Can we update the bots now please?

Your internet connection is broken. You’re bored. You don’t know what to do with yourself. You open up TF2 in the vague hope that it’ll somehow fix your internet connection. You’re wrong. So you play a bot game. And you realise how ooooold and tired they are.

The first problem that’s immediately obvious is that bots don’t work on every single map. Actually, most of the new maps don’t seem to work with bots at all. Why is this? TF2’s bots work because they’re told where they can and can’t go by a navigation mesh. The game can automatically create simple nav meshes with the (SV_Cheat 1) command nav_generate, but a properly working mesh needs to be tweaked by hand and properly tested. Bots are not very smart and can’t navigate maps very well. Forward spawns and moving doors confuse the hell out of them, so having a hand-made navigation mesh is often the best way to go, so you can definitely make sure that your bots won’t all just sit in spawn on their own. Thankfully, there is a SPUF post that contains information on making your own, as well a list of ready-made meshes as links to other meshes elsewhere. That being said though, Valve should really consider having meshes available for new maps, particularly their own ones.

Their intelligence could be straightened up too. I somewhat regularly see bots spazzing out, being in weird places. A lot of the time, it’s because they’ve backed up into a corner and don’t know what to do because there’s enemies coming, but I’ve also seen bots retreat for no reason. Or seemingly no reason, since they can see through walls (spectate a bot – you’ll see that their view snaps on to enemies and allies) and know that the entire enemy team is around that corner. Their priorities often make no sense either, they’d rather shoot some weak person than stop the enemy team from winning by piling onto the last control point or the payload cart. Oh, and killing Spies is always a bigger priority than even winning, due to their unnatural Spychecks. Thankfully, there’s an amazing forum suggestion on how to fix bot Spy awareness.

You next notice that all the bots can only use stock weapons. Not a single non-normal stock weapon in sight. This isn’t because bots can’t use anything but stock, that’s not the case at all. Most weapons work the same as stock anyway, so you don’t need to teach the bots anything new unless you give them something weird like the Wrangler or the Chargin’ Targe. This video and this video actually do a very good job of explaining this stuff, as someone tested it out a few years back. I understand if Valve can’t be bothered to add all the unusual weapons, but since we can have robots with non-stock weapons in MvM, I don’t see why we can’t have it in normal bots as well.

It’s worth noting here that the robots in MvM use the same AI that the normal bots do, they just have different nav meshes and basically think they’re playing Capture the Flag. Bots don’t know how to play CTF, they just run straight to the flag then kill whoever stands between them and where the flag is supposed to go. Defending the intelligence (or in this case a bomb) is a foreign concept to the bots. If they could see, when fighting in MvM, all they’d probably see is a giant intelligence briefcase being carried around.

While we’re at it, let’s give bots random hats too. Or even just make them use the BLU and RED robot models, even if you’re not playing MvM. Would make it easy to spot whether a game is hiding bots or not, even with the new bot counter on the server menu. This is more of a cosmetic thing, and I just think it’d look really nice. The robots would need more animations though, they don’t have all of them.

Last one, and we’ll call it a day. Engineers rarely, if ever upgrade their teleporters. Scouts will switch to their perfect aimbot pistol when they empty their scattergun clip. Medics are still so dumb that they won’t follow other Medics out of spawn, they’ll wait for a power class and often refuse to heal anyone but the player (assuming they’re not a non-power class) even if they’re cheating by using noclip to hover 10 feet above their heads.

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