My Challenge Experience this year

So with this year’s challenge done, I’d like to throw a few comments about what I liked this year.

  • As has been with previous years, using GIT for the game engine was great, as it allowed the participants to identify any bugs in the engine and also allowed us to possibly fix it. I’m sure this helped the challenge crew a bit.
    This also allowed us to see what is the expected outcome of certain scenarios, and helped with the AI part.

-Feedback on questions wasn’t immediate, but I think it was still well within reasonable time, and very helpful.

-The sample bot and startup bots were great for me. I only used the c# one, but it was great to get started, and all I had to worry about was my AI part.

  • I ended up writing my own replay viewer (that was very specific to the kind of information I was interested), so it didn’t bother me that there was none available when the challenge started. But once again the community was eager to supply one.

  • I Loved the evolving game engine. The evolving rules helped keep the challenge interesting, and also forced us to change strategies. There is quite a lot of time from start to finish with this challenge, and previous years I often found myself losing motivation half way through, and only picking it back up about a week before the final deadline.

  • The Battles were also great. It really helped gauge the progress and strategy, and also once again kept the interest for me. For this particular game I completely understand why logs were not released, but maybe with a different game it would be great to see the logs (especially if you think your bot under performed and it might be because it broke). I ran well over 100K simulations with my AI to look for any weird bugs, but this isn’t possible for everyone and also won’t necessarily be possible with different games.

  • The clan battles seemed like a cool idea. I didn’t partake, because I like being sneaky, and with the clan battles exposing the logs, the only way I would partake is to use a dummy bot to try and gather information from other players (which, in turn might do the same, making the exercise useless for me :stuck_out_tongue: ). So skipped out on that, but it did seem kinda cool and fun. Also all my friends dropped out after the first battle, so I didn’t have a group to start a clan with (bad excuse, cause I’m sure any clan would have accepted anyone, but yeah).

  • The playoff event in the previous years was always awesome to attend. I understand that this year there were hackathons that served a similar purpose. For me it’s just easier to justify going to an event if I know there is only one. Thus I attended rAge. Which was very cool.

  • The GUI created by the Challenge crew was quite cool. However my wife mentioned that it was a bit confusing, as before the battles started, there was no real explanation of the different shots and shield etc. So for us who took part, we knew exactly what was happening, but any spectators might have been really confused. Maybe something to keep in mind for the rAge event next year, just so that people who happen to be there when it starts also understand what is going on. Other than that the rAge event was really cool, with the stats, questions and giveaways. Also the matches was cool to watch (can’t wait for the video).

  • These forums are really helpful.

  • The uploading and automatic testing of the bots was very cool as well. Made sure I don’t upload a dud.

I’m probably forgetting some things, but overall it was a very good challenge this year. I’ve taken part 5 times and this one is definitely my favorite. Although I have enjoyed the challenge every time. Keep up the good work guys.


Hi MajorPain,

Thanks for the input! It really helps us to plan for the next year in terms of what to focus on. It is a shame the clans feature was not that usefully. Do you have any suggestions of what could have possibly made that better? Or something else that could be better?

Anyone else want to share their experiences?

I think the clan battles was a great idea, but with this game it was tough. I mean with battleships, if you know (even just more or less) where your opponent would place their ships (say all around the edges) you have a great advantage. So showing your placement strategies in any way could be bad. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but like I said I like to be sneaky, so I didn’t want to give away anything.

Now if we take last year’s game (bomberman), I think there could have been some cool dynamics by having a “team mode”. Where you could team up with another player and then play a 2v2 game. Naturally this will mean that if you take it seriously, you will have to add some extra code to account for your team mate, and they would have to do the same, but for people who are interested and have the time it might be very cool. Also this could make for some very spectator worthy games.

Clan battles was a great idea, just for me, with this specific game, it didn’t have much appeal.

I will second what MajorPAIN said… Clan Battles are great. But I requested that I be removed from them for similar logic. Even when I did partake I used different ship placements to make sure nobody optimizes against me.

So because of the psychological aspects of battleships I believe Clan battles was a bit out as even if the logs were blocked, you could still puzzle together opposing strategy. This aspect of the challenge almost had me going mad.

I will also say that I would have enjoyed using them last year. It would have helped me get a lot of bugs.

I would say that the different events with added complexity is a very good edition. To be constantly evaluated throughout the year to see how far you are and to be able to measure yourself is a great motivation to push yourself even further.

I am hoping that you are already brewing next year’s challenge.

Id still love to see a tower defense in the history of the challenge. The idea excites me.