IJCAI 2023 Angry Birds AI Competition - Call for Participation

August 24-25, 2023, Macao, SAR, China. 

Angry Birds is a popular video game where the task is to shoot birds with different properties from a slingshot at a structure that houses pigs and to destroy the pigs. The structure can be very complicated and can involve a number of different object categories with different properties. The game and the structure largely observes the laws of physics and it is possible to infer how the structure will change when hit at a certain position.

The task of this competition is to develop an intelligent Angry Birds playing agent that is able to successfully play the game autonomously and without human intervention. The long term goal is to build AI agents that can play new levels better than the best human players. This may require analyzing the structure of the objects and to infer how to shoot the birds in order to destroy the pigs and to score most points. In order to successfully solve this challenge, participants can benefit from combining different areas of AI such as computer vision, knowledge representation and reasoning, planning, heuristic search, and machine learning. Successfully integrating methods from these areas is one of the great challenges of AI.

Since it cannot be expected that all participants can develop all these capabilities themselves, the organizers will provide a basic game playing software that is implemented using Java and includes the following components:

  • a computer vision component that can analyse a video game frame and identifies the location, category and bounding box of all relevant objects plus the game score
  • a trajectory component that calculates trajectories of birds and computes where to shoot from in order to hit a given location
  • a game playing component that executes actions and captures screen shots

Participants are free to use these components or can develop their own components. A number of successful agents from past competitions offer the source code of their agents as which can be used as well. Note that there is a small amount of uncertainty in the output that the supplied components produce and participants should take this into account when developing their programs.

The basic game playing software includes a sample agent that demonstrates the use of the provided components. The sample agent only considers birds, pigs, and the slingshot, and shoots birds directly at the detected pigs using random trajectories. The sample agent also serves as the baseline that all participants have to beat.

The basic game playing software including the sample agent can be downloaded here. We also offer a discussion forum for participants.


The Competition

The IJCAI 2023 Angry Birds AI Competition is designed to test the abilities of Angry Birds playing agents on a variety of Angry Birds levels. The competition will be run using a client/server architecture, where the game server runs an instance of Angry Birds Chrome game for each participating Angry Birds agent. Agents run on a client computer and communicate with the server via a given protocol that allows agents to obtain screen shots of their game window from the server at any time. Agents can also obtain the current competition high scores for each level from the server. In return, agents send the server their shooting actions (release coordinate and tap time) which the server will then execute in the corresponding game window. More details about the competition rules and the communication protocol can be found here. A summary of the previous Angry Birds AI competitions can be found here. It also includes an overview of the performance of the participating agents that can be used as a comparison.

The IJCAI 2023 Angry Birds AI Competition will run over three days during the IJCAI 2023 conference. The number of teams that can enter the competition will be limited. In case a larger number of teams enter the competition than what we can handle in one day, we will run a qualification round. The organisers reserve the right to end registration early, if the number of registered participants exceeds the number of teams that can be processed during the qualification round.

During the competition, there will be a time limit to play a given set of Angry Birds levels automatically and without any human intervention. All levels of the current round can be accessed at any time. The competition will be played over multiple knock-out rounds. In each round, the agents to achieve the highest combined game score over all levels will proceed to the next round. The agent with the highest combined game score in the grand final will be the winner of the competition.

Note that the actual game levels used during the competition will not be disclosed to the participants in advance. However, participants will be informed in advance about the birds and the object categories used in the competition game levels, so that their behaviour can be learned in advance. The levels of all our past competitions are available for all competition participants to train their agents.  

For the second time this year, we will have a Novelty Track, where some of the game objects and their properties are unknown in advance. Agents will only be exposed to game levels containing this novelty after the final version of the agents have been submitted. The Novelty Track will be run using Science Birds instead of Angry Birds Chrome, which also allows for significant speed up of gameplay, as well as available game level generators to create a large amount of training data. It is therefore particularly suited for Deep Learning-based agents. 

During the competition, each team will be given the opportunity to briefly introduce their team, their agent, and the methods and strategies used before we run their agent. Participants are encouraged to prepare a poster with this information that will be displayed during the competition. Remote participants can email a poster consisting of up to 9 A4/Letter pages.



The competition is open to all registered participants who submit a working Angry Birds game playing program to the organisers by August 10, two weeks before IJCAI. This agent will be used for testing compatibility with the competition framework. Participants can still modify their agent after August 10, but no further compatibility tests will be made. Remote participation is possible, but attendance is encouraged. Each submission must be accompanied by a one page description of the methods and strategies used by the agent. This information will not be disclosed to other competitors before the competition.



All participating teams need to register, one registration per team. Registration is USD 100 per team. Registration is only required for one track, registration for the second track is complimentary. 

All participants who attend the competition in person will also need to register for IJCAI 2023. 

Each person can be a member of at most two teams, unless permission has been obtained from the organisers. This restriction does not apply to supervisors of student teams.



The teams of the three best agents for the main track will receive a trophy as well as a certificate. There will be different prize categories for the novelty track. The winners of each category will receive a trophy and a certificate. Remote participants will have to pay postage to receive their trophies by mail. 


The IJCAI 2023 Symposium on AI in Angry Birds

During the competition, there will be a limited opportunity to present original scientific work related to the problems of developing an Angry Birds playing agent. This includes but is not limited to problems related to computer vision, heuristic search, knowledge representation and reasoning, novelty detection and understanding, AI planning, diagnosis, and machine learning in the context of Angry Birds. 

Papers need to be submitted by the submission deadline and will be selected by the organisers. Submitted papers will not be made available to any competition participants before the start of the competition.

Please see the Call for Papers for further details. 


The Angry Birds: Man vs Machine Challenge

In the Angry Birds: Man vs Machine Challenge on the day after the AI competition, we give interested participants the opportunity to compete with the winners of the Angry Birds AI competition. Participants can test if their Angry Birds playing skills are still better than those of the best AI agents. This might be the last chance to beat AI and to become quite possibly the last human to win this challenge. We also aim to have a novelty track for the Man vs Machine Challenge. 

Participants will play a number of Angry Birds levels within a given time limit, each participant can play each track only once. Current and previous levels can be played again. For each participant we will record their personal high scores for each of the solved levels. Once the human participants are finished, we will run the best Angry Birds agents from the AI competition on the same levels with the same time limit. 

The participant with the highest combined score, man or machine, will be the winner of this challenge. The winner will be awarded with a trophy and a certificate. Further details can be found here.


Summary of Important Rules

  • Attending the IJCAI 2023 conference is not required for participating in the competition. Remote participation will be possible, provided that participants have tested in advance that their game playing agents run on our competition environment. However, all participants who attend the competition in person will need to register for IJCAI 2023 in addition to registering for the competition.  
  • Participating agents of the main track can be developed in Java, C/C++ or python and we strongly recommend to use Java. Additional requirements need to be agreed upon with the organisers and need to be tested before August 10.
  • Competition versions of the game playing agents for the main track need to be submitted to the organisers by August 23, 10am Macao time. This deadline is final. If no new version has been submitted or if the new version does not work, we will use the last working version we have received. 
  • We will be using the Chrome version of Angry Birds for the main track of our competition. This version has been officially discontinued, but we will use an offline version of the game. Please follow the instructions here in order to obtain the offline version.
  • All participants of the main track will have to agree to the terms and conditions of using the Angry Birds offline version set out by Rovio Entertainment Ltd. The offline version will also come with the option to load your own levels. In addition we will make all levels of past competitions available. 
  • Agents will not have access to the internet and will not be able to communicate other than with the server via the specified communication protocol.
  • Each person can only be affiliated with at most two participating agents per track unless permission has been obtained from the organisers. This restriction does not apply to supervisors of student teams. 
  • Participating agents of the novelty track can be developed in Java, C/C++ or python and we strongly recommend to use python. Additional requirements need to be agreed upon with the organisers and need to be tested before August 3.
  • We will be using Science Birds for the Novelty Track. Only novelties of novelty levels 1-5 in the Open World Novelty Hierarchy will be used this year and only one novelty per game level, new capabilities will not be introduced. Different types of novelty are available for training and testing (see Novelty Track for details). These are different from the novelties used in the competition. 
  • Final agent versions for the novelty track will have to be submitted by August 20, 10am Macao time. 



  • Jochen Renz, Australian National University
  • Peng Zhang, Australian National University
  • Ekaterina Nikonova, Australian National University
  • Vimukthini Pinto, Australian National University
  • Chathura Gamage, Australian National University
  • Cheng Xue, Australian National university

All enquiries should be made by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .