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# The death of three lines

Calculate odds and win games with them
 (+3) [vote for, against]

This multiperson game assistant would display lines on the "ground" around enemy players. The lines would have different colors and correspond to possible positions the enemy player would likely occupy in the future.

It would be done thusly:

The computer would observe the enemy's activities over time and check for repeated movement styles. For example every time the player has shot ten rounds he ducks behind something. Almost every time there's a wall in front of her she throws a grenade. Almost every time he's running an there's a wall to his left he stops for half a second to assess.

The computer would build these observations into a prediction algorithm for that player and make guesses about what the player would do.

If the uncertainty is too high the lines would not be displayed. Color of the lines could indicate degree of certainty (e.g. "she has stopped at that corner the last ten times she approached it" would be a very high level of certainty.)

It would use any information about the person's level of experience to assume higher or lower chances of optimum actions (not making newbie and/or random choices)

Finally it would calculate the maximum distance possible for that character to travel in a given number of milliseconds and display it as a series of concentric irregular shapes.
 — Voice, May 21 2011

 Very close to Cherryh's (fictional) concept of "longscan," for tracking spaceships at distances where lightspeed lag prevented direct observation in real time. I mean the militarized version, that incorporated not only physical laws and spacecraft performance envelopes, but also probabilistic estimates of likely enemy tactics. As I recall, this included //Color of the lines could indicate degree of certainty.// I always thought this was clever [+].

 Alliance captains, for example, had wider error bars than Union captains, because the latter were known to be more conservative.

In her novels, infantry and marines had augmented-reality headsup displays. Incorporating this idea into those displays would come naturally, except that the technology level, in her future history, wasn't up to giving individual soldiers that kind of computing power.
 — mouseposture, May 21 2011

It's too bad it can't work in the real world. There are too many possibilities for movement among real soldiers and one does not tend to encounter the same people over and over in real battle except one's teammates.
 — Voice, May 21 2011

 That's why it would work better with spaceships, or airplanes, or maybe naval vessels. But such technology tends eventually to reach the infantry, dunnit?

Professional armies have "doctrine" for infantry tactics, right? So the system might not need to recognize an individual.
 — mouseposture, May 21 2011

Blaise Pascal kinda covered this a while back.
 — fried dwight, May 22 2011

 // such technology tends eventually to reach the infantry, dunnit? //

 Yes, but the process is heuristic, and quite slow, given the inherent conservatism of military commanders. For instance, it took the best part of 150 years to convince British generals that dressing their men in bright red uniforms with white pipeclayed crossbelts, then standing them in a long line at right angles to the enemy was not as effective as they'd expected.

 Even when the troops were dressed in marginally less obvious khaki, the concept of "getting up out of the trenches when the whistle blows and walking slowly and steadily towards the enemy machine guns" held sway for quite a while, being abandoned not through lack of success, but simply that the supply of physically fit males between the ages of 18 and 30 was effectively exhausted, demanding a new tactical doctrine be developed. This then became known as "not getting all your men killed in the first three minutes of an attack", and proved much more popular with those expected to do the actually attacking.

This has now evolved into the technology-dependant but marginally more effective principle of "hide behind something solid and hope that the air stike hits them instead of you".
 — 8th of 7, May 22 2011

 //not as effective// Unfair. You should have written \\no longer as effective\\

//hide behind something solid// <snark> The colonials figured that out in the 1770's.</snark> (In fairness, the British knew about skirmishing, but it required specialist troops.)
 — mouseposture, May 22 2011

 // it required specialist troops //

 This is not disputed. Unfortunately, the "special troops" required were senior officers of an intellignet and flexible mindset, not hidebound inbred third-sons of the aristocracy whose main qualification for field rank was having a sufficient private income to pay for a commission and the fancy uniforms that go with it.

It was of great benefit to suceeding generations that the Colonials exploited the technique of "picking off the officers", ensuring that with every accurate shot the average intelligence of the remainder of the unit rose by a substantial amount.
 — 8th of 7, May 22 2011

 //with every accurate shot the average intelligence of the remainder of the unit rose by a substantial amount// Perhaps that accounts for the desertions.

//quite slow// In peacetime. Speeds up a bit when the Army's got to fight.
 — mouseposture, May 22 2011

 Perhaps the same technique would work for the Metropolitan Police service ...

 // Speeds up a bit when the Army's got to fight //

Speeds up a bit when the Army's got to fight ... more than once.
 — 8th of 7, May 22 2011

Who cares about the military? I'd like to see this in Quake!
 — CyberCod, May 24 2011

 // Who cares about the military? //

Well, the military do, and they tend to have lots of quite dangerous guns and stuff, plus what can only be described as" a bit of attitude `. So you might want to be a bit careful about upsetting them.
 — 8th of 7, May 24 2011

 I don't know how well some of this would work, but bits might.

If the computer could track ammo usage by the enemy for instance, or simply current positions and calculate field of fire (that side of that rock is protected from all enemy direct fire), that would be useful.
 — MechE, May 24 2011

 // that side of that rock is protected from all enemy direct fire //

Easy to spot; just look for where Battallion Tac HQ has been placed. Unmistakeably identifiable by two or more officers of the rank of Major or above, sitting on camp chairs, drinking tea and looking in bewilderment at a map of a completely different and irrelevant area and a GPS unit that they have no idea how to use.
 — 8th of 7, May 24 2011

[8th of 7] //Speeds up a bit when the Army's got to fight ... more than once.// Especially in quick succession. Perhaps it's significant that the British were commanded by a General at Isandlwana and by a Lieutenant at Rorke's Drift.
 — mouseposture, May 25 2011

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