AI 2012 Angry Birds: AI Challenge

Angry Birds is a popular video game where the task is to shoot birds with different properties from a sling shot at a structure that houses pigs and to destroy the pigs. The structure can be very complicated and can involve a number of different object categories with different properties. The game and the structure observes the laws of physics and it is possible to infer how the structure will change when hit at a certain position.

The task of this Challenge is to develop an Angry Birds playing agent that is able to successfully play the game autonomously and without human intervention. This may require analysing the structure of the objects and to infer how to shoot the birds in order to destroy the pigs and to score most points. In order to successfully solve this challenge, participants can benefit from combining different areas of AI such as computer vision, knowledge representation and reasoning, planning, and machine learning. Successfully integrating methods from these different areas is one of the great challenges of AI.

Since it cannot be expected that participants can develop all these capabilities themselves, the organizers will provide a basic game playing framework to registered participants that uses Java 7 and matlab and includes the following components:

  • a computer vision component that can analyse a video game frame and returns the location, category and bounding box of all relevant objects plus the game score
  • a trajectory learning component that learns trajectories of birds and computes where to shoot from in order to hit the given location
  • a game playing component that executes actions and captures screen shots
Participants are free to use these components or can develop their own components. Note that there is a small amount of uncertainty in the output that the supplied components produce and participants should take this into account when developing their programs.

The Challenge

The AI'12 Angry Birds challenge is designed to test the abilities of Angry Birds playing agents on a variety of Angry Birds levels. The challenge will consist of two tracks: a classic track and an unlimited track. For both tracks, participating game playing agents will be run by the organisers on our agent server to ensure autonomous play without human intervention.

In the classic track, agents will receive screen shots of the game before and after every action from our game server and are asked to submit their actions (=coordinates of where to release the next bird and when to tap) to our game server. These actions will then be executed by our game server.

In the unlimited track, agents can access the Angry Birds game directly on our agent server, but are still required to submit their actions to our game server.

More details about the different tracks can be found here.

For both tracks there will be a qualification round and the main challenge. In the qualification round on 4 December, entrants will play several different game levels and need to demonstrate game playing capabilities that are more advanced than the test mode of our game playing framework in order to qualify for the main challenge. The strategy of the test mode is to shoot birds directly at the pigs without any analysis of the game scenario other than detecting the locations of pigs, birds and slingshot.

On 5 December, the qualified Angry Birds game playing agents in each track will have one hour each to play up to ten Angry Birds levels automatically and without any human intervention. A new level can only be accessed once the previous level has been solved. The entrants to achieve the highest combined game score over the ten levels in each track will be the winners of the challenge.

Note that the actual game levels used during the challenge will not be disclosed to the participants in advance. However, participants will be informed in advance about the birds and the object categories used in the challenge game levels, so that their behaviour can be learned in advance. This is done by releasing sample game levels that contain all birds and all objects used in the challenge.


The challenge is open to all registered participants who submit a working Angry Birds game playing program to the organisers by November 30. Each submission needs to be accompanied by a brief description of how the agent is an improvement over the available basic game playing framework.

Challenge Rules

  • Attending the main conference is not required for participating in the challenge. Remote participation will be possible, provided that participants have tested by November 30 that their game playing agents run on our agent server.
  • Final versions of the game playing agents need to be submitted to the organisers 3 hours before the start of the challenge
  • The rules of the classic track are described in Classic Track.
  • The rules of the unlimited track are described in Unlimited Track.
  • We will be using the Chrome version of Angry Birds for our challenge.
  • Participants are required to register by email with subject line "Angry Birds Registration" to by 26 November 12. Registration should include the following information:
    • Team name
    • Affiliation
    • Team contact person
    • Team member names
    • Team contact details
    • Challenge track (classic and/or unlimited)
    • Remote participation or personal attendance


Jochen Renz The Australian National University
Stephen Gould   The Australian National University
Charles Gretton The Australian National University
Patrik Haslum The Australian National University

Important Dates

    26 November 2012
    4 December 2012, 2pm - 4pm AEDT
Main challenge:
    5 December 2012, 2pm - 5pm AEDT