CSE 537 Project 2: Multi-Agent Pac-Man
(100 points, Due Thu Oct 10th 11:59PM)

I'm gonna fake it to the left, and move to the right;
'Cause Pokey's too slow, and Blinky's out of sight.
I've got Pac-Man fever; It's driving me crazy.
I've got Pac-Man fever; I'm going out of my mind.
(from Pac-Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia)


In this project, you will design agents for the classic version of Pac-Man, including ghosts. Along the way, you will implement both minimax and expectimax search and try your hand at evaluation function design.

The code base has not changed much from the previous project, but please start with a fresh installation, rather than intermingling files from project 1. You can, however, use your search.py and searchAgents.py in any way you want.

The code for this project contains the following files, available as a multiagent.zip.

Key files to read
multiAgents.py Where all of your multi-agent search agents will reside.
pacman.py The main file that runs Pac-Man games. This file also describes a Pac-Man GameState type, which you will use extensively in this project
game.py The logic behind how the Pac-Man world works. This file describes several supporting types like AgentState, Agent, Direction, and Grid.
util.py Useful data structures for implementing search algorithms.
Files you can ignore
graphicsDisplay.py Graphics for Pac-Man
graphicsUtils.py Support for Pac-Man graphics
textDisplay.py ASCII graphics for Pac-Man
ghostAgents.py Agents to control ghosts
keyboardAgents.py Keyboard interfaces to control Pac-Man
layout.py Code for reading layout files and storing their contents


What to submit: You will fill in portions of multiagent.zip during the assignment. You should submit this file containing your code and comments. You may also submit supporting files (like search.py, etc.) that you use in your code. Please do not change the other files in this distribution or submit any of our original files other than multiAgents.py. You should submit these files along with a report. Your code should be well-documented. All the project submissions must be made through blackboard.

Report (5 points) This should include stats such as number of nodes expanded, memory usage and running time for each search strategy that you have used in this project. The report should conclude with a critical analysis of the search methods based on your collected stats.

Document (5 points) Your code will be reviewed for good documentation.

Evaluation: Your code will be autograded for technical correctness. Please do not change the names of any provided functions or classes within the code, or you will wreak havoc on the autograder. However, the correctness of your implementation -- not the autograder's judgements -- will be the final judge of your score.

Getting Help: You are not alone! If you find yourself stuck on something, contact the course staff for help. Office hours are there for your support; please use them. You are also welcome to contact us via email.


Multi-Agent Pac-Man

First, play a game of classic Pac-Man, preferably while listening to Pac-Man Fever:

python pacman.py
Now, run the provided ReflexAgent in multiAgents.py:
python pacman.py -p ReflexAgent
Note that it plays quite poorly even on simple layouts:
python pacman.py -p ReflexAgent -l testClassic
Inspect its code (in multiAgents.py) and make sure you understand what it's doing.

Question 1 (10 points)  Improve the ReflexAgent in multiAgents.py to play respectably. The provided reflex agent code provides some helpful examples of methods that query the GameState for information. A capable reflex agent will have to consider both food locations and ghost locations to perform well. Your agent should easily and reliably clear the testClassic layout:

python pacman.py -p ReflexAgent -l testClassic
Try out your reflex agent on the default mediumClassic layout with one ghost or two (and animation off to speed up the display):
python pacman.py --frameTime 0 -p ReflexAgent -k 1
python pacman.py --frameTime 0 -p ReflexAgent -k 2
How does your agent fare? It will likely often die with 2 ghosts on the default board, unless your evaluation function is quite good.

Note: you can never have more ghosts than the layout permits.

Note: As features, try the reciprocal of important values (such as distance to food) rather than just the values themselves.

Note: The evaluation function you're writing is evaluating state-action pairs; in later parts of the project, you'll be evaluating states.

Options: Default ghosts are random; you can also play for fun with slightly smarter directional ghosts using -g DirectionalGhost. If the randomness is preventing you from telling whether your agent is improving, you can use -f to run with a fixed random seed (same random choices every game). You can also play multiple games in a row with -n. Turn off graphics with -q to run lots of games quickly.

The autograder will check that your agent can rapidly clear the openClassic layout ten times without dying more than twice or thrashing around infinitely (i.e. repeatedly moving back and forth between two positions, making no progress).

python pacman.py -p ReflexAgent -l openClassic -n 10 -q

Don't spend too much time on this question, though, as the meat of the project lies ahead.

Question 2 (40 points) Now you will write an adversarial search agent in the provided MinimaxAgent class stub in multiAgents.py. Your minimax agent should work with any number of ghosts, so you'll have to write an algorithm that is slightly more general than what appears in the textbook. In particular, your minimax tree will have multiple min layers (one for each ghost) for every max layer.

Your code should also expand the game tree to a fix depth, which will be specified at the command line. Score the leaves of your minimax tree with the supplied self.evaluationFunction, which defaults to scoreEvaluationFunction. MinimaxAgent extends MultiAgentAgent, which gives access to self.depth and self.evaluationFunction. Make sure your minimax code makes reference to these two variables where appropriate as these variables are populated in response to command line options.

Important: A single search ply is considered to be one Pac-Man move and all the ghosts' responses, so depth 2 search will involve Pac-Man and each ghost moving two times.

Hints and Observations

Question 3 (40 points) Make a new agent that uses alpha-beta pruning to more efficiently explore the minimax tree, in AlphaBetaAgent. Again, your algorithm will be slightly more general than the pseudo-code in the textbook, so part of the challenge is to extend the alpha-beta pruning logic appropriately to multiple minimizer agents.

You should see a speed-up (perhaps depth 3 alpha-beta will run as fast as depth 2 minimax). Ideally, depth 3 on smallClassic should run in just a few seconds per move or faster.

python pacman.py -p AlphaBetaAgent -a depth=3 -l smallClassic

The AlphaBetaAgent minimax values should be identical to the MinimaxAgent minimax values, although the actions it selects can vary because of different tie-breaking behavior. Again, the minimax values of the initial state in the minimaxClassic layout are 9, 8, 7 and -492 for depths 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively.