Get ready, Starcraft players. The hardest opponent yet has entered online matchmaking. And their skills are inhuman. AlphaStar, the DeepMind Starcraft AI, is being released into the wild.
AlphaStar caught our eyes last Spring when the artificial intelligence entered an exhibition with pros and won 10 out of 11 matches. Produced by Google’s DeepMind, the “player” is now seeing how they fare against the average combatant.
Players can opt-in to the test program through the game itself. They can also opt out at any time. Should they opt-in, the player will have a chance to be matched against AlphaStar in certain game modes. Not that the player will know. The AI will be made anonymous to ensure that testing conditions are on par with normal games.
While the AI is smarter now compared to when it performed last Spring, new restrictions have been put in place to help keep things fair. One strong example of this is the ability to input commands at incredible speeds. These actions-per-minute were greater than that of your standard pro during moments of intense combat. DeepMind has explained that the APM has been capped off to a more realistic number for this “public” performance.
Don’t expect the AI in every game mode. AlphaStar will only play 1v1 competitive matches, and the “players” are operating in Europe. Otherwise, they will be subject to the standard Starcraft ladder and will be matched with players appropriately.
Details about the AI, including an FAQ, can be found on the official Starcraft post.