Automation? What are the rules?


As some of you may know, I have gotten extremely bored of the actual gameplay due to the recent lack of variety. However, I’ve recently seen a guy who wrote himself a program to control the game via console commands.

I wonder if it’s against the rules to try and write a program to automate the game-play entirely? Given the most of my games have become functionally identical, and mostly playing on auto-pilot, it could be quite an interesting project to try and get a computer to play for me in ranked. As a retired C/C++ developer (nowadays im more of an advisor) of many many years, I think I can actually pull this off given enough time. But is it against the rules to do so?

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There is no rule list for ranked and no AI is perfect :wink:

These are the policies they base player reporting and bans in AoE II DE. I highly doubt there is a such a specific case, XP, level and rating-boosting via AI aid in other games is a bannable offence - Chess, Dota 2, LoL. Different stance could be taken on this based on the grounds of scientific expriment. How about you make custom AI that is better than the Barbarian.

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Using macros has always been against the rules for multiplayer AoE2. I guess they haven’t bothered to add it to the rules in DE/Steam yet? But if people start doing it it will get banned for sure. And rightfully so. It’s cheating.

Ah. that sucks, would have been a fun project… :slight_smile:

As somebody mentioned the REAL project would be making an AI better than Barbarian.

It doesn’t interest me much, I don’t usually play against the AI. as my curiosity was to write my own tool to automate the game play. In that case I’m gonna wait patiently for AoE4 and this thread can be closed…

First of all, that’s some weird take. The game got boring due to the RECENT lack of variety? What do you mean by that? Around an expansion per two years + remake since HD came out in 2013 is a recent lack of variety?

As for the rules - I’m not sure what it is you’re asking. It’s considered cheating to play matches online (against other players) in a manner that is not intended by the developers of the game and that isn’t expected by fellow players. Using macros of any sort is cheating. Getting access to information you’re not supposed to have is cheating (i.e. by reading the game process memory). Running software that assists your play is cheating.

If you wish to do it as a project which will be tested against the game AI or against CONSENTING human opponents is fine. Though bear in mind that if you require reverse engineering of the game binaries and access to the game process memory in runtime, you might be in breach of EULA which can potentially prompt Steam/Xbox Live to flag your account and even revoke certain rights you have according to the license, including even access to the game altogether.

I think if you’re writing an automation that simulates what a human player does - i.e. reads the game data as a raw image from the screen and actuates actions as mouse and keyboard clicks you’re in safe water only as far as breach of EULA is concerned. It is still cheating however if you play like that against human players who haven’t consented to it and/or on ranked ladder.

On a final note, the game has AI scripting and modding and I’m not sure exactly what its scope is but it seems pretty advanced so maybe you should take a look at that.

Mostly ranked meta. The number of viable strategies, options and civs have been greatly diminished since pre-DE as time has progressed. Most of my games have become so repetitive, lacking any thought (such as strategic input) that I felt, I might as well automate this.

However, from the thread it seems that it would be against the rules to actually do this project, therefore I will not bother, because I don’t want to breach any of the rules, and have no bad intentions towards other players. It was more of an “I’m pretty bored, I wonder if I can…” thing :slight_smile:

Great ideas, I think the same as you do. I told you that automation can be achieved with AI scripts is more reliable than other automation programs, when you rank to start the AI scripts, do you have any way? I hope to get in touch with you and I already have a mature AI scripting scheme.

How about just making an AI that doesn’t play like an AI? One that makes human mistakes, occasionally misses things, might overboom or forget an eco upgrade here or there in particularly tense battles? That would be more skillful in my opinion, and AI that makes human mistakes, yet is still competitive.

The current AI absolutely drives me insane. It is so blisteringly frustrating to fight, and not in a good way. I feel as if destroying it is akin to eradicating a bedbug infestation, not defeating a respected opponent. Not trying to dis the creators of the current ones, they are VERY challenging, I just don’t think in a very rewarding way, like I said, combating an infestation, it seems to lack vision and doesn’t at all seem to take any risks. Of course that’s the difference between human and AI opponents, but if you can play the game, you should be able to describe it and replicate it.

The best ai would be one that makes no calculations or anything like that that a human player cannot do. And if anything it should approximate those calculations, not 100% accurately, not even 80%. More like 75% about what a human trying to guesstimate would come up with, and also, through trial and error refine these results, especially under pressure, like humans are able to do.

I know I’ve given you a dangerously difficult task, but If I were you, this would be my goal. Besides, how else are you going to get it past the loser replay reporters :slight_smile: