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Daj Się Poznać 2017 - competition summary

· 5 min read

Well, I was going to write a post about the project, but I couldn't do it for anything in the world, so I decided to do what the rest of the participants did, that is, sum up the competition and my participation in it. Sorry, but I will be boring :)

Project - development history

Maybe you don't remember, but as part of the competition, I decided to develop a bot project for Starcraft 2 using reinforcement learning. It wasn't a very smart idea, because there was no API for creating bots at that time, and I naively assumed that Blizzard and DeepMind would be ready for this first quarter of 2017. They didn't make it, the API will be available only in the summer. I didn't know what to do, first I decided to create my own, simplified Starcraft in Phaser (a framework for writing games in JavaScript). I even wrote something there, it is in one repository (dloranc/simple-rts-and-rl-example), but it quickly became I discouraged. Too much work with this. I would have to write things like path-finding, and I wasn't happy about it. Ultimately, I abandoned this project, but it is possible that I will do something with it in the near future, a simple example with reinforcement learning.

Finally, I decided to take on Starcraft: Brood War, the predecessor of Starcraft 2. I put together quite quickly in Java, using BWAPI and BWMirror, a simple bot performing a very simple strategy known as 5 pool. I entered the bot into the SSCAIT tournament/ladder. Surprisingly, he does quite well on ladder considering his simplicity. His results can be viewed on the [results] page( This bot is located in the dloranc/five-pool-bot repository.

You can see the bot in action here:

After writing this bot, I planned to use RL, but it turned out that BWMirror is only 32-bit, so I couldn't use Java libraries because they are only 64-bit. I would have to transfer the bot from BWMirror to something else. I didn't feel like it too much, so I decided to switch to TorchCraft, a library that allows you to develop bots using machine learning. I still struggle with this today and it's not easy because this library has virtually no documentation.

In total, I created four repositories for the project. There were a total of 103 commits, which is rather average. I also regret that I didn't manage to do anything with machine learning.

I will continue to develop all projects, except maybe the one with pool 5, because it is completed and there is not much that can be added there.

The rest of the blog

I'm even quite satisfied with the remaining posts. During the competition, I started a series of posts about reinforcement learning based on the book I was reading, Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction (Richard S. Sutton and Andrew G. Barto). All can be found under the tag Sutton & Barto and the repository with examples is dloranc/reinforcement-learning-an-introduction. I'm doing quite well, but I think I'm explaining it all a bit poorly. There is a lot of room for improvement here. The idea to start this series was good, earlier during the competition I had problems with selecting topics. I didn't have any ideas for posts, but now I just need to read the chapters from this book and it's good :)

What did the competition give me?

Where to start... I learned to create posts relatively quickly. No wonder, the people wrote that a person becomes faster in writing by writing and it is true. However, I won't say that my posts are good, because as I wrote above, I have a problem with explaining things simply. I overcomplicate some things. I have a lot of training ahead of me here, I will have to look through my posts and think about what can be written better and simpler.

The second thing is that I managed to write quite regularly. I've always had a problem with this. Here I must admit that I took part in the first edition of "Daj Się Poznać" ("Let yourself be known"), the one in which there were not even a hundred participants. Then I dropped after two posts. It was a tragedy. However, I made it to the end of this year's edition and I consider it a success. Writing and developing the project was incredibly time-consuming, but it worked and I'm happy with it.

Have I made myself known?

Heh, not really. It's true that there was some interest in my bot at the beginning and a few people even commented, but nothing has happened on my blog for a long time :) Analytics doesn't show much either. The most sessions I had were 38, about halfway through the competition. I was promoting something on Twitter, but the last month was poor. To tell you the truth, I thought it would be worse.


Finally, I would like to thank the organizer Maciej Aniserowicz for organizing this competition. By the way, I apologize for my RSS :) I would also like to thank the readers of this blog (are there any?) for reading my stuff (comment more often, please!). I would also like to thank the other competition participants for sharing their knowledge and for conversations on Slack.

Thank you very much :)