Deceptive angry birds: Towards smarter game-playing agents

Matthew Stephenson, Jochen Renz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few years the Angry Birds AI competition has been held in an attempt to develop intelligent agents that can successfully and efficiently solve levels for the video game Angry Birds. Many different agents and strategies have been proposed to solve the complex and challenging physical reasoning problems associated with such a game. The performance of these agents has increased significantly over the competition's lifetime thanks to the different approaches and improved techniques employed. However, there still exist key flaws within the designs of these agents that can often lead them to make illogical or very poor choices. Most of the current approaches try to identify the best or a good next shot, but do not attempt to plan an effective sequence of shots. While this might be due to the difficulty in predicting the exact outcome of a shot, this capability is precisely what is needed to succeed, both in games like Angry Birds, but also in the real world where physical reasoning capabilities are essential. In order to encourage development of such techniques, we can create levels where selecting a seemingly good next shot will lead to a worse outcome. In this paper we present several categories of deception to fool the current state-of-the-art agents. By evaluating the performance of the most recent Angry Birds agents on specific level examples that contain these deceptive elements, we can show how certain AI techniques can be tricked or exploited. We also propose some ways that future agents could help deal with these deceptive levels to increase their overall performance and generality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2018
EditorsSteve Dahlskog, Sebastian Deterding, Jose Font, Mitu Khandaker, Carl Magnus Olsson, Sebastian Risi, Christoph Salge
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450365710
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2018 - Malmo, Sweden
Duration: 7 Aug 201810 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2018


  • Agents
  • Angry birds
  • Deception
  • Physics-based games
  • Video games


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