Brandon Him

Creating a Discord Magic 8 Ball [Part 2/2]

Creating a Discord Magic 8 Ball [Part 2/2]

Important Links

In the first part of the tutorial, we covered over Discord fundamentals such as registering the application and authorizing the bot within your guild. In this tutorial, we will go over building the Discord chatbot using Botkit with a custom connector.

If this is your first time working with Botkit, I encourage you to go through the really, really quick “Get Started” walk-through that should take you no more than 5 minutes. Fortunately for the depth of this tutorial, you should be perfectly fine with having no previous knowledge, as we will only be scratching the surface on Botkit.

💡

If you are wondering why you would use Botkit over other chatbot frameworks, the key benefits support for all major platforms, and a very robust pipeline that is easy to customize and extend. On top of that it’s used in many production quality chatbots.

“Beep! Bop!” — Err… I mean let’s get started

Start by creating a directory with the name of your project since it’s always a good idea to maintain proper organization. Change your directory into your newly created folder.

$ mkdir discord-magic-8
$ cd discord-magic-8

Like any Node.js project, it’s probably a good idea to start with npm init to configure your package.json to save your dependencies and metadata.

$ npm init

Enter through the prompts as usual, once that’s done, you’ll need to install the botkit-discord connector as a dependency.

$ npm install --save botkit-discord

As you may know or may not know, Botkit actually doesn’t support Discord. As a result, I’ve created a custom connector that will allow you to focus on writing Botkit-centric code without having to worry about the Discord API. If you would like more information regarding the connector, feel free to check out the botkit-discord repository.

Once the dependency is done downloading, we can create our entry file, index.js and open it with your favorite text editor.

$ touch index.js

Once we are in the index.js file, begin by importing the connector and create a configuration object with a token property set to your Discord bot token (if you don’t know how to obtain this token, refer to part 1).


const discordBotkit = require('botkit-discord');

const configuration = {
	token: 'YOUR_DISCORD_TOKEN'
};

We will now initialize the bot and pass along the configuration object to our connector:

// This can be known as your controller 
const discordBot = discordBotkit(configuration); 

Before we go any further, it’s recommended we test to ensure the bot is actually working and that our token is valid. Honestly, this is a good habit to do before delving deeply into any project, as it can prevent any potential issues stemming from an invalid token.

One quick check is to run the index.js file and check terminal logs that the bot has is connected: node index.js

image-20190123224911187

You should see a “info: Logged in as [Bot Username] - [Bot Id]”

Next let’s have our bot respond to a simple “hello world” when we direct message it (direct_message) — this is a good check for many reasons, but also a good way to get acclimated with the Botkit API.

We do this by using the controller.hears to set a trigger for “hello world” in response to direct_message events, and using the bot in our callback to reply back to the user with “testing”.

// The connector supports other types as well
discordBot.hears('hello world', direct_message, (bot, message) => {
    // ! Do not forget to pass along the message as the first parameters
	bot.reply(message, 'testing');
});

Botkit Knowledge

The hears method is a specific event listener method designed to handle phrases and keywords in particular. It’s parameters are as followed…

.hears(patterns, types, middleware, callback)

The callback function will be executed with a bot and message input. The bot will provide additional features like reply, say, etc, and the message object will provide important data pertaining to our discord message.

As you can see, it’s advance enough to allow a significant amount of patterns or keywords and flexibility with the middleware, but simple enough to handle immediately.

Hop into your Discord guild, and let’s direct message the bot with “hello world” to ensure this is working!

Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 10.57.10 PM

Once we verified this is working, we can begin writing the simple logic to do all the wonderful “magic 8 ball”…magic.

Let’s start by setting our pattern within the hears method to a wildcard match, .*, this will allow the bot to respond to all messages. However, we need to decide what type of messages we really want our bot to respond to, the connector currently supports 4 types of events:

Event Description
ambient a channel the bot is in has a new message
direct_message the bot received a direct message from a user
direct_mention the bot was addressed directly in a channel (“@bot hello”)
mention the bot was mentioned by someone in a message (“hello @bot”)

In this case, I just want my bot to reply to any mentions within a guild chat, however, feel free to change this to however your needs may be. (in example: ["direct_message", "direct_mention"])

https://gist.github.com/a246ec9ca185026c91fbdb38395558b7

Let’s start to assemble an array of responses that we want our bot to reply:

const responses = [
    "It is certain",
    "It is decidedly so",
    "Without a doubt",
    "Yes – definitely",
    "You may rely on it",
    "As I see it",
    "yes",
    "Most Likely",
    "Outlook good",
    "Yes",
    "Signs point to yes"
];

Update this to whatever you want your bot to say — add some troll phrases if you please ;).

Let’s now generate a “random” index, which we will use the random index to fetch a random response for our magic 8 ball.

const randomIndex = Math.floor(Math.random() * responses.length);

bot.reply(message, responses[randomIndex]);

When we put it all together, our handler and our entire index.js file should look something like this:

const discordBotkit = require('botkit-discord');

const configuration = {
	token: 'YOUR_DISCORD_TOKEN'
};

const discordBot = discordBotkit(configuration);

discordBot.hears('.*', 'mention', (bot, message) => {
	const responses = [
		"It is certain",
		"It is decidedly so",
		"Without a doubt",
		"Yes – definitely",
		"You may rely on it",
		"As I see it",
		"yes",
		"Most Likely",
		"Outlook good",
		"Yes",
		"Signs point to yes"
	];

	const randomIndex = Math.floor(Math.random() * responses.length);
	bot.reply(message, responses[randomIndex]);
});

Once you have everything correct, you can simply the index.js file and you’ll have a working magic 8 ball! Simply tag it within your question, and watch the answers to your problems appear before your eyes.

If your anything like me, you’ll know that food choices are the best thing to ask:

gif result

comments powered by Disqus