DEFCON – AI-Bots for Automated Play



Robin Baumgarten developed an Artificial Intelligence API for Introversion’s game DEFCON in 2009. DEFCON is a minimalist RTS game about nuclear war. This page contains information about the API, hints, Q&A, a tutorial and example implementations.


  • Windows (or the ability to run the Windows version of DEFCON)
  • To develop bots: Visual Studio 2008 (Express Edition available here)
  • Possibly you also need the Microsoft Visual C++ runtime components if you do not have Visual Studio installed.

I’ve heard of a successful installation under Linux using wine-1.0.1 and winetricks.

Download and Installation

You’ll need:

  1. Download and install the Windows demo version of DEFCON
  2. Download the bot-enabled executable and unzip the contents of the file into the directory where you installed the demo, overwriting the original defcon.exe (you can make a backup of that)
  3. Run Defcon.exe


Here are some documents to get you started with the API.

More information and some usability hints can be found on the documentation page.

Bots and Interfaces

Bots and interfaces to Java and LUA are listed on their own page, here.



Lim, Chong-U.; Baumgarten, Robin; Colton, Simon

Evolving behaviour trees for the commercial game DEFCON Inproceedings

In: Proceedings of the 2nd European eEvent on Bio-inspired Algorithms in Games (EVOGAMES) , 2010.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Baumgarten, Robin; Colton, Simon; Morris, Mark

Combining AI Methods for Learning Bots in a Real-Time Strategy Game Journal Article

In: International Journal of Computer Games Technology, 2009.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Baumgarten, Robin; Colton, Simon

Case-based Player Simulation for the Commercial Strategy Game DEFCON Inproceedings

In: Proceedings of CGames, 2007.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX