Scouts explore consistently to the west

Bug #1023264 reported by Xiong on 2012-07-11
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Mark Scott

Bug Description

In a recent game I noticed all my scouts explored to the west of their houses. At first, all houses were near HQ, of course; and all exploration was to the west of HQ. The sector covered about one-third of a full circle, from NW to SW. Later scouts, sent from distant houses, did the same thing: They all explored to the area west of where they started. This was a desert map, very largely barren sand -- which I think may be significant.

I began to rough out some pseudocode when I realized the desired behavior (exploring in a full circle) is not a simple feat. The immediate neighborhood of the scout tells nothing about the overall map state. In fact, I suspect that my first stab at the pseudocode is remarkably like the current actual code: I prioritized directions of travel based on "interestingness".

The trouble with that is, when the map contains little of interest in any immediate area, a deterministic method will always produce the same result. That is, if all six directions have the same degree of interestingness, a straight sort will always return the same choice. (Depending on the sort algorithm.) I guess I'm lucky each scout didn't follow the exact same path, dead west.

Obviously, the method used now to determine direction of scouting includes some pseudorandomness; this needs to be increased.

I'll do a little experimenting and post a test case.

Related branches

Xiong (xiong-mochamail) wrote :

Here's a test case: a scout in the desert supplied with food, nothing else. If you watch the replay, I recommend 200x speed; takes a little while for the scout to eat all the fish in the pond.

You'll notice three flags off by themselves in the SW corner of player's territory:

1) I placed the first flag when the pond was fished out; HQ is then well-stocked and the tavern keeps the scout going.

2) I noticed the scout take a very small slice of new area quite a ways along and placed the second flag.

3) The third flag comes when all food is eaten and the scout stays home; this also terminates the replay.

The replay may not be terribly informative, since replays begin with all territory visible. But I also include in the tarball a screenshot of the minimap by game end. You will see that the scout has explored less than half of a rough circle around HQ.

_aD (ad-simplypeachy) wrote :

Confirmed in build 17 - a rough estimate is that 1 in 10 scouts move to the east at all, and when they do it is only a short distance, whereas they move west for much longer distances.

Hans Joachim Desserud (hjd) wrote :

_aD: when confirming bugs, please change the status as well. Simply click on the current status in the yellow line and then choosing a new status in the revealed drop down box.

_aD (ad-simplypeachy) wrote :

Thanks - I hadn't realised I was able to do that.

Changed in widelands:
status: New → Confirmed
SirVer (sirver) on 2012-07-12
Changed in widelands:
importance: Undecided → Medium
Mark Scott (mxsscott) wrote :

A simple scouting minimap, seen playing The Oasis Triangle as yellow (player 3). Since this player starts in the SW, the Scouts are useless since all they find is desert.

Mark Scott (mxsscott) on 2013-01-19
Changed in widelands:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
assignee: nobody → Mark Scott (mxsscott)
milestone: none → build18-rc1
SirVer (sirver) on 2013-01-20
Changed in widelands:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
SirVer (sirver) wrote :

Released in build-18 rc1.

Changed in widelands:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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