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General Overview

3 people per team
2 computers per team
AI programming

Friday evening is the opening ceremony. We'll reveal the game at that time and hand out the documentation. If you can't make it, you can still participate, but you won't get the documentation until you arrive the next morning.

The closing ceremony is a few hours after the competition concludes on Sunday. A representative from your team must be present to win.

Lots of food and soda provided by us to keep you going. But NO eating in the labs.

Who’s eligible?

Teams of three members each. This year we are allowing two types of teams to compete: student and corporate.

Student Competition

All members of student teams must be both registered Conference attendees and current students at an educational institution. Student teams will face off against each other in a 16-team double-elimination tournament at the end of the competition.

Student competition prizes

First place $375 ($125 per person)
Second place $225 ($75 per person)
Third place $150 ($50 per person)
...plus plenty of other good stuff!

Corporate competition

Once again, we are allowing corporate teams to participate in MechMania. We cannot provide computing resources directly (so corporate teams must bring their own laptops). Wireless Internet access will be provided. There should be sufficient space in the lab areas for the corporate teams to work alongside students. Corporate teams will compete against other corporate teams and in exhibition matches against student teams. The exact format of the corporate tournament may vary based on the number of participating teams.

The game administrators will make final determination on eligibility.

What you need to know

This year, we are offering clients written in C++, Java, Python. The C++ client uses the Standard Template Library (STL). Knowing a little bit about Linux can help significantly.

What you don’t need to know

No knowledge of graphics or network programming is required. The client/server engine contains no user serviceable parts.

What you’ll do

Using the API and framework we provide, you will implement a ‘Player’ class that will compete with another Player in a virtual arena. The API will provide methods for examining the game environment and sending commands to the server. One or two complete sample clients will be provided.

You may find some of the past MechMania websites helpful to get an idea of what the contest will be like.

When it’ll happen

Details of the game and the API will be released to all teams at the kick-off session, the evening of Friday, October 15th. It’s all hush-hush till then.

Beginning Saturday (and continuing into Sunday) you will have 24 hours of lab time to use as you see fit. You don't need to stay for all of it.

Sunday morning, the teams will compete in a double-elimination tournament until only one is left standing. The top teams will receive prizes and assume bragging rights.

What we’ll give you

Your team will be allocated two PCs running CentOS 5. The development environment will be Linux, but actual code is platform independent: you don’t need to be a Unix guru. We’ll provide the standard Unix emacs/vi/make environment, plus Eclipse for those of you who are more comfortable in a Visual Studio style IDE.

You will have access to the Standard Template Library and Boost, as well as the standard libraries for Python and Java.

What you can bring

You may bring any textual references you like: C++ books, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, whatever. Laptops may be used for reading the electronic documentation; but code on them at your own risk. We will not help you if your code runs on your machines but not ours.

No outside code can be brought in (on electronic media.) However, you are allowed to bring in non-code files via electronic media (or over the network.) Examples include rc files, build scripts, notes, and basically anything else that doesn’t contain actual code. There’s obviously some room for interpretation here, but if in doubt use this rule of thumb: Don’t do anything that would entitle you to the big fuzzy bat to your head.

For more information

If you have any other questions, just email the staff at mechmania@acm.uiuc.edu

Register for Mechmania