wide variety of tactics they use result in some very interesting matches.

You can download the latest version of Team Fortress 2 from Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/440/

Here is a repack of Team Fortress 2 Standalone (3.21 GB):
http://cs.rin.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=74047

Here is a repack of The Orange Box (7.03 GB):
http://cs.rin.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=73283

Please let me know what you guys think! Would you like to see more posts like this in the future?

37 comments:

  1. Interesting read, might check out the mod.
    Would love to see more posts like this :)

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  2. I like the idea of this. I've been following your RSE for MW2 since about version 13 and I can guess it's getting tiring on you by now. The Gears of War series on the 360 has bot multiplayer and you can rank up in it too! Only game that doesn't have it in the series though is Gears of War 1.

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    1. thanks for hanging in there since v13! sorry i haven't be consistent with posting over the years, and i can't promise to get better in the future with life and all but i will say i will try to make posts from time to time when i can.

      as for making this post, well its just that with dead projects for almost everything beyond MW2 i thought maybe it would be cool to spice things up. because to be honest outside of MW2 there isn't much hope for modding in general for CoD. (i'm tempted to go back to CoD4 and create A.I. from the ground up using my knowledge gained with MW2, we'll see...)

      anyway, yea i actually played the original Gears of War back in 2006 and my X360 broke in 2008 (then bought a PS3 cuz fuc micosof, which by the way that PS3 still works 8 years later) so i never had to chance to play the sequels but i heard they had bot support and i was sad to not be able to try it :(

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    2. I would love to see better COD 4 bots!

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    3. Holyshit! I would absolutely love to see new CoD 4 bots! With this "Remastered" stuff coming out I've actually been playing the old CoD 4 with PezBOT's. Would love to see some update on that!

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  3. Nice news, I like post like this :) offline bots yeahh !

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  4. Can we add some maps for TF2? Because 10 is a very little choice

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    1. Thanks :) I understand , but for me the mod doesn't work. No bot appear. I have the R.G Repack, the mod but when I launch, no bot appear. I select my character, wait and nothing. Just a sentence like "Wait 1 player" :/

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    2. did you read the directions? you have to click on a batch file to finish installation (it automatically cleans up the directory) so i'm thinking you skipped that and you started a server on a map that wasn't supported (and bots won't spawn).

      i had to delete the comment i made above because some of the information i stated was inaccurate. so i'll restate it here:

      you can but support is not nearly as good for bots, particularly with this 2010 version. The Hatless update which came out in early 2011 improved bots to the point that you pretty much get today but the A.I. in this old version doesn't work well enough on 5CP maps (which has the most maps of any mode). bots are stuck with Attack/Defend A.I. so blue team is always aggressive and red team is always defensive. also Hoodoo flat out doesn't work with bots on the second stage with this version of the game so i had to leave it out. that being said what made the cut works very well and i made sure of that. kind of a shame because later versions (Hatless 2011 and later) have great support for 5CP (like Coldfront) and a lot of bug fixes that are worth having. i have a version of the game from right after the Hatless update and this is the version i play personally (with 19 supported maps) so maybe i'll post this version at some point if i get the chance. i'm very happy with this particular June 2011 version.

      even to this day bots don't work too well on 3CP (like Gravel Pit) and have pretty piss poor support for CTF (like 2Fort). so i don't recommend playing with bots on those modes. other modes still flat out don't work such as Payload Race and Special Delivery.

      i looked into mods like "Bot Overhaul" but i found most of the stuff disappointing. the supposed A.I. improvements in that mod were not implemented well at all. though i will say some of the nav meshes included are very good.

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    3. Yes, I have made that twice... because I have re-install the game. No bot... Don't work for me. The menu, acheviements, only single games are here but no bot feature when I launch a server. I can't play.
      "Waiting for 1 more play before the round start"

      But thank you for your answer

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    4. you must be doing something wrong. it has to work, like literally it can only work, there is no other way :/
      the configs are loaded by the game. so it can only be a few possibilities:

      1. the configs are not in the correct folder.

      for instance:

      \Half-Life 2 - The Orange Box\tf\cfg\cp_dustbowl.cfg

      2. or you are loading a map that isn't supported. which by the way it isn't possible to load an unsupported map if you installed the patch correctly and executed the batch file to finish installation. hmmm... unless the batch commands don't work on your version of Windows. which version of Windows are you using? frankly the batch commands should work on every version of Windows.

      lastly, load up cp_dustbowl. if bots don't spawn then that means you did not copy over the files correctly.

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  5. How does this improve the AI exactly?

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    1. most of the improvements were specifically for the old version of TF2 used (from 2010) getting it to be more in line with valve's updates to the bots after 2010. this is done primarily through config file scripts. you can take a look at them if you want in \tf\cfg\ that being said there are some particular changes you won't find in newer official versions of the game. such as better navigation meshes (a variety of bug fixes to the path finding issues with some of the meshes created by valve, some are tailored specifically for the old 2010 version). so bottom line, if you already have a new version of the game (anything from mid 2011 onward) and don't mind the bloated size and dumb official updates there is little reason to pick up the old 2010 version with the improvements. but if you are interested in more of a "Team Fortress 2 Classic" experience that is more focused it doesn't get much better than that.

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    2. I've never played Team Fortress Classic, but clever bots is cool.

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  6. I hope you will still work on RSE for MW2 and make them better and better.
    I dont like such games that you mentioned in this post but this is just mine opinion, everybody likes what he wants and do what you want to do.
    I will just say that just make the RSE as perfect as it can possibly be and then move onto other games XD

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    1. why don't you like the games mentioned?

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  7. Definitely a cool post! Never played the game but now will check it out thanks! Can you get the TF2 from STEAM and then just use the patch or do you need to get the R.G. Repack?

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    1. no the patch is designed only for the R.G. ReCoding repack. you can download TF2 straight from Steam if you want. "Offline Practice" with bots is built into the vanilla version. you just don't get some of the features. if i get the time i'd like to provide a standalone version of TF2 (around 3 GB) for people that just want a trimmed down singleplayer/LAN version of the game without The Orange Box. and i may upload an updated version of The Orange Box (the version i use). i'm very busy though so it wouldn't be any time soon.

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    2. cool! I will wait for the standalone version of TF2. thanks.

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  8. Any news on BO3 or people just waiting for the tools to be released

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  9. i definitely want more posts like these. Before I found this site, i had no idea that modding ai into games such as mw2 was even possible. Now, the only fps games i want to play are those with ai support. I'm no coder, but i find ai's in fps games as an absolutely beautiful thing.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Yeah, I like AI bots/cpu vs cpu modes as well. :)

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  12. macporterjoe, have you tried this bot?

    http://gamebanana.com/gamefiles/4134

    I haven't played TF2 yet, but I am planning to now. :)

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    1. i think i mentioned about that mod in a comment above. its okay, the nav meshes seem to be very good but thats about it. its basically a nav mesh pack. yes the creator got Payload Race working but it doesn't work nearly as well as the modes natively supported. from my testing bots seem to constantly drop in and out of the match (to simulate real players dropping in and out? really? its super annoying) and objective A.I. is only given to particular bots (soldiers and heavies have the same behaviors). its just not good A.I. coding.

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  13. As far as the CSGO bot issues go : You can fix most of them by yourself if you put some time in.You can make them do complicated jumps by messing with the nav mesh files.

    You can influence what bots purchase and what they'll use.If you put some time and effort into nav editing,bots can even be used for well known boosts such as the one on de_cache.

    I think CS GO is really good (at least the bot aspect is good)

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    1. none of the issues i described in the post can be fixed yourself.

      i know you can influence which weapons bots can buy but you can't make them buy on pistol round.

      i know you can make bots do complicated jumps by messing with the nav mesh files, this is true of any valve game that has A.I. and the nav mesh system. but you cannot make them choose unique paths on the first round.

      the bots in CSGO are fine, but they could have been (and should have been) better and they aren't as good as the bots in Team Fortress 2.

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  14. They have Blaze emulator running BF4 with bots. Unfortunately the bots are only stress test bots and just kinda wonder aimlessly and randomly shoot.

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  15. http://bgiw.jimdo.com/projects/call-of-duty/ hi guys this the v0.5b version of the bops1 client (bgamer),it was uploaded this year, i hope joe can make use of it to improve the bops1 client.
    These are the requirements for it:
    - Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015
    - Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
    - Black Ops with all DLC's
    Maybe this time will support DLC's

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  16. Hi, how to configure the difficulty of bots please (on the Standalone release)? :)

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    1. \The Orange Box - Team Fortress 2\Team Fortress 2\tf\cfg\listenserver.cfg

      tf_bot_difficulty 3

      0 - easy
      1 - normal
      2 - hard
      3 - expert

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  17. i would love to see good bots for CSGO, eco, good grenades, good strategy to really feel like i'm playing with people, but thats impossible i guess XP

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  18. hi yah botters...alencore here yih...my pc broke so im having a longer break from pc games and bit stuff...yet im still cs and hl on my puny phone with puny touch pads and i cant kill shit even at jason mode so i just play some hl sp mods that kinda works on xash3d.

    i love tf2 to to but thats bec of the bots....never was a fan of cartoonish themed games but once i got it running i was a blast.

    tf2 bots are awesome though still buggy here and there and no ai for the engineer at ctf at least last time i check....so i just use some rcbots engrs to fill the gap and my ctf server is perfect.

    tf bots have aimbotish aimed when max out, rcbot dont stand a chance unless they out number them like 4-7 tf bots vs 15 rcbots and sometimes the tf bots still wins.

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  19. hey :) is it possible to make a RSE CSGO mod ? i mean that u play MM with bots and rank up .... the bots could hve weapon skins too ... its only a question :) and goood work with w2 mods :D awesome and sry for my english

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