The field of evolutionary game theory is concerned with interactions among large populations of strategically interacting agents. These agents may adapt their behaviour according to current payoff opportunities. Evolutionary game theory originates from biology [@ESS], but nowadays has become an established tool in other disciplines, in particular in economics (see e.g. [@SandholmBook]) and computer science (see e.g. [@SuriCompEvol]).

The purpose of our package EvolutionaryGames is to enhance the R ecosystem by tools to plot and present evolutionary game dynamics in a both informative and attractive way. One similar tool in the public domain is William Sandholm's package dynamo [@dynamo] written in Mathematica. Dynamo [@dynamo] frequently served as an inspiration for our implementation. Still, even though dynamo [@dynamo] itself is free, Mathematica is proprietary software and it is nowhere near as widely used as R. Also, the package structures in R and the widespread availability of packages via CRAN make it much easier for the user to employ parts of our package EvolutionaryGames in his or her own software.

The following very brief presentation of concepts in evolutionary game theory and how EvolutionaryGames addresses them mainly follows the two books by Weibull [@WeibullBook] and Sandholm [@SandholmBook]. Furthermore, our vignette provides detailed references to the respective original articles. Our point is to show how various concepts from evolutionary game theory can be computed via the package EvolutionaryGames and where to find the conceptual, technical and mathematical details. In other words, we would like to stress that this little document is by no means intended to serve as an introduction to the fascinating field of evolutionary game theory itself. Again, for the latter the reader is referred to the the two books by Weibull [@WeibullBook] and Sandholm [@SandholmBook]. For an in-depth mathematical discussion we also recommend the book by Hofbauer and Sigmund [@HofbauerSigmund].

The package EvolutionaryGames focusses on single-population games with two, three or four phenotypes. (The first author hopes to address multi-population games in a separate package based on EvolutionaryGames in the future.) For single-population games we regard EvolutionaryGames as a powerful and attractive alternative to William Sandholm's Mathematica package dynamo [@dynamo].

The concept of evolutionary stable strategies (ESS) was first proposed by Maynard Smith and Price in [@ESS]. An incumbent strategy $x$ is said to be evolutionary stable if

- it is either a unique best reply to itself or
- in case there exists an alternative best reply $y$ to $x$, then $x$ is a better reply to this mutant strategy $y$ than $y$ is to itself.

If $x$ is a strict Nash equilibrium, then $x$ must also be an ESS.

Using our package EvolutionaryGames one can compute ESS
for both $2$ x $2$ and $3$ x $3$ symmetric matrix games.
The function **ESS.R** receives three input arguments:

`A`

: A matrix specifying the symmetric game`strategies`

: A vector of strings of length $2$ or $3$ specifying the names of all strategies`floats`

: A logical value that handles number representation. If floats is set to`TRUE`

(default), a floating-point number will be used for the output, otherwise the output will be specified as fractions.

Let us first take a look at a classical Hawk-Dove game.

library(EvolutionaryGames) ESS(matrix(c(-1, 4, 0, 2), 2, byrow=TRUE), c("Hawk", "Dove")) ESS(matrix(c(-1, 4, 0, 2), 2, byrow=TRUE), c("Hawk", "Dove"), FALSE)

It is well known that there are games which do not possess
an ESS. A classical example is the game Rock-Scissors-Paper.
In such a case our function **ESS.R** will return NULL.

library(EvolutionaryGames) (A <- matrix(c(1, 2, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1), 3, byrow=T)) ESS(A, c("Rock", "Scissors", "Paper"))

The concept of evolutionarily stable sets
was first discussed by B. Thomas in [@ESsets].
A very readable introduction can also be found in the book
by Weibull [@WeibullBook], section 2.4.1.

An evolutionarily stable set is a nonempty closed set
of symmetric Nash equilibrium strategies $X$ such that
each strategy $x \in X$ earns at least the same payoff
against any nearby alternative best reply $y$ as
$y$ earns against itself with equal payoffs limited
to the case $y \in X$. Note that any evolutionary stable
strategy (ESS) constitutes an evolutionarily stable set and
that the union of evolutionarily stable sets is again an
evolutionarily stable set. See the book by Weibull [@WeibullBook],
section 2.4.1, for further details.

Evolutionarily stable sets are not easy to compute and to plot.
The package EvolutionaryGames computes evolutionarily stable sets of a
game with two players and three strategies in the case that the game has
an evolutionary stable strategy (ESS). If the two player three strategy
game has no ESS, then the code returns a message stating that
our algorithm cannot calculate evolutionarily stable sets for models
that do not have a proper ESS. The authors are very well aware
that there are games having evolutionarily stable sets but no proper ESS.
Still, as our package is not devoted to finding all symmetric
Nash equilibria of a game and as there currently is no package
for this task on CRAN, we decided only to handle the case of
games with two players and three strategies possessing at least one
proper ESS. Within our algorithm, we need a proper ESS as a
starting point for our computations. The authors feel that the
possibility of computing and drawing evolutionarily stable sets in
such cases is precious for teaching (and research) purposes. However,
note that computing and drawing evolutionarily stable sets is
time consuming and is clearly the most elaborate task currently
performed by the package EvolutionaryGames. Finally, here is an
example of an evolutionarily stable set
together with a plot
including sample trajectories (-- the example itself is
taken from the book [@Broom2013], p. 52):

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(-2, 5, 10/9, 0, 5/2, 10/9, -10/9, 35/9, 10/9), 3, byrow=TRUE) strategies <- c("Hawk", "Dove", "Mixed ESS") ESS(A, strategies) ESset(A, strategies)

The basic game-theoretic model of biological natural selection is the replicator dynamic [@Replicator]. Still, various alternative dynamics have been proposed and investigated for different applications. Our package currently focusses on continuous dynamics only. The following itemization states which evolutionary dynamics are currently available in our package EvolutionaryGames:

**Replicator.R**: The standard replicator dynamic [@Replicator]**BNN.R**: The Brown-von Neumann-Nash dynamic [@BNN]**BR.R**: The Best Reponse dynamic by Gilboa and Matsui [@BR]**ILogit.R**: The imitative Logit dynamic by Weibull [@WeibullBook]. It requires the parameter`eta`

.**Logit.R**: The Logit dynamic by Fudenberg and Levine [@Logit]. It requires the parameter`eta`

.**MSReplicator.R**: The Maynard-Smith dynamic [@MSReplicator]**Smith.R**: The Smith dynamic [@Smith]

Drawing phase diagrams for single-population games
with two, three or
four phenotypes with different dynamics is the main feature of
the package EvolutionaryGames.
We start with a rather simple Hawk-Dove game we studied before
when analyzing for its ESS. Using **phaseDiagram2S.R** we
obtain a phase diagram for the
population share of hawks invading a population of doves under
the replicator dynamics.

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(-1, 4, 0, 2), 2, byrow=TRUE) phaseDiagram2S(A, Replicator, strategies = c("Hawk", "Dove"))

For similar phase diagrams, see e.g. the book by Peters [@PetersBook].

In the phase diagrams for the three strategies the user
may specify the following parameters for **phaseDiagram3S.R**:

`A`

: A Numeric matrix of size $3$ x $3$ representing the number of strategies of a symmetric matrix game.`dynamic`

: A function representing an evolutionary dynamic.`params`

: A numeric vector with additional parameters for the evolutionary dynamic, like e.g. in the cases of the Logit or ILogit dynamics.`trajectories`

: A numeric matrix of size $m$ x $3$. Each row represents the initial values for the trajectory to be examined.`contour`

: A logical value that handles contour diagram presentation. By default`FALSE`

, a nicely coloured contour plot will only be shown if the user sets`contour = TRUE`

.`vectorField`

: A logical value that handles vector field presentation. By default`FALSE`

, a vector field will only be shown if the user sets`vectorField = TRUE`

.`strategies`

: A vector of strings of length $3$ specifying the names of all strategies. By default`strategies = c("1","2","3")`

.

In the following we show three plots of the game Rock-Scissors-Paper under the Replicator dynamics with the same initial state:

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(1, 2, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1), 3, byrow=T) state <- matrix(c(0.7, 0.2, 0.1), 1, 3, byrow=TRUE) RSP <- c("Rock", "Scissors", "Paper") phaseDiagram3S(A, Replicator, NULL, state, FALSE, FALSE, strategies = RSP)

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(1, 2, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1), 3, byrow=T) state <- matrix(c(0.7, 0.2, 0.1), 1, 3, byrow=TRUE) RSP <- c("Rock", "Scissors", "Paper") phaseDiagram3S(A, Replicator, NULL, state, TRUE, FALSE, strategies = RSP)

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(1, 2, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1), 3, byrow=T) state <- matrix(c(0.7, 0.2, 0.1), 1, 3, byrow=TRUE) phaseDiagram3S(A, Replicator, NULL, state, TRUE, TRUE, strategies = RSP)

Finally, there is also the function **phaseDiagram4S.R** for the case
of a symmetric matrix game with four strategies. Its parameters
are rather similar to those of **phaseDiagram3S.R**
except for the facts that `trajectory`

is a numeric vector
of size $4$ (rather than a matrix) and that there is
no possibility to enable contour plots or to plot
vector fields. Instead, there is an additional logical value
`noRGL`

handling diagram rotation. By default `TRUE`

, the diagram
will only be constructed using rgl and thus
become rotatable if the user specifies `noRGL = FALSE`

.
Finally, we present an example using the Smith dynamic.

library(EvolutionaryGames) A <- matrix(c(5, -9, 6, 8, 20, 1, 2, -18, -14, 0, 2, 20, 13, 0, 4, -13), 4, 4, byrow=TRUE) state <- c(0.6, 0.15, 0.1, 0.15) phaseDiagram4S(A, Smith, NULL, state, noRGL=TRUE)

EvolutionaryGames offers you to create your own dynamics. In particular, it is easy to write your own continuous dynamics. First of all, a dynamic is nothing other than a function that is passed as a parameter to the corresponding function for creating phase diagrams. The following code fragment shows you the minimum necessary structure of an arbitrary dynamic:

MyDynamic <- function (time, state, parameters) { #... return(list (dX)) }

Any dynamic requires the parameters `time`

, `state`

and `parameters`

.
While the parameter `time`

is used internally by deSolve to
solve the initial value problem, the other two parameters
`state`

and `parameters`

are used to specify the desired dynamic and are
available as numeric vectors. In this context, `state`

stands for the
desired initial state under which the model is to be simulated and
`parameters`

contains further parameters, such as the symmetric matrix
specifying the game and, depending on the dynamic, noise levels or
similar parameters.

As can be seen in the example, the return value of a specified dynamic has to be a numerical list. Each component represents the corresponding rate of change of a phenotype under the respective dynamic.

We now show how to implement a very well known dynamic, the replicator dynamics. Our function definition is as follows:

Replicator <- function (time, state, parameters) { #... return(list (dX)) }

The above game and an initial value is passed as a parameter to a function for the generation of phase diagrams and made retrievable within the dynamic. A small limitation, however, is that our matrix needs to be converted into a vector due to certain constraints in our internal usage of the package deSolve. We recommend that you first transfer this vector back into a matrix and maintain the original game. This can be done as follows:

Replicator <- function (time, state, parameters) { a <- parameters states <- sqrt(length(a)) A <- matrix(a, states, byrow = TRUE) A <- t(A) # original symmetric game return(list (dX)) }

We now come to the actual part of the implementation. We first calculate the rate of change of each phenotype depending on the other phenotypes. Immediately afterwards, we calculate the average fitness of each phenotype and then set up the actual replicator dynamics:

Replicator <- function(time, state, parameters) { a <- parameters states <- sqrt(length(a)) A <- matrix(a, states, byrow = TRUE) A <- t(A) dX <- c() for(i in 1:states) { dX[i] <- sum(state * A[i, ]) } avgFitness <- sum(dX * state) for(i in 1:states) { dX[i] <- state[i] * (dX[i] - avgFitness) } return(list(dX)) }

Our dynamics is now applicable within the predefined functions for generating phase diagrams.

We made use of various packages of the CRAN ecosystem. In particular, it was of paramount importance not to write any differential equation solvers ourselves, but to make use of an established solver, instead.

The R-package deSolve [@deSolve] has long been established as a powerful solver for differential equations. In our context, deSolve is used to generate the data needed in order to visualize the time evolution of a given game under a certain dynamic, i.e. we use it for obtaining the correct input for the visualization of trajectories in our phase diagrams.

We use the package rgl [@rgl], i.e. the R interface to OpenGL, for the four strategies case, because here the phase diagram represents a three-dimensional simplex. Our users have the possibility to follow the development of a game under a given dynamic for all phenotypes by rotating the three-dimensional simplex generated by rgl.

The R package geometry [@geometry] helped us with the conversion from barycentric to cartesian coordinates for drawing trajectories. Solving the initial value problem returns the rates of change of the model, which have to be converted into cartesian coordinates before they can be drawn into the phase diagram in order to finally form a trajectory.

**Any scripts or data that you put into this service are public.**

Embedding an R snippet on your website

Add the following code to your website.

For more information on customizing the embed code, read Embedding Snippets.