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Decades ago, in a far-away galaxy known only as Bomber Nebula …

A little robot with explosive intentions unleashed havoc upon his enemies.

Now, in 2016, he returns, and finds himself in a deadly tournament with

more of his kind fighting for survival …

WELCOME

Another year, another EPIC competition beckons. Welcome to another instalment of the Entelect Challenge (formerly known as the 'Entelect R100k Challenge'). We are challenging you, programmers, developers, coding enthusiasts, and GUI designers to take part in this prestigious annual event to find South Africa's ultimate coding champion and to give away a share of R200 000 in cold, hard cash.

To break it down, entrants will compete against each other in attempting to write an AI program that can creatively outsmart and outsurvive their opponents. The game has been chosen and the rules have been defined. May the odds be ever in your favour!

2016 THEME

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Entelect Challenge and to celebrate, we've shaken things up in a big way! The theme of the 2016 challenge is centred around the classic 1980's strategy maze-based game, Bomberman - with a twist. Multiple players will be abandoned in a maze arena, armed with bombs, wit and the desire to be the best. Their goal - to outlast their opponents to be the last one standing! Taking advantage of various power-ups, players must explore the dark corners of the maze to accumulate points by bombing everything and everyone in their path. In the end, the surviving player with the most points will be victorious! A total of R200 000 in cash will be up for grabs! Prize money will be awarded to the top 8 performing bots competing in the AI Challenge and, like previous years, there will be a prize for the best GUI Challenge entrant. All entrants will play-off at a special event held in September in front of gaming and technology media, where we will announce our finalists who will battle it out for the top spot on stage at the rAge expo in October 2016.

AI CHALLENGE - BOMBERMAN

How to Enter

For the time being, subscribe to receive updates on all things Entelect Challenge by clicking this button below.

Subscribe
In the coming weeks, the Player Portal will be opened up where entrants must register to submit entries. The Player Portal will provide contestants a dashboard where they will be able to submit, build and test their bots against a reference bot. They will also be able to visualise matches using our own visualiser.

Where to get answers

For guidance, help, answers or a bit of friendly banter, head on over to the Entelect Challenge community forum or send an email to challenge@entelect.co.za.

Community Forum Email

Prizes

Bots will play off against each other in a double elimination tournament. This year, the top 8 performing bots will receive their share of R200 000 in cash. The prize money will be divided amongst the top 8 as follows:

  • First Prize: R70 000
  • Second Prize: R35 000
  • Third Prize: R25 000
  • Fourth Prize: R15 000
  • Fifth Prize: R10 000
  • Sixth Prize: R10 000
  • Seventh Prize: R10 000
  • Eighth Prize: R10 000

GOOEY CHALLENGE

Interested in building a GUI but not keen on AI? We're calling on all developers and designers to try their hand at making a cool GUI for the game. The objective is to come up with a slick, functional, innovative GUI for the game. This can be done using any technology and tools provided it can be run in a web-browser or on a Windows based computer.

Launch Game

How to enter

To submit a GUI, email challenge@entelect.co.za with the subject line "Gooey Challenge" and the information below. We will respond to you with an invitation to share your files with us via a cloud file hosting platform. You may update your submissions before the deadline, we will only look at the latest version.

  • ID Number
  • First Name
  • Surname
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • How you found out about the challenge

After you receive the link to upload your GUI, we require your entry to include the executable and all source files required.

Prizes

All entries will be judged by a special panel of Entelectuals. The winner of the Gooey Challenge will take home a prize of R15 000 in cash and have their work showcased at various Entelect Challenge events.

EVENTS AND TIMELINES

  • The competition opens on Monday, April 11, 2016.
  • The competition closes for bot and GUI submissions on Friday, September 2, 2016.
  • The play-off event will be held on the evening of Saturday, September 17, 2016.
  • The finals will be held on the main stage at the rAge Expo on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

RULES

  • BASICS

    The basic rules of the game.

    For more detail related to the map generation, player rules, game engine rules etc., click the various sections below. Please make sure you study the sections below very closely as any deviation from, or misunderstanding of the specifications will result in the disqualification of your entry. If you are uncertain of anything, please use the community forum to ask a question, or send an email to challenge@entelect.co.za.

    1. A player can only make one move during a round.
    2. A player can make one of the following moves:
      1. Move Left - Moves one block left.
      2. Move Right - Moves one block right.
      3. Move Up - Moves one block up.
      4. Move Down - Moves one block down.
      5. Plant Bomb - Plants a bomb (If there are bombs in your bomb bag).
      6. Trigger Bomb - Takes the bomb with the lowest countdown and sets the countdown to 1.
    3. Bombs will destroy walls, kill players and trigger other bombs.
    4. A player can pick up power ups to increase their bomb bag and blast radius.
    5. Players will earn points for destroying walls, killing other players and "discovering" the game map by moving around.
    6. The game leaderboard will be determined as follows:
      1. Players that are alive will be on top.
      2. If multiple players alive when the max rounds have been reached the points will be used.
      3. Players that have died will be sorted first on points, then based on the round they died.
  • MAP GENERATION

    The maps in the game will be generated randomly based on seed provided to the game engine. The game seed will be random for each match, but can be the same if matches need to be re-run. The map will be divided into four quadrants for generation purposes. The following rules apply for map generation.

    1. The map will be surrounded with indestructible walls.
    2. The default map size for 2-4 players will be 21x21 blocks.
    3. Every second square, starting from the outer boundary, will be an indestructible wall. The only exception to this rule will be the centre block on the map.
    4. Each quadrant will be generated such that the entire map will be symmetrical, with each quadrant appearing the same from each user's perspective.
    5. Players will always be placed in a corner of the map. In case the map contains more than 4 players, the remaining players be placed equidistant from the other players along the sides of the map.
    6. Every player on the map will have a 2 block safe zone horizontally and vertically.
    7. The centre of the map will always contain a Super power up in the centre, in place of the indestructible wall.
    8. The centre power up will always be surrounded by a 5x5 area of destructible walls.
    9. Power ups will be placed randomly across the map, with each quadrant of the map receiving the same amount and type of power ups. When four players are present, a fairness algorithm will be applied to ensure players have the same chance of finding a power up within a certain distance from them.
    10. Power ups on the map will be determined with the following algorithm:
      1. Two bomb bag power ups will be placed on the map per player.
      2. Four bomb radius power ups will be placed on the map per player.
    11. The tournament will only have 2 or 4 players per map. But in some scenarios more players will be placed on the maps, in which case the map size (Width/Height) will dynamically change to accommodate more players.
  • PLAYER RULES
    1. Players will only be able submit one command per round. The game engine will reject any additional commands sent by the player
    2. Only one of the following commands can be submitted by the player during a round:
      1. Move Command - Left, Right, Up, Down.
      2. Place Bomb Command - Places a bomb underneath the player.
      3. Reduce Bomb Timer - Reduces the timer of the bomb with the lowest timer for the player to 1.
      4. Do Nothing Command - Player skips the round and remains on the same block
    3. Players will start with a bomb bag containing 1 bomb.
    4. Players will start with a bomb radius of 1.
    5. Players will start with a bomb timer of 4 rounds
    6. Players will only have a maximum of 2 seconds to make a move.
    7. Players must ensure that the bot process exits gracefully within the allotted time. No child processes will be allowed.
    8. All bot logic processing must be done within the source code submitted for your bot. You may not use network calls such as web services to aid in your bots decision making.
  • GAME ENGINE RULES
    1. The game engine contains the following entities:
      1. Indestructible Wall
      2. Destructible Wall
      3. Player
      4. Bomb
      5. Power Up
        1. Bomb Bag
        2. Bomb Radius
        3. Super Power Up
    2. A game block can only have one of the following entities at a single time:
      1. Indestructible Wall
      2. Destructible Wall
      3. Player
      4. Bomb
      5. Bomb with a player on top after planting
    3. Power ups will only be revealed once the destructible wall has been destroyed as a result of a bomb blast.
    4. The game engine will process rounds in the following order:
      1. Remove old explosions from the map
      2. Decrease all bomb timers
      3. Detonate bombs with a timer value of 0
      4. Trigger bombs that fall within the explosion range of another bomb
      5. Mark entities for destruction (Any players within a bomb blast at this moment will be killed)
      6. Process player commands
      7. Mark entities for destruction (If a player moved into a bomb blast, they will be killed)
      8. Apply power ups
      9. Remove marked (Killed/Destroyed) entities from the map
      10. Apply player movement bonus
    5. A player entity will not able to move to a space containing another entity, with the exception of power ups.
    6. A player can only plant a bomb if they have bombs available in their bomb bag. Planting a bomb removes a bomb from the bomb bag and the bomb will be returned to the bomb bag once it explodes.
    7. Two player entities will not be able to move onto the same space during a round, if this does happen the game engine will randomly choose a player whose move will be discarded.
    8. Bombs will start with a timer based on the player's current bomb bag. The formula is (bomb bag size * 3) + 1. The bomb timers will be capped to 10.
    9. Bomb timers will decrease by 1 every round.
    10. Bomb radius will equal the radius bonus of the player at the time of planting. Obtaining a radius power up afterwards will not increase bomb radius of bombs currently on the map.
    11. Destructible Walls can only be destroyed if they fall within the blast radius of a bomb.
    12. Indestructible Walls will absorb the damage from a bomb and prevent it from continuing past the wall.
    13. Bombs will absorb the damage from other bombs and prevent it from continuing past the bomb, this will however cause the affected bomb to detonate causing a chain of detonations.
    14. If a player is in the range of a bomb blast radius at the start of the round and is killed as a result, their commands for that round will be ignored.
    15. If a player moves into the range of a bomb blast during a round, the player will be killed as a result.
    16. The game engine will be restricted to a certain amount of rounds. The max rounds for each map will be calculated as follows (map width * map height).
    17. The leader board for the game will be based on the following:
      1. Players alive
      2. Then points descending for the players
      3. Then the round the players were killed
  • POWER UPS
    1. The bomb bag power up will give the player an additional bomb for their bomb bag to plant on the map while the timers on other bombs are decreasing.
    2. The bomb radius power up will multiply the current bomb radius of the player by two.
    3. The special power up will give the following bonuses:
      1. Bomb bag power up
      2. Bomb radius power up
      3. 50 points
  • POINTS
    1. Players will receive 10 points for destroying destructible walls
      1. If two bombs hit the same wall, both players will receive 10 points for destroying the wall.
    2. Players will receive points for killing another player based on the following equation ((100 + Max point per map for destructible walls) / players on map). So on a map with 10 destructible walls with 4 players the points for killing a player will be 50.
      1. If two bombs hit player C, both player player A and player B will receive points for killing player C.
    3. Players will receive points based on map coverage:
      1. Points will only be calculated for each new block touched by a player
      2. Points will determine player coverage on the map, with a map coverage of 100% giving the player 100 points
    4. Players obtaining the Super Power up will receive additional points.
    5. When multiple player bombs are triggered in a bomb chain, all players with bombs forming part of the chain will receive the points for all entities destroyed in the chain.
    6. The round in which a player is killed will cause the player to forfeit all points earned in that round, and the player will lose points equal to the points earned when killing another player.
  • TERMS & CONDITIONS

    Please take note of the following important terms and conditions. If you have any questions, please direct them to challenge@entelect.co.za.

    1. The challenge is only open to individuals residing in the Republic of South Africa.
    2. Entrants must have a valid South African bank account.
    3. Entry must be executable on the Windows Server 2012 operating system.
    4. An entry may not be:
      1. Copied (plagiarised);
      2. Retrieved from other websites;
      3. The work of any other individual other than the participant.
    5. Although consultation with your peers is encouraged, team-based entries are not allowed and will be disqualified.
    6. The semi-finals and finals for each pool will take place LIVE at rAge expo in Johannesburg in October 2016. More info on rAge expo can be found at http://www.rageexpo.co.za/
    7. Finalists will receive free passes to the rAge expo in Johannesburg and will be expected to attend.
    8. Any entry which exhibits behaviour that is deemed unfair, or violates the spirit of good sportsmanship will be immediately disqualified. This includes making any moves which are considered invalid according to the technical specifications laid out for the competition, memory scanning or intentional corruption of the game state.
    9. An attempt to disrupt or alter the normal operation of the Entelect challenge software or the Entelect servers will result in the immediate involvement of law enforcement officials.
    10. The competition is not open to employees of Entelect Software or their immediate families.
    11. The closing date of the challenge is 7th September 2016. No further entries will be accepted after this time.
    12. By entering the competition, the winner agrees to follow all rules and requirements as outlined by Entelect Software.
    13. The prize is not transferable.
    14. Entelect Software will not disclose any of the participants' personal information.
    15. By submitting code under your name, you are asserting that you did this work unaided. Entelect Software reserves the right to verify by technical assessment or interview to confirm that an applicant did create and implement the solution. Failure to comply can result on immediate disqualification. The ruling will be final.
    16. Entelect Software reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.
    17. Entelect Software or any of its subsidiaries cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage caused as a result of participation in the Entelect Challenge.
    18. Entelect Software reserve the right to use the name & image of entrants for press purposes relating to the Entelect Challenge.
    19. The challenge winner will make themselves available for press opportunities relating to the Entelect Challenge under conditions which are agreeable by both parties.
    20. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

QUICK START

This year we have provided sample bot implementations in each of the following supported languages:

  • C#
  • Java
    • Scala
  • C++
  • F#
  • Node.js
  • Python

All sample bots can be found here. The easiest way to use the sample bots is to download the repository zip file from Github. Alternatively install Git and clone the repository.

To run the sample bots you will need the game engine that can be found here. The included the Run.bat file will run the game with the reference bot. That file can be edited to run your sample bots instead. Please visit the Github page for more detailed instructions.

All sample bots are standardized to have the same basic features:

  • Have a bot.json file
  • Accept the Player Key and Output Folder as part of the arguments
  • Read the state.json file
  • Generate a random move and write that to the move.txt file

If you experience any issues, need some help, would like to report a bug or have comments / suggestions, head on over to the Entelect Challenge community forum or send an email to challenge@entelect.co.za and we will be in touch.

  • C#, C++, F#

    If you plan to develop your entry in C# you need to download and install Visual Studio

    Get the Code

    Download the Sample Bots Zip file from Github or use Git to clone the repository.

    • Start Git Bash
    • Change to the directory where you want to checkout the sample bot
    • Run:git clone https://github.com/EntelectChallenge/2016-Bomberman.git

    Compile

    The easiest way to compile is to open the solution (SampleBot.sln) in Visual Studio and to select Build -> Build Solution from the menus.

    You will need to test that your project compiles from the command prompt as well and for this you'll need a Visual Studio Command Prompt. If this was not added to your start menu during the Visual Studio installation follow the instructions in this stackoverflow post to add it to your Visual Studio tools menu.

    NUGET

    If your bot depends on any libraries you can install them with the NuGet Package Manager.

    Be sure to test that package restore is working so that when the tournament server compiles your bot your dependencies are fetched.

  • JAVA

    If you plan to develop your entry in Java you need to download and install the latest Java 8 Development Kit.

    Maven Installation

    Mave installation is fairly simple. Maven is free software that can be downloaded here. Install as per the included theREADME.txt

      • Ensure the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set to the root of your JDK installation (eg. on Windows: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk8).
      • Extract the .zip / .tar.gz archive.
      • Add the bin folder from the extracted directory to your path.
      • Verify that the installation is working by starting a new command line and running mvn --version
    If you need to use any libraries in your bot simply include the dependencies in your project's pom.xml.

    Get the Code

    Download the Sample Bots Zip file from Github or use Git to clone the repository.

    • Start Git Bash
    • Change to the directory where you want to checkout the sample bot
    • Run:git clone https://github.com/EntelectChallenge/2016-Bomberman.git

    Compile

    The easiest way to compile is to open a new commmand prompt in your bot folder and run mvn package. For more details look here

  • NODE.JS

    If you plan to develop your entry in JavaScript you need to download and install the latest version of Node.js

    Get the Code

    Download the Sample Bots Zip file from Github or use Git to clone the repository.

    • Start Git Bash
    • Change to the directory where you want to checkout the sample bot
    • Run:git clone https://github.com/EntelectChallenge/2016-Bomberman.git

    Compile

    The easiest way to compile is to open a new commmand prompt in your bot folder and run nmp install, this will use NPM to fetch your dependencies and build your bot.

    Run

    The easiest way to run is to open a new commmand prompt in your bot folder and run node botStart.js where bot start is your bot javascript file.

  • PYTHON

    If you plan to develop your entry in Python you need to download and install the latest version of Python. You can develop the bot in either Python 2 or Python 3.

    Get the Code

    Download the Sample Bots Zip file from Github or use Git to clone the repository.

    • Start Git Bash
    • Change to the directory where you want to checkout the sample bot
    • Run:git clone https://github.com/EntelectChallenge/2016-Bomberman.git

    Setup Tools

    If you wish to use 3rd party library dependencies you should include ez_setup.py from SetupTools with your project.

    Compile

    The easiest way to compule is to open a new command prompt in your bot folder and run pip install -r requirements.txt. This will use setup tools to fetch your dependencies.

    Run

    The easiest way to run is to open a new commmand prompt in your bot folder and run python botStart.py where bot start is your bot python file.

HISTORY

  • 2012

    NAG Magazine, South Africa's authority on current trends in computer, console, online and mobile gaming and technology-related entertainment, has partnered with Entelect Software to bring you a competition that could change your life.

    The 100K Challenge is simple - in theory. Candidates have to write an artificially intelligent program that has the ability to play against an opponent in the game of light-bikes, as seen in the film Tron. Those willing to test their abilities will have to ensure, however, that they design the most effective and intelligent opponent. NAG Magazine and Entelect Software will then host a tournament with all of the successful entrants, with scheduled play-offs, playing each program against the other in an online environment. These sure-to-be captivating games will be available for viewing online, where the successes and failures can be monitored throughout. An interactive and adrenaline-inducing process, the question is which program will be left standing at the end, giving the maker a cash injection and reputation that he or she can only dream of.

    Entelect Software, a fast-growing company, has a reputation as being the 'best-of-breed' software house in the country with teams and projects in all of South Africa's biggest players in finance, healthy, insurance, military, entertainment and more. CEO of Entelect Software, Charles Pritchard says, "This competition is for anyone who has a keen interest in software development and is willing to sink their teeth into this creative challenge. We want to see just what these innovative minds are capable of."

    "This competition not only promises to be thrilling, but could change someone's life. The fact that Entelect Software are investing in the local sector like this is a huge opportunity." Says Michael James, Editor, NAG Magazine. NAG Magazine also hosts rAge (Really Awesome Game Expo) each year where the 2012 rAge will see the final of the competition taking place.

    The finals of the ground-breaking 100K Challenge took place at Africa's largest technology and video gaming exhibition, rAge at the Coco-Cola Dome in Johannesburg. James says, "By combining our really AWESOME expo with such a fantastic competition, we aim to bring the industry something they haven’t seen before."

    Playoffs

    Finalists

    • alt_example

      Jaco Cronje

      I'm an Image Processing Researcher in the Optronic Sensor Systems group at the CSIR. I enjoy working on difficult programing challenges. My experience ranges from embedded software development to game programming, 3D graphics, virtual-reality simulator development and computer vision research.

    • alt_example

      Gustav Mauer

      I have enjoyed programming since primary school and always like a challenge. My main expertise is in distributed and high throughput systems, which made the Entelect Challenge even more interesting for me. I currently work at Amazon.com in Cape Town on their EC2 product range.

    • alt_example

      Henri Wiechers

      Henri is a software developer in Johannesburg. He likes almost anything involving computers and learning new things.

    • alt_example

      Amani Mbara

      I'm Amani, 25, a graduate electrical engineer from UCT. I'm currently a web developer, C++ and Java programmer, perfectionist, and an all-round bore.

    • alt_example

      Andrew Tweddle

      Andrew is a senior technologist at Dariel Solutions. He is married with two young children. He is also a board game geek and owns a large collection of german-style board games.

    • alt_example

      Keegan Carruthers-Smith

      I'm Keegan Carruthers-Smith and I am born and mostly raised in Cape Town. I was doing my MSc in Computer Science at UCT, but I am off to go work for Facebook this month (October). (Congrats Keegan!)

    • alt_example

      Pieter Bezuidenhout

      I'm a software developer by trade. I spend my free time watching Sci-Fi and Anime and I have been known to play PC games like Starcraft 2 and The Elder Scrolls.

    • alt_example

      Marcus Tomlinson

      I am a senior software engineer at Thoroughtec, and co-founder of Adapt Audio. Game developer by day and audio specialist by night.

    Gallery

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  • 2013

    The 2013 Entelect R100K Challenge saw hopefuls battle it out with the Nintendo cult classic "Battle City" style game. The technical bar was raised for the challenge in 2013 which provided the opportunity for each entry to play off two tanks against their opponents. Strategies involved destroying the enemy base, or destroying the enemies.

    2012 saw the launch of the inaugural Entelect 100K Challenge - and 2013 saw the lift-off of the annual contest pitting like mined individuals against one another in a blazing battle to win. Entelect Software and NAG Magazine - South Africa's authority on current trends in computer, console, online and mobile gaming and technology-related entertainment - presented an opportunity for contestants to change their life. The competition saw a thrilling play-off event on 16 September where the finalists were selected to head off to rAge (Really Awesome Gaming Expo) for an adrenaline filled final at the awesome event in October!

    Candidates had to write an artificially intelligent program that can play against an opponent in the cult Nintendo classic, Battle City. Innovation, effectiveness and intelligence are all that were required. "We had to change things up a bit this year. Last year was quite a familiar AI problem for coders to deal with (Tron Lightcycles). This year we decided to take things down 8-bit memory lane and do something fun in the form of Battle City. The core problem that coders will have to solve this year is similar, but with a few more quirks and a lot more opportunity for unique strategy. As we saw with last year's challenge, the finalists were all individuals who went to great lengths for that extra 10% intelligence. We hope this year to see an even wider array of clever strategies as the tanks fight it out for superiority on the battlefield." - Tim Kroon, Entelect Software.

    "This is a high-energy, adrenaline-infused opportunity that not only has a huge winning incentive but is a lot of fun. This is for every red-blooded individual who enjoys a bit of competition and could picture themselves securing the prestige of developing the winning code -a great career starter. We are thrilled to be able to host the finals at rAge, which further adds to the excitement of the Entelect 100K Challenge," says Michael James, Editor, NAG Magazine. The competition was eventually won by 27 year old Pierre Pretorius after many near shaves in an exciting competition.

    Playoffs

    Finalists

    • alt_example

      G-J Van Rooyen

      G-J is an electronic engineer from Stellenbosch, and mostly works with communications systems and signal processing. He does way too little actual programming in his day job, so makes a point of taking on a pet project (like this Challenge) every now and again. He lives in Somerset West with his wife, who is a fashion designer, and their two children aged 4 and 2. G-J is deeply embarrassed that he didn't spend more time helping his bots overcome their emotional problems and irrational fear of straight lines.

    • alt_example

      HS Coetzee

      Learned to code on the African Savannah using nothing but a bone abacus and a dead skunk named Charles. Arrested in 2025 in Brazil for smuggling raw coffee beans across the border. Once accused of writing efficient and well documented code - made the accuser eat his words as a Base64 encoded 64Kb binary array - through a SOAP WebService...hosted in China. Doctors say he will eventually make a full recovery. Monks on the 9th continent call him "Asha-uh Ka-tank", which roughly translates to "That-Guy-That-Writes-That-Code-That-Usualy-Works-Sorta-OK-Even-When-Babalaas". On a dare, almost convinced Linus to install Windows 8. Named "Hero-of-the-People" by the Just-left-of-Center Crab-People Republic in 2009. Currently working on World Domination Plan v54.345.42.001c - just not sure how to motivate the anteaters yet...

    • alt_example

      Pierre Pretorius

      I'm a 27 year old software developer working for EPI-USE Labs. I'm primarily a ruby on rails web developer with a few years experience in SAP add-on product development, as well as java enterprise web development. Software development is my passion, from coding to the business aspects of it. I have a long history in programming and gaming. I was introduced to both at a very young age and haven't stopped since.

    • alt_example

      Werner Stoop

      I've graduated in Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria in 2003. I finished my Masters degree in 2010. I'm currently working at MTN on the network management systems. When I was in school, teachers always told me that there is no future in computers.

    • alt_example

      Jan Gutter

      Jan Gutter is an Electronic Engineer hailing from behind the Boereworsgordyn in the Free State. His chequered past has led him through lecturing, working on minor weapons of destruction and trying like heck to keep the bad guys out. He's currently working at LucidView doing all sorts of cool stuff in networking. He's a complete and utter nerd and has been completely subjugated by the cat that owns him. He's living in Centurion, so the only way to be sure to get him is to nuke it from orbit.

    • alt_example

      Jaco Cronje

      I'm an Image Processing Researcher at the CSIR. I enjoy working on difficult programming challenges. My experience range from embedded software development, game programming, 3D graphics, data mining, artificial intelligence and computer vision. I'm studying towards a PhD in Computational Intelligence and Computer Vision at the University of Pretoria.

    • alt_example

      Marius Potgieter

      Marius studied computer science at Tuks after school, but didn't finish. He then went on to work as a programmer and still doing it today.

    • alt_example

      Lucas Dreyer

      I studied Electronic Engineering with Computer Science at Stellenbosch university, and has since been working as a software developer. I love programming competitions, studying artificial intelligence, and being a science geek. I'll play computer games occasionally but usually I have bots that do that for me! When I'm not coding I like to watch movies and hanging out with my wife.

    Gallery

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  • 2014

    The R100K Challenge finals concluded to a packed-house at rAge in October last year. With R165 000 worth of cash prizes at stake, the audience watched in anticipation as once again Pierre Pretorius defeated the competition and took home the grand prize of R100 000 in the advanced pool. In pool B, the victor was Lindsay Hans from Cape Town who took home a cool cash prize of R50 000. Runner ups did not leave empty handed as they went home with vouchers for takealot.co.za and a Raspberry Pi.

    2014 saw new, creative and interesting work come to the fore in the competition, including a variety of entries submitted to the Gooey Awards. The Gooey awards calls for developers and designers to attempt creating a GUI (Graphical User Interface) for the R100K Challenge game. Any technology and tools can be utilized, as long as they were web-browser or Windows compatible. "We had a variety of entries for the Gooey Award this year, ranging from skin-and-bones user-interfaces to fantastically sophisticated 3D entries with music, sound effects, special visual effects and dynamic camera movements," says Kroon.

    "From the tournament side, we had a range of contestants - from school-goers to senior citizens," continues Kroon. "This is fantastic and reinforces the fact that the competition really does appeal to a broad audience."

    With a lot more attention being placed on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning in computer sciences, comes increasing interest with the advent of big data, cloud computing and of course - video games. "The skills required to have a successful entry in the R100K Challenge are however broader than just that of AI," says Kroon. "Close attention to detail needs to be paid to both technical specifications and performance. There are a host of challenges involved in the competition and a successful contestant is someone who pays attention to all the categories of their entry and not only AI strategy."

    "The PacMan concept for this year’s challenge has been received exceptionally well. We have already been in talks about concepts for the game for next year's challenge that will push contestants to utilise a wider variety or hybrid or artificial intelligence algorithms. We encourage all potential coders, developers and those who have an interest in gaming to enter next year's challenge." concludes Kroon.

    Playoffs

    Finalists - Pool A

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      Pierre Pretorius "Pierre"

      I'm a 28 year old software developer from Pretoria. I completed B.IT at the University of Pretoria and I've been working for EPI-USE Labs the last 7 years. I went to great lengths to ensure I have a good entry this year and spent even more time than I did on my winning bot last year. After seeing how many close games it had to get to the semi-finals, it is clear that the competition is really tough this year.

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      Bernhard Häussermann "Gluttony"

      Bernhard graduated in Computer Science at the University of Pretoria in 2008 and finished his honours degree part-time in 2011. He is currently employed as a software developer at Digiata, where he is working on Linx 5 - a procedural-style process development tool. In his spare time he likes to solve programming problems or to fiddle with his Arduino. He also plays the piano, and enjoys playing Joplin-rags in particular.

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      Rethabile Mokoena "Recks"

      A passionate individual who enjoys a challenge. I completed my Masters in Electrical Engineering from the Electrical & Information Engineering Department of the University of Witwatersrand in 2012. It's my hobby to explore various technologies and concepts, so working on programming challenges (like this challenge) allows me the opportunity to achieve exactly that.

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      Gregory Doukas "Duke"

      My name is Gregory Doukas and I currently work in IT development as a Technical consultant focusing on CRM products in Johannesburg. I studied at the University of Johannesburg and currently have my Masters in AI with a dissertation focusing on Machine Learning, Multi-agent systems and A-life. I entered the Entelect challenge as a first timer as I've always had an interest in AI projects and the idea of building a "clever" Packman really appealed to me initially. My bot, "Duke" uses a combination of a few strategies that in high-level can be described as using a MiniMax approach. Ultimately "Duke" was only good enough when he could beat me (and all my friends) at a round of PacMan!

    Finalists - Pool B

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      Nicholas Scheltema "Twazzock"

      I'm currently a senior software developer at a financial firm in East London, where I've worked for the last 9 years. I've also been a hobbyist games developer for the last 20 years. My entry tries to maximise point scoring rather than trying to mess with the opponent player (since it's points that decide the winner) through multiple AI phases which includes trying to guess future outcomes of moves.

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      Ruan Liebenberg "Spartan"

      I started programming at a young age when a friend of my dad gave me some of his old programming textbooks, starting with Visual Basic and then Java. I have been programming ever since as I enjoy solving problems, puzzles and creating new things. I first heard of the Entelect Challenge in the NAG magazine, and having never coded anything remotely resembling an AI before, I thought it would be a interesting challenge.

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      Raymond Claassen "RoTed"

      I am Senior Software Engineer, currently between jobs. Programming and gaming are two of the things that I am most passionate about. It is a lot of fun to have the chance to combine them through the competition.

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      Lindsay Hans "Muncher"

      I received a BSc in Mathematics from UCT, since then I've been an analyst at Eighty20 for almost 3 years, mainly handling large data. I always love a challenge, when I found this one I just couldn't stop myself. Trying to come up with something, I basically stumbled upon alpha-beta pruning and added a heuristic based on Dijkstra with some fine tuning.

    Gooey Award!

    The inaugural Gooey Award went spectacularly well, with some really talented and impressive individuals submitting GUI's that blew our expectations apart. It ended up in a close battle between Werner Stoop and Christiaan Visser, with the final victory going to Christiaan for his excellent attention to detail, "feel" and an amazing overall impression. Have a look at the video below for a glimpse at the winning GUI as well as a word from Christiaan.

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  • 2015

    2015 was another successful year for the Entelect R100K Challenge with an overwhelming amount of entries submitted. "Entries have increased exponentially each year" says Tim Kroon, General Manager of Resourcing at Entelect. The 2015 Entelect R100k Challenge returned with a new official product sponsor, Sony Mobile. "We are really excited for what this year's challenge will bring, and this is set to be our biggest R100K Challenge yet. We are sure that our carefully selected 2015 Space Invaders theme will inspire innovative and creative ideas from all entrants," says Kroon.

    The Entelect R100k Challenge series has gained increasing popularity since the original launch in 2012. This year the entrants were tasked to write an AI player - or bot - to test their skills against opponents on the classical arcade game, Space Invaders. "Each entrant's bot will need to be designed specifically to outsmart and outplay all other opponents, and only the most intelligent, effective and innovative bots will survive and make it into the semi-finals," explains Kroon.

    "From the tournament side, we had a range of contestants - from school-goers to senior citizens," continues Kroon. "This is fantastic and reinforces the fact that the competition really does appeal to a broad audience."

    Entrants were categorised into novice and advanced skill pools, A and B respectively, and a separate category for GUI (Graphical User Interface) was also made available. A particular focus was placed on targeting students for the Challenge to tap into the range of AI skills among this network. "We invite all students to take part, and test their theoretic knowledge on a practical platform - not only is this a great opportunity to enjoy a challenging gaming experience and network with some of the best South Africa has to offer in the field, but you could be the next winner!"

    For the fourth consecutive year, the R100K Challenge finals took place at the rAge Expo is October of 2015. A massive R165 000 in cash prizes was up for grabs, and reigning champion, Pierre Pretorius, held on to his title for the third year in a row, winning the grand prize of R100 000 in the advanced group. Jack Wright was victorious over his opponents in the novice group winning the R50 000 cash prize. The R15 000 Gooey Award recipient was Eric Louw for his innovative GUI entry - his amazing GUI can be viewed in the videos below.

    "We are also incredibly proud to partner once again with leading publication, NAG, who continues to provide fantastic support and visibility for our R100K Challenge," says Kroon. "In addition, we are pleased to announce that Sony Mobile have come on board as this year’s product sponsor for the Entelect R100K Challenge and will be providing a host of fantastic prizes from their latest Xperia range.

    The Space Invaders theme for this year's challenge was received exceptionally, with entrants praising it for the challenging them in resource management and path finding abilities. "One could say that merely experiencing this level of competition was enough to push me to new heights," says one of the entrants on the Entelect R100k Challenge Forums. "It gave me an opportunity to really learn new stuff that I otherwise would probably have not been exposed to," says another entrant.

    Playoffs

    Finalists - Pool A

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      Bernhard Häussermann

      I graduated in Computer Science at the University of Pretoria in 2008 and finished my honours degree part-time in 2011. I’m employed as a software developer at Digiata, where I work on Linx 5 - a drag-and-drop process development tool. In my spare time I like to solve programming problems and I also play the piano. During this year’s contest I enjoyed the alternative dynamic of the game compared to previous years with the added strategic element.

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      Mike Yudaken

      I'm an embedded system developer currently doing contract work on an access control system. I have also worked on mining, banking and other commercial systems. For my entry, I tried to reuse the code provided by Entelect so my program is very short.

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      Leonard Seymore

      I've been a professional software developer for about 10 years now and have worked with a variety of technologies and industries. I'm always keen to try on new techs and challenges and use the opportunities to grow. For me the most important aspect is to deliver a quality solution. I find it satisfying knowing that I have software running and chugging along in the wild that is performing and reliable.

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      Pierre Pretorius

      I'm a 29 year old software engineer from Pretoria working at EPI-USE Labs. My passion is to create high quality, elegantly designed and well engineered web applications. I went to extreme lengths to ensure I have a well rounded entry that can evaluate a very large search space effectively and efficiently. After investigated quite a few international AI competitions I can say that the R100k challenge really is a top world class competition in both execution and prize money. Well done Entelect.

    Finalists - Pool B

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      Matthew Mullin

      I'm currently in my second year, studying Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. At 20 years of age, with barely a full year of programming experience, I consider myself "The Underdog". I have gone into this tournament with survival as my number one goal. My strategy is to bog down the opponent as fast as possible with the extra Alien Controller and from there I just try to survive.

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      Jaco van Niekerk

      I have been introduced to programming about 25 years ago on a ZX Spectrum which my dad bought and never looked back since! I work as a Java programmer for Mediswitch and I'm also affiliated with the University of Johannesburg. Apart from programming, I also try and make time for bonsai, aquascaping and Numismatics. I tried something different than the vanilla game tree-based searches and opted for a rules-based engine, based on a series of look-aheads and priority sorting. The result is a bot that can play brilliant combinations at times, while making real facepalm moves when I'm not looking!

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      Jack Wright

      I am currently a 2nd year B.Accounting student at the University of the Free State. I am very interested in just about all things technological, and I hope to someday make a positive and growing impact on the world by using this passion for technology (and engineering). I took IT and programming classes when I was attending school (about five years ago), and was recently motivated to get into it again. I saw the advertisement for Entelect’s competition on YouTube and couldn’t resist the temptation to give it a go. As soon as I started I couldn’t stop. It was one of the most fun things I had done in some time. I only wish I had found it sooner. These events are amazing opportunities for learning and growing talent and I definitely think we need more of them in SA.

    • Leon Botha

      No bio description.

    Gooey Award!

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      Eric Louw

      I completed my Hons. degree in Information Science with specialization in multimedia in 2012. I've been in the industry for 3 years. I've been at my current employer (Fifth Dimension Technologies) since 2014. Games programming is something I've been doing for several years as a hobby, but never professionally. I'm afraid it will ruin the fun. My Gooey entry this year was inspired by a talk called 'Juice it or lose it' by Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho. Juice is all the nice-to-have details added on top of a working product (camera shake, splats, sounds, particles, animations, etc). The Gooey challenge provides an excellent opportunity to exercise these techniques without having to worry about game logic and related problems. I'm also a space nerd so enjoyed the space theme a lot.

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ABOUT ENTELECT

Entelect assists the world's best companies in the delivery of customised software solutions that differentiate them in the marketplace. Our solutions enable our clients to meet the rapidly changing demands of their businesses and stay competitive. With a team of 300 software engineers, we have for the last 15 years been delivering and solving the most demanding software problems across all industry sectors.

Our real differentiator is the qualification of our people, intellectual property and professional approach to solving complex software problems. Our ideology is focused around the delivery of true value to our clients, employees and the greater South African community. We are South Africa's top software engineering company and the quality of our staff, our track record of delivery and blue-chip client base speaks for itself.