Category Archives: CodeCraft

Mastering Real-Time Strategy Games with Deep Reinforcement Learning: Mere Mortal Edition

The capabilities of game-playing AIs have grown rapidly over the last few years. This trend has culminated in the defeat of top human players in the complex real-time strategy (RTS) games of DoTA 2​​ [1]​​ and StarCraft II​ [2]​ in 2019. Alas, the exorbitant engineering and compute resources employed by these projects has made their replication difficult. As a result, the application of deep reinforcement learning methods to RTS games has remained disappointingly rare. In an attempt to remedy this sad state of affairs, this article demonstrates how you can use deep reinforcement learning to train your very own sociopaths for a nontrivial RTS game within hours on a single GPU. We achieve this by employing an array of techniques that includes a novel form of automatic domain randomization, curricula, canonicalization of spatial features, an omniscient value function, and a network architecture designed to encode task-specific invariants.

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New roadmap after finishing multiplayer

I now have a working implementation for a multiplayer server that allows for running a game across separate machines that can run both the JavaScript and the JVM version (link to demo). It’s too slow to be really usable yet, but all the core algorithms are in place. Multiplayer was the last difficult technical problems that I wanted to tackle, so from now on I intend to focus mostly on improving existing features and getting the word out about CodeCraft. For this post, I have compiled an overview of what I want to do on the technical side of things over the next few weeks. If you have any feedback or suggestions, let me know in the comments or on twitter. Continue reading

Multiplayer

Ever since I began working on CodeCraft, I wanted to implement a multiplayer mode which would allow players anywhere in the world to pit their AIs against each other. With most other parts of CodeCraft taking shape, I now spent some time working on that aspect of the game. In this post I want to talk about some of the design challenges and outline my plans for multiplayer. Continue reading

@CodeCraftGame

CodeCraft now has a twitter account which I will use for frequent updates about new features. I think Twitter is a nice fit for this, and I should also be able to integrate the feed into the website which is neat. I will still use this blog whenever I have more substantial content.

CodeCraft.js demo

There is now a working Javascript/WebGL version of CodeCraft, go check it out: http://cswinter.github.io/codecraftjs-demo/

Getting this to work was surprisingly easy, mad props to everyone behind Scala.js for creating such an awesome piece of technology.

I will now be adding a Javascript API and an in-browser editor and command line and use that to create an interactive tutorial. So there is still some work to be done, but I expect to have most of this up and running by early August.

Some thoughts post-launch

More than a hundred people clicked through to the CodeCraft tutorial over the last few days, which is a nice start. I don’t have any other statistics though, so I have very little visibility into how many of those are actually using CodeCraft, or don’t know/like Scala/Java, or think the idea or implementation suck, or don’t have the time/patience to perform all of the setup and go thought the tutorial. If you have any thoughts on CodeCraft, do share them, it really helps me figure what I need to be working on!

Looking forward, I think at this stage there is not much point to improve the actual game. My main focus will now shift to growing the user base and gaining more insight into what people are looking for. I have two main projects to that effect: The first is to set up an actual website which can serve as a platform to promote CodeCraft and gather some statistics. The second one is to use Scala.js to create an interactive Javascript version of the game that runs right in your browser. This will eliminate the need to perform any setup and make CodeCraft accessible to a much larger audience. As always, I will keep you informed of any progress.

CodeCraft alpha launch

Today, I am releasing the alpha version of the real-time strategy programming game CodeCraft. (previously called CodingGame, but I want to avoid confusion with codinggame.com). This is the first public release, so there will be various bugs, rough edges and missing features, but all the core functionality is there now. There will be regular releases from now on to incorporate your feedback.

I put up a tutorial and overview of the API on github, so if you want to give it a try go on and head over there. Currently, CodeCraft can be used with both Scala and Java. Happy coding!

May Progress Update

Edit: Didn’t quite manage to finish everything today, so release will be tomorrow (Friday), or on Monday at the latest.

The game mechanics, API and graphics for CodingGame are starting to look decent, and I am now ramping up for an alpha release on June 11. Until then, I will be tying up various loose ends and complete the following remaining tasks: Continue reading