We had a great time talking about our projects and meeting new people at the SIG-Game informational meeting on Monday! With our new crew of developers, this fall ought to have “the best ever” MegaMinerAI! If you were unable to attend our informational, that’s OK. This blog post should give you a rundown of what you missed.

Pizza

Firstly, there was pizza. Try to find some pizza to eat while reading this post for a truly immersive experience. Or use your imagination.

What is SIG-Game?

If you’re not already familiar, SIG-Game hosts a 24-hour programming competition called MegaMinerAI. Competitors have 24 hours to write a program that plays a new game developed by SIG-Game. The game and its rules are kept secret until game day, so competitors must strategize and code within the allotted 24-hour period. Winners get prize money; everyone gets free food and a t-shirt. It really is a blast.

MegaMinerAI occurs every fall and spring semester. This semester, MegaMinerAI 14 will take place the weekend of November 8th, 2014. (Be sure to mark your calendars!) Before that, SIG-Game’s developers will be hard at work creating and implementing the game for MegaMinerAI 14. The design and coding processes will begin early in the semester and continue until sometime around game day.

Our Teams

Hosting MegaMinerAI requires a metaphorical boatload of software, which we develop. Development responsibility is broken into several teams:

  • Server
    • Implements the game logic and fine tunes game design. Members have the most thorough understanding of the game,
    • Cannot compete for prizes
  • Testing
    • Writes AIs to test the game. Members help find bugs in the game and balance different parts of gameplay
    • Cannot compete for prizes
  • Visualizer
    • Develops a program for visually displaying game play. The visualizer animates a game, so that competitors can improve their strategy and debug. It allows competitors to inspect the state of the game and get a better idea of how their units are behaving. It’s all about making information available to the competitor.
    • Cannot compete for prizes
  • Web
    • Develops and maintains a website for competition management. This includes team creation, code management, documentation maintenance, and blogging.
    • Can compete for prizes
  • Arena
    • Develops and maintains a cloud-based system for running massively parallel tournaments. The arena plays thousands of games during the 24-hour period to allow competitors to see how they perform against other teams, and to run the final tournaments.
    • Can compete for prizes

Competing as a Developer

During the course of the semester, some teams will “know too much” about the game, and, for the sake of fairness, those team members cannot compete for prizes. Other teams (web and arena) don’t actually have to know anything about the game to work on code. Those developers are still welcome to compete for prizes. Of course, there are some restrictions. Those with superuser access to the live web application or arena can’t compete for prizes.

New Developers

Usually, new developers begin on the Testing team, but there’s a lot of flexibility. You can learn about / contribute to any team that you’re interested in. There’s plenty of time to decide which team you want to join, and you’re welcome to switch between teams if you change your mind. There are also several ways to contribute that don’t involve coding. We always need people to help with advertising, art, and logistics, too.

Also, we use several tools for communication and collaboration. Make sure that you are granted access to the proper repositories on GitHub and that you’re added to the sig-game-dev-grp Google group.

Developer Meetings

We have weekly developer-only meetings from 12:00 - 1:00 PM on Mondays in CS 207. If you decide to get involved, you should do your best to attend these meetings.

Need more information?

Checkout out the About Us and Join Us pages on our blog site, if you haven’t already. Feel free to peruse our code bases, but don’t be scared by them! It takes a little time to get familiar with how our stuff works. Learning to develop for SIG-Game takes some time, but you’ll gain valuable experience that looks excellent on a resume.

For the lazy

TL;DR - SIG-Game’s purpose is to host a 24-hour programming competition called MegaMinerAI. There are several teams that work on code to make that happen. There are many different opportunities to learn and contribute. Most importantly, we have meetings from 12:00 - 1:00 PM on Mondays in CS 207.

Mark your calendars!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for MegaMinerAI 14! Competition begins at noon on Saturday November 8, 2014 and ends at noon on Sunday November 9, 2014.

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