The only winning move is not to play
Published by António Lopes on July 2, 2013

What happens when you leave 16 autonomous AI bots alone to play Quake 3 Arena against each other for 4 years? Apparently, they play the ultimate Cold War game and achieve “world peace”.

I don’t know if this story is true or not, but it actually makes sense from a purely logical self-preservation point of view. The bots were programmed to study which strategies were more efficient in guaranteeing their survival. After a few years, they probably realized that the best strategy is actually to not engage each other and they all win.

Check the story thread’s screenshot here.

(Seen here via @sh4na)


  1. If they scored higher by not dying, of course they’re going to stand still. The fitness function should’ve been designed to give a high reward for kills, and a small penalty for deaths.

    Another hypothesis is that it is much easier for a simple neural network to stand still than to learn how to coordinate in a complex way. Running, jumping, aiming, and shooting are difficult task for a neural network.

  2. Yep, you’re right. Considering the CPU available at the time those bots were created (90’s, early 2000’s?) for a regular server, It probably had to be a very basic neural network. So it’s no surprise they ended up being still.
    But still, if it’s true, that last bit about waiting for the new intruder to fire to actually having all of them engaging only on the intruder is quite interesting.

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