Windward Code Wars: February 6, 2016!

Georgia Tech is the World Champions

Championship Trophy Get ready to have the most fun you've ever had at school!

Windward's Code Wars are unlike any other code war or hackathon - in this AI strategy game, made by the creator of Enemy Nations, you go head to head against top students from all over the world. Write the best AI using Python, Java, Microsoft C++, OR C#, anticipating what others might design and designing counter measures. Earn the highest score to win kick-ass prizes. Students of all skill levels and backgrounds are welcome: strategy and skill are rewarded, and the winning code isn't always the cleanest!

Free Entry? Free Food? Prizes? Count me in!

Yes, you read that right. There are prizes for the top team's students (like a free laptop for each) and prizes for the top scoring teams at each institution. Even if you don't get the highest score, you could win a cash prize for the best selfie, best quote, best game-day image and more!

How does it work?

The best news (other than free stuff!) is that there's nothing to prep for. It's open to all Colleges and Universities worldwide. Teams can have 1 - 5 members, undergraduate and/or graduate students. Team members must be full-time students at the participating school.

The game is different each year and you don't find out what it will be until Championship Day. (See here for past years' games.) You try and beat the dummy AI's that are provided stock with the program, but you don't know what kinds of tricks and tactics other teams are using until you all enter the ring and start the game! A server asks for client commands… you know, this is actually a better description.

On Game Day, you show up at your school where your proctor is emailed 15 minutes before start time (10:00am your local time) with a video of instructions and links to the game. Then it's game-on, playing against your fellow students, changing/rewriting/updating your code, strategizing, (did we mention free lunch from our sponsors?), and at 6:00pm the teams then play against each other and the final scores are calculated.

The top teams from each school (depending on the number of teams per school) then send their code to Windward HQ. We run/record it overnight and post the results the next morning at 10:00am MST when you can watch the world championships (on YouTube). And then you get to go watch the Super Bowl (or the commercials)…or get back to school work. Your choice.

You can also read So What's it Like? Participating in the Windward Code War? or The Windward Programming Championship.

Sounds legit. How do I sign up?

First things first: Register your school. You can hold your spot by simply registering your school without any other info, and you have until the day before the championship to update it will all the other required info (Faculty Advisor, Code War Sponsor, Game Day Proctor, and Your Team).

Faculty Advisor: This must be a faculty member in the Computer Science department. The only requirement of this individual is to sign up your school and ensure that the sponsor & proctor perform their parts. (Tip: Everyone loves brownies.)

Code War Sponsor: This must be a Computer Science Student Group or a Computer Science faculty member, and it could be the same individual as your Faculty Advisor. The sponsor needs to handle all organization at your school including advertising the contest, reserving a room, etc. This job requires a few hours, mostly spent getting the word out to students asking them to participate.

Game Day Proctor: This person helps the teams get set up when the contest starts and runs the game server at 6:00pm to determine the school winners. This can be a student participating in the contest but if so, they are at a slight disadvantage because they cannot start on the problem until everyone else is up and running. This job requires the individual to be at the contest from 9:00am - 11:00am and 5:00pm - 7:00pm.

Your Team: you could keep it to yourself, but it's so much more fun to challenge your classmates to a huge showdown so they can see who's really the best (ahem, you).

Register your school and/or team today! You can register your school until February 5 and register teams until 10:00am local time February 6.

Why do we do it?

Why does Windward host a totally free competition for students every year?

"I get a kick out of writing a new game every year and seeing students have a total blast!" says Dave Thielen, CEO. It all started with Dave's daughter who was pursuing Bio-Engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He wrote the first Code Wars challenge for her and her friends to compete, both with other teams at Mudd and with other schools - he already had experience with writing games: Enemy Nations had great success in the 90s and still has a strong cult following.

"What really got me hooked on doing it," he continues, "was when I arranged the first Code Wars for her department. At the end of the day, 30 students told me, literally, it was the best day at school they'd ever had. Some said they would have paid to play it. And I received the same joyous feedback from students at the other schools via email."

So what are you waiting for? Come to the Windward site and sign up now!

We are proud to be sponsored in part by Hewlett-Packard. Learn about HP's available graduate and internship job opportunities.