Scripted Bots I: Getting Started

This tutorial will introduce you to the Fantasy Football AI framework (FFAI) that allows you to make your own Blood Bowl bot in Python. First, I will explain how to download and set up the framework, then how to make a simple bot that uses FFAI’s API to retrieve information about the game state in order to make actions. Finally, I will introduce a fully fledged bot called GrodBot (developed by Peter Moore) that you can use as solid starting point.

If you end up developing your own bot, please submit it to Bot Bowl II.

Make sure that FFAI is installed. If you haven’t installed it yet, go to the installation guide.

A Random Bot

Let’s start by making a bot that takes random actions. The code below, which can also be found in examples/random_bot_example.py, implements a bot that takes random actions.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import ffai
import numpy as np


class MyRandomBot(ffai.Agent):

    def __init__(self, name, seed=None):
        super().__init__(name)
        self.my_team = None
        self.rnd = np.random.RandomState(seed)

    def new_game(self, game, team):
        self.my_team = team

    def act(self, game):
        # Select a random action type
        while True:
            action_choice = self.rnd.choice(game.state.available_actions)
            # Ignore PLACE_PLAYER actions
            if action_choice.action_type != ffai.ActionType.PLACE_PLAYER:
                break

        # Select a random position and/or player
        position = self.rnd.choice(action_choice.positions) if len(action_choice.positions) > 0 else None
        player = self.rnd.choice(action_choice.players) if len(action_choice.players) > 0 else None

        # Make action object
        action = ffai.Action(action_choice.action_type, position=position, player=player)

        # Return action to the framework
        return action

    def end_game(self, game):
        pass


# Register the bot to the framework
ffai.register_bot('my-random-bot', MyRandomBot)


if __name__ == "__main__":

    # Load configurations, rules, arena and teams
    config = ffai.load_config("bot-bowl-ii")
    ruleset = ffai.load_rule_set(config.ruleset)
    arena = ffai.load_arena(config.arena)
    home = ffai.load_team_by_filename("human", ruleset)
    away = ffai.load_team_by_filename("human", ruleset)
    config.competition_mode = False
    config.debug_mode = False

    # Play 10 games
    game_times = []
    for i in range(10):
        away_agent = ffai.make_bot("my-random-bot")
        home_agent = ffai.make_bot("my-random-bot")

        game = ffai.Game(i, home, away, home_agent, away_agent, config, arena=arena, ruleset=ruleset)
        game.config.fast_mode = True

        print("Starting game", (i+1))
        game.init()
        print("Game is over")

Let’s go through the code step by step. First, we import the ffai package as well as numpy. Then, we create a new class called MyRandomBot that inherits from the Agent class. Doing so, requires us to implement three functions:

Because we just want to take a random action for now, let’s forget about the game object. Instead, let’s look at the Action class that we need to instantiate whenever act is called.

class Action:

    def __init__(self, action_type, pos=None, player=None):
        ...

The only required parameter in the constructor is action_type, which should be an instance of the enum ActionType. You can see all the different action types in ffai/core/table.py. Here are some examples of actions that could be instantiated in a sequence of act()-calls:

Action(ActionType.START_BLITZ, player=game.get_players_on_pitch(self.my_team)[0])
Action(ActionType.MOVE, position=Square(3,5))
Action(ActionType.MOVE, position=Square(3,6))
Action(ActionType.BLOCK, position=Square(4,7))
Action(ActionType.SELECT_DEFENDER_DOWN)
Action(ActionType.FOLLOW_UP)
Action(ActionType.BLOCK, position=Square(4,8))
Action(ActionType.END_PLAYER_TURN)

But how do we know which actions that are allowed in the current step of the game? The game object contains a list of the available action choices in the state:

game.state.available_actions

This is a list of possible action choices that can be performed with some additional information about them, such as the required dice roll to make. An example of this list, formatted in json, looks like this:

"available_actions": [
     {
         "action_type": "MOVE", 
         "positions": [{"x": 12, "y": 6}, {"x": 14, "y": 6}, {"x": 12, "y": 7}, {"x": 12, "y": 8}], 
         "team_id": "human-1", 
         "rolls": [], 
         "block_rolls": [], 
         "agi_rolls": [[3], [5], [3], [3]], 
         "player_ids": [], 
         "disabled": false
     }, 
     {
         "action_type": "BLOCK", 
         "positions": [{"x": 14, "y": 7}, {"x": 14, "y": 8}], 
         "team_id": "human-1", 
         "rolls": [], 
         "block_rolls": [1, 1], 
         "agi_rolls": [[], []], 
         "player_ids": [], 
         "disabled": false
     }, 
     {
         "action_type": "END_PLAYER_TURN", 
         "positions": [], 
         "team_id": "human-1", 
         "rolls": [], 
         "block_rolls": [], 
         "agi_rolls": [], 
         "player_ids": [], 
         "disabled": false
     }
 ]

which are the available actions in this situation:

"A human lineman has taken a Blitz action and can thus both move and block."

By iterating the available actions, we can easily select one that we like. For our random bot, we first sample a random ÀctionType:

action_choice = self.rnd.choice(game.state.available_actions)

We do not want to sample the ActionType.PLACE_PLAYER, which is used during the setup phase, as we don’t want to rely in our bot to randomly come up with a valid starting formation. Instead, we allow it to select one of the built-in starting formations that are available as actions. After selecting an action type, we can sample a position or player if it is needed:

pos = self.rnd.choice(action_choice.positions) if len(action_choice.positions) > 0 else None
player = self.rnd.choice(action_choice.players) if len(action_choice.players) > 0 else None

Finally, we can instantiate the Action object and return it:

action = Action(action_choice.action_type, pos=pos, player=player)
return action

To play against you agent in the web interface, add the following the your bot script, and start a new server.

register_bot('my-random-bot', MyRandomBot)
server.start_server(debug=True, use_reloader=False)

A Procedure-based Bot

FFAI offers a built-in template for scripted bots with a simple structure that calls different functions depending on the current procedure of the game. FFAI has a number of different procedures for each part of the game, such as ‘Turn’, ‘Move’, ‘Block’, and ‘Pass’. The procedure-based bot template ‘ProcBot’ has one function for each of these procedures:

class ProcBot(Agent):

    ...

    def coin_toss_flip(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def coin_toss_kick_receive(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def setup(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def place_ball(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def high_kick(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def touchback(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    def turn(self, game):
        raise NotImplementedError("This method must be overridden by non-human subclasses")

    ...

Instead of implementing a bot that inherits from Agent, you can make a bot that inherits from ProcBot. This means, that instead of implementing the act() function, you need to implement all of these procedure functions which will help you to seperate your implementation. Here are a few simple implementations of these functions:

def coin_toss_flip(self, game):
    """
    Select heads/tails and/or kick/receive
    """
    return Action(ActionType.TAILS)
def place_ball(self, game):
    """
    Place the ball when kicking.
    """
    left_center = Square(7, 8)
    right_center = Square(20, 8)
    if game.is_team_side(left_center, self.opp_team):
        return Action(ActionType.PLACE_BALL, pos=left_center)
    return Action(ActionType.PLACE_BALL, pos=right_center)
def touchback(self, game):
    """
    Select player to give the ball to.
    """
    p = None
    for player in game.get_players_on_pitch(self.my_team, up=True):
        if Skill.BLOCK in player.skills:
            return Action(ActionType.SELECT_PLAYER, player=player)
        p = player
    return Action(ActionType.SELECT_PLAYER, player=p)

While the logic behind these functions are quite simple, it becomes more complicated to implement the functions ‘turn’ and ‘player_action’, as you need to consider the game board to make decisions. In the next tutorial on script-based bots we will focus on these functions, where we will dive into pathfinding and probabilities.

Try going through the rest of the functions in ProcBot and start thinking about how these could be implemented.