At the core of it, StarCraft in general is about building up an economy that can produce an army large and quick enough to kill your opponent with.
Sure, there's drops here and nydus worms there, but at the core of it that basic principle holds true.
I mean hell, in co-op the 'computer player' who's basically supposed to be Amon isn't just a bunch of forces to be cleaned away by the player, they rebuild right in front of you even as they're hopelessly rekt, like a human player clinging to the last bits of a match gone wrong would. This struck me as weirdly human during co-op missions and tipped my uncanny valley up to 11. It felt like I was killing a human here and it felt really humbling because I remember when I would do the same thing against other humans in Brood War, just trying to spam tanky buildings and cannons to buy some time even though the base is going down.
But then sometime later I did some 2vai as well as some 2v2s and the difference between how humans and AIs play is incredible. Humans tend to be indecisive and trickier while AI have incredible reflexes but also take zero risks, even when the payoff is clearly worth it. They just don't fu*k around, if their reaper harass goes wrong, you bet your sweet bippy that they're going to spend those last few seconds trying to get the reapers out of there instead of picking off another two or three of your workers before they get finished off.
I guess that's probably because the AI doesn't know that the reapers will end up dead in this scenario anyway because inevitability is a concept purely human in origin. The AI can't understand that choice is futile and no matter what they do those reapers are fu*ked, they just know that it's safer for the reapers to move in the direction away from the enemy army and will have a better chance running… until they bump into zerglings and die anyway.
What I'm trying to get at here is the AI can certainly think pretty hard. The elite AI is a force to be reckoned with and will put up a fight, but there's still those critical lapses in judgement that the AI has because they're an AI and don't have pro-con-weighing abilities, they're a series of if/then statements.
But that being said, where do they 'stop thinking'? In what situations will that decisive 500apm spam not be enough to save them?
And also why can't we see their player camera? What do they see on their screen?
After too many games of AIs and humans and you start to put together how they make decisions differently, you start seeing them less as either 'a program trying to beat you' or 'another fleshy sack of person just like you trying to beat you', and more as 'entities reacting to your decisions trying to beat you' and then the line between what the human player does and the AI player does gets blurred as their actions naturally have some overlap now and then and you start questioning what exactly sets 'us' apart from 'them'.
If the AI player could 'play' life like a human instead of being stuck in a video game forever, what kind of career would it enter? What kind of grades would it get? Where would its passions be in life? Would it naturally get good grades and ace every exam because it's designed to be good, or would it get terrible grades because it doesn't care about school and just wants to be really good at video games?
© Post "Why is playing against the AI and playing against humans so much different?" for game StarCraft.
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