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Teaching Multiagent Systems using RoboCup and Biter
José M. Vidal, University of South Carolina
Paul Buhler, College of Charleston


Sample Class Tournament:
Class tournament were recorded as logfiles, which can be played back with Soccersever. Screen capture movies of segments of selected playback are available here to give you a taste of what the class tournament using Soccerserver looks like, without you having to download and install the Soccerserver.

All screen capture movies below are RealVideos, which require RealVideo player:

  • Samurai vs. Betir
  • Sachin* vs. Samurai
  • Kar vs. Samurai
  • Kar vs. Betir
  • Sachin* vs. Kar
  • Sachin* vs. Betir

    *The students in the Sachin group forgot to change the default name (Biter) to Sachin, so it shows up as Biter in the log files.

Below are the authors' comments on the above student teams' design and strategies in programming their soccer players' behaviors.

  • The Betir team was the champion and most sophisticated team. They employ a flexible 1-4-3-2 formation where the players where allowed to move out of their assigned positions under certain circumstances. For example, all players go after the ball if it is close enough, and the offensive players are allowed to go back to the midfield if the ball is in the defensive side. Their most significant advantage was the ability to make successful long passes. This requires offensive players to stay "open" and defensive players to know the offensive players' locations. This ability was not an explicitly programmed behavior but arose out of the interactions of their simpler zone and passing behaviors.
  • The Samurai team uses five regions: defense with passing, defense with no passing, center with passing, offense with passing, and offense with no passing. Passing is prohibited in the sensitive areas near the goal in order to minimize the possibility of losing the ball. They also divided their players into four roles: Goalie, defense, center, and forward. Each role is given different behaviors. The forwards and centers are allowed to ignore the regions and, as such, provided a reactive component to their strategy which helped the team achieve second place on the tournament.
  • The Sachin team uses seven overlapping zones. They players were made to stay within their zone. The overlap allows the team to react quickly to unforeseen circumstances and provided some flexibility. Unfortunately, the fact that the zones are fixed reduces the team's ability to go after the ball in some circumstances. They also created the roles of defender, midback, midforward, and forward. The players' role remains fixed during the game. Their passes were made more successful because of their technique of having the players "yell" their position upon request from the player with the ball. This allows the player with the ball to make more precise passes.
  • The KAR team relied mostly on behaviors to pass the ball and intercept the ball. The players were given some rules of thumb about when to pass the ball. When a ball is passed the kicker yells the receiver's name and a set of coordinates in the hopes of alerting the receiver. The players only pass the ball when they have an receiver that is not blocked on when they are very close to their goal. The individual behaviors in this team were too few and too simple for interesting team behaviors to emerge.

If you are interested in seeing the full playback, you can download the logfiles from the authors' web site. You also need to download and install the Soccerserver.

Links to the author's Multiagent Systems course:
Spring 2000
Fall 2000
Fall 2001
Fall 2002

Link to the RoboCup Soccer Simulator download site.