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Introduction
DeathMatch Intro
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Basic Tactics
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Gamespy Intro
Gamespy Basics
Lag & Ping
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Advanced Tactics
Playing Smart
Eraser Bot

The Console
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Mod Introduction
CTF Intro
CTF Strategy

Links
Afterword


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Part 3 - Eraser bot

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 "Launch"!


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.

Click here for a full screen shot of Hot LaunchBots
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 your own.

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 create yourself.

Spawn Random Bots
This randomly generates a specific number of bots (set by you) on any map you decide to play.

Bot Skill
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.

Maps
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.

Teamplay
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.

Gameplay
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...

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