Python-only installation via pip

If you plan to only use the Python API, then the easiest way to install OpenSpiel is to use pip. On MacOS or Linux, simply run:

python3 -m pip install open_spiel

The binary distribution is new as of OpenSpiel 1.0.0, and is only supported on x86_64 architectures. If you encounter any problems, you can still install OpenSpiel via pip from source (see below), but please open an issue to let us know about the problem.

Python-only installation via pip (from source).

If the binary distribution is not an option, you can also build OpenSpiel via pip from source. CMake, Clang and Python 3 development files are required to build the Python extension. Note that we recommend Clang but g++ >= 9.2 should also work.

E.g. on Ubuntu or Debian:

# Check to see if you have the necessary tools for building OpenSpiel:
cmake --version        # Must be >= 3.12
clang++ --version      # Must be >= 7.0.0
python3-config --help

# If not, run this line to install them.
# On older Linux distros, the package might be called clang-9 or clang-10
sudo apt-get install cmake clang python3-dev

# On older Linux distros, the versions may be too old.
# E.g. on Ubuntu 18.04, there are a few extra steps:
# sudo apt-get install clang-10
# pip3 install cmake  # You might need to relogin to get the new CMake version
# export CXX=clang++-10

# Recommended: Install pip dependencies and run under virtualenv.
sudo apt-get install virtualenv python3-virtualenv
virtualenv -p python3 venv
source venv/bin/activate

# Finally, install OpenSpiel and its dependencies:
python3 -m pip install --upgrade setuptools pip
python3 -m pip install --no-binary open_spiel

# To exit the virtual env

## **IMPORTANT NOTE**. If the build fails, please first make sure you have the
## required versions of the tools above and that you followed the recommended
## option. Then, open an issue:

Note that the build could take several minutes.

On MacOS, you can install the dependencies via brew install cmake python3. For clang, you need to install or upgrade XCode and install the command-line developer tools.

Installation from Source

The instructions here are for Linux and MacOS. For installation on Windows, see these separate installation instructions. On Linux, we recommend Ubuntu 20.04 (or 19.10), Debian 10, or later versions. There are known issues with default compilers on Ubuntu on 18.04, and clang-10 must be installed separately. On MacOS, we recommend XCode 11 or newer.

For the Python API: our tests run using Python 3.8 and 3.9 on Ubuntu 20.04 and MacOS 10.15. We also test using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Python 3.6. So, we recommend one of these setups. If you encounter any problems on other setups, please let us know by opening an issue.

Currently there are two installation methods:

  1. building from the source code and editing PYTHONPATH.

  2. using pip install to build and testing using nox. A pip package to install directly does not exist yet.

  3. installing via Docker.


In a nutshell:

./  # Needed to run once and when major changes are released.
./open_spiel/scripts/ # Run this every-time you need to rebuild.
  1. Install system packages (e.g. cmake) and download some dependencies. Only needs to be run once or if you enable some new conditional dependencies (see specific section below).

  2. Install your Python dependencies, e.g. in Python 3 using virtualenv:

    virtualenv -p python3 venv
    source venv/bin/activate

    Use deactivate to quit the virtual environment.

    pip should be installed once and upgraded:

    curl -o
    # Install pip deps as your user. Do not use the system's pip.
    pip3 install --upgrade pip
    pip3 install --upgrade setuptools testresources
  3. This sections differs depending on the installation procedure:

    Building and testing from source

    pip3 install -r requirements.txt

    Building and testing using PIP

    python3 -m pip install .
    pip install nox
    nox -s tests

    Optionally, use pip install -e to install in editable mode, which will allow you to skip this pip install step if you edit any Python source files. If you edit any C++ files, you will have to rerun the install command.

  4. Only when building from source:

    # For the python modules in open_spiel.
    export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/<path_to_open_spiel>
    # For the Python bindings of Pyspiel
    export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/<path_to_open_spiel>/build/python

    to ./venv/bin/activate or your ~/.bashrc to be able to import OpenSpiel from anywhere.

To make sure OpenSpiel works on the default configurations, we do use the python3 command and not python (which still defaults to Python 2 on modern Linux versions).

Installing via Docker

Please note that we don’t regularly test the Docker installation. As such, it may not work at any given time. We are investigating enabling tests and proper longer-term support, but it may take some time. Until then, if you encounter a problem, please open an issue.

Option 1 (Basic, 3.13GB):

docker build --target base -t openspiel -f Dockerfile.base .

Option 2 (Slim, 2.26GB):

docker build --target python-slim -t openspiel -f Dockerfile.base .

If you are only interested in developing in Python, use the second image. You can navigate through the runtime of the container (after the build step) with:

docker run -it --entrypoint /bin/bash openspiel

Finally you can run examples using:

docker run openspiel python3 python/examples/
docker run openspiel python3 python/examples/

Option 3 (Jupyter Notebook):

Installs OpenSpiel with an additional Jupyter Notebook environment.

docker build -t openspiel-notebook -f Dockerfile.jupyter --rm .
docker run -it --rm -p 8888:8888 openspiel-notebook

More info:

Running the first examples

In the build directory, running examples/example will prints out a list of registered games and the usage. Now, let’s play game of Tic-Tac-Toe with uniform random players:

examples/example --game=tic_tac_toe

Once the proper Python paths are set, from the main directory (one above build), try these out:

# Similar to the C++ example:
python3 open_spiel/python/examples/ --game=breakthrough

# Play a game against a random or MCTS bot:
python3 open_spiel/python/examples/ --game=tic_tac_toe --player1=human --player2=random
python3 open_spiel/python/examples/ --game=tic_tac_toe --player1=human --player2=mcts

Detailed steps

Configuration conditional dependencies

See open_spiel/scripts/ to configure the conditional dependencies. See also the Developer Guide.

Installing system-wide dependencies

See open_spiel/scripts/ for the required packages and cloned repositories.

Installing Python dependencies

Using a virtualenv to install python dependencies is highly recommended. For more information see:

Install dependencies (Python 3):

virtualenv -p python3 venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip3 install -r requirements.txt

Alternatively, although not recommended, you can install the Python dependencies system-wide with:

pip3 install --upgrade -r requirements.txt

Building and running tests

Make sure that the virtual environment is still activated.

By default, Clang C++ compiler is used (and potentially installed by open_spiel/scripts/

Build and run tests (Python 3):

mkdir build
cd build
CXX=clang++ cmake -DPython3_EXECUTABLE=$(which python3) -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=${CXX} ../open_spiel
make -j$(nproc)
ctest -j$(nproc)

The CMake variable Python3_EXECUTABLE is used to specify the Python interpreter. If the variable is not set, CMake’s FindPython3 module will prefer the latest version installed. Note, Python >= 3.6.0 is required.

One can run an example of a game running (in the build/ folder):

./examples/example --game=tic_tac_toe

Setting Your PYTHONPATH environment variable

To be able to import the Python code (both the C++ binding pyspiel and the rest) from any location, you will need to add to your PYTHONPATH the root directory and the open_spiel directory.

When using a virtualenv, the following should be added to <virtualenv>/bin/activate. For a system-wide install, ddd it in your .bashrc or .profile.

# For the python modules in open_spiel.
export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/<path_to_open_spiel>
# For the Python bindings of Pyspiel
export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/<path_to_open_spiel>/build/python