The ALT.NET Programming Contest

Several months ago, Justin Wilcox introduced me to the idea of a live programming contest. The basic idea is that you get a bunch of programmers together, form teams of two if you wish, and set them off to write a bot for some sort of game (think Rock, Paper, Scissors) with the ultimate goal of them pitting their bots against each other to determine a winner. Check out a video of the first event.

Not too long ago, Glenn Block convinced me to put on a similar contest for ALT.NET Seattle. We held the contest on Saturday evening and got around 14 participants. The event was a lot of fun. The first hour ended up being more of a contest for Jacob and I than the actual participants while we practiced extreme agile just-in-time development on the competition framework we were using and fought off multiple hack attempts from the "participants", but after things settled down and we got some show stopping bugs fixed things progressed and we were able to see some great competition between a bunch of smart people.

Ultimately, John Rudolf Lewis was victorious; you can see his team "More Beer Driven Development" went an awe-inspiring 9-0 in the final round. I should also mention a few other achievements. Jeff Tucker won Round 2, but apparently couldn’t keep up when water balloons were introduced. Jay R. Wren successfully html injected a lovely image into everyone’s game logs. Nate Kohari tried really hard to hack the game itself and invent an unbeatable move. Unfortunately, he only succeeded in silently bringing IIS down without any sort of error messages with his Mono.Cecil magic and craziness. And finally, Eleutian’s very own Jeff Olson managed to thread bomb the server forcing us to reboot. Lesson learned, make sure and bullet proof your server if you’re going to give any of these guys access your ip.

In the next post I’ll detail the framework we wrote to make the competition happen and describe how you can run your own!

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  • http://kohari.org/ Nate Kohari

    I had a great time, thanks for setting up the competition (and for tolerating my shenanigans)! Next time my IL rewriting and serialization magic will triumph! :D

  • http://aspzone.com John Rudolf Lewis

    The contest was a blast. I hope they have another similar contest at the next event.

  • http://www.sleepoverrated.com Scott Cowan

    yes more details please, I’d love to put on one of these

  • Marcus Eklund

    Hi,
    That ALT.NET contest looks fun, Will you guys post the rules and similar stuff from that contest?

    Would be fun to look into how you guys did it all and try and see if one could do it better ;)

    /Marcus