RockPaperAzure Grand Tournament

We’re back – this time with an International Grand Tournament in Rock, Paper, Azure.    So what’s new?

First, we heard many folks loud and clear that they weren’t happy it was U.S. residents only.   So, now’s your chance – we’ve opened up the tournament to Canada, the UK, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, China, and of course the USA.   We’ve also included country flags in the leaderboard:


Next, we’ve changed some of the rules.  Specifically, players are now “blind” when they play in the GT.  What does that mean?   It means that your bot will not know the team name of the opponent.  While playing, the name of the opponent is a “?” and this is also reflected in the game history and log file:


Why this change?  Primarily, we felt it made the game a little more interesting as it focuses on algorithms as opposed to brute force.   We’ve created a GT Practice Round that is not blind, so if you wish, you can tinker in this round to get some exposure and fine tune your logic.  Of course, playing in the practice round is optional. 

Next, players will break down into heats during the GT.   After the round closes, we’ll segment players into a number of heats (as I write this, I can’t quite recall if we agreed on a random 25% in each heat, or 25 players per heat).  The idea is that this creates a ladder approach to get to the top and adds a bit of excitement to see how far up the ladder your bot can go.  It also scales nicer, since we’re assuming a higher involvement in the competition.

Finally, we decided to give away something a little sweeter than an Xbox.  This time, we’re got $5,000 riding on first place!  Additionally, what we’ve decided to do is spread out the winnings a bit more so second place receives $1,000, and the next ten players (3rd-12th place) all receive $250. 

So, why the prize structure?  Well, during an in-person event during our original 6 week competition, I heard someone remark that it would be too difficult to place in the top 3 to get a prize, much less win the Xbox.   I can understand that because, indeed, some of the bots we saw were really phenomenal.   What we wanted to do was make it so there were enough prizes to reward “pretty good play” for those (like myself) are interested in playing a little, but not spending a hundred hours coding a bot. 

With the new prize structure plus blind playing, it’s really anyone’s game with a little clever code.  We hope you think so, too… and have fun playing!  Questions or comments, feel free to ping us either here on my blog or through the website.

Comments (3) -

Justin James
Justin James
6/23/2011 8:52:20 PM #

I'm a mere "someone" now, eh? Smile

But yes, I love the new prize structure, and it is a great incentive to turn my attention to RPA again!


6/23/2011 9:55:31 PM #

Hah!  I almost mentioned you by name, but decided to play it safe.  Good catch, though!

Justin James
Justin James
6/24/2011 12:28:14 AM #

I think it would be neat for you to do like a Web game show called "Win Brian Hitney's Xbox" (a "Win Ben Stein's Money" spoof), maybe a quiz on obscure topics, or perhaps done in a scripted manner to teach a concept. If you ever saw the "Celebrity Jeopardy" skits on SNL, there should be a recurring character (loosely based on me) who keeps coming back over and over again to win the Xbox, but he never can make it happen, in a comically tragic fashion every time.


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