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Creation of maps for Quake (part 2ª)

The Omicron Bot

Who does not remember the Reaper bot? Is there anyone who has forgotten the fantastic bot that Steven Polge created using fuzzy logic? Now it seems that Reaper already has a successor. It is the Omicron, another bot also using Artificial Intelligence, created by a certain Mister Elusive and a H2SO4 (two members of the Omicron clan). This new bot has characteristics very similar to the Reaper. That is to say, it is a bot for deathmatch that fights against the player in a way very similar to which we could hope for an extremely capable human. Omicron quickly learns the characteristics of the maps, where the encounters take place, it does not cheat (it neither moves more quickly than the human players nor shoots more quickly), it uses doors, stairs, teleporters, gathers armor and ammunition, it strafes, moves in unpredictable ways, can suffocate, die from burning in lava, etc. Really, when you play a game against this bot you can end up thinking that you are fighting against a human player (as it happened with the Reaper bot).

In fact, according to HTML file that is included with the bot, the creators of the Omicron admired to Reaper but they wished to create "a still more human" opponent. Have they done it? We think so, but in any case, we can assure you that those Quake adicts who play the Omicron will not forget it. Now lets see how it works:

* In the first place we will need a powerful machine. The creators of Omicron recommend a Pentium to 166 MHz with 32 Megs of RAM, although, of course, "Quake" and Omicron can run on a machine of inferior capacity.

* We have to create a subdirectory within our "Quake" directory. If this is, for example, C:\juegos\Quake, the Omicron directory will have to be C:\juegos\Quake\Omicron. Now we will copy the file omicron.zip to this subdirectory and we will decompress it using pkunzip with the option - d to create the necessary subdirectories.

* In order to play we will start "Quake" with a line like "Quake -game omicron -listen 16". The parameter "listen 16" tells "Quake" to start a server. Remember that "Quake" is a client/server game. With "listen" our machine will be working like a "Quake" server for other users, but it also allows us to play on the machine ourselves (a dedicated server is used to allow other players to play from other machines but does not allow the user of the machine to play). Thus, with "listen 16", "Quake" will allow us to activate up to 15 bots Omicron bots that will fight with the player. (Not all machines allow this many. On our Pentium, "Quake" did not allow more than 8 bots simultaneously.)

* Once we have loaded "Quake" we will invoke the console and we will load the map where the fight will take place. We will need a typical deathmatch map (that is, without enemies). You can use, for example, the magnificent "analysis" that is included on the CD-ROM. To do this you invoke the console with "\" and type "map analysis". Enter this, and still from the console, we can load as many bots as we want using the available console commands.

A bloody fight

The Omicron is even easier to use than the Reaper bot. Once the map has been loaded we only need to invoke some bot to let the fight begin. Omicron includes up to 20 skins created by several authors. As you will remember, skins are textures prepared for the models of "Quake". In the case of the Omicron, the skins serve to distinguish the individual bots. Who was the one that received a grenade? Babe left life quickly. So klingon has taken the grenade launcher? We better avoid him, etc.

But this is not everything. Omicron has customized characters and each one of them will say different phrases in the middle of the fight. Some of the skins, like the one of Bill Gates, are not too much elaborated creations, but others like the one of the Klingon, are true works of art. In order to invoke a specific character within the game we simply type in its name from the console. The allowed names are: demigod, John (Carmack), bill (Gates), tick, terminator, to tigger, ironman, predator, sven, raphael, bob, qspy, iceman, happy, tim, elvis, robocop, cowboy, hitman, mountie, babe (a girl), to punisher, slaine and klingon.

Here are some of the commands that can be entered from the console:

Note: in the first test we fought against Bill Gates, stating with grief that we were no opponent for him. We had not played deathmatch for too long and our virtual remains sprinkled the map! Therefore, we entered observer mode and invoked the bot John Carmack to have the pleasure to see how both personalities were fighting each other. Soon we activated a total fight between 8 bots. Battles full of explosions, howls, strafings and virtual blood. We could only find two flaws of the Omicron bot, both related to jumping. Sometimes the bot calculated a bad jump and fell in the lava lake (map dm4) or seemed to try to ride a platform failing several times. But, in spite of this, Omicron seems to be a fantastic bot.
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