In the first part of this tutorial I talked about how
important it is to practice deathmatch tactics off-line on your own, as well as on-line.
It would be great if Quake 2 would let you play computer controlled deathmatch opponents.
The Eraser bot - a Quake 2 addon - lets you do just that!
Of course nothing can ever replace playing those real,
human opponents; but the Eraser bot comes as close to simulating that as anything can. So
you can fine tune your deathmatch skills, have fun, and not worry about lag (except for
computer-power lag) all at the same time!
DOWNLOADING THE BOT
The first step to using the Eraser is obtaining it - obviously. You can find the download
links to the bot at the Impact Development team homepage - http://impact.frag.com
This link is also on the Download Central page if you
forget it and need a reminder.
The Eraser bot is updated frequently so all the patches
that are listed on their site can make knowing what to download confusing. First, make
sure you download the most recent full installer. It should be a larger file and will not
have the word patch in it. Download that file first, taking notice of the version number
(e.g. 0.85). Then check to see if there is a patch with a higher version number. If there
is go ahead and download that patch as well.
After you've finished all that downloading you can install
Eraser. Make sure you install the main install download first (installing a patch first
wouldn't be good). After you've installed the Eraser bot go ahead and install any patch.
USING THE BOT
If you read the readme.txt that comes with Eraser (as you should) you will get instruction
on how to use the command line and console commands to run the bot. This really isn't that
hard to do
but there is an easier way: Hot Launch!
Hot Launch is a Windows 95 front end for Eraser. A front
end is just a program that puts a nice user friendly interface (like Windows) over another
not so friendly interface (like typing commands). So instead of typing in all the commands
to run Eraser you just click all the settings you want in Hot Launch and then select
GETTING HOT LAUNCH
You can find the download links to Hot Launch at their site - http://www.planetquake.com/hotlaunch
From there you can download the main install file and any patches that might be available.
After you've downloaded it, install and patch as necessary.
RUNNING HOT LAUNCH
Hot Launch is a very self-explanatory program that is easy to use. I'll cover just the
very basics and let you explore the rest.
The option tab you will be primarily concerned with is the bots tab. From
here you can control how many bots (computer controlled opponents) you play against, what
kind of bots are playing, their skill, and you can edit existing bots or create bots of
Spawn Specific Bots
This option allows you to play against a particular bot. You could play against
"Cartman" for example. This is very useful for playing against bots you can
Spawn Random Bots
This randomly generates a specific number of bots (set by you) on any map you decide to
Self-explanatory. Difficulty ranges from "Easy" to "Nightmare."
Edit Bot Profiles
Clicking this button pops up a new screen that allows you to edit the characteristics of
existing bots, or create new bots of your own to be placed in the pool of default bots.
To edit a bot select its name and click Edit Bot.
This allows you change attributes like their accuracy, aggressiveness, skin, and even
ping. When you're done click Commit Changes.
To create a new bot click New Bot. The
first screen that appears lets you name the bot. Type in a name and click Add Bot.
Your bot is now created and given default attributes. To edit your bot just click Edit
Bot and change the attributes to reflect how you want the bot to behave.
Edit Bot Chat
Clicking this button will take you to the "Bot Chatter Editor." This screen lets
you edit, or create, messages the bots send you during deathmatches. It's very easy to
use. Simply select the category of chat you want to edit (e.g. Insults [general]) and then
click Add to enter in your own chat messages!
One Note: You may notice some chat messages look funny, for
example - Better run %s... my lag is letting up. What does that %s thing mean? It's
basically just a command that says place the name of a player here. So if the bot was
talking to another bot named Cartman it would say - Better run Cartman... my lag is
letting up. So if you want to create a chat message that uses a player's name be sure to
use the %s in its place.
From this tab you can set the map you will play deathmatch on. They can be either the
internal Quake 2 maps, a custom made map, or the CTF maps. The nice thing about Eraser is
you can use it with any level. The bots have the ability to dynamically learn the level -
they get smarter as they play more. This means, however, that it will take a few minutes
for them to "smarten up" when they're playing on a new map.
Edit Map Cycle
Clicking this button takes you to the "Edit Map Cycle" window. From here you can
change the order and which maps are loaded as you play. For example, suppose you have set
a frag limit of 20, meaning after 20 frags are reached a new map loads. It is here that
you can define which map to load next. So if you wanted to have the deathmatch maps q2dm1
through q2dm8 load sequentially in this fashion you would Add>> the
first map, then the second, and so on.
The Eraser bot also lets you play in teams with other bots against and enemy bot team. All
you have to do is check the Teamplay box, select the team you want to
play on and team you want to play against. Then enter the maximum number of players
allowed on each team.
From this tab you can set two types or settings: General and Server. The general settings
are basically the gameplay settings (I won't cover all of them because there are so many
and they are fairly self-explanatory). The default settings are usually best; I prefer to
check Weapons Stay so that weapons will remain even when they are picked
up (it helps keep things more fair).
The server settings let you set the Time Limit
(how long the map will be aloud to run until changing to the next), the Frag Limit
(the max number of frags allowed until the map changes), and set the Client
Latency (you should generally leave this at 1 which is no lag). Another setting
you may be curious about is Bot Dynamic Node Calculation. All this
basically does is continually force the bots to keep "learning" a level, even
after they've been playing on it for a while. Un-selecting it should give you a little
speed increase in the game.
Play around with Hot Launch and see what kind of fun games
you can setup. Just remember that when you're ready to launch your game all you have to do
is press Ctrl-L or click go.
CTF AND HOT LAUNCH
On the Maps tab of Hot Launch you may have noticed that there is an option to play the CTF
maps with the Eraser bot. If you tried to play those maps however you may have gotten an
error message. Why is Eraser doing that?
The reason for that error is because a certain file that
the Eraser bot needs to play CTF is not in the Eraser folder. The good news is you can put
that file in their yourself. Just go to the "ctf" folder in your Quake 2
directory (Note that you must have Quake 2 CTF to use Eraser with CTF) and locate a file
called pak0.pak. Copy the file into the "eraser" folder also in your Quake 2
directory. Now try and launch a CTF game from Hot Launch. You should have no trouble
playing CTF with Eraser now.
That's all for Part 3. Click the "Next" link below to begin some
really fun stuff - the Quake 2 console...