SPADS plugin development

From Spring

Perl language prerequisites

SPADS is coded in Perl, and expects plugins coded in Perl. It should be possible to write plugins in other languages, using wrappers and modules such as Inline-Python for Python, but this tutorial will only speak about the simplest way to write SPADS plugins, which is using Perl.

SPADS plugins are object-oriented Perl modules. If you don't know Perl basics, you can take a look at this brief introduction to Perl.

Simple plugin tutorial (HelloWorld)

In this section we are going to write our first SPADS plugin. So let's start simple with a good old "Hello world". The plugin will answer "Hello World" to anyone saying "Hello" in a private message to SPADS.

Choosing our template

Some plugin templates are available to help you bootstrap your plugin development. The commented versions of these templates are available here, while the raw versions (without comment) are available here.

Our first plugin will be very basic, so we will use the simplest template: "". Let's download the commented version of this template and open it with our favorite editor. As you can see, the code is heavily commented (actually every single line of code is explained), so I won't go into further details here. Now that you've read and understood the commented template, let's actually start plugin development.

Adapting the template

First we must name our plugin. Let's call it "HelloWorld". We have to rename the downloaded template from "" to "", and edit it to replace "MySimplePlugin" by "HelloWorld" in the source code.

Checking SPADS plugin system

Before going into actually writing new code, let's just check that the plugin works in SPADS (if not done yet, you have to configure the SPADS plugins directory in your spads.conf configuration file and reload SPADS configuration).

We have to move our new plugin ( in the SPADS plugins directory so that SPADS can find it. Then, as a privileged SPADS user, we can type following command (in a private message to SPADS for example): "!plugin HelloWorld load". SPADS should answer "Loaded plugin HelloWorld.", which indicates the plugin has been loaded successfully.

If all is ok, we can let this SPADS instance running like this, we will get back to it later.

Writing plugin code

Writing plugin code mainly consists in implementing plugin callbacks and calling plugin API functions, as specified in SPADS plugin API documentation.

So we want our plugin to react to some private messages sent to SPADS. To do so we have to implement a plugin callback function which is called by SPADS core each time a lobby private message is received: this is the onPrivateMsg event-based callback.

We also want our plugin to send a private message, to do so we can call the plugin API function sayPrivate.

Now that we have identified the API functions that we need, we can actually implement our plugin. Here is a commented implementation example of the "onPrivateMsg" callback, which will answer "Hello World" to anyone saying "Hello" in a private message to SPADS:

 sub onPrivateMsg {
   # $self is the plugin object (first parameter of all plugin callbacks)
   # $userName is the name of the user sending the private message
   # $message is the message sent by the user
   my ($self,$userName,$message)=@_;
   # We check the message sent by the user is "Hello"
   if($message eq 'Hello') {
     # We send our wonderful Hello World message
     sayPrivate($userName,'Hello World');
   # We return 0 because we don't want to filter out private messages
   # for other SPADS processing
   return 0;

All we have to do now is adding this callback declaration in our file located in SPADS plugins directory. We obtain this fully functional HelloWorld plugin.

Testing our plugin

Let's test this plugin in SPADS. First, since we modified the plugin source code, we have to tell SPADS to reload the plugin as follows: "!plugin HelloWorld reload". SPADS should answer "Reloaded plugin HelloWorld.", which indicates the plugin has been reloaded successfully.

Finally, just say "Hello" to SPADS in a private message. Congratulations for your first SPADS plugin! ;)

Configurable plugin tutorial (ForbiddenWords)

In this section we are going to write our first configurable SPADS plugin (a configurable plugin has its own configuration file, named after the plugin name but with ".conf" extension). This plugin will monitor all messages said by players in the battle lobby, and will kick players who use swear words.

Specifying our configuration parameters

The first step of writing a configurable plugin is to choose how we will configure it. In our example, we will use 2 configuration parameters: "words" will contain the list of forbidden words, and "immuneLevel" will contain the minimum autohost access level to be immune regarding these forbidden words checks.

We choose to make "words" a global setting (unmodifiable, not impacted by preset change), and "immuneLevel" a preset setting (modifiable, can be impacted by preset change). The "words" global setting will have no restriction (can be empty, can contain any character...), whereas the "immuneLevel" preset setting will only be allowed to be an integer or integer range.

Preparing the template

Once we have a clear view of our configuration settings, we can start adapting the template for our needs. Since we are making a configurable plugin, this time we will download the configurable plugin template and its associated configuration file example.

First, let's take a look at the configuration file example. This is a just a basic configuration file containing one global setting example and one preset setting example. Let's modify this file to match the configuration we chose as follows (don't forget to rename the file from "MyConfigurablePlugin.conf" to "ForbiddenWords.conf" also):

 # This is our global setting (can't be changed without reloading the configuration)
 # We must define our preset setting in the default preset at least
 # This is our preset setting, which can be changed with "!plugin ... set ..."
 # or by loading a preset.
 # "100" is the default value, and any integer between 0 and 140 is allowed

Then we must prepare the plugin template itself, by renaming it from "" to "" and editing it to replace "MyConfigurablePlugin" by "ForbiddenWords" in the source code. We must also adapt the template so that it uses the configuration settings we chose. This is done by modifying the %globalPluginParams and %presetPluginParam declarations as follows:

 # We define one global setting "words" and one preset setting "immuneLevel".
 # "words" has no type associated (no restriction on allowed values)
 # "immuneLevel" must be an integer or an integer range
 # (check %paramTypes hash in for a complete list of allowed
 # setting types)
 my %globalPluginParams = ( words => [] );
 my %presetPluginParams = ( immuneLevel => ['integer','integerRange'] );

Writing plugin code

We want our plugin to react to messages said in the battle lobby. There is no dedicated callback for this event in SPADS plugin API documentation, so we have to set up our own handler on the SAIDBATTLE lobby command. To do so we have to call the plugin API function addLobbyCommandHandler. We will call this function at the end of our plugin constructor as follows, so that it will be set up directly when the plugin is loaded:

   # We set up a lobby command handler on SAIDBATTLE
   addLobbyCommandHandler({SAIDBATTLE => \&hLobbySaidBattle});
   # We return the instantiated plugin
   return $self;

However, if SPADS is disconnected from the lobby due to network problems for example, all lobby handlers are automatically removed. So we must re-add them each time we connect to lobby server. This can be done using the onLobbyConnected event-based callback as follows:

 # This callback is called each time we (re)connect to the lobby server
 sub onLobbyConnected {
   # When we are disconnected from the lobby server, all lobby command
   # handlers are automatically removed, so we (re)set up our command
   # handler here.
   addLobbyCommandHandler({SAIDBATTLE => \&hLobbySaidBattle});

Also, it is a good practice to remove any handler we have added when the plugin is unloaded. To do so we must implement the onUnload event-based callback as follows:

 # This callback is called when the plugin is unloaded
 sub onUnload {
   # We remove our lobby command handler when the plugin is unloaded

Finally, we have to implement our SAIDBATTLE handler "hLobbySaidBattle". In this handler we need to perform following operations:

  • skip processing if the user is the autohost itself: we need to access SPADS configuration to compare the user name with the lobbyLogin setting value. So we will need the plugin API function getSpadsConf.
  • perform processing according to our configuration ("words" and "immuneLevel" settings): we need to access our plugin configuration, so we will need the plugin API function getPluginConf.
  • retrieve the autohost access level of the user: we will use the plugin API function getUserAccessLevel
  • send a message to the battle lobby when we kick someone: we will use the plugin API function sayBattle.
  • send a KICKFROMBATTLE lobby command to kick a user: we will use the plugin API function queueLobbyCommand.

Here is a commented implementation example of this "hLobbySaidBattle" handler, which will kick any non-privileged user saying a forbidden word in the battle lobby:

 # This is the handler we set up on SAIDBATTLE lobby command.
 # It is called each time a player says something in the battle lobby.
 sub hLobbySaidBattle {
   # $command is the lobby command name (SAIDBATTLE)
   # $user is the name of the user who said something in the battle lobby
   # $message is the message said in the battle lobby
   my ($command,$user,$message)=@_;
   # First we check it's not a message from SPADS (so we don't kick ourself)
   my $p_spadsConf=getSpadsConf();
   return if($user eq $p_spadsConf->{lobbyLogin});
   # Then we check the user isn't a privileged user
   # (autohost access level >= immuneLevel)
   my $p_conf=getPluginConf();
   return if(getUserAccessLevel($user) >= $p_conf->{immuneLevel});
   # We put the forbidden words in a array
   my @forbiddenWords=split(/;/,$p_conf->{words});
   # We test each forbidden word
   foreach my $forbiddenWord (@forbiddenWords) {
     # If the message contains the forbidden word (case insensitive)
     if($message =~ /\b$forbiddenWord\b/i) {
       # Then we kick the user from the battle lobby
       sayBattle("Kicking $user from battle (watch your language!)");
       # We quit the foreach loop (no need to test other forbidden word)

Once we put all that together, we obtain this fully functional ForbiddenWords plugin and its associated configuration file.

Testing our plugin

To test our plugin, we have to put the plugin module in SPADS plugins directory, and the associated configuration file in SPADS etc directory.

Then we load the plugin as follows: "!plugin ForbiddenWords load". And finally, as an unprivileged user we can try to say some forbidden words in the battle lobby and we should get kicked by the plugin.

New-command plugin tutorial (TimePlugin)

In this section we are going to write a plugin which implements a new command for SPADS. Such plugins are configurable plugins like the one we wrote just before, with 2 additional files to configure the new commands. This plugin will give current time when someone types "!time".

Preparing the template

This time we need to download 4 files to prepare our plugin: the new-command plugin template, the associated configuration file example, the help file example and the commands rights configuration file example.

As usual, we rename these files to match our plugin name: "MyNewCommandPlugin" --> "TimePlugin". Then we edit the plugin template and replace "MyNewCommandPlugin" by "TimePlugin" in the source code, and we do the same for the plugin configuration template TimePlugin.conf, so that the "commandsFile" and "helpFile" settings are consistent with the files we just renamed.

Then we can edit our command rights requirements configuration file: TimePluginCmd.conf. This file uses the same syntax as the standard SPADS commands.conf file. The template provides a default command "myCommand" with no requirement. We will just rename this command to "time":

 # Anyone can call our command from anywhere

Now we need to write the help information for our new command. This is done in the file TimePluginHelp.dat. This file uses the same syntax as the standard SPADS help.dat file, and the template provides a help example for a command "myCommand" as a syntax reminder. After each command declaration, the first line is the command syntax description, and the other lines are optional usage examples. Let's replace this help example with our own help information for our basic !time command:

 !time - This command just prints current time

Writing plugin code

The new-command plugin template that we used to initialize our plugin already defines a new command named "myCommand", so all we have to do is to edit our plugin file ( ) and replace this command by our own "time" command:

First, let's modify the code which sets up the new SPADS command handler using the plugin API function addSpadsCommandHandler. This call is located in the plugin constructor. We edit it so that it becomes:

 # We declare our new command and the associated handler
 addSpadsCommandHandler({time => \&hSpadsTime});

We must modify the same way the code which removes this SPADS handler using the plugin API function removeSpadsCommandHandler in the onUnload event-based callback:

 # We remove our new command handler

Finally, we must replace the handler example "hMyCommand" by our own handler "hSpadsTime". In order to answer to the user issuing the command, we can use the plugin API function answer, which will send an answer message to the user in the same way he sent the command (private message, battle lobby...).

Here is an implementation example for this basic command:

 # This is the handler for our new command
 sub hSpadsTime {
   my ($source,$user,$p_params,$checkOnly)=@_;
   # time is a basic command, we have nothing to check in case of callvote
   return 1 if($checkOnly);
   my @time = localtime();
   @time = map(sprintf("%02d",$_),@time);
   answer("Current local time: $time[2]:$time[1]:$time[0]");

Once we put all that together, we obtain this fully functional TimePlugin plugin, and its associated configuration file, command rights configuration file and command help file.

Testing our plugin

To test our plugin, we have to put the plugin module and the plugin help file in SPADS plugins directory, and the 2 configuration files in SPADS etc directory.

Then we load the plugin as follows: "!plugin TimePlugin load". And finally, we can try to say !time in a private message to SPADS or in the battle lobby, and SPADS should answer giving current local time. Our !time command help should also appear in "!help" and "!help time" outputs.