Inside Deadliest Warrior’s Combat Simulator

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
~ Donald Knuth

You’ll never appreciate the true complexity of a mundane, everyday task, until you’ve tried explaining it to a computer.

Contrary to popular perception, computers are not smart. Actually, they are stone dumb. Given a lengthy set of precise instructions, your computer can follow them well enough, most of the time, but when asked to exhibit the tiniest bit of reasoning or creativity, your cutting-edge laptop PC is helpless and hopeless. Ditto for the Mac. Sorry, Linux won’t help either.

Consider the simple act of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can teach the average six year-old child this skill in a few minutes; writing the equivalent instructions for a general-purpose computer could literally take weeks or months of effort.

Command prompt

Knowing all this, I was amazed by the concept and promise of Spike TV’s new show, Deadliest Warrior:

In Los Angeles, CA, we’ve created a high-tech fight club, with scientists, martial arts experts, and lots and lots of weapons. It’s all here to create a virtual battle between two legendary warriors. We’ll test their weapons and fighting techniques on high-tech dummies—stand-ins for human victims. Based on this data, a battle simulation program will stage a true-to-life fight to the death. The winner will be The Deadliest Warrior.

Could it possibly be true? Would the endless debates over the ultimate fighting style finally be put to rest, by indisputable scientific evidence?

As it turns out, Deadliest Warrior devotes the majority of its screen time to slashing, stabbing and smashing test dummies with period weapons. The remainder is split between historical reenactment scenes, and bull sessions with their resident martial arts historians. Sadly, for those of us with an interest in the simulator itself, the show never describes its operation.

Slitherine Software UK, creators of Deadliest Warrior’s battle modeler, would not agree to an interview. So instead, I will take a wild stab at assessing how the software works, and whether it meets its promise as a scientific and objective judge of human warriors.

The Genesis of the Deadliest Warrior Sim

According to the SpikeTV’s producers, a team of programmers spent five years developing the Deadliest Warrior simulation engine. This is not precisely correct. Slitherine Software created a real-time strategy game—The History Channel’s Great Battles of Rome—and later tweaked this game for the specific use of the Deadliest Warrior program.

Great Battles of Rome

Great Battles of Rome is a role-playing game, with some references to true historical events. It does not, and is not intended to simulate the reality of ancient warfare in authentic detail. As in other RTS games, the game player serves as general over an army of semi-autonomous battle units, each possessing unique strengths, weaknesses, and methods of attack. Play consists of directing strategy and tactics, advance and retreat, to capture territory and defeat the forces of the opponent.

Troop types in GBoR include light and heavy infantry, archers, cavalry and war elephants. Cavalry presumably move faster than elephants, but are less powerful against a lone soldier; archers can attack safely from longer distances, but are handicapped by forest terrain; and so on.

These game rules were reworked for use on Deadliest Warrior. Instead of pitting two groups of one thousand warriors against each other in one giant battle, the software matches up two single warriors—an archetypal ninja and Spartan, or samurai and Viking raider—for one thousand consecutive matches.

Why repeat the same match one thousand times? Why can’t this high-tech computer simulation compute the correct results on the first try? The simple answer is that neither the simulation, nor its creators know how to do so.

Enter the Monte Carlo algorithm. Instead of dictating fixed values for each fighter’s metrics—their speed and agility, the range and power of their weapons, et cetera—the programmers define a range of possible values. The computer then runs a series of test cases, using random numbers that fall within those ranges. After sufficient test cases have been run, the computer aggregates the results to guess the most probable real-life conclusion.

Ninja fights Spartan

With a random number generator determining the outcome of these battles, one might assume fairness and objectivity; but that would be a mistake. Underneath the Deadliest Warrior’s fancy wire-frame graphics and state-of-the-art ballistic weapons measurements, lies a set of flawed assumptions that destroy the show’s claims to scientific validity.

Ninja vs. Spartan

As any experienced martial artist can tell you, the fighting tactics shown in the final reenactments are laughable. On the show, “computer whiz” Max Geiger explains these episodes as dramatized composites of a sober statistical analysis; but in fact, the analysis itself is probably no closer to reality.

Random numbers alone do not make a battle. Remember that the computer does not know how to fight, nor is it capable of learning this independently. In the end, it can only follow instructions.

Clippy, The Deadliest Warrior?

Can you guess who wrote those instructions? (I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the International Ninja Council.)

Ultimately, these “scientific rules” of warfare were written not by experienced warriors, but by a group of programmers; and with the initial constraint that they should be simple enough to produce an entertaining computer game (Great Battles of Rome).

Theoretically, the Monte Carlo method might compensate for the programmers’ inability to identify the single most important factor in these warriors’ battle. (If we knew the answer to that question, there would be no need for a simulation.) Instead, they attempted to identify twenty different factors that could affect the outcome, and all the paths through which these factors can interact. In other words, they attempted to reduce mastery of the martial arts to a straightforward mathematical equation, and draw “scientific” conclusions from the use of that equation.

Understand that the art of fighting is not an output from this simulation; it is an input. It is not an experimental result, but a set of assertions written by software engineers. Whether or not these assertions are prima facie reasonable is irrelevant; dojo novices quickly learn that “reasonable” is not a working martial art. (Incidentally, this may explain why no computer scientists have yet won a UFC title.)

Considering the hidden complexity of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you might assume that a proper martial arts simulator would require many years of careful design, with input from experts in the fields of software engineering and martial arts. You would be correct.

Ninjato versus pig

Does Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior reflect this disciplined approach to the intractable problem of single combat?

I can answer that in three words: severed pig carcasses.


  1. I Love mathematics and a professor of mine once gave a perfect example of how dumb computers are.

    Say you are graphing a quadratic equation. You could punch the numbers into a graphing calculator and the calculator would do some incredibly fast calculus to create a graph with many specific points. Whereas a student with a good understanding of the subject could draw an equally accurate graph in seconds. This is because the graph has meaning to the student. The calculator has know understanding of such things.

    In order to create a completely accurate simulator there would have to be some representation of how the brain works. Something as simple as feeling the energy of a particular strike could trigger a memory/mental state that may seem unimportant but ultimately lead to different reactions. It would have to take emotions into account. Or small errors in technique. Or even intentional deviations from traditional technique. It seems like a cool idea and maybe interesting to read some of the data but I would not expect anything close to a perfect simulation.

    It seems to me that a creative animator would have more luck in simulation. Because it would be his creativity (a human brain), and not the computer’s programmed rules, that create the outcome.

  2. Chris, you are taking this show entirely too seriously 🙂 as one of the commenters from your previous post said, if you are watching this show with a serious meter above 2, you are doing it wrong, lol… I have to admit this show is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it’s got the perfect formula to provide mental masturbation to satisfied the cavemen in all of us (much like everything on Spike TV).. you have to realize, folks who come up with these shows are media rating experts, they know what make the average male tick.. I hold the same attitude towards kung fu movies, UFC and MMA.. they are there for a reason, folks doing it are great athletes and guys love watching or even training in it to stroke off our inner bad ass alter ego.. but for deeper martial and personal development I look elsewhere in traditional arts.. everything has it’s place in this world, what matter is their place and meaning to you personally and I suppose

  3. My profession has something called information literacy. Chris is information literate and is applying critical thinking. Yes it is an entertainment show and I watch it as a guilty pleasure. I also watch UFO Hunters with that same pleasure.

    Are either shows scientifically rigorous? Is baldness a hair color?

    The problem is that John Q. Public here’s the word science and mostly due to their poor understanding of what it is, believes that the results are “scientific”.

    Don’t get me wrong: They did have some decent science like measuring Chuck Liddel’s punching power.

    But what about giving the Samurai a long range advantage because he could shoot the eyes of out a stationary target with his bow? Impressive shot but could he pull that off on a charging and weaving target? Or in a real situation where his adrenaline is jacked up?

    Just too many variables for me to have faith in their “simulator”.

    Still I frame it as entertainment and watch it.

  4. I think what’s going on here is that we have an almost religious desire for science to verify history.
    If Jesus had been slapped using a “five-steps-down” palm, would he have been able to turn the other cheek?
    If Chuck Liddel had delivered the knife to Caesar’s chest, would Caesar have been able too deliver the immortal question, “i tu Bruti?”

    If High School History classes were this good, we’d be a nation of scholars.

  5. LF Cat et al, software engineering is my profession, martial arts is my hobby, I have pondered this exact project for many years, and I am entitled to take it seriously! Designing that sim would be an awesome job, and THEY are doing it wrong!

    Scott, that is a good point. The Spartans had vanished from the earth centuries before the ninjas appeared; so if living is the game, Spartans are clearly losers.

    If what we call “science” and what we call “history” will not corroborate each other, then what is the reality-based martial historian to do? At least one of them is wrong.

  6. Chris, I hear ya .. a more “realistic” sim would be kinda cool, but then again is it really possible to do it beyond entertainment and have any kinda real accuracy? Other than the fact that we don’t have all the hard data, there are just way too many variables.. what if it’s a constipated ninja vs a depressed spartan? What if the mob got a batch of bad ammo and one of the yazuka dudes ate an incorrectly prepared bloatfish? Even if we can time travel and pluck a few of these guys and toss them in an octagon, the results probably won’t be consistent.. it’s just not that hard to plug human spirit into a block of C++ code :p

  7. ep 2 – viking vs samurai. Fight simulation is not close to reality because of what scientist have put into computer: samurai was definitely much faster and definitely would never run from his opponent. Samurais were trained in jiujutsu and their life was one big training, they were real warriors, sacrificing their lifes to the art of war. Viking’s were just a barbarians looking for land and food, just murders with big axes. Of course vikings wasn’t complete noobs, but comparing these two in fight ‘viking and his sour vs samurai and his katana’ samurai should finish this fight much, much quicker. Just watch “the last samurai” with Tom Cruise and compare fights! 😀

  8. You could never invent a model to accurately reflect the outcome of such unpredictable human behavior. As most of the previous commentators have said, there is just way too many variables involved here. The whole thing is interesting to a point but I can’t see past the ingrained cynicism of the show creators and their desire for ratings. They know what people want and they have delivered that with “Deadliest Warrior”. Within that context the show is entertaining I suppose, but not to be taken seriously within any other context such as scientific research. Use your imagination and you’ll get a far better idea of the outcome in such matches and probably a more accurate one.

  9. Are other people allowed to use that graphic thing because i got a question thats driving e crazy. who would win? a roman or a barbarian? and i want to see who would win aginst a barbarian or a persian? i also want to see many battleson that graph sand thats why i want to download that graph. ( not to be rude) that it.

  10. I got just 1 more question. If the viking didint throw his sheld away, would he have won? Because i’ve been learning histery and i have never herd of a viking who throws away a weapen or a sheld.

  11. LF Cat,
    My personal interests are not so much in who would beat whom, but how we might use a carefully designed simulator to improve and gain insight into our own martial arts.

    Slitherine Software says that the Deadliest Warrior sim is not available for sale, but that the PC version of Great Battles of Rome will allow you to redefine troop attributes (e.g. to turn Roman legions into pseudo-samurai).

  12. Chris,

    I hear what you’re driving at, and I think it’s essentially what professional gamblers have been trying to develop for years. Given stats in any given sport, could you make an equation or program that would tell me who’s going to win any athletic match-up? If that were possible, there would be no use in playing games or tournaments; predetermined stats would tell us the winner in advance.

    It would be interesting to enter the stats of the fighters in the upcoming UFC 100 Mir/Lesner fight into the sim and see who it chooses… then lay all of my money on the other guy! Without a calculation for heart, the sim is an exercise in futility!

  13. Yes, it is hard to build heart into the model, and what doesn’t appear in the model becomes unimportant.

    This is why philosophers say “there is no truth, only power.” Power is the ability to hide an elephant in an otherwise empty room. Thank you for your comment.

  14. So, any fighter vs. a fighter of the same type would result in an infinite battle? Or at least a winner based only on random variables. We know for a FACT that this is not the case.

    IMO, it’s not too different then the great debate of which martial style is the “best”, I’d would work on figuring out that one before I started in on this problem.

    That said, I think experimental archeology is a fantastic endeavor. But the “this vs. that” is all Hollywood.

  15. Yes, all other things being equal, the guy with the sun in his eyes would lose. It’s not fair, maybe. But do we really know for a fact this is not the case? How could we, as all other things are never equal?

    As for determining the ultimate martial arts style, I actually consider that a relatively simple problem.

  16. A match in martial arts is not equal, and never will be equal. The mistake in any style v. style match is that it actually takes the humanity out of the equation. There is no generic boxing, ninjutsu, or wrestling stylist; each practitioner is unique and has a unique set of given circumstances. Sure, we can generalize about the training methods and strengths of each kind of fighter (this is what the simulator on the show does), but in the end it is still just speculation because the human picture is too complex to fit into the programming (both the general human and the specific human).

    This is why we will have these kinds of barroom debates until the end of time, and why the UFC was created in the first place. It’s also why neither will ever answer the questions initially asked.

  17. I’d say that the UFC has answered the question of which martial art is the best by showing that a combination is the best route, hence, MMA. Having a great ground game is wonderful, but if you can’t get the guy to follow you then it’s worthless. Take the Silva-Leites fight in UFC 97: Leites was the superior Jiu Jitsu fighter, but Silva wouldn’t follow him to the ground.

    The best combat fighters need to be able to kick, punch, and grapple; this varied set of skills cuts across multiple disciplines. This also explains why militaries such as America and Russia have developed their own combat fighting styles (Sambo, Combatives) in order to best face down an enemy. No single system works as well in combat as a hybrid.

  18. One comment about the UFC. I think these guys are highly talented, and I wouldn’t want to take anything from them, but toss a knife into the ring. Would the skills relate? Or would the habit of your opponent following the rules actually be a detriment? These are the issues that create the infinite barroom talks, god love ‘um.

  19. The question is really generated from history, and has little to do with individual prowess. Certain forms of war making are simply superior.
    We know that only one historic battle in Japan lasted more than a day, because the Japanese way of war was for everybody put all their cards on the table at the same time.
    And we know that the Greeks fought a lot against each other but once they were unified their phalanx was superior to other methods of war for a couple of hundred years.
    And the Mongols too. Their approach to war making was undefeated for generations, perhaps they got a little push back from the slave soldiers of Egypt (Marmlukes) but their weren’t very many of them. Had the Mongols wanted to take Africa they surely could have.
    Oh yeah, and America is pretty strong.

  20. Ok. I dont mean to some people but i dont understand how rushia beat the u.s.a. americans because the last time i checked we helped the rusins train and we had the best military weapens,soldiers,and teckneeks in the world. well most of the world. But te point is how wars the rushins able to get the better atvatage? And would we have won if the rushin missed?

  21. Dan,
    Your knife example, in my opinion, only serves to bolster my argument that a hybrid knowledge of martial arts is superior to learning only one. UFC is an example of how fighters have mixed martial arts together in a way that best suits the setting. If knife fighting were introduced to UFC, I’m sure fighters would focus on Sambo, Combatives techniques and Escrima. But the knife fighting example in itself takes away from the idea of which hand-to-hand style is best. If weaponry is to be introduced into the mix, then it stands to reason that the best fighter in any match is the one who brings the best weapon, not the one with superior fighting skills. Enter guns and Army Combatives expert Matt Larsen’s assertation: “The winner of the hand-to-hand fight in combat is the one whose buddy shows up first with a gun.”

    With all of that said, that is why I personally believe that UFC has confomred to MMA, and why I believe that MMA is the best form of fighting in NHB fighting, combat, and self-defense.

  22. Brandon,
    The more I watch Deadliest Warrior, the sillier it seems to me. The simulation between the Green Beret and Spetnaz placed them in an urban environment where the Green Berets sniper weapons were useless. In prepping the battlefield, I highly doubt that a GB would allow himself to get into that type of situation. If a GB were placed in a situation where they were hamstrung like this, they would retrograde, refit, and re-engage from an advantageous position. Ditto for the Ninja in the Ninja/Spartan episode. DW doesn’t take intelligence into account, the Sun Tzu factor.

    Another point of contention I have with the show comes from the Ninja episode. In the final stats, it shows the Ninja’s Black Eggs as never once having been the cause of the battles end, even in 1,000 simulations. I have trouble believing that in 1,000 go-rounds, a faceful of broken glass and pepper never once incapacitated the Spartan to the point of allowing the Ninja to finish the battle. I’ve been pepper-sprayed, and while I’ll not claim to be 1/10th of the badass of a Spartan warrior, I don’t believe that they’re going to just shrug off this type of attack and keep going like nothing happened. It sucks. A lot.

    Final note: It was the Spartan’s phalanx which made them the fighting force they were. American communications and technology set us apart today. Ninjas would never enter into a fair fight in an open field or stick around if their first attack failed. Taking a warrior’s survivability out of the equation by taking away the elements that made each one great means that the results can never be valid. It’s fun to watch, but the “science” involved is not even close from what I can tell.

  23. BJ, good points all. And yes you’re right that UFCish sport is evidence that it’s important to have a balanced approach to the martial arts. I’ve always felt that cage fighters are the experimental scientists of the martial arts.

    It seems the consensus is, there are simply too many factors to this “simulation”, making the end fights nonsense.

    For example lets do a little math:
    If you have a set of numbers, lets say 20. Each one can be from 1-100, and you want to set a fudge factor of 10% for each. If we set each to 50 with a %10 fudge factor, when we add them together we get anything from 800-1200. So if we associate attributes to these numbers, and have a set for each fighter, and each weapon (ending up with hundreds of data points), and they’re even close to being matched fighters, the results actually tell us nothing at all. If we remove the fudge factor, we are then assuming that our numbers represent each attribute perfectly. We’re also assuming the 20 attributes are the only ones that effect the outcome.

    Should we move on to the Batman Vs. Spiderman debate? I think there’s just as much chance of solving that mystery as the ones on the show. Spiderman FTW!

  24. Brandon,

    Please for us all please learn how to type, and spell. i was reading this for fun… and you absolutely ruined it. “teckneeks” “rushins”? Try techniques, and Russians. Good christ man its painful to read, people like you ruin society and life as it was. PLEASE stay on your phone texting and not ruining this discussion. thanks, but no one else said it and it HAD to be said. Brandon LEARN TO SPELL.

    Thanks, Eggs

  25. Alright, get a grip. It is a TV SHOW.

    Since you seem to need to list your credentials, I will oblige. I have practiced Boxing since I was seven, Hung Ga (that’s Kung Fu) since I was fourteen and Shaolin Kempo Karate For the last three years.

    I work as a theoretical physicist for the FONAR corporation, so I have a little background in math. (Sarcasm, people you all need some in your life) [Although most of my everyday existence is math]

    YES, computers are dumb, and unless you are using software from Caltech or MIT probably have very little, or no reasoning ability.

    YES, combat is inherently vicious, unpredictable and completely dependent on the people involved, not to mention the environment and about a billion other variables.

    YES, they are pitting opponents who would likely never have fought each other.

    MOST IMPORTANT : YES, THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT MASQUERADING AS SCIENCE. That does not mean it is not (remember this word because I just used one just like it) ENTERTAINING.

    I find it hysterical, that people try to come up with real scientific explanations for Star Trek and BattleStar Galactica Technology, and yet, no one throws as big a fit as they are about some TV about a Spartan fighting a ninja. Just think about that for a second. A SPARTAN vs. A NINJA. What?

    It IS TV. get a grip, relax, make some popcorn, and enjoy.

  26. Why is it that blogs seem to always boil down to personal attacks? I’m sitting here, wearing my Darth Vader helmet and sucking on my retainer, trying to have a heartfelt discussion on why a Ninja would totally kick a Spartan’s a**, and I start to see responses telling me to get a grip and relax. The whole point of this conversation was for me to relax. I’m writing this at work as an aside to, well, working. It’s a silly debate over a Spike TV program, I’m well aware as I’m sure most everyone else involved is aware. A few interesting points were raised, discussed, and debated. No harm was inflicted and a good time was had by all, until that is, other posters were accused of ruining society and life as we know it.

    If you don’t want to discuss dork topics or feel that the topic is intellectually beneath you, then please move on without the name-calling or telling me to relax. I was having a good time up until this point and appreciated the merit of the blog.

    BTW, Superman would kick Batman and Spiderman all over the place. Those other two are normal dudes in costumes, Superman is from another planet, duh…

  27. But think about it BJ. Wouldn’t Batman be smart enough to realize that if he ever meet Superman, the only way to defeet (that’s for brandon hater) him would be Kryptonite?

    So Superman says “Batman you can never defeat me, I’m from another planet, hahahahahaha!”
    And Batman says “But within my utility belt, I’ve got a Kryptonite grenade, you’re advantage has become your downfall, hahahahaha!”

    Batman 1
    Superman 0

    And yes, Superman would totally destroy Spiderman.

  28. In the comics, Spidey built his web-shooters and could have easily laced one of the “silk packs” with kyptonite (he’s smart enough, we all know it) and thus bye-bye Superman. . .

  29. You obviously know absolutely nothing about combat.Although the show IS,obviously,somewhat unrealistic,it never claims to be accurate,merely indicative.And since you are more concerned with the similator than the simulations,you also miss the whole POINT of the show.

    [Edited. –Administrator]

  30. Give the show credit at least they’re doing a good job testing the armour and weapons and showing us the results (that part is reasonably interesting) – clearly weapon technology does give you the advantage.

    But that’s what pisses me off is that the “vs” matchups are quite idiotic, they should really try to stick to warriors around the same era. Spartan vs a Granny with a XM307 Grenade launcher why not.

    I’d like to see who would win between Chuck “The Truck” Wallace and Mike McAlister.

    Lastly this Geiger guy is one seriously good BS merchant

    “So can your computer program account for this”

    “No, but I’m sure I can do something custom”
    “No, but I’m sure I can tweak it a bit”
    “No, but I’m sure I can come up with a BS excuse to make my scrolling MS excel spreadsheet look good”
    etc. etc.

    that’s why he’s the 21 year old computer whizz kid I guess.

  31. In reference to some of the above comments. This discussion is about the program and whether it is true or lies to portray it as anything close to reality. I have watched the show and they have never, ever, pointed out that they were using a game simulator.

    As a martial arts instructor, I have to listen to morons who use “information” from these types of shows to somehow prove my actual experience wrong. Therefore, It is not entertainment to me but a source of frustration.

    The largest failing in the show and the program they use is simply tactics. They do not take any of the standardized tactics into account. A spartan would destroy the ninja simply because the spartan was a trained murderer while the ninja was a spy who’s main purpose was information retrieval. Any self respecting ninja would have poisoned the Spartans food. So, no fight unless the ninja fails and then dead ninja.

    The samurai vs the viking. One was a thief and terrorist and the other was a wall of death. The very thing which stopped the viking era was armored assailants who didn’t run.

    Am I the only one who read the original history of the gracies? Remember, before they started to change it every few years? The UFC was not to prove who was better, It was an infomercial to advertise the Gracie name. The first UFC which did not have a Gracie winner was the one where nobody wore a shirt. The Gracie had to actually punch someone and he hurt his hand and then couldn’t fight anymore. MMA only works because the rules allow it to work. Change the rules and change the art. This illustrates the problem with the show and the program. Each warrior was trained to fight under specific parameters. Taking warriors with standardized weaponry and having them fight unlikely opponents will simply be a mess with one getting lucky. Just like the early UFC where people would talk up their styles and then, in the ring, they looked like school children who ran into each other swinging until someone fell over. That is not what trained people do. If they say they have training then they are lying to you and themselves.

  32. Everyone should just calm down a bit. It’s just a TV show, nothing more. Yeah, it sucks that they try to make it look “scientific” and say the this is absolutely how it would turn out, but seriously anyone with a little common sense would see right through that lie. In every episode I’ve seen, there have been serious flaws in the way the “experts” think and in the simulations. (I mean, it’s obvious a ninja was trained to fight, and would never have thrown a throwing star at an opponent who is obviously well armored.) For anyone that gets uptight and starts complaining about it being unreal, check the channel you’re watching, it’s Spike TV after all. Oh, and Mike, let your students know that if they believe everything they see on television, they are naive and lack the most common property needed for any style of fighting, and that’s common sense, a rare and precious commodity in today’s society.

  33. O_O… I see a brutal cycle slowly appearing wthin this blog, but I’ll ignore that for now. A simulator is made for many reasons, and one of them is to get probability on things that seems impossible to put into an equation just for the sake putting a range to an unknown. Well… that’s my way of thinking it. From the ‘O_O’, you could tell that I’m at a young age, but i think it’s comforting to have answers to unknown things.

  34. The show is one attempt to simply make a guess based on easily accessible data on the most likely winner of two warrior classes that never met before. It is possible and likely that there is a better way to do it, but Spike and TDW producers are probably not interested in pursuing it.

    And cheer up, it may not be on much longer. According to Wikipedia–take it with a grain of salt, I know–only nine episodes were scheduled anyway.

  35. I’d like to see retries with Massive or Softimage Behavior as core simulators. While both products also are intended to drive whole armies they’re quite aware of how environment and the actors skills/vital parameters interact.

  36. The program doesn’t determine which warrior will definitely win. It estimates a probability. If warrior X wins 999 battles out of 1000, there is still a chance that warrior Y would kill warrior X in any given single battle.

  37. While in close matches the randomness of everything makes the results meaningless, you can still get some rather meaningful results at overwhelming victories. So while nothing can be said about IRA winning against a Taliban squad, it is kinda obvious that Shaolin Monks would obliterate southern sea savages in a 1×1 scenario…

    Oh, and I really hope that “computer whiz Max Geyger” was put there as a joke. The whole “I am using an alienware laptop to run a complex simulation using an Excel spreadsheet” routine always crack me up.

  38. If a Shaolin fighter has common sense, and an Maori warrior has common sense, then isn’t it obvious that the battle will NOT be decided by common sense?

    Or by a simulator that applies simple fixed rules of combat, derived from common sense?

    Or by a panel of judges that uses common sense to adjudicate the simulator results?

    Come on folks, the “simulation” is indefensible and its product is completely meaningless. This is just common sense. 😀

  39. Maori fighting arts verses Shaolin?
    I’d think the maori would win… that is just my opinion. I am familiar with the combat methods and weapons of both groups.

    Shaolin are monks, Maori are warriors. Shaolin martial art is designed to promote spiritual practice ability, Maori martial art was designed for war.

    But who knows? I have no clue about any specific encounter without real factors being involved.

    Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq all deserve their Independence, nobody who fights for such a thing on the soil of their fathers fathers father is a terrorist, they are called patriots. I’d do the same thing if someone occupied my state by military force and murdered my brothers and sisters. The IRA verses Taliban is a joke.

  40. I’m afraid the critics here are missing the point.

    This appears to be what is more generally known as an “Operations Research”, or for the Americans in the audience, an “Operations Analysis” simulation.

    The point of this type of simulation is NOT to accurately simulate the course of any individual fight but to explore the statistical space.

    This kind of simulation is very powerful for discovering trends and overall outcomes. It comes out of WWII and was really first used for developing tactics and weapons for countering the Uboats; ask any of the 70% of the Uboat force lying on the bottom of the Atlantic if it’s valid.

    Seriously, if you really want to know what it’s all about Google “OR” or “O and A”, or “Monte Carlo Simulation” and you’ll find tons of stuff. It’s quite different from what we usually think of as simulation, but very useful, and quite valid.

  41. Thrand, at long last, I’ve finally found you on a site where I can post my opinions without going through any registration crap.

    Yes, I’ve seen your videos. Yes, I see that you are a very well educated Viking expert, much more reliable than any expert that Deadliest Warrior has ever hired. Yet for over a month, your actions have left me very confused. Too many times have I run into you advertising your videos, trying to recruit people that will support your petition for the episode of Viking vs. Samurai to be redone. And I continually fail to see the point.

    First, you’re fighting at Spike TV over historical accuracy, which is pointless considering that Spike’s target audience most likely doesn’t care. Second, have you ever seen any TV show redo an episode? No, because the time needed to do so could be better spent on a newer episode that’s most likely 10x better. Third, take a look again at the results for that episode. The Samurai won, but only had 522 kills over the Viking’s 478. This is the 3rd-closest episode in Season 1, and the closest episode where neither warrior was using modern guns. So, like the Spetsnaz’s victory over the Green Beret, and the IRA’s victory over the Taliban, the Samurai’s victory over the Viking was really too close to call accurately.

    Can you accept the fact that the Viking just barely lost in a fight that appeared to be fair? Or are you so desperate to hear Max Geiger say “The Viking wins” that you’re willing to embark on such a childish crusade?

    To the regular members of this blog, I’m sorry if I wasted a lot of space off-topic. I just wanted to finally tell Thrand my opinions over his efforts. And I hope that he even sees this post, let alone replies back.

  42. Gidday Bullseye, This is Thrand’s wife.

    The primary reason for Thrand doing all the posting and trying to get the fight redone is due to the fact that his family is an old danish family where mine is Norwegian which means our son is Scandinavian decent like we are. We want our son not to see our ancestors as idiots which they weren’t but as people skilled at the predominant form of warfare of their period and geographical location.

    The other reason is that while it is true the people that generally watch spike T.V. aren’t looking for educational programs , when someone says that ‘this person is an expert’ they will believe it as well as that they are ‘going to find the worlds deadliest warrior’. If the fight is to find the deadliest warrior then technique is extremely important which they showed little to none of in the viking.

    From what Thrand & I have been reading the samurai wasn’t accurate either for the portrayal.

    To be truthful thou if spike would make sure there was a disclaimer on the show stating that the show may not show full historical technique and that it is only what their ‘experts’ know of, that is portrayed then it probably would have been fine.

    Thrand also says that our ancestors fought to be remembered in the saga’s and immortalized, where now they will be more likely remembered as the school bully.

    p.s the reason that I’m replying instead of thrand is that his written language is ….

  43. Heil Bullseye Me wifey has spoken for me and I might say has done an excellent job 😛 If my ancestors Died in history in such a way and they lived their lives to impress the Gods and be remembered for ever in the Sagas then to make light of what they did or say they where not skilled as another warrior group or stupid when cunning is what the prized. Is totally disgraceful. In my religion this is a sin and right up there with not being hospitable and friendly. So all I want is an accurate representation and not actors and wrong techniques . The simulation I have no control over but if their information they used is not based on the actual Facts and historical evidence and they say that it is and history then every thing they have done in the Sagas becomes Questioned and There skill and cunning as well. Tell me if they had the Samurai lose because of that Kanabo he never used ,what would the Japanfiles done screamed they dint even use it after they took time to look up the actual Samurai. My point being What they did to the viking was horrible and those so called experts where not in the least a laymen could have come up with better weapon usage and technique who runs with 2 spears not meant to be thrown at an archer with out their shield out I will tell you a Hollywood actor who doesn’t understand true combat . If those experts wanna come suite up in armor and fight society of creative anachronism rules I think you will see after many bruises on their part and many laughs on mine they are not warriors and after a question and answer contest like the old Norse played they know nothing either but if they where brave enough to actually do that I would probably drink a home brewed Ale with them in respect that at least they are brave 😛

  44. Viking Team: Casey Hendershot (Viking Weapons Instructor?), Matt Nelson (Viking Combat Expert, Descendant of Danish Vikings???)
    Samurai Team: Tetsuro Shigematsu (Samurai Descendant??), Brett Chan (Samurai Weapons Expert??)
    Casey Hendershot
    Matt Nelson
    Brett Chan
    Tetsuro Shigematsu on wiki too
    Stuntmen and Actors makes Hollywood not History 😛

  45. This show is absolutely wonderful!! My favourite episode is Pirate vs. Knight. I’m glad Pirate won! Just 3 more episodes to go. If only there was an appropiate video source…

  46. oh your just pissed cuz ninja’s lost. pirates rule bitch.

  47. All four videos are out (Viking vs. Samurai : Thrand’s aftermath part 1 , 2 and 3 plus fighting bonus video)

    Be sure Send Spike TV Deadliest Warrior and Email we Want then to admit the viking so called experts misrepresented the viking historically in the new aftermath or we are going to boycott all there product and advertisers til they do JA!!!!!!
    Vikings are not dumb and are skilled warriors and would not make mistakes that idiotic!!!!!!

  48. When is GREAT BATTLES of ROME coming out? Because it dosint say in the blog.

  49. Is there going to be another season or is that just it?

  50. Brandon, Great Battles of Rome was released years ago.

    Thrand, in the future, please limit yourself to 1-2 links per comment, and be sure to explain how they are relevant, and/or why you think anyone should click on them.

  51. why dont we just make inmates train as different type of warriors and have em battle it out

  52. So isn’t basically the cycle for most topics would be, someone would either create a post either to create profits, or to challenge validity off of something. In which would create a dispute against what is true and what isn’t even though everyone has a different point of perspective based on personal thoughts? In which people would either argue to the end, or until something better comes up?

  53. I have to strongly agree with the introductory explanation of this post. Unless the computer program was written with the complex knowledge of close combat, any program written is going to fail to accurately create a combat simulation. This is because computers, as has been said before, run on an if-then command system. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you use, what type of code processing you use or any of that. This is a rudimentary fact of all computers world-wide. Human beings have the capacity of if-then functions but are not restricted to them. The way that they behave in a combat situation is never the same as the next person, and one person may even have different reactions based on many variables. These kinds of variables are unable to be quantified and so are beyond the scope of a computerized simulation. Computers act in a very deliberate and predictable manner, based on the scope of the code that tells it what to do and when to do it. Because of this static interaction there is no way that a computer can hope to incorporate ingenuity, adaptability, survival or will (all skills used to survive in combat) into a simulation.

  54. in think they should do one about the two deadlist modren day warriors navy seal vs isreali counter terriorist ops the smack down of the century!!

  55. I know this is old, but it’s the internet so I’ll throw my opinion in.

    Firstly I’m not the J that posted before! NAME STEALER! Kidding. We have an awesome name. Secondly I think a lot of the posters talking about the battles in the show “Would the viking win if he didn’t throw his shield away” Thats not what actually occurs in the simulation. It’s just stupid actors and CG, which is part of why we’re so curious.

    Also I note that me and my boyfriend and brother all watched the show and all care very much about historical accuracy. Additionally we love BS entertainment as much as anyone, I’m a big Bullshit and Mythbusters fan, however we like it when it isn’t passed off as science. Which they clearly try to do. They In no real way besides off handed try to say that they aren’t being totally accurate.

    Also something that bothered me.
    Ninjas aren’t information gatherers. They were farmers and assasins. Samurai weren’t terrorists (albeit some were thieves). Samurai worked for Japanese nobles, so if the samurai were terrorists, does that mean the nobles were terrorists leaders? You can’t apply modern day relations to such a thing, sure they’d be terrorists now, but back then that’s how it was. And when the Samurai finally ronanized they were still not terrorists. The government never specifically tried to stop them and as far as I know the anti-sword laws weren’t so much to stop Samurai as to keep peace and protect the government and law. Similar to Britains anti-gun laws. They aren’t try to stop gangs really because you can still get a gun easily enough.

    Thank you, that’s all for now <3 I also love this blog post. It was so hard to find any information on what the fuck their simulation might be.

  56. Possible pitches for the show’s 2nd Season

    Deadliest Warrior: Season 2

    Ep1. Scissors vs Rock (guest appearance by paper)!
    Ep2. Spidey vs The Orkin Man!
    Ep3. Human Torch vs Tough-actin Tinactin!
    Ep4. Chuck Norris vs The Death Star.
    Ep5. Pope vs Zombie.
    Ep6. BobaFett Vs Dogg the Bounty Hunter.
    Ep7. MIT vs Cal Tech (had to throw the geeks in there).
    Ep8. Cake vs Pie!
    Ep9. Samurai vs Jedi!
    Ep10. Ninja vs Hot coffee (we’re talkin like McDonald’s Hot, and the lids not on all the way, and you’re in like rush hour traffic, and you slam on the brakes cuz you start driftin foward, and it boils your crotch, yeah that kinda hot!).
    Ep11. Crazy Gideon vs The Federated guy. (anyone under 30 needs to do some 80’s research to understand that joke!)
    Ep12. MMA fighter vs Female Orangutang in heat.
    Ep13. The explosive season finale! Bread vs Tortilla!

    Although if you can’t wait for the second season, a more entertaining solution is to get drunk and set up Soul Calibur for 5 rounds cpu vs cpu!

  57. Thrand, I’ve already asked you not to post lists of links without any accompanying explanation. Some people would call that spam.

  58. sorry Chris These videos show Historically inaccurate Information pertaining to Deadliest Warrior and I believe support your argument or should I say truths pointed out 😛

  59. Thrand get over the fight it was just a TV show and I agree they should show some of the fights with more historical content, but seriously if I were to compare the both of them I would put samurai as the deadlier warrior because of his skills and the weapons he used like for example his signature katana.

  60. Bah, I watch that show all the time. It’s clear that a knight would beat a pirate and knights had pistols too later on, I don’t even know what time frame it is for either of them when pirates, When knights? 1300? 1200? 1700? This is the least accurate
    (though most entertaining)show I have ever seen! Why even bother when I could make a better battle in my garage and have it be more accurate, Why waste the dummies give them to me so i can do descent testing and slap’em on a game of d&d 1,000 vs 1,000 that game would be more correct you decide but all these battles [except the Apache and I.R.A.]
    in my opinion have incorrect turn outs.

  61. This show is hillarious in my opinion. It’s more or less weapon comparisons. I would find this slightly more watchable if they actually did background history. This show is like watching monkeys throw poo at history. It’s funny… but pretty idiotic.. I’ve read a lot of the posts and yea basically the winner = more armor/longer range lol. If there was a spartan with a gun, he’d be a freaking God. If they atleast TRIED in the least to use some historical factors as to what actually MADE them deadly.. it’d be more interesting… and the whole “gladiator” episode wtf??? I realize they’re trying to find the toughest guys in history… but seriously?

  62. I too have a guilty pleasure in watching DW, mainly for the ballistics gel bodies, man that is sweet. As others have stated, there is too much fluff… the weapon wielders fighting with each other (no way your warrior would beat mine) to the opinions of the doctor. Really, after seeing the gel dummy’s spine cut in half you think that could be a death blow? Shocking.

    However, the weapons being tested on the dummies, I could see the whole episode of that, just history of the warriors, the weapons cutting through fake humans… gold.

  63. I like the show but as far as scientific, not so much. The science behind the show doesn’t seem to include variables or controls. They never test weapons against the same targets, Shaolin Emei daggers on a gel torso, and Maori jade club on a cow skull. Why not test them both on the gel torso to equally measure damage done. Scientific experiments should always have a control, the fact the show lacks that in all experiments proves the lack of scientific evaluation. Yakuza v.s. mafia, trained martial artist vs thugs, and thugs win with an ice pick? Matchups are also flawed, why not ninja v.s. Samurai, or Knight vs Viking. Still a very entertaining show, and I never miss an episode. Btw CGI on the show kinda sucks.

  64. Do you actually know how a samurai would fight. As someone with intelligence I wouldnt attack someone with a shield, since a shield is designed as a defensive weapon with possible offensive application. Im no samurai, as you can tell your dummy (human and wood) is not a samurai also, hence his lack of samurai fighting technique is composed of hack and slash. A true samurai is one strike one kill, which means he would not attack you first, but wait till you attack and then counter. The vikings typical opponent would have little if any true combat knowledge, and would wail on a shielded oppenent as portrayed in your video. Very very dumb thing to do, but an intelligent warrior such as the Samurai would not waste energy attacking first. Much more efficient to read an attackers movements and react to that, espeacially with such a large warrior as a viking which telelgraphs his movements. Its easy to kill women, children, and farmers. It’s another thing to fight a trained warrior. I get your trying to defend your culture, but lets not get our head stuck up our ass and forget Samurai don’t attack without a plan and lack of skill. No offense but someone had to speak up, and bring you back down to Earth. As for your experiments they are as innacurate as they are biased, your not really helping the situation, just seems like you want camera time.

  65. The previous message was a comment on Thrands countless internet postings and videos.

  66. I find this to be an interesting thread. I ignore the Excel spreadsheet thing on the show because I know what the producers are thinking there. (Since people were throwing around credentials, I might as well mention that I have a degree in TV and radio broadcasting. *laugh*) They’re thinking – “It needs to look important! No one will know that it’s a spreadsheet! Besides, it looks good!”

    In reality, assuming that they actually do some sort of simulation, it’s probably on a bigger server, and he’s (at best) going in via telnet or SSH or some other method of connecting. (I can toss off computer terms all day. *laugh*)

    I find it an interesting show because it does, in a way, answer a question. “We’ve put both of these warriors in a situation where neither one has the upper hand. In that situation, who wins?” And how many of them announce that (for example) Jesse James wins over Al Capone, and really pay attention to the fact that it was a frickin’ near thing – 544 wins to 456? That’s Jesse eking out wins. I’d be more impressed by a larger margin than 8.8 percent.

    Is it perfect? No. Can they program in the heart of the warrior? No. NOR SHOULD THEY. By definition, it’s indefinable. They are attempting (badly) to take an average warrior (until they started Season 2) from each side and face them off where neither has a real advantage.

    For its purpose, it’s a good show. Is it real combat? No. Is it science? Eh. It’s not quite junk science, but it’s not high-energy physics, either. It’s TV science, and for its part, it at least makes SOME people think. (For example, in the James v. Capone matchup, I figured that the grenade would easily outmatch the rifle. Their logic had some merit. The grenade assumed that they would all freeze in terror, rather than trying to get a wall between them and the bomb. The rifle was accurate. I actually couldn’t argue with them giving the edge to the rifle. I have also argued with results, such as the bowie v stiletto argument from the same episode.)

    The cheeseheads out there will always point at the TV for something and say “They showed it so it must be true!”

    Can it be done better? Yes. But maybe someone can sell the idea to another network, pointing out the flaws behind Spike’s show.

    Any takers?

  67. well I don not agree 100% with how they determine a winner but the Spartans did kick the persians asses there 3000 (they didnt just have 300 thats what was left when the rest retreated) to there x amount thepartans did kill 100-200 thousand persians And the ninja’s? they both have diffrences
    and it’s almost impossible to put everything that could happen into a computer but hey it’s just for entertainment

  68. fuck what yall is talking about al capone wouldnt of ever got punked out by a fag like jesse james. even though the fucker rode with jim contrail and they burned the piss outta lawerence, they still stode no chance agianst al capone and the commision era mob. and remember all you cowboy fags dont come to KCMO with a 6 shooter and some snake skin boots cause will skin ur broke back mountian asses and show you what organized crime is really about.

  69. and to the dude with the buck knife i could see you from a distance with the stiletto and still have ur dome piece with it and who ever said the tommy gun is weak obviously has a cowboy in his ass round bout broke back mountian way because id line all you fags up with what ever weapons you wanted and come by on the roll and pepp all you broke back mountian types up. fuck jesse james and spike they wouldnt ever let real mobsters get in there and show what the mob really do like.

  70. *snerk*

    moblife – spoken like a true wannabe.

    It’s a truism that those who can do, and those who can’t brag about how good they are at it.

    As for those actually interested in the thread after all this time…the methodology on the show is flawed – for one thing, in the Spartan episode, they referred to them as Bronze Age warriors, and then came them STEEL swords. WTF? Use the weapon that THEY would have, meaning bronze.

    But as for the idea of running the sim multiple times? That’s standard methodology for studying something where chance plays a part – and chance ALWAYS plays a part in battle.

  71. Moblife your dumb (ignorant, lacking intelligence, moronic take your pick), Samuraisux what are you pointing at, I was just pointing out that Thrands own experiments were as flawed as the show’s. I take it your Thrands Samurai dummy from his video clips.

  72. ALL these explanations are true but come one now! if a ninja cant beat a spartan dont blame it on the simulator blame it on the ninja! dont blame max geiger either! if a ninja has some armor like a spartan it maybe would have won. i studied ancient warriors for 8 years. a spartan army of 350 beat a 3 thousand member army of persians what made you think a ninja could compare to that! even if it wasnt determined by simulator a spartan just is better.the first ever deadliest warrior i saw was mafia vs. yakuza. they were about the same,but mafia won because they were a little BETTER. it is too bad you wanted a ninja to win but arguably the spartan was the greatest warrior ever known!

  73. and for people who just HATE jesse james he had not only a weapon advantage but a phycological one.think about it!al capone was all about fighting and didnt even think about competition.jesse james had plans of capone did not. i had jesse james winning as soon as i heard it

  74. Keith brings up a real compelling argument and I’d just like to expand on it:

    There is a real problem in the concept of the show, because obviously you’re never going to have a true to life Ninja fight a true to life Spartan or whatever else they throw out on the show. However I actually commend the producers by actually having a “standard” regiment of testing and an honest attempt to use scientific methods to draw a conclusion instead of an otaku and a 300 enthusiast bitching about who’s better for an hour’s block on TV. Do I agree with the results? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. However, I DO watch it because it’s entertaining, and I also love laughing at the poor saps who bitch at each other for using fanboi speculation to answer questions that will most likely never be answered.

    Just to answer the questions about the Simulator itself: Froman (Max) has stated multiple times that he can’t exactly share how it all works due to proprietary licensing and DMCA bullshit. Considering that he actually works in the video game industry full time, that probably wouldn’t look too good on his resume for why his ass got canned from his previous job.

  75. Its a nice show but I have done some reasersh and Ninja should have beat Spartin.

  76. Although I think that there is a healthy skepticism being expressed at this blog, no one here has presented any meaningful understanding of combat broadly understood–and therefore why the show is complete and utter nonsense.

    To raise just a couple of points (as there are many, many more):

    A typical scenario on the show is presented as follows: “The big slashing sword did more to the pig carcass than the short stabbing sword. I gotta give it to the big sword.” Then PRESTO: the warrior wielding the more damaging weapon (i.e. the bigger sword) is the superior warrior (based of course, they would argue, not on the relative worth of a single weapon but on the aggregate sum value of ALL of that warriors weapons)! At a minimum–and I do mean minimum–this assumes that each warrior possesses equal fighting prowess with their weapons; in other words it completely ignores the idea of fighting ability. Their assumption is that the weapons actually determine each warriors fighting ability. NONSENSE!!

    Furthermore, they take generals or commanders (Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, a Centurion, etc.) of armies and compare them to each other as though they were infantrymen whose fighting ability, as stated above, is determined by the relative worth of their weapons. NONSENSE–a double falsehood!! The ability to employ forces to achieve a strategic objective has little if anything to do with individual fighting prowess on the field of battle; one could be a brilliant wheelchair-bound general completely incapable of frontline battle. I mean is Napoleon’s worth as a general determined by his ability to, in essence, beat up the opposing general?

    In other words it is the warriors’ ability to wield whatever weapons or forces he has effectively in live combat with a reacting opponent returning fire that makes him deadly. Even this analysis ignores the most important varibles in war (variables that don’t vary as it were): Friction and luck. A person who thinks they can fight because they can beat the hell out of a heavy bag (i.e. an inanimate target) convinces only themself.

  77. Wow, some people actually take this show seriously? 😀

    It’s fantasy. I’m not saying there isn’t a kernel of truth; they obviously put some effort into testing the weaponry. But even if there are people who believe the show is a real indicator of which warrior is deadliest, what difference does it make? It amounts to some guys sittin’ around having pizza and beer claiming they know which warrior could kick which other warrior’s ass. It has zero impact on anything meaningful in the world. Like most shows on Spike, it’s a fun distraction, that’s it.

    If the show had some impact on, say, foreign policy, then I might give a sh*t about the accuracy of its simulations, but…

    So, yeah, it’s obviously not a final dictum on which warrior was, in fact, deadliest; it’s just a show that (cunningly) caters to the various interests of your average dude: blood, shiny sharp metal things, and “science”.

    If all they ever did was show slow-mo shots of gel dummies getting obliterated, I’d still watch.

  78. It’s not a little ironic to me that some posters at this blog–such as yourself–say things like “Wow, some people actually take this show seriously” in response to comments–such as mine–at a blog that is dedicated to commenting on the show. In other words the ‘I’m so mature, you’re so not’ attitude inherent in your response is completely disingenuous–at best. You take the show seriously enough to surf around the web, find a site dedicated to it, proceed to read most if not all of the comments posted (as mine was the last one), and then–yes!–comment on it yourself. However you also believe that there is a kernel of truth to the show and that it is “cunning”…

    If you’re not interested in “taking the show seriously” as a point of discussion stay off of blogs dedicated to doing so.

  79. I want to see them plug the numbers in for the same weapons on both sides and see what the results are. If it doesn’t turn out to be an extremely close battle it would basically disprove the validity of the program they use.

  80. So, the problem I have with this show is not the simulator or the fact that they treat both sides as equal fighters, but the idiots who host the thing and the fact that they make ridiculous decisions on which weapons should gain the edge. Let’s focus on the Centurian vs. Rajput episode. For close range weaponry they looked at the different swords. The Centurian’s sword was light, agile, and very sharp. The Rajput’s was long, bulky, hard to swing, but did massive damage. The short sword, however, still managed to chop off some limbs. In the tests, the Rajput’s sword managed to do some good damage to the cow slabs they set up, and compared to that of the sword, it was no contest… but really? As long as it takes to get that sword going, the Centurian would of already shield bashed the Rajput in the face, and if he was still swinging after that, the shield would still have enough time to get into block position. Once blocked, a counter would easily finish off the now off-guard Rajput. (I use this episode as an example as it is the one I just watched, which inspired me to to get on the internet to vent my feelings about it) These guys piss me off to the point where sometimes I don’t even want to watch the show. The medic seems to be the only one with any type of experience in anything, and I love hearing when he reports the damage done. My point is, these guys (I dislike them so much I’ve never even bothered to learn their names, and I’ve seen more then 15 episodes at least, some of them more then once), these guys have no clue on the capabilities and traits of the weapons they’re testing. I’ve lost track of the number of time they’ve forgotten some kind of important variable in which I’d mentally scream at them that they’re idiots. With the amount of weapons being tested, giving the edge to one is a HUGE deal, and shouldn’t just be given to the one they like. A 2h sword is no match against a shield, and in the Centurian vs. Rajput episode, they completely ignored the fact the shield was there. While, with some of their decisions I agree on, I can’t help but to feel I’m still right and they’re wrong when our opinions differ. (I know that’s just human nature, but I’m normally an objective viewer of things) I’d love to go on that show and make my own arguments on which weapons should get the edge. I’m sure it’d make the difference in the ending results.

  81. fragacide – I know what you mean. I remember seeing the Spartan vs. whoever-the-frack-it-was episode and catching one MAJOR issue – they gave the bonus to the nice STEEL sword that the BRONZE age Spartan would use.

    There’s a reason they called them Bronze Age warriors. The Spartans, by and large, did NOT have steel weapons. Judge a bronze sword against the steel of the opponent and I’ll trust it more.

    I do deny the original assumption of the blog poster, however, that it should be doable with a single run-through. Making that assumption states that no errors happen during fighting. Running a thousand simulations (I’m not getting into the quality of the software here, just the methodology) gives you a better feel for it, because errors can get made. Someone slips; an arm gets hit hard enough to make it useless; the shield breaks; something. Doing it a thousand times actually evens out the answers, forcing the answer down to the weighting that was given each weapon.

  82. I did not assume they should be able to compute an accurate result on the first try!

  83. ok alll u faggots writing on this blog need to get a grip on reality its a tv show so if u want to complain about it then dont watch it and go on a date oh wiat you cant beacasue u a are losers who talk about a tv show and thrand no one gives a shit if your great watever was a viking

  84. I own a Texas Instruments TI-84 calculator. One of the applications it comes with is a probability simulator. You input the number of possible outcomes and how much more likely an outcome will be produced. I suspect that this is how their program works. There are 2 outcomes per weapon and based on the numbers they gather, they input a likelihood for each weapon to win. Repeat the process 1000 times and boom: Deadliest Warrior Program.

  85. I just recently found Deadliest Warriors on Spike and do not consider myself an expert in any of the warriors thy try.
    The reason I like it is that it shows different types of weapons and their abilities.
    I think it was the software that is being used was the origional dispipute. I do not take the results as actual but rather as probable.
    As for the simulation at the end of the show it is a little far fetched to say the least but they are making it to show them use all weapons displayed and to fit results.
    It is entertainment and not to be taken litteral.

    Just because one type of warrior type no longer exists does not mean it is inferior to one that still does.

  86. The fact that you are trying to say the warriors spirit or whether he ate a bowl of chili before the battle will effect the outcome of the battle is just stupid. The people on the show put two equal warriors into the ring and then add their weapons and specific skills, they watch trained professionals test the equipment, the results are based on the warriors being in there best condition so don’t try to put stupid factors in like if the spartan had gas lol.

  87. Thrand you ROCK like Amon Amarth, brother! 😀 And these guys are evidently being VERY partial to the pussy ninjas who are cowardly and use stealth to kill. They’re just bitter because they couldn’t simulate a ninja killing the Spartan in his sleep, like the cowards ninjas are. Vikings and Spartans fight like REAL men! 😀

  88. I have to agree to with Thomas Tan’s comments, it makes perfect sense. It’s difficult to judge the effectiveness of various styles over each other. It boils down to the uniqueness of the martial artistist. Essentially mental condition and emotional stability would be the differentiator. This whole deadliest warrior sci fi blah blah blah will not trigger the persons natural survival instincts as much as a real life conflict situation would.

  89. does it really exist.. i mean the qi??… r they just making it up.. or what.. i saw the explaination but.. never in my life meet anyone that do this qi thinggy… hmmmm

  90. Oh my gosh.No one has mentioned so far how dumb you are.First off, and your first mental issue, if you even watched the show or just out of smart common sense you’d know that they run it a thousand times to get an average, in case the first time it’s a lucky win.Everyone has a certain percentage of a chance to win; you can’t determine that percentage from 1 battle, because the guy with a smaller chance still has a chance and so can still win.On your second mistake, excuse you, THE NUMBERS AREN’T RANDOM, IDIOT!!!They input the range, accuracy rate, PSI, speed, length, etc. of the weapons into the program.They then could do something like getting the average and rolling a multi-thousand sided die.The die with more faces has a bigger chance of getting a higher number more often.Of course, the weaker warrior still has that 0.00000001% chance of winning, but I guess that’s something we’ll never be able to fix.Well, at least you wouldn’t be able to fix it.

  91. You’re right about the show being ridiculous, but not for the precise reason you suggest.

    Specifically: the notion of pseudo-random ‘noise’ being used in simulations to determine elements of a combat outcome is neither unreasonable nor unrealistic.

    I have worked for the past 7 years developing simulators and mathematical computer models for the military which do exactly this kind of modelling in a very real way. In military systems we define the fidelity and number of degrees of freedom for a model, then use randomness to emulate the statistical variance which occurs in combat.

    The key here is knowing how and when to constrain this randomness, and defining the parameters being compared.

    The key problems with the “Deadliest Warrior” combat simulator seem to be:

    1) Everything is concerned with “kill potential”. A weapon “wins” in their comparison based on how effective a single strike of the weapon is, there seems to be no concern for effective reach, defensive capability, speed of attack, etc.

    2) Armour is non-existent (or specious): in the episodes I’ve seen they use non-riveted mail, leather armour which is little more than soft, untreated leather, no padding/gambesons beneath armour, etc.

    3) Training is not considered or at least not modeled realistically.

    4) Tactics are ignored entirely (and this is critical): all combats seem to be head-to-head fights.

    5) Physical differences/attributes (as much as we martial artists would like to believe it, raw physical power makes a huge difference in combat).

    Using a large scale battle simulator for one-on-one combat is bound to fail: it lacks fidelity and is only intended to model emergent results of a large scale battle.

    What is needed is a much more realistic simulator with a greater variety of parameters and constraints. Seriously, even using a paper-and-pencil role-playing game would be more accurate than the system developed for this show.

  92. I love seeing these debates on line….. as part of the cast and Prop team on Deadliest Warrior it nice to know we ster things up a bit. On season three a new level has been added, and a new program that take into account more info on the warrior himself not oly his weapons. We at the show take your imput to hart and I hope that will show on seasson 3

    David Baker Weapons Maker
    Deadliest Warrior Prop Department

  93. I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading the blog entry, and that I too struggle with suppressing that voice inside my head. You know, the voice that sees the outcome and shouts, “but what about…..”.

    That said, I am also looking forward to a better simulator….

  94. I still think it’s hilarious how people are taking this unsourced post seriously.

  95. Screw the simulation, they should just get the experts to fight it out….

  96. God Bless you Mr.Chris

    Chris what I don’t understand is why someone will not CREATE a Model similar like the Deadliest Warrior, in EXCEL???
    or some other program
    Just Sell it??

    I’m sure many people will purchase or buy the program. I for one will be honored to purchase such a Program.

  97. OK. Quite simple… Spartan vs Ninja… They don’t mention the ninja tactics of kill without being seen… using poisons, or even patience. This was a fair fight with a ninja and spartan using ONLY the weapons described… one on one in a simulated arena. The ninja couldn’t poison, come back when the spartan was sleeping, or even escape. In that case, the spartan won.

    As for the atrocity I just witnessed. Cortes vs Ivan the Terrible. Of the 20 factors. They didn’t include Ivan’s fanaticism as a good thing. Ivan’s troops would never leave him or abandon him BECAUSE he would have them and their families killed. Cortes’ troops were only loyal for the money, and they ONLY fought against… wait a minute… The previous season’s JAGUARS… Unarmored and without firearms. Ivan the Terrible fought against opposing armies. They claimed “Battlefield Experience” was a factor, but didn’t mentions Cortes’ lack of it. Or that Ivan fought against opponents with Cortes’ weapons and armor and won, not in simulation, but in the Real World. Cortes’ troops would have fled without the promise of payment and those who stayed behind would have list to Ivan’s troops’ experience and superior knowledge of tactics.

    Overall I love the show, but these random episodes of WTF do demonstrate the flaws of the program, and that’s why they’ve made a new program. However, it still has limitations placed upon it by the programmers. It’s meant to promote the video game. Poor Max Geiger’s been canned for a game designer, but life goes on… As for who is the deadliest warrior… Cybernetic Ninja Spartans who’s arm cannon fires acid grenades and mini-nukes before turning into a plasma sword. Duh!

  98. Why is Ninja vs Spartan such a big deal….? The weapons presented for the Ninja were decent at best….but when you factor in that the Spartan’s shield is a weapon in itself AND absolutely incredible as defense, well…the Ninja’s little shurikens are looking kind of weak in my opinion. This was almost a completely weapon based show when Ninja vs Spartan was on. The x-factors were not as prominent in the first season.

    One other thing….to the kid up top who says no one on here will get a date because they are “too busy arguing a show.” I disagree WHOLE heartedly. I’m a girl. I Love DW. Am I saying it is historically accurate? Not at all. Am I saying I have an unhealthy obsession for historical weapons? Abso-fucking-lutely.

    And as my group of guy friends always says “There’s nothing sexier….or quite possibly scarier…than a woman who knows her weapons.” So, have fun with your prissy girls, little boy!


    The examples you cited making a sandwich was used by me when teaching ppl programming.
    to teach the steps, you would do in making a sandwich, never mind if you wrote it out
    in the “language” you understood (not the computer), it was to teach you the sequance of each
    instruction of the task—n: Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    I was also ‘influentual” to both Dave Hargrave, Dave Arnseson, both creators of “simulations”
    involving in combat. from a random number generator (dice).

    Computers are very good at math,and depending on the S.E.E.D. gives a random number,this random
    number could be “linked” to a table that dependant on the attack type, could also give a range for
    the damage given reduced by the protection value of the “target” of said attack. In the damage done
    table would also depend on IF it was a killing one. Admittedly there are missing factors they’re not
    taking into consideration but only with the weapons tested.

  100. I love the show Deadliest Warrior. It is probably the funniest show on television. You do not need to look to the simulator to see how horrible this show is at determining what makes someone a deadly combatant. As a soldier, what amuses me the most about this show is the weapon’s comparisons. In the few episodes where they have used modern combat groups, such as the Green Berets, Spetznas, IRA, Taliban, etc. they time and again tell these experienced warriors what is effective in combat; despite not one of them having seen any. They do not calculate the most important factor; that being training. They also do not calculate the method of use for weapons.

    Example: Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun. In this episode, they tested swords; and Alexander’s Greek dagger lost because it was smaller and did not cut as deep. Depth of cuts is not what prevails in combat; the object does not have to be to kill, it is to remove the combatant from the battle. A man who has one leg is of no use in ancient Greek warfare; so their dagger was more than functional. The distance one fights also comes into account. If one is up tight and close; then a smaller blade is not only faster, but also capable of reaching where a longer one will not. They do not calculate the manner in which the weapons are used; they simply calculate which ones these non professional computer programmers and medics like better.

    Bottom line is the show is an utter failure because the sole determining factor in combat is the level of skill of the individual soldier and not in the weapons he uses.

  101. I’m a data scientist, and I work with things like monte Carlo simulations from time to time. I’m also a former competitive fencer, grew up with firearms, and I train BJJ from time to time (I suck at it).

    A monte Carlo simulation can’t ever tell you if something will happen. Instead it can show you a probability distribution of things happening. Imagine flipping a coin 1000 times. Monte Carlo would run 1000 flips, and then tell you things like “how often did 6 heads in a row turn up”‘. So when the battle simulator says “gumbi defeats barny 650 times” you can think of it this way: if we know nothing about gumbi, and nothing about barny, we can expect gumbi to win a fight 65% of the time.

    You can use Monte Carlo simulations to determine things like “how much does luck factor in to an outcome”, for example. In the end it’s just a way of modeling probability distributions and performing risk/uncertainty assessments. I think Slytharen did an okay job, given that nobody else is doing it. 🙂

    I suspect the slytaren software doesnt actually share the opinions of the hosts in terms of edge factor, as can be demonstrated by the musketeers episode (armor saved the day)

    You could apply the same methods to UFC. Given that there are so many unknowns with each fighter, we could determine how much the unknowns factor in to a particular fighters outcome. Again, this would never be able to predict a fights outcome, but could give you improved odds versus just looking at things like win/loss ratios. It could also help you understand which factors are the most important in terms of fight outcome (this is called a sensitivity analysis)

    Personally I find the show a lot of fun, even if i do disagree with the hosts a lot of the time. Having played at sword fighting for many years, I would always pick a shield and dagger over a sword any day. Swords are pretty much useless once you get within a certain range.

  102. i read this debate and i am truely fasinated by everything you all have had to say on the matter. i my-self watch the “Deadliest” warrior mainly because i would like to build myself weapons from the areas they have in them. as for viking training i think being able to throw a 400 pound rock 30 feet and swing a 20 pound axe with ease for hours would make them useful. but the only garanteed way for them toi achieve victory besides strength and training is through a battle of atrition. a aspect probably not discoused by the show. i’m a ammeture blacksmith and i want to make some of the weapons on the show eventually. (my spelling may not be great but hey everyone’s got their quirks)

  103. It is plain that the makers of the show are a bunch of drooling 300 fanboys who felt the need to do a whole bunch of biased, slanted tests, attempting to prove that their spartan heroes (who were actually quite tyrannical) would beat any other warrior in history. I mean, listen to the intro to the show. It is basically a rip-off of the 300 opening, same voice and everything.
    Let’s start with the ninja vs. spartan. Those two alleged “ninjitsu experts” had no training in the art at all. Anyone who HAS trained in the art at all can tell you that by the way they move and the weapons they use. Either way, their experts were not experts, so all their research is flawed. I also want to mention that when they actually said that powdered glass in the eyes would only slow a spartan down, I almost bust a gut laughing. I’d like to see ANYONE fight with two eyes full of glass. The performance of the spartan short sword was not impressive, while the “ninja-to” (not actually a ninja weapon, but a chokuto) actually inflicted far superior damage. And why would they compare a spartan spear with powdered glass in the eyes? Ninja used spears too, you know…
    If the events of the video were any indication, their images of a ninja and a spartan are based upon hollywood movies.
    I’m not saying a ninja would necessarily defeat a spartan. Only that they failed to convince me of anything except their own bias.
    The Spartan vs Samurai was even worse. They actually found some skillful martial artists to represent the samurai, and they did so beautifully. Still, the bias is against them. They try to say that the Katana would be useless against a spartans armor because it is a slashing weapon, but a Katana can stab very well, too. They never even tried that. Against the Viking, they didn’t let them try to stab through the chainmail either. They only slash at it. On the other hand, When the samurai’s armor actually ruined the spartan’s bronze spear with no damage to the wearer, they called it a draw. Also, in the video, the samurai misses several point-blank shots at the spartan, or they are deflected by the shield. Considering that the samurai representative demonstrated spectacular accuracy with a yumi bow, that is highly illogical and shows a bias again. The samurai PROVED he could shoot out an opponent’s eyes with relative ease. Once again, no effort by the samurai to stab. Also, where was the samurai spear? They used the halberd (naginata) where they should have used the spear. They did this because the naginata is a slashing weapon. I think a long, thin Yari spear made of steel would penetrate bronze plate.
    In their little championship round episode, The way they eliminate the shaolin monk, william wallace, the apache, etc, based only on their own opinions is really telling. I didn’t see the Celt vs. Persian episode, but I know the persian won…and given the shows RAMPANT 300 fetish, that is typical.
    This could have been a really good show if it had not been made by ignorant fanboy retards who sit on their computers all day fantasizing about violence while masturbating to pictures of leonidas all covered in oil. It wouldn’t piss me off so much if they didn’t try to pass it off as science.

  104. Enjoy the show + question the science=perfect entertainment for me.

    Spartans were Ninjas in there own right as anyone who’s read even the ‘wiki-truth’ about Spartans should know.

    Spartan vs Ninja = coin flip
    (time displacement makes the match fantastic anyway)

    Viking vs Samurai is sort of ridiculous simply from the displacement in time. The heyday of the Samurai was several hundred years forward in time. at which point the Viking had evolved into the fully armored knight.

    A contemporary Japanese warrior vs a 10th century Nosreman? Viking every time.

    Get over it Samurai geek boys and think it through. A Viking sword was pattern welded steel that took a razor edge, sound familiar? ( not a Viking fan or a Samurai hater just the facts mam)

    I want to see Samurai Vs Spaniard realistically simulated too see if what I suspect is true. (Samurai are overrated)

    Enjoyed the thread, thanks

  105. Ha! Their simulator is probably based on HP(hit points) too…such real! much true!

  106. Chris, what you should make is a sim that randomly incorporates
    variables mid simulation at random times

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