Harvey Mudd awarded site of next Code Wars competition

Let the games begin! Cue the music here

Okay, so it’s not anywhere as prestigious as the Olympics, but we’re still excited to let you know the third Windward Code War competition will take place January 2012 at Harvey Mudd College.

Gold medal it ain't.

A Windward Code War is where programmers – typically students, although the first Code War took place here at our company – program.

And they do it pretty much just for the love of programming. No pay, no college credit, no course requirements met. The only reward is some bragging rights and a cheesy trophy.

Here’s how it works. At the appointed hour, each team receives a programming problem. They have 8 hours to write the computer player for a previously undisclosed computer game. When the final bell rings, the game runs with all their computer players trying to beat the other players. A winner is declared when a team’s player wins twice.

The first Code War was a computer version of the warship board game Broadside that challenged teams to write an A.I. component for it. This created a level playing field – no one at Windward has any experience writing a computer A.I. – and generated a problem that cannot be solved by brute force. (Hats off to Team Hsu for a stunning victory over Team Light.)

The second Code War took place at the University of Colorado. Instead of frigates and warships, the game was based on RoboRally. Computer science students created robots to maneuver through a factory that assuredly does not meet OSHA standards.

Check out the doughnut-fueled intensity:

So now we’re on to Harvey Mudd. Our CTO says Code Wars is a way to give back to the community – he donates about a week of his time creating and administering the game – but really… we know it’s a way for him to play at work and get credit for it.