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  1. #211
    Found this on the swg forums. thought it was hilarious. thought ya'll would enjoy the read..




    The Automated Online Role-Player
    It's indistinguishable from live humans!
    By Dave "Fargo" Kosak | August 22, 2003


    Sure, I love Star Wars Galaxies, the massively multiplayer RPG. I've written about it on several occasions. But I'm past that point where I can dedicate my life to a single game. I'm a very important businessman who does very important business with very important people at very important social engagements, such as watching softcore anime with the dudes in the apartment across from mine.

    But, I still want to keep playing. And I want to WIN. I know, I know, the hardcore among you are saying, "But Fargo, you can't 'win' an online RPG. That defeats the purpose." To which I respond: I LIVE to defeat purposes.

    And besides, like it or not, people do try to "win" massively multiplayer RPGs. The rules of engagement are something like this:
    * If there is a status bar, make it grow bigger
    * If there is a number, make it higher
    * If it moves, either get a mission from it or kill it
    Which got me to thinking: What if I were to unload the boring parts of an MMOG off to someone else? For instance, I love running a business in Star Wars Galaxies, but it's hard to find the time or the patience to work on my combat skillz. What if someone ELSE played that part of the game for me?

    My first impulse -- to use a room full of small Korean children -- turned out to be a real nightmare. They kept whining and crying and pointing to their mouths or empty bellies. Who knows what they wanted? I don't speak Korean. Similarly, they didn't understand me when I pointed to the computer monitor and said "Lewt! LEWT!" no matter how loud I shouted it. Clearly I needed a new plan.

    Introducing the Autocamp 2000

    And so I turned my attention toward robots! Longtime readers may remember when I subtly and successfully used a robot to write my column while I camped in a mall waiting for Diablo II to come out. A similar process could easily play online games for me. After all, I minored in computer science at a prestigious Liberal Arts institution. The hardest part of any project such as this is figuring out the algorithm, but here it is, in its entirety:

    The Autocamp 2000 Plays Online RPGs with the following rules:

    1. Join any group that invites you
    2. When in a group, follow behind the leader
    3. Attack any monster you see
    4. Accept all trade requests from other players, then give them a melon
    Well, that takes care of 90% of online play. All I would need to do is stick my character -- Farglik the Mon Calamari -- in a cantina with a backpack full of melons (ah, sweet delicious fruit!). When I checked on him a week later he'd be what they call "über." But before I got started I had to tackle the tricky part: interaction with other players. If my automated Farglik didn't respond to players who talked to him in a meaningful way, the proverbial jig would be up.

    One option was to have my robot randomly bark at people in Mandarin Chinese. But I opted for a much more graceful algorithm:

    The Autocamp 2000 talks to other players with following rules:

    1. If someone says something ending in a question mark, respond by saying "Dude?"
    2. If someone says something ending in an exclamation point, respond by saying "Dude!"
    3. If someone says something ending with a period, respond by randomly saying one of three things: "Okie," "Sure," or "Right on."
    4. EXCEPTION: If someone says something directly to you by mentioning your name, respond by saying "Lag."
    5. (And remember to accept all trade requests from other players by giving them a melon.)
    My robot was programmed and ready to go. Hell, if I programmed it to randomly shout "Gimmie buffs!" it would probably pass the turing test. Satisfied, I sat it in front of the keyboard, made sure my character had at least fifty melons in his backpack, and then trudged off to leave it alone for the night.


    My character, Farglik the Mon Calamari, waited around in the Cantina for some adventurers. The following is a log of what transpired:

    KillSwitch: [Shouting] Does anyone want to join our hunting party?

    Farglik: [Powered by the Autocamp 2000] Dude?

    [KillSwitch invites Farglik to join the group.]
    [Farglik joins the group]

    KillSwitch: We're gonna go hunt wrixes.

    Farglik: Right on.

    [The group of players runs out of the Cantina, Farglik following close behind. Farglik shoots at every little monster they pass.]

    KillSwitch: Why are you attacking the durneys?

    Farglik: Dude?

    KillSwitch: The durneys, the little bunny things -- why do you keep shooting at them?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Troobacca: [A wookie in the party] My weapon powerup expired, I need a new one.

    Farglik: Sure.

    [Troobacca opens a trade with Farglik.]
    [Farglik hands him a melon.]

    Troobacca: ...what's this?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Troobacca: You handed me a melon!

    Farglik: Dude!

    KillSwitch: Knock it off guys, I see some wrixes up ahead. Let's do this.

    Farglik: Right on.

    [The group encounters a bunch of dangerous wrixes, but they gang up and shoot every one of them.]

    KillSwitch: We rock!

    Farglik: Dude!

    Troobacca: We so OWNED them!

    Farglik: Dude!

    KillSwitch: Uh oh, hang on. Up ahead are some Sharnaff bulls. We can't handle them, so don't shoot.

    Farglik: Okie.
    [Farglik shoots one of the Sharnaff bulls.]
    [The bull attacks; Trobacca and several other party members are killed before they beat it.]

    KillSwitch: You IDIOT! Farglik why did you shoot at them?

    Farglik: Lag.

    KillSwitch: Well don't do it again.

    Farglik: Sure.

    [Farglik shoots at another Sharnaff bull.]
    [The entire party is slaughtered except for Farglik.]

    [ ... Farglik stands there, alone, for several hours ... ]

    [ ... finally, a merchant runs up to him.]

    Stingrie: [A Rodian merchant.] Hey man! Would you like to buy a stimpack?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Stingrie: A stimpack. It boosts your health by 200 points. I'll sell it to you for 500 credits.

    Farglik: Okie.

    [Stingrie opens a trade session.]
    [Farglik hands him a melon.]

    Stingrie: What the hell is this?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Stingrie: You handed me a melon.

    Farglik: Right on.

    Stingrie: I told you 500 credits!

    Farglik: Dude!

    Stingrie: If it's too expensive, just say so.

    Farglik: Sure.

    [Stingrie runs away, angry.]

    [ .... several more hours pass ...]

    [A small hunting party led by Krushmor the Master Rifleman comes over the ridge and spots Farglik.]

    Krushmor: Farglik, what's up? What are you doing way out here?

    Farglik: Lag.

    Krushmor: We're rooting dralls out of a cave. You should join our group.

    Farglik: Okie.
    [Krushmor invites Farglik to join the group.]
    [Farglik joins the group and starts following Krushmor around.]

    Soop: [The party's medic]. Here, Farglik, let me hand you some stimpacks.

    Farglik: Lag.

    Soop: I know, it's pretty bad tonight. Here you go.

    Farglik: Right on.

    [Soop opens up a trade window and hands Farglik a Stimpack.]
    [Farglik hands Soop a melon.]

    Soop: Uh ... thanks!

    Farglik: Dude!

    [The party enters a cave and spends the next two hours brutally clearing it of creatures, room by room. Everyone gets tons of XP.]

    Krushmor: Aw man, it's getting really late guys. I should go!

    Farglik: Dude!

    Krushmor: I know, sucks. I'll catch you all later.

    Farglik: Sure.

    [Krushmor logs off. By default, Farglik is now promoted to group leader!]
    Soop: Well that sucks. What should we hunt next?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Soop: Let's hunt Slice Hounds!

    Farglik: Dude!

    Soop: I know an awesome spot. Follow me.

    Farglik: Right on.

    [The group runs out of the cave, but Farglik, because he is now group leader, just stands there. Several minutes pass before Soop returns.]

    Soop: Farglik why didn't you come with us?

    Farglik: Lag.

    Soop: Well catch up when you can.

    Farglik: Okie.

    [Farglik stands motionless in the cave and eventually the group disbands. Half an hour passes.]
    [Suddenly, one of the game developers, controlling Darth Vader, enters the cave.]

    Darth Vader: Well, my young padawan, we've been watching your progress for quite some time.

    Farglik: Sure.

    Darth Vader: You have done well. We have decided to bestow upon you: Force powers!

    Farglik: Okie.

    Darth Vader: You will be the most powerful Jedi on the planet!

    Farglik: Dude!

    [Darth Vader gives Farglik force powers.]

    Darth Vader: Would you like my light saber?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Darth Vader: My light saber. I bestow it onto you.

    Farglik: Right on!

    [Darth Vader opens up a trade and gives Farglik a light saber.]
    [Farglik hands Darth Vader a melon.]

    Darth Vader: Thanks, uh, for the ... melon.

    Farglik: Sure.

    Darth Vader: Well? Aren't you going to try out your new Force powers?

    Farglik: Dude?

    Darth Vader: Your Force powers! The powers I just gave you!

    Farglik: Dude!

    Darth Vader: The FORCE, Farglik! Use the Force!

    Farglik: Lag.

    Darth Vader: Okay, you know what. Just forget the Force powers. I'm taking them back.

    Farglik: Okie.

    Darth Vader: And give me back my light saber!

    Farglik: Sure.

    [Farglik hands Darth Vader a melon.]

    [Darth Vader kills Farglik.]

    [Farglik respawns in the cloning facility.]

    KillSwitch: [In the cloning facility] Whoa! Look who just popped in. What happened to you, Farglik?

    Farglik: Lag.

    KillSwitch: Want to come hunting with us?

    Farglik: Okie.

    [Farglik and the Autocamp 2000 join the hunt and gain experience for several more hours...]


    I'd call the experiment an unqualified success.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Salsa Shark.. I think were gonna need a bigger boat..[/FONT]

  2. #212
    Yeah, I saw that one a couple days ago. I read it outloud to a friend and we were close to crying it was so funny.

    I just love when they are like "don't shoot those things" and he's like "okie" and he shoots em anyways. Or how he gives a melon for trade. Hilarious stuff.

  3. #213
    Sadly I do not have this game, but i went over to a freinds house to play. We went Krayt dragon hunting with about 30 people in a group. It was awesome. Killed two of them. They are really tough. Awesome though.
    "It can't rain all the time."

    "Quote the Raven, Nevermore."

  4. #214
    You guys still awake out there in SWG? I haven't seen anyone online in the game for about a week now.

    I've been building up Imp Faction points, gaining levels as towards being an Architect, and even placed a wind generator and mineral extractor.

    BTW, I think its dr_evazan who has the house (gandhi'too)....is that house near a city or something? I went walking out to it from Theed and got about 3-4000 clicks out and checked the location again. Turns out I still have like 5-6000 clicks to go . If its near a city, fine. But man...if not...I don't know how you managed to get out that far just to place a house. I was going to place my generator and extractor near your house, but chose an area right next to Theed for now.

    Right now I'm working toward Engineering III. The Engineering levels are super easy to gain. Engineering IV only takes like 7000 XP. After Eng IV I'm a Novice Architect. The levels to make buildings are rather high though. First one is like 55,000 XP. And all you get is the ability to make several different small houses. Not bad for us since I could build everyone a house and create our city in moments. Plus I can create houses and sell em for some quick cash and fast XP. But man, its like 70,000 for level 2 (medium houses), 100,000 for level 3 (large houses), and I think 150,000 for level 4 (don't remember what you get). I'm hoping to be able to build a PA Hall before the add-on arrives. I want us to have a bunch of houses and a PA Hall before the player city ability arrives. We'll see though. I'm hoping to be a Novice Architect before the weekend.

  5. #215
    Hey CoolJoe!

    I haven't really had too much time to play. I was running like 1 mission and then logging, it wasn't fun. I'm trying to get more time on my days off, but that's proven difficult lately. I was on vacation before, and therefore had tons of time.

    Yeah, my house is in the middle of almost nowhere! I thought it was pretty much free and ope land, but there is an Imp NPC base there that was taken over by freakin' Reb NPC's! The location of the the house and base is about 4000k south of the Lake Retreat.
    BAD needs: HK-50 torso, right arm and head
    YVH-1 head

    Trusty traders / buyers/ sellers: Tycho, SK99, DarthChuckMC, minirock(X2), Lman316, Turbowars

  6. #216
    Well, once I get a chance I'm going to scout out some places near either Kadaar or Theed so we can create a settlement (so long as everyone is happy with Naboo as the SSG city....reply if you want to vote for a different planet/location).

    Either way, it won't be hard to get it going as I will just hand people a small house and we can place them in a city formation (I'm going to look at drafting up a city setup so it has roads and such). I can even place a Cantina and area for terminals (as I've seen in other places). But that won't happen til I hit atleast Level I of Novice Architect. Soon......

  7. #217
    I'm now done with Engineering III and working on Engineering IV. 6000 xp required for this skill, then 33,000xp to get Novice Architect (which gives me the ability to build Type 1 small houses).

    Its actually quite easy to gain levels (up until you go for Architect levels). I found that building survival knifes over and over gave xp very fast (~30 or so xp per build). Then I found that the Clothing/Armor Crafting Tool gave ~60 or so xp per build. Here's the trick. You can't build more than 1 thing at a time. So what I did was to use 2 crafting tools, a generic and a specific tool (although you could use 2 specifics or 2 generics). More than 2 is possible, but you won't be able to keep up...they build too fast for that. So what I did was made it build on 1 craft tool, then switched to the other and made another build. By the time I was done starting the build (takes like 20 seconds to be made and put into your Item bin) the other craft tool would be completely done. I did the entire level of Eng III in like 1 hour. Not bad for 3000 xp.

    So tonight I plan to have Eng IV done and hopefully will have a good amount of Novice Artchitect done.

    Right now I can build half of the possible Personal Extractors (Mineral, Water, Ogranic I believe). After Eng IV, I can build all of them. Novice Arch gives me the Type 1 small houses and a couple of the bigger extractors. I can't wait.

  8. #218
    BTW, I thought I would share this with you guys...

    When I was leveling through the Engineering skills, I met a guy named Lullo Pom. He's a Droid Engineer. Infact I think he was a Master Droid Engineer. He gave me Eng II and III. Well, he's from Europe and decided that he was going to leave Chilastra so he could start a new character on a European server because the times he was on SWG there was barely anyone. Since he knew that I was going towards being an Architect he asked if I needed anything. I told him that I mostly use chemicals and metals to build stuff. So he gave me 10,000 steel and like 2,000 fiberplast (which I guess works as chemical) and also gave me one of the large size mineral extractors. Thats like 10,000 credits or more worth of stuff. I was sorry to hear him leave the server, but that was one of the nicer gestures I've seen in SWG.

    Just thought I would share that little story I had. Its times like those that make MMORPGs even better. Heck, I got my bone armor the same way. A guy wanted to help me gain levels in 1-handed in the very begining of the game. This in turned helped him get ranged levels cuz I would keep the enemy away from him. So he went to the bazaar and bought me a full set of bone armor and had a friend make me a sword. Great times in SWG

  9. #219
    Sheesh, where are you guys. I'm starting to feel like the only SSG'er in SWG.

  10. #220
    Ive been around - somewhat spareingly.. went camping the last two days - so thats one reason I havent been on too much.

    Its cool your able to build up the eng xp. Well need you as the house building guru once the city is up and runnin. Theed outskirts would be a grand place. The bud I hang with has a house SE from Theed,. It works pretty awesome - run a few missions, sit and hang while the TEF wears off.. The house looks awesome too - inside anyhow. Its a nice thing to have.

    Ive had a small issue as of late with my abilities.. my abilities with my personal assiatance from the Empire that is. My buddy has a few troopers he can whip out when we are runnin harder missions, overt. so I thought Id get into that as well, but I wanted something different from his troopers, so I got a scout.. Well, 1st off, lemme pay my condolences to that scout NPC. Im sorry XC-733, you shoulda ran faster.. See, I get into this instances where I should just keep on keepin on.. and instead, I think, heck - this scouts got my back.. so we hammer down one Rebel, and then the other ends up incapping me.. well, once your incapped, its hard to store your pet.. so my personal bodyguard takes it upon himself to track down that nasty Reb and ends up turning corpse on me.
    lessoned learned.. nah.

    Im on Talus today - at the imp outpost, when I think, ya know, Ill give those scouts one more shot. I get two this time. heck, two is better than one in almost every instance right? right.. well.. one my way to the Rebel missions, we see some red con Rebs,.. not good. when you have your scouts out - you have to be overt. no biggie, they just started hammering me. then my scouts ran off after them.. two more corpses.

    Im thinkin scouts arent good bodyguards.. Im not ready to admit I suck asss at having pets.

    I still need to get the apprentence xp for marksman,, and I only need my biceps, gloves, and belt to finish off my trooper armor.

    Things are starting to pick up though, Its back to work for me. night 1/4 so I wont be back on till later this next week - if I do - its run a mission then log.. like Gandhi.

    Definitly around Cool Joe..
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Salsa Shark.. I think were gonna need a bigger boat..[/FONT]

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