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RoboCup SPL GameController

This is the GameController developed by team B-Human for the RoboCup SPL. Please note that the Humanoid League currently uses a fork.

The sources mentioned in some sections of this document are available at


The development was partially supported by the RoboCup Federation within the calls for Support for Projects for League Developments for 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018.

1. Building from Source

To build it from the source code you may use Apache Ant. Just call "ant" in the main directory.

Building the source code requires the JDK 1.8 or newer.

2. GameController

Executing the Jar

Double-click GameController.jar or run

Usage: java -jar GameController.jar {options}

(-h | --help)                   display help
(-t | --test)                   use test-mode - currently only disabling the
                                delayed game state switches in the SPL
(-i | --interface) <interface>  set network interface (default is a
                                connected IPv4 interface)
(-l | --league) (spl | spl_penalty_shootout | spl_general_penalty_kick_challenge)
                                select league (default is spl)
(-w | --window)                 select window mode (default is fullscreen)
(-g | --game-type) (undefined | preliminary | playoff)
                                select game type (default is undefined)
(-b | --limited-broadcast)      use as broadcast address
--team1 <team name or number>   select first team (default is 0)
--team2 <team name or number>   select second team (default is 0)

Start Dialog

Select your league. The default can be specified as a command line parameter (see above).

Pick the two teams that are playing. They have to be different teams. If you are practicing alone, use the "Invisibles" as second team.

SPL: The GameController automatically selects the jersey colors as defined in the file "teams.cfg". The left team's jersey color is picked first regardless if it has a custom jersey or not. For both teams, the first jersey color that they have and, if picking second, that does not conflict with the jersey color of the opponent is selected in the following sequence:

  • Left team: custom 1, custom 2, blue, red
  • Right team: custom 1, custom 2, red, blue

The GameController operator can switch each teams color to their secondary color if it is necessary to distinguish the jersey colors.

You also have to select whether you play a game in the preliminaries or a play-off game. In the preliminaries the clock will continue to run during game stoppages and there will be no penalty shootout in case of a draw. In play-off games, the clock will be stopped and there may be penalty shootout.

You can select whether the GameController should run in fullscreen mode or in windowed mode. Note that the fullscreen mode does not work correctly on some Linux desktops, because although they report to Java that they would support this feature, they do not.

Main Screen

The use of the main screen should be rather obvious in most cases. Therefore, we only focus on the specialties.

When ever you made a mistake, use the undo history at the bottom of the screen to correct it. You cannot correct individual decisions (except for the last one). Instead, you can only roll back to a certain state of the game. Click the oldest decision in the history you want to undo. After that all decisions that would be undone will be marked. Click the decision again to actually undo it together with all decisions that followed.

To penalize a robot, first press the penalty button, then the robot button. The only exception is the state "Set" in playoff games, in which the "Motion in Set" penalty is preselected and robots can be penalized by simply clicking on them (selecting other penalties is still possible). For unpenalizing a robot, just press the robot button. A robot can only be unpenalized, when its penalty time is over or when the game state changes (SPL only). Ten seconds before the penalty time is over, the robot's button starts flashing yellow. For regular penalties, it continues to flash until the button is pressed. Only buttons of robots that were requested for pickup stop flashing after ten seconds and simply stay yellow until they are pressed, as a reminder that the robot can return as soon as it is ready. Robots with a "Motion in Set" penalty stay on the field and will be automatically unpenalized 15 seconds after pressing the button "Play".

Before unpenalizing a robot that was taken off the field, please make sure that it was put back on the field by the assistant referees. For that reason, robots are never unpenalized automatically, except for the "Illegal Motion in Set" penalty.

To substitute a robot, press "Substitute" and then the robot that should leave the field. Afterwards, any of the substitutes can be activated. If the robot that is replaced is already penalized, its substitute inherits the penalty. If it is not, the substitute can immediately enter the field in the HL, but gets a "request for pickup" penalty before it can enter the field in the SPL.

When pressing the big "+" (goal), "Timeout", or "Global Game Stuck", the other team gets the next kick-off. When pressing "Goal Kick", "Corner Kick" or "Kick In", the same team gets the next kick-off.

SPL: When the referee decides that too much game time has been lost, use the thin "+" next to the clock to increase the game time in one-minute steps. This is only available during stoppages of play.

Penalty Shootout

In the penalty shootout, press "Set" and place the robots in their correct locations. Select the two robots that are actually performing the current attempt as penalty taker and goalkeeper. All other robots are marked as substitutes. Press "Play" to start a single shot. The penalty shot is ended by either pressing "+" for the penalty taker or by pressing "Finish" if the shot failed. In both cases, a penalty shot ends in the state "Finished". Press "Set" again to start the next shot.


While the GameController is running, you may use the following keys on the keyboard instead of pushing buttons:

Esc       - press it twice to close the GameController
Delete    - toggle test-mode (everything is legal, every button is visible
            and enabled)
Backspace - undo last action

only SPL

B    - kick in for blue
R    - kick in for red
Y    - kick in for yellow
K    - kick in for black
     - the new team colors implemented for RoboCup 2016 do not yet have a key

P    - pushing
L    - leaving the field
I    - fallen / inactive
D    - illegal position
O    - illegal ball contact
U    - request for pickup
F    - foul

Adding teams to the GameController

The teams registered in the GameController are determined using the config file located at config/<league name>/teams.cfg relative the the GameController.jar. To add teams to it, lines composed of <team number>=<team name> may be added to this file. Optionally, the primary and secondary team colors may be added behind the team name, separated by commas.

Team logos lie in the same directory as the config file with the corresponding team number as the file name.

3. GameStateVisualizer

As of the 2017 RoboCup competitions, the GameStateVisualizer has been replaced by the GameStateVisualizer mode of the TeamCommunicationMonitor.

To start it, run

java -jar TeamCommunicationMonitor.jar --gsv -l <league>.

The parameter -l (or --league) is optional; if it is not given, the GSV assumes a game in the SPL.

4. TeamCommunicationMonitor

The TeamCommunicationMonitor (TCM) is a tool for visualizing the data communicated by robots during SPL games.

It serves two main purposes:

  1. offering diagnostic data such as which robots are communicating on which team ports and whether the data that is sent by these conforms to the SPLStandardMessage, which is the standard communication protocol in the SPL
  2. visualizing the data that was sent via SPLStandardMessages in both textual and graphical form.

For more info see TCM.

5. Misc

The format of the packets the GameController broadcasts at port GAMECONTROLLER_DATA_PORT and receives at port GAMECONTROLLER_RETURN_PORT is defined in the file RoboCupGameControlData.h. It differs from the version used in 2019 in the following ways:

  • The macro COMPETITION_TYPE_MIXEDTEAM has been removed.
  • The macro SET_PLAY_GOAL_FREE_KICK has been renamed to SET_PLAY_GOAL_KICK.
  • The macro SET_PLAY_PENALTY_KICK has been added.
  • The penalty macros have been reorganized:
    • PENATLY_SPL_KICK_OFF_GOAL has been removed.

Since 2015, after a change from Set to Playing in SPL games the GameController does not send the correct game state and time for 15 seconds. This behaviour became necessary so the robots have to listen for the whistle blown by the head referee, but it is disruptive for applications such as the GameStateVisualizer that display the current game state to the audience. Therefore, the GameController now listens for TrueDataRequest messages (see and sends the true game state to all clients that requested it in this way. The true game state is sent on the same port as the broadcasted GameControlData and can be identified by its header. See for a reference implementation of requesting the true game state and distinguishing it from the normal broadcast message. If a robot (identified through GameControlReturnData messages) sends a request for receiving the true game state, the request is ignored and its network address is written into the GameController's error log.

6. Known Issues

There are still a number of issues left:

  • The alignment of button labels is bad if the buttons are small.

  • Too many colors and buttons - too little keys (not enough shortcuts for all operations)

  • On Windows, Swing windows are only displayed correctly scaled on HiDPI displays if Java 9 is used.


This is the official GameController used in the RoboCup Standard Platform League