The annual Entelect Challenge (formerly known as the Entelect 100K Challenge) has launched, and is more up for grabs in prize money this year, as well as a few important changes to the competition’s structure which gives contestants a greater chance of walking away with prize money.
Timothy Kroon, GM: professional services at Entelect, says: “We are really excited to be entering our fifth year of this annual AI Challenge, which we believe is becoming an important fixture in the local software development community calendar. Each year we strive to make the challenge a more exciting, inclusive and attractive competition for the local developer community and this year’s effort is a great stride forward in this regard.
“The Challenge is designed to test the creativity and programming skills of entrants by requiring competitors to design and write their own AI players for a game. The initiative is open to contestants of all levels including students, novice coders and professional developers.”
Kroon says Entelect conducted a survey earlier this year to find out what, if any, changes potential entrants wanted to see in the annual challenge.
“We see the Entelect Challenge as an opportunity to connect our community of hobbyists and developers, to experience the fun side of software engineering that we don’t always get exposed to in our day to day work,” he says. “After having run the competition for four years, we thought it was an appropriate time to ask the community to tell us what they would like to see changed or included in this year’s challenge.
“As a result of the responses received from the survey, we haveĀ  split the prize money significantly, enhancing it from last year’s total of R165 000 to this year’s R200 000 so that the top eight finalists will get prizes, with the top three getting R70 000, R35 000 and R25 000 respectively. In this way, more winners will benefit from the prize money at stake.”
Kroon says that, because the prizes are significantly more tiered this year, the competition will be more inclusive and give our contestants a greater chance of taking something home.
“Another change to the competition which came from the feedback received is that, where before we had one competitor playing another, we are now going to be playing four people against each other at the same time. It adds a different dimension to the game and may require the competitors to design their bot differently.”
This year’s Entelect Challenge has the 1980s retro-gaming theme of Bomberman, in which four players are placed in an unfamiliar environment, with various governing rules as each player is required to find their way through a maze while avoiding enemies and strategically positioned bombs. The person who survives to the end with the most points is the winner.
“This year, we are catering for and providing sample bots for the following languages: C++, C#, F#, Java, Node.JS and Python, whilst the reference bot is coded in C#,” Kroon say. “Players must first register on the website through the Player portal. The dashboard allows players to build and submit their bots against reference bots, and they will be able to visualise the matches using our own visualiser.”
For those who are more interested in building a GUI than entering the AI arena, the Entelect Challenge also offers a GUI specific competition. “GUI specialists or hobbyists can enter the Gooey Award challenge, to build their own graphical user interface for the game, and stand to win R15 000 in cash.”
The competition closes on Friday 2 September, with a play-off event on 17 September. The grand finale will be held on 8 October at the rAge main stage.