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Basic Guide

This guide will show you how to use a pre-trained model in an example Unity environment, and show you how to train the model yourself.

If you are not familiar with the Unity Engine, we highly recommend the Roll-a-ball tutorial to learn all the basic concepts of Unity.

Setting up the ML-Agents Toolkit within Unity

In order to use the ML-Agents toolkit within Unity, you need to change some Unity settings first. Also TensorFlowSharp plugin is needed for you to use pre-trained model within Unity, which is based on the TensorFlowSharp repo.

  1. Launch Unity
  2. On the Projects dialog, choose the Open option at the top of the window.
  3. Using the file dialog that opens, locate the UnitySDK folder within the the ML-Agents toolkit project and click Open.
  4. Go to Edit > Project Settings > Player
  5. For each of the platforms you target (PC, Mac and Linux Standalone, iOS or Android):
    1. Option the Other Settings section.
    2. Select Scripting Runtime Version to Experimental (.NET 4.6 Equivalent or .NET 4.x Equivalent)
    3. In Scripting Defined Symbols, add the flag ENABLE_TENSORFLOW. After typing in the flag name, press Enter.
  6. Go to File > Save Project

Project Settings

Download the TensorFlowSharp plugin. Then import it into Unity by double clicking the downloaded file. You can check if it was successfully imported by checking the TensorFlow files in the Project window under Assets > ML-Agents > Plugins > Computer.

Note: If you don't see anything under Assets, drag the UnitySDK/Assets/ML-Agents folder under Assets within Project window.

Imported TensorFlowsharp

Running a Pre-trained Model

  1. In the Project window, go to Assets/ML-Agents/Examples/3DBall folder and open the 3DBall scene file.
  2. In the Hierarchy window, select the Ball3DBrain child under the Ball3DAcademy GameObject to view its properties in the Inspector window.
  3. On the Ball3DBrain object's Brain component, change the Brain Type to Internal.
  4. In the Project window, locate the Assets/ML-Agents/Examples/3DBall/TFModels folder.
  5. Drag the 3DBall model file from the TFModels folder to the Graph Model field of the Ball3DBrain object's Brain component.
  6. Click the Play button and you will see the platforms balance the balls using the pretrained model.

Running a pretrained model

Using the Basics Jupyter Notebook

The notebooks/getting-started.ipynb Jupyter notebook contains a simple walkthrough of the functionality of the Python API. It can also serve as a simple test that your environment is configured correctly. Within Basics, be sure to set env_name to the name of the Unity executable if you want to use an executable or to None if you want to interact with the current scene in the Unity Editor.

More information and documentation is provided in the Python API page.

Training the Brain with Reinforcement Learning

Setting the Brain to External

Since we are going to build this environment to conduct training, we need to set the Brain used by the Agents to External. This allows the Agents to communicate with the external training process when making their decisions.

  1. In the Scene window, click the triangle icon next to the Ball3DAcademy object.
  2. Select its child object Ball3DBrain.
  3. In the Inspector window, set Brain Type to External.

Set Brain to External

Training the environment

  1. Open a command or terminal window.

  2. Navigate to the folder where you cloned the ML-Agents toolkit repository. Note: If you followed the default installation, then you should be able to run mlagents-learn from any directory.

  3. Run mlagents-learn <trainer-config-path> --run-id=<run-identifier> --train where:

    • <trainer-config-path> is the relative or absolute filepath of the trainer configuration. The defaults used by example environments included in MLAgentsSDK can be found in config/trainer_config.yaml.
    • <run-identifier> is a string used to separate the results of different training runs
    • --train tells mlagents-learn to run a training session (rather than inference)
  4. If you cloned the ML-Agents repo, then you can simply run

    mlagents-learn config/trainer_config.yaml --run-id=firstRun --train
  5. When the message "Start training by pressing the Play button in the Unity Editor" is displayed on the screen, you can press the ▶️ button in Unity to start training in the Editor.

Note: Alternatively, you can use an executable rather than the Editor to perform training. Please refer to this page for instructions on how to build and use an executable.

ml-agents$ mlagents-learn config/trainer_config.yaml --run-id=first-run --train


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INFO:mlagents.learn:{'--curriculum': 'None',
 '--docker-target-name': 'Empty',
 '--env': 'None',
 '--help': False,
 '--keep-checkpoints': '5',
 '--lesson': '0',
 '--load': False,
 '--no-graphics': False,
 '--num-runs': '1',
 '--run-id': 'first-run',
 '--save-freq': '50000',
 '--seed': '-1',
 '--slow': False,
 '--train': True,
 '--worker-id': '0',
 '<trainer-config-path>': 'config/trainer_config.yaml'}
INFO:mlagents.envs:Start training by pressing the Play button in the Unity Editor.

Note: If you're using Anaconda, don't forget to activate the ml-agents environment first.

If mlagents-learn runs correctly and starts training, you should see something like this:

INFO:mlagents.envs:
'Ball3DAcademy' started successfully!
Unity Academy name: Ball3DAcademy
        Number of Brains: 1
        Number of External Brains : 1
        Reset Parameters :

Unity brain name: Ball3DBrain
        Number of Visual Observations (per agent): 0
        Vector Observation space size (per agent): 8
        Number of stacked Vector Observation: 1
        Vector Action space type: continuous
        Vector Action space size (per agent): [2]
        Vector Action descriptions: ,
INFO:mlagents.envs:Hyperparameters for the PPO Trainer of brain Ball3DBrain:
        batch_size:          64
        beta:                0.001
        buffer_size:         12000
        epsilon:             0.2
        gamma:               0.995
        hidden_units:        128
        lambd:               0.99
        learning_rate:       0.0003
        max_steps:           5.0e4
        normalize:           True
        num_epoch:           3
        num_layers:          2
        time_horizon:        1000
        sequence_length:     64
        summary_freq:        1000
        use_recurrent:       False
        graph_scope:
        summary_path:        ./summaries/first-run-0
        memory_size:         256
        use_curiosity:       False
        curiosity_strength:  0.01
        curiosity_enc_size:  128
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 1000. Mean Reward: 1.242. Std of Reward: 0.746. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 2000. Mean Reward: 1.319. Std of Reward: 0.693. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 3000. Mean Reward: 1.804. Std of Reward: 1.056. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 4000. Mean Reward: 2.151. Std of Reward: 1.432. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 5000. Mean Reward: 3.175. Std of Reward: 2.250. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 6000. Mean Reward: 4.898. Std of Reward: 4.019. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 7000. Mean Reward: 6.716. Std of Reward: 5.125. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 8000. Mean Reward: 12.124. Std of Reward: 11.929. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 9000. Mean Reward: 18.151. Std of Reward: 16.871. Training.
INFO:mlagents.trainers: first-run-0: Ball3DBrain: Step: 10000. Mean Reward: 27.284. Std of Reward: 28.667. Training.

After training

You can press Ctrl+C to stop the training, and your trained model will be at models/<run-identifier>/editor_<academy_name>_<run-identifier>.bytes where <academy_name> is the name of the Academy GameObject in the current scene. This file corresponds to your model's latest checkpoint. You can now embed this trained model into your Internal Brain by following the steps below, which is similar to the steps described above.

  1. Move your model file into UnitySDK/Assets/ML-Agents/Examples/3DBall/TFModels/.
  2. Open the Unity Editor, and select the 3DBall scene as described above.
  3. Select the Ball3DBrain object from the Scene hierarchy.
  4. Change the Type of Brain to Internal.
  5. Drag the <env_name>_<run-identifier>.bytes file from the Project window of the Editor to the Graph Model placeholder in the Ball3DBrain inspector window.
  6. Press the ▶️ button at the top of the Editor.

Next Steps