COMP 3411 Artificial Intelligence, Session 1, 2012.

Project 3

Due: Sunday 27 May, 11:59 pm
Marks: 18% of final assessment

For this project you will be implementing an agent to play a simple text-based adventure game. The agent is required to move around a rectangular environment, collecting tools and avoiding (or removing) obstacles along the way. The obstacles and tools within the environment are represented as follows:

Obstacles  Tools
T tree      a axe

The agent will be represented by one of the characters ^, v, <  or  >, depending on which direction it is pointing. The agent is capable of the following instructions:

L   turn left
R   turn right
F   (try to) move forward
C   (try to) chop down a tree, using an axe
B   (try to) blast a wall, door or tree, using dynamite

When it executes an L or R instruction, the agent remains in the same location and only its direction changes. When it executes an F instruction, the agent attempts to move a single step in whichever direction it is pointing. The F instruction will fail (have no effect) if there is a wall or tree directly in front of the agent.

When the agent moves to a location occupied by a tool, it automatically picks up the tool. The agent may use a C or B instruction to remove an obstacle immediately in front of it, if it is carrying the appropriate tool. A tree may be removed with a C (chop) instruction, if an axe is held. A wall or tree may be removed with a B (blast) instruction, if dynamite is held.

If the agent moves forward into the water, it will drown unless it is in a boat. Boats behave a bit differently from the other tools, because they always remain in the water. When the agent moves from the water back to the land, it automatically drops the boat. The boat will then remain where it was dropped, ready to be picked up again at a later time.

If the agent attempts to move off the edge of the environment, it dies.

To win the game, the agent must pick up the gold and then return to its initial location.

Running as a Single Process

Copy the archive into your own filespace and unzip it. Then type

cd src
javac *.java
java Bounty -i
You should then see something like this:
~~ a   T     T     B~
~~   ***     ***   ~~
~~***     v     ***~~
~~  **         **  ~~
~~ g **   d   **   ~~
~~    **     **    ~~

Enter Action(s): 
This allows you to play the role of the agent by typing commands at the keyboard (followed by <Enter>). Note:

Running in Network Mode

Follow these instructions to see how the game runs in network mode:

  1. open two windows, and cd to the src directory in both of them.
  2. choose a port number between 1025 and 65535 - let's suppose you choose 31415.
  3. type this in one window:
    java Bounty -p 31415 -i
  4. type this in the other window:
    java Agent -p 31415
In network mode, the agent runs as a separate process and communicates with the game engine through a TCPIP socket. Notice that the agent cannot see the whole environment, but only a 5-by-5 "window" around its current location, appropriately rotated. From the agent's point of view, locations off the edge of the environment appear as a dot.

We have also provided a C version of the agent, which you can run by typing

./agent -p 31415

Writing an Agent

At each time step, the environment will send a series of 24 characters to the agent, constituting a scan of the 5-by-5 window it is currently seeing; the agent must send back a single character to indicate the action it has chosen.

You are free to write the agent in any language you choose. If you are writing in Java, your main file should be called (you are free to use the supplied file as a starting point). If you are writing in C, you are free to use the files agent.c, pipe.c and pipe.h as a starting point. In other languages, you will have to write the socket code for yourself. You must include a Makefile with your submission, producing an executable called agent.

You may assume that the specified environment is no larger than 80 by 80, but the agent can begin anywhere inside it.

Additional examples of input and output files will be provided in the directory hw3/sample.


At the top of your code, in a block of comments, you must provide a brief answer (one or two paragraphs) to this Question:

Briefly describe how your program works, including any algorithms and data structures employed, and explain any design decisions you made along the way.


When submissions are open, you should submit by typing

give cs3411 hw3 Makefile ...
You can submit as many times as you like - later submissions will overwrite earlier ones. You can check that your submission has been received by using the following command:

3411 classrun -check

The submission deadline is Sunday 27 May, 11:59 pm.
15% penalty will be applied to the (maximum) mark for every 24 hours late after the deadline.

Additional information may be found in the FAQ and will be considered as part of the specification for the project.

Questions relating to the project can also be posted to the MessageBoard on the course Web page.

If you have a question that has not already been answered on the FAQ or the MessageBoard, you can email it to your tutor, or to

Please ensure that you submit the source files and NOT any binary files. The give system will compile your program using your Makefile and check that it produces a binary file (or java class files) with the correct name.


Your program will be tested on a series of sample inputs with successively more challenging environments. There will be:

You should always adhere to good coding practices and style. In general, a program that attempts a substantial part of the job but does that part correctly will receive more marks than one attempting to do the entire job but with many errors. One or two bonus marks may be awarded for a solution showing a particular degree of ingenuity, or ability to solve very difficult environments.

Plagiarism Policy

Group submissions will not be allowed. Your program must be entirely your own work. Plagiarism detection software will be used to compare all submissions pairwise (including submissions for similar assignments from previous years) and serious penalties will be applied, particularly in the case of repeat offences.


Please refer to the Yellow Form, or to section on Originality of Assignment Submissions in the Unix Primer, as well as the CSE Addendum to the UNSW Plagiarism Policy if you require further clarification on this matter.

Good luck!