Entries for the sixth annual Entelect Challenge, which has become known as one of the premium coding competitions among the software development community, are now open.
Based on the hugely popular ‘Battleships’ classic game, the 2017 Entelect Challenge is a fun competition that brings together everyone from novice coders to experienced professionals as they compete for their spot in the finals – which will be played out on the main stage at rAge in October – and their share of the R200 000 prize bounty.
Contestants battle it out by coding an artificial intelligence (AI) player, or bot, to challenge other AI players. As with every year, a starter pack will be available to all players and includes:
· Game rules
· A readme file on how to interact with the game engine
· Sample bots to use as reference in different programming languages
· Access to an active forum for guidance
Every year, the Entelect Challenge is based on a theme from popular classic games. This year’s ‘Battleships’ theme not only appeals to those who love retro gaming but also provides a game with simple and familiar rules and mechanics that allows anyone with a basic understanding of coding to enter.
“This year, we’ve improved the player experience and have introduced a mini playoffs series, a staggered strategy component, and a webinar series with hands-on tutorials. Players will not only have more chances to win but will also have an opportunity to test and refine their coding skills as the game progresses,” explains Tomislav Ravić, Team Lead for the Entelect Challenge.
The two mini playoffs are designed to help players prepare for the finals. After each round robin stage, a new game dynamic will be introduced, which will open new possible strategies that contestants can use to outsmart and outplay their opponents. Winners of each of the playoffs will receive a Golden Ticket to the finals, while second- and third-placed players will win a cash prize.
The remaining six Golden Tickets will be awarded to the top-performing contestants that haven’t already made it to the finals, in the third and final play-off event. This double elimination event takes the form of a full tournament and will pit the winners of the first two playoffs against the remaining contestants, who will battle it out for a spot in the finals.
“This year, we’re excited to introduce Hackathon-style meet-ups prior to each mini playoff, which will allow contestants to refine their submissions before entering the playoffs,” continues Ravić.
As with past Challenges, the Player Portal will be available to contestants to test their bots. This year, Entelect is introducing a new feature that allows players to create clans that can challenge each other for bragging rights. The community forum has been revamped and Entelect will also launch a webinar series that will feature tutorials as well as guidance on how to run the game, get started and submit entries.
“We wanted to offer contestants as many features as possible to help them with their builds,” says Ravić. “This year, we will record mini webisodes, each with a different topic, which will be live-streamed for anyone to tune in. These will include tips and ideas on how to build a bot and how to make your bot more competitive on the game board.” More information about these tutorials will be shared on social media closer to the time.
“Competing successfully in the Challenge is not about the best or cleanest code,” says Ravić. “It’s all about the player strategies. Your bot may be really simple in design but its strategy could be highly effective. That’s what makes the Entelect Challenge so appealing to coders of all levels.”
Total prize money for this year’s event is just over R200 000, which will be split across the mini playoffs and the finals. First prize will be R70 000, second place will be awarded R35,000 and third place R25 000.
The timeline for the 2017 Entelect Challenge is as follows:
· 9 June: Battle of Port Royal round robin mini playoff
· 28 July: Battle of Tortuga round robin mini playoff
· 15 September: Battle of Nam Quan deadline for bot submissions and double elimination
· rAge weekend: Battle of Cape Lopez double elimination finals
For more information about the Challenge and to submit your bot, click here.