TF2 gets new smarter bots

TL;DR version: TF2 bots are looking good for an early release.

TF2 bots have been mindless for a long time – and I don’t mean attacking randomly. Until yesterday, they didn’t know how to do anything other than attack whatever was right in front of them, and a person would have to manually tell them to attack.

To cope with the non-intelligent artificial intelligence, the community made a number of plugins, namely RCBot, which is running on my server at this moment. Unfortunately, all these plugins could do was spawn bots and read instructions. None were capable of figuring out what to do in real-time, or even generating their own AI files.

Enter TFBot. This is not a plugin. It is not a hack. It is not a modification. It exists within the game, and was put there by the developers of TF2, VALVe.

With TF2’s native bots, creating basic intelligence files is as easy as opening a listen server (through the “create server” button on the main screen), turning sv_cheats to 1, and typing nav_generate into the console. Generation can take about 5 minutes on complex maps. nav_generate does not need to be used on KOTH maps.

After the navigation file is generated, sv_cheats no longer needs to be turned on. To add bots to the game, simply use the console command tf_bot_add, which can be used alone to add one random bot, or with a number and/or a class name to add X bots of a certain class (or random classes).

All of the bots have their problems, but the most problematic are engineers, medics, and spies.

Engineers like to “turtle”, or build tons and tons of stuff in one place. Keep in mind that each engineer can only build one sentry, one dispenser, and one teleporter each.

The “turtling” isn’t a problem normally, because most of the time the engineers are on defense. When they’re on offense, however, they build sentries to defend places that can’t be attacked, like point A on cp_gorge.

Medics find a heavy and heal it forever. Even if an engineer is almost dead a few feet away, the medics will only care for the heavy most of the time. Also, the medics heal each other even when they have full health.

Spies never cloak or disguise themselves, but have extremely good aim. I can’t say much more about them.

Overall, the new bots are a far cry better than the old ones, and seeing as they are currently in their first release, they’re pretty darn good.