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In school, one of my professors had created a 3D game (not just an engine), where all the players were entirely AI-controlled, and it was our assignment to program the AI of a single player. We were basically provided an API to interact with the game world.

Our AI implementations were then dropped into the game together, and we watched as our programs went to battle against each other.

It was like robot soccer, but virtual, with lots of big guns, and no soccer ball.

I’m now looking for anything similar (and open source) to play with. (Preferably in Java, but I’m open to any language.) I’m not looking for a game engine, or a framework… I’m looking for a complete game that simply lacks AI code… preferably set up for this kind of exercise. Suggestions?



  1. This sounds very similar to Robocode.

    Robocode is a programming game, where the goal is to develop a robot battle tank to battle against other tanks in Java or .NET. The robot battles are running in real-time and on-screen.

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  2. My AI class used the open-source BZFlag, which turned out to be quite entertaining and informative.

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  3. You may start with
    this game

    Some AI is already implemented so that you can take example

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  4. Check out Mario AI. You get to program an AI to control mario. There’s a competition and some papers associated with it. Very easy to setup and get running with Java or any JVM language.

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  5. Check out ORTS.

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  6. I know you indirectly referenced RoboCup in your question, but I think it’s worth a mention here given the heading. There are both 2D and 3D versions:

    The 2D league is more abstract with commands like move, catch, kick.

    The 3D league is more complex as you have to control the angles of each hinge in a 3D robot’s body (22 of them with the Nao model).

    Both are equally valid exercises for AI. It probably depends what area of AI you want to play with.

    Both can be programmed from any language/platform that supports TCP sockets. You’ll find sample code in Java online to get you started. I’ve been maintaining a list of existing libraries for 3D RoboCup on the SimSpark Wiki here.

    If you want to use .NET for the 3D league, you can use the TinMan library I created.

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  7. You may want to check out AIIDE in 2010, where they will be hosting a Starcraft Broodwar AI competition. You can download the software, API, and proxies to allow you to connect your homegrown AI into the Broodwar simulation.

    Unlike other platforms such as 3D Robocup, the Broodwar engine will handle the physics, and will probably allow you to focus most of your time on higher level aspects such as path planning, strategy, resource allocation, etc. There are also basic forms of AI that you can plop in as placeholders while you work on your specific improvement, say a melee AI for example.

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  8. Torcs is a racing game engine that lets you build your own drivers in C++.

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  9. Your prof’s game reminds me a lot of the old macintosh game Assassin, which wasted many of my after-school hours back in the day. It was an interesting turn-based game where players input their moves at the start of each turn, and then their moves are executed simultaneously. The game’s AI’s were kind of dumb, and I always wished I could muck around and improve them, but I never found an open source version of the game.

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  10. You might consider Open NERO (” (Preferably in Java, but I’m open to any language.)”) but it’s written in Python. If none of the Java suggestions appeal to you, take a look here:

    It doesn’t “lack” AI code, it contains it. Perhaps looking at an AI implmentation in Python would give you some inspiration for your Java efforts.

    Edit: To address vidstige’s comment – you could try this : – Programming ants to gather food and fight enemy. There seems to be a Java implementation there.

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