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Agent container

Every agent in Byte Arena runs isolated in its own Docker container.

A Dockerfile file is required at the root of your project in order to build your container and to deploy your agent.

Sample Node.js Dockerfile

While your agent can be coded in whatever programming language you like, here is an example Dockerfile using the official Node.js (version 7) image:

FROM node:7

# /usr/app is the root of our code in the container
WORKDIR /usr/app

# Bundle our source code in the container
COPY . /usr/app/

# Install dependencies
RUN npm install

# Build the source
RUN npm run build

# Tell Docker how to run our code
CMD [ "npm", "start" ]

As you can see, it's a pretty basic Dockerfile, bundling and compiling the source inside the container.

  • These lines tell Docker to run our code inside a container featuring NodeJS 7, and sets to error the verbosity level for npm, the Node package manager
FROM node:7
  • We tell Docker that the commands of the Dockerfile will be executed in this folder.
WORKDIR /usr/app
  • Our agent source code is copied inside the container, in /usr/app
COPY . /usr/app/
  • We use npm to install the NPM dependencies of our agent inside the container
RUN npm install
  • We then "build" the agent code, using Babel to transpile our ES6 code to ES5 code runnable by NodeJS.
RUN npm run build
  • We finally tell Docker what command to issue to run our code when the container launches.
CMD [ "npm", "start" ]

Environment variables passed to the container

These environment variables are set on agent containers by Byte Arena:

  • HOST: the network host where the Byte Arena game server is running and reachable by the agent
  • PORT: the port number where the agent must connect on the game server
  • AGENTID: the agent random ID in use for the duration of a game

Constraints on the container


In a container, network is restricted; agents are not be able to connect to the internet, or communicate directly with other agents.

The only network communications allowed are with the game server.

Allowed Docker intructions

For security reason, you can only use the following instructions in your Dockerfile:

  • COPY
  • ENV
  • FROM
  • RUN
  • CMD

All other Docker instructions are banned (VOLUME, PORT, etc.). Your container won't be allowed on the online Byte Arena platform if your Dockerfile uses banned instructions.

File system

The container uses a read-only ephemeral filesystem.


All Unix Capabilities are dropped and your container is not privileged.

Unix user

You are not allowed to change the Unix user or group which will execute your program.

The user nobody must be present in the container in order to run your program. Note that most Linux distribution have it out of the box.