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Print at Aug 4, 2020 12:26:26 PM

Posted by barrelmonkey at Mar 27, 2012 1:30:37 AM
Re: Botting
There is a reason why massively distributed bots were few and far between, and why they are more common now, and it's money.

It's actually easier to create an AI to play any of the puzzles than it is to create the puzzle itself. Usually programming the AI is a small part of the larger project of creating a game.

Now, the reason there weren't a whole lot of bots for such a long period of time is that the only ones created were just for fun, or for the small amount of profit one gets from using a bot. If you're a good programmer, you have some spare time, and you really want to be the best at X puzzle, then it could also be worth your time to write a quick bot to play it for you, but you wouldn't distribute it. I don't expect anyone to agree with me on this point, but I'm confident that some of these crazy good puzzlers (especially the ones who just so happen to be skilled programmers) wrote themselves a bot or two. But, since they wanted to be the best and didn't distribute it, the bot didn't really make a difference to anyone.

There has been a change recently though where a couple groups have sprung up that found a way to charge for the bots. One group I saw uses DRM on all of their bots and charges a monthly fee to use them. Another group has like a VIP program where most of the VIP features are fluff, but they also have a premium downloads section that includes a couple of the other group's bots that they cracked the DRM on.

Suddenly when writing a bot means $500 a month, you get a whole lot more motivated to do it. I don't know what the solution is, but I can see the problem getting a lot worse in the near future.


With the debate on what can be botted and how effectively, I'm confident that one could write a bot for every puzzle that would play it more effectively than any person could. The question just becomes how much work it would take to write it. The bilging bots probably won't be as good as the top-tier human players are, but that's because top-tier bilgers build sea donkeys and vegases that don't already exist on the board. I'm sure if someone cared to write a bot that played that way, it would play a whole lot better than me or anyone else, but it would be a lot harder than writing a bot that looks for bingos, so it probably won't happen any time soon. Oh, and also I don't want to see anymore traditional bake-offs for bilging because they totally favor botters. The first 10 seconds are crazy important in a bake-off, and when you can move superhuman fast that's a big advantage.

I do also have to point out that you don't have to understand the game too terribly well to write the bot, because if you have to skill to write one, you probably also have the skill to decompile the game and look at how the scoring works instead of guessing based on experience.

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