Winning Google Ship Wars
by Seni Sangrujee on November 22, 2013Last night was the Mountain View edition of Ship Wars at Google HQ. If you're not familiar with Ship Wars, it's a competition where programmers code spaceships for simulated one-on-one battles.
I was skeptical going in, but the event far exceeded my expectations (and not just because I won first place).
Everyone was raving about how much fun it was, and I was amazed how much people were getting into it. It's a credit to the game that after it was over, everyone was talking about wanting to play again and what they would do differently next time.
As for the game, I won't say anything about it out of respect for the creators and the game itself. It's really the most fun when everyone starts off on a level playing field. Prior knowledge going in would taint the process and ruin the fun for future participants. I will say that it's probably the closest I'll ever get to Ender's Game.
It reminded me of the fun of hackathons of yesteryear. These days hackathons are all about the presentation and pandering to the judges and the code rarely seems to matter anymore. Which may be a realistic reflection of the marketplace where sales and marketing often trump the underlying technology, but that's a topic for another blog post. However, in Ship Wars, it all comes down to your code.
It was such a blast, I'd participate again in a second. Although since I won, they probably won't let me participate again, but I would do it even for no prize (or even just to help finetune the game and adjust the gameplay balance/tradeoffs) Heck, I'd even volunteer the next time they run it to help people get up and running.
Plus there was a ton of swag given away:
(l to r) Android plush doll (traded an Android charger for this), Awesome Timbuk2 Laptop/Messenger bag, Chromecast, Google Mirrored Rubik's Cube, Nexus 7 Tablet, [Attendees received:]Water Bottle, Google Headphones, Play Store Gift Card, Android Lego Puzzlebot