There are two broad areas in gaming I want to take a closer look at. The first is distributed games, and models for ensuring fairness and cheat-proofing. The second is issues which affect game play quality, such as latency and jitter in network connections. As part of this research, I need a way of reproducibly simulating the impact of game system changes - including resulting jitter and latency - on playability.

One way to do this is to create a simulated player which reacts to perceived inputs, monkey with those inputs, and then see how the simulated player does. In other words, editing bots.

But which game to use? I'm looking seriously at two choices right now, and hoping for a few others to consider.

  • Quake supports bots, though I'm not sure if they're scriptable. Since Quake III source is available under GPL, though, it hardly matters except as a question of difficulty.
  • Unreal's got a very detailed scripting language. I'm going to load up UT2004 tomorrow for the first time in years, and check out exactly what's available.

I'm investigating a few other games as well, such as Half-Life 2 and Battlefield 2142, but I'm not too optimistic.

Ease of scripting the bots and affecting their inputs / storing state is a requirement. Equally important is whether the game is recent, and if there's a large enough online community for results for that game to be interesting. This is a harder question. I've mostly been playing Xbox-360 games for the last year, and am somewhat out of touch with the most popular FPS / latency sensitive PC games out there.

So, my questions for you, gentle reader:

  1. Do you have a recommendation for a latency-sensitive game with scriptable bots I should investigate?
  2. What are the most popular online PC games which are latency sensitive? Note that games like Warcraft and World of Warcraft aren't sensitive enough to qualify for this work.

Do tell :)