Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Kurt Lang
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Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Kurt Lang » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:19 pm

Have played quite a few games on the new version, but have seen this twice now. Once with the bots bidding as opponents, and once with the bot as my partner.

The bug (sheer lunacy) is that a bot bids Nil with the Ace of Spades in their hand. Quite impossible, don't you think? Something needs to be written into the code to prevent the bots from making such a ridiculous bid.

Edit: Correction. Three. The opposing bot just did it again.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by SSstar » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:09 pm

Bots probably can't tell the difference between an Ace of Spades to any other Ace. Most times with a "normal" Ace, you can get away with a nil bid with it in your hand. I haven't seen this personally as I try to not play with a bot at all costs, but yeah, it should probably be looked into.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Galt » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:02 am

Bidding Nil with the Spade Ace can actually be a very good move, but I doubt that the Bots are doing it for the right reason.

Before jumping on me, take a look at the column titled "Outside the Box" on my website.

All of the columns were posted by the late owner of the Tigers Spades Club in the old Zone. Tiger_Tale passed away from Cancer this year. He is much missed among the Spading community.

At some point we will get them directly onto my website and do away with the music. Also please stomach as best as possible all of the cat related puns.
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by SSstar » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:28 pm

I'm sure there are some of us who would prefer it if you would explain whatever it is that you're talking about here, rather than asking people go to other random sites to look for other random threads.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Galt » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:47 pm

I'm not sure why clicking one's mouse 3 times to get to a free Spades column that describes in detail the above referenced point would be so prohibitively difficult.

I would copy paste it here, but because of the formatting of the text I don't think that it would work (that has been my experience).

I could also rewrite the entire thing, but I really cannot see the point of that.

I also don't understand why one would refer to it as a random site or a random thread. It is a very specific site devoted to helping people become better Spaders, and the thread is specifically related to the topic mentioned.

It also does not have to be "looked for" as long as one can recognize "Monthly Spades Columns" and the above referenced title.
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by SSstar » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:24 am

Galt wrote:I'm not sure why clicking one's mouse 3 times to get to a free Spades column that describes in detail the above referenced point would be so prohibitively difficult.
Yeah, I don't really want to get into a big thing about this, I guess I should have just said nothing and moved on. I will explain a bit more below, though.
Galt wrote:I also don't understand why one would refer to it as a random site or a random thread.
Basically, if I wouldn't have visited the site on my own and if the only reason I am visiting a site is because the site owner has advertised it, it is a random site. Maybe I'm a bit of an oddball when it comes to this stuff: When I have a conversation on a forum, I like to have that conversation on that forum. If there is something that needs to be looked at that came from another site, linking to that site is okay, but you should also quote parts of whatever it is that you're talking about for the people who don't want to visit the site.

Anyway, we digress. There is never a time when a bot should be bidding nil with the Ace of Spades, in my opinion.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Galt » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:59 am

Actually there is a time when a Bot should be bidding Nil with the Ace of Spades, just as is the case with real players.

THe problem, however, is that programming Bots to play Spades well is virtually impossible because of the approach/avoidance aspect of the game cobined with the fact that it is a partner game.

One has to read his partner's intention on the hand, and there is just no way to program that into a bot.

Further, every decision in Spades should be based upon the score of the game as opposed to one's cards, and there really is no way to program that risk/reward function into a bot either.

I am always amazed that Bots can play at all... although one could argue that Bots really don't play at all, either here at HW or at any other site.
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by SSstar » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:37 am

Even if you do want the option to kill your own nil, you'd also want the option to keep your nil intact if you choose to depending on how the hand works out. You don't need the Ace of Spades to ruin a nil, but having that card will ensure that you absolutely have to.

On a side note: If you're seen holding the Ace of Spades while bidding nil, the chances are really good that you're going to get kicked out of the game and you're going to make your partner not want to play with you anymore. Most people aren't going to believe that you had some kind of master plan to keep the Ace and bid nil. You'll probably just end up looking foolish.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Galt » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:13 pm

If one cares more about how he or she "looks" than about winning, he or she is probably playing the wrong game.
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by SSstar » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:44 am

Galt wrote:If one cares more about how he or she "looks" than about winning, he or she is probably playing the wrong game.
That response would make perfect sense if the only thing I'd written was:
SSstar wrote:Most people aren't going to believe that you had some kind of master plan to keep the Ace and bid nil. You'll probably just end up looking foolish.
But there was more to my comment:
SSstar wrote:Even if you do want the option to kill your own nil, you'd also want the option to keep your nil intact if you choose to depending on how the hand works out. You don't need the Ace of Spades to ruin a nil, but having that card will ensure that you absolutely have to.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Galt » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:09 pm

Apparently you still haven't read the article.

It would take less time than doing the posts.
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Kurt Lang
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Kurt Lang » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:38 pm

Okay, I looked, but it doesn't do anyone any good to send folks to your site to look for "Outside the box" when the only reference to it is the abbreviated PDF of your book that shows it's one of the late chapters.

Regardless, you can't possibly convince me it's ever a good idea to send your own team back 100 points. The bots have actively stopped either the opposing team, or my team from winning the game by bidding nil with the Ace of Spades in hand.

If your idea is to "fool" the other team into thinking you have a weak hand, they then overbid, and you smile as you stop their large bid with the Ace, it's a pretty pathetic strategy. "Yay! I set the opponents 80 points!" Partner says, "Uh, dumb-ass, you also set us 100 points."

I'm hardly the only person in the world in this category, but I've been playing spades for decades and no one anywhere I've ever played with or against, ever bids nil while sitting on the Ace of Spades. It's foolish and has no strategic value.

And just for the record, this has now happened five more times since I started this topic. I came back to note that my idiot bot did it again, which caused us to lose the game! Had the moron bot bid even just one for the Ace, we would have won.

Edit: Apologies, finally found it. I have to admit, that is a good strategy for that particular, and very concise set of circumstances. Unfortunately, the bots bid nil with the Ace of Spades in hand in a manner I can only describe as randomly.

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Kurt Lang » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:34 am

This is getting ridiculous. While I can see Galt's point in the very rare circumstance where bidding nil with the Ace of Spades in your hand can be a strategic move, the game (as he notes) is making this bid with no logic to it at all.

Since my last post, the game has made this silly bid at least six more times. Twice in just the past few days, my IQ deficient bot partner has bid nil with the Ace of Spades in hand on the first or second hand of a new game. There is obviously no strategy of any kind going on sending your own team backwards 100 points this early in the game. Especially when the score is pretty much a tie at under 150 for both teams.

Please fix this!

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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Sailing_Away » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:58 am

I've heard the bots also referred to as "AI" (artificial intelligence). To me that implies they "learn" from the human play they are exposed to. Could it be that enough players have gone into games with bots and done this very thing to teach the bots to make such a bid? I don't know if the way the bots are programmed if there's a way to instruct them "if you have an ace of spades, bid something other than nil".

It's like in hearts, bots will dump the queen of spades on high even if they aren't in the lead. Again, I have seen enough humans do that, that it was probably learned behaviour.
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Re: Bug in Spades v2 that needs to be fixed

Post by Kurt Lang » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:43 am

That seems to be the way virtually all computer versions of Hearts play. It's incredibly easy to beat the Hardwood version of this game because of the very simple "rules" almost all Hearts games follow. Basically, they are:

1) If possible, never let the human player win. If that means putting any of the other three players out by dropping the Queen of Spades on them while the bot is losing, do it. You're always playing three against one. The very old Sierra Hoyle card game (EGA graphics) does this a lot. However, I still play it through DOSBox because despite its age, and often predictable play, it still plays a better game of Hearts than many others I've tried. This is how the older version of Hardwood Hearts plays. It will do anything to stomp on the human player. It will hold the Q of S to drop into your hand. Even skipping the opportunity to give that card to another bot player which is in the lead.

2) Never take a point, unless you're running the hand. It's in direct conflict to never let the human player win, but it is so easy to beat Hardwood Hearts on this "rule" the bots all follow almost 100% of the time. They will almost never take so much as one point to stop you from running the hand.

Hardwood Hearts doesn't do this much, but most other Hearts games I've tried, do. The bot players will do virtually anything to stop you from running a hand, but won't lift a finger to stop another bot from doing the same thing.

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