This is a sample client for the Vindinium AI game, written in Java, using the Google HTTP client and GSON.
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README.md

vindinium-client

Build status

Overview

This is a simple Java client for the Vindinium game. Vindinium is a simple game played by an AI via HTTP that I found via Reddit.

The project is created using the Google HTTP client and GSON. I decided to write a client because other clients seem to have some strange/verbose ways of parsing server communication and of presenting the game. This client is focused on staying out of the way and letting people develop AIs to play. It is also meant to be very easy to extend.

There are two flavors of the client. The simple one gives a very bare-bones game state and forces the bot to do a lot of the work parsing the map. The advanced one gives a much nicer game state that includes hash maps containing locations of objects on the map. This convenience comes at the expense of time.

License

This software is public domain.

Author

Hi, I'm Brian! You can find me at my personal website or at GitHub.

Setup

This is a simple Maven project, so it can be set up directly from the CLI via Maven or by any IDE that has decent Maven support. The project was developed with IntelliJ, so its known to work.

Maven

To build:

mvn compile

To create an uber JAR:

mvn package

Command for running from Maven:

mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass='com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient.Main' -Dexec.args='YOURKEY TRAINING simple com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient.bot.simple.RandomBot'

CLI Usage

The CLI takes 4 arguments:

  • Your key
  • The game URL
  • The bot type
  • The fully qualified class name of the bot that will play

The arguments are space-delimited.

Key

The key is specified by the Vindinium website when a user name is registered.

Game Url

Instead of specifying a game URL, a user can say TRAINING or COMPETITION, which will connect to Vindinium's training and competition arena, respectively. The only time a user will not use one of these two arguments is when they are connecting to a different server, such as a local development server.

Bot Type

This parameter tells us which type of bot is being used so that the appropriate bot runner can be invoked. Pass in simple for SimpleBot or advanced for AdvancedBot.

Fully Qualified Bot Class Name

The Main class will reflectively instantiate a Bot to play the game. In order to locate the bot, the fully qualified name is needed, in the general form of com.packagename.packagenamingpackage.SomeBot.

Extending

This client is broken into a few pieces: Bots, DTO, and Main.

SimpleBot

com.brainstempin.vindiniumclient.bot.simple.SimpleBot

The gist is that a GameState is passed into the bot, it makes its decision, and then returns a BotMove. The SimpleBotCallable class will take that move, attach an API key to it, and send it off to the server. Easy peasy. The only thing to watch out for is that there must be a publically available default constructor. This is needed to reflectively instantiate a bot during the game. If you wish to run a bot that has constructor parameters, then you must modify Main.java.

For an example of a bot, take a look at RandomBot or MurderBot.

DTO

com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient.dto

The DTO, or Data Transfer Objects, are just a Java modeling of the JSON responses from the server and the URL encoded messages to the server. They have annotations to allow them to be automatically marshalled and unmarshalled by GSON and the Google HTTP client. They're just glorified POJOs.

Unless Vindinium changes their communication structure, this can probably be left alone. If there's a desire to present the game as a different class hierarchy, it should go into a separate package.

Main

com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient

Everything starts at the Main class. Its responsible for instantiating the bot, a bot runner, and then running the bot. Easy peasy.

AdvancedBot

com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient.bot.advanced.AdvancedBot

This interface is an improvement on SimpleBot. Instad of taking a GameState, it takes an AdvancedGameState. This enhanced game state delivers the game state in a format that is easier for the developer to deal with.

For an example, take a look at AdvancedMurderBot.

AdvancedGameState

com.brianstempin.vindiniumclient.bot.advanced.AdvancedGameState

This class extends GameState. In addition to the elements in GameState, this new type offers a graph of the board and hash maps for each of the elements on the board to make searching easy.

Road Map

There are a few things that I'd like to do in order to consider this client "complete." These are in no particular order.

Logging and Profiling

Since the bot only has a second to respond, response times are important. Log4j is used for logging. Users are free to add code to dump the game state on each turn. It might be nice to add more metrics to the code.

Multiple Game Play

If someone wants their bot to go out and destroy everything, then they need something to run the bot in a loop. It'd be nice if Main could accept a param to tell it how many games to play.

If someone really wants to give their bot some play time, then it might be nice to be able to run concurrent games.

Improving the AdvancedGameState

While it is absolutely an improvement over the GameState, it still leaves something to be desired. For now, the AdvancedGameState is to be considered unstable since it will be undergoing some improvements.

Testing

Testing the decisioners is hard. Its tedious to go through and set up game scenarios to test each possible outcome of each decisioner. Right now, the testing is not a good example of how a project should be tested.