Teaching Introductory Artificial Intelligence through Java-based Games

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We introduce a Java graphical gaming framework that enables students in an introductory artificial intelligence (AI) course to immediately apply and visualize the topics from class. We have used this framework in teaching a mixed undergraduate/graduate AI course for six years. We believe that the use of games motivates students. The graphical nature of each game enables students to quickly see how well their algorithm works. Because the topics in an introductory AI course vary widely, students apply their algorithms to multiple game environments. A final challenging environment enables them to tie together the concepts for the entire semester.


McGovern, Amy and Tidwell, Zachery and Rushing, Derek (2011). Teaching Introductory Artificial Intelligence through Java-based Games. To appear in the proceedings of the symposium on Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence. [pdf preprint (924 K)]

Code release

The code is available as a zip file here. It has all 4 games (spacewar, mancala, and pacman are all in one of the frameworks and then roborally in a very similar framework). The code is being released using the MIT Open Source License.

Example assignments

Getting started

  • An example of a project 0 where the students check out the code, make a sample (random) agent, change their password, and turn in the code





Created by amcgovern [at] ou.edu.

Last modified June 19, 2013 1:59 PM