Valve testing bots in TF2

Do they know it's Christmas?

Valve's been quietly building AI bots for its multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 on PC, and it's now ready to let players test them out in beta.

The bots are available on three King of the Hill maps, and there's no interface to access them yet - but they're available to everybody by typing in a console command. Details at the Team Fortress 2 blog.

"With the success of the AI systems of Left 4 Dead, we've been continuing to develop these technologies to create new kinds of game experiences," said Valve's Mike Booth. "Team Fortress 2 is an excellent 'sandbox' for explorations of this sort, and we've been quietly doing so for much of this last year.

"Some of the results of these explorations are TF 'bots' - AI-driven player proxies with simulated humanlike senses, reaction times, and tactics. Although the TFBots are not yet complete, they play a pretty decent game of King of the Hill. We thought you might enjoy testing your skill against these work-in-progress digital killing machines."

Booth added, "The bots have simulated humanlike senses, and only know what they see, hear, and touch. They also have realistic reaction times and aiming limitations. They don't 'cheat' or use omniscient knowledge of the server state to make their decisions."

It's as good a reason to fire up Team Fortress 2 as any. Go to it.

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