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the CoG maps

The CoG tournament expects participating bots to support all maps in a pool of 19, and randomly selects 5 maps from the pool to play in the tournament. The registration deadline was yesterday, so I guess everybody has already decided whether to participate. But there was mention of the CoG maps in the Undermind podcast #44, so I thought it was worth a post.

I described the maps in a 2018 post about the then-CIG maps. This year’s CoG map pool is the same, except that they removed the extremely difficult map Plasma, “because this map may too tricky to play by agents,” an understatement. Plasma has egg blocks that must be destroyed before ground units can walk to the enemy base, and also small mains where terran and protoss cannot fit all the buildings they need, and narrow ramps from the mains that only allow small units to pass. The combination of special features is more than current bots can be expected to support. The last time Steamhammer participated, I tested that it could play games on Plasma without crashing and made no other preparations. If the map had been selected, games on it would have looked ridiculously bad and distorted the tournament results.

With Plasma removed, I expect only a few of the other maps to pose any difficulty to bots. In order of difficulty, on Alchemist the 2 entrances to each base may cause misplays, but I think games should look normal except for misplaced buildings and overlooked opportunities. On Blue Storm, the narrow entrance to the center near each side’s natural will cause some bots to pile up units, trying to send them through where they do not fit. The most difficult will be Hitchhiker, where many bots will try to route through the destructible buildings and leave units trapped. From what I’ve seen, even bots which know how to destroy the buildings will be unable to plan a route to the enemy base, and are likely to blunder in confusion through the game. With 5 maps chosen out of 19, odds are good that at least one of the 3 more difficult maps will be included.

That is what I expect based on past experience, but I could be wrong. Compared to 2018, bots today rely on more and different libraries. Does BWEM have trouble with any of the maps? Does BWEB misplace walls on some of them? I don’t know.

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Dan on :

Dating back to 2019 (and maybe 2018) Locutus, tscmoo, and PurpleWave were prepared to play at least somewhat competent games on Plasma. Locutus can go Carriers or proxy Gateways by mineral-walking a worker through the eggs; tscmoo can tear down the eggs; and PurpleWave has three different Carrier builds (1- 2- and 3-base varieties). My one-base Carrier build actually comes directly from a Bisu VOD on Plasma.

That said I'm happy to see it removed. COG's policy of picking a subset of maps at random is fine by itself but preparing for Plasma every year and not seeing it come up isn't all that much fun.

Bruce on :

Great Barrier Reef is also challenging for terrain analyzers, since paths are blocked by mineral lines.

BWEM generally handles them OK, though the version in Iron crashes on Hitchhiker. It doesn’t help the user path around the narrow chokes on Blue Storm though, IIRC.

Another note to map selection is that they choose one two-player map, two three-player maps and two four-player maps, so the chance of a specific three-player map being selected is quite high compared to four-player or especially one-player maps.

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