I’m excited to announce that the Rock Paper Azure Challenge is back again for a 3rd iteration! This time around, we’ve made some more minor tweaks, and added some stellar prizes, including a trip to Cancun, Mexico!
I first announced the Rock Paper Azure Challenge here back in April. The RPA Challenge is a fun way for developers to learn about Windows Azure and possibly win a few prizes along the way. In short, you get to code a “bot” that will play the childhood game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” against other contestants’ bots. The game allows you to flex your coding skills by rewarding developers for coming up with the best best “bot” algorithm.
For the first iteration of the challenge, we ran a series of tournaments over 6 weeks in April & May where we gave away an XBox Kinect as the top prize each week. In July, we ran a second iteration of the challenge that featured a Grand Tournament with the top winner taking home $5000 (USD)!
This time around, we’re giving you two ways to win the Rock Paper Azure Challenge: A sweepstakes and a competition!
We heard from folks in the previous tournaments who said, “I’d love a chance to win, but I don’t have time to invest in coding a killer algorithm”. So, this time around, the big prizes will be rewarded in a sweepstakes fashion. To enter the sweepstakes all you have to do is enter a bot, any bot – even the pre-coded ones we provide – into the game between now and 6 p.m. ET on Dec. 16th. No ninja coding skills need – heck, you don’t even need Visual Studio or a Windows machine to participate!
At 6 pm ET on Friday, December 16, the "Fall Sweepstakes" round will be closed and no new entries will be accepted. Shortly thereafter, four bots will be drawn at random for the Grand Prize, First Prize, Second Prize, and Third Prize.
The Grand Prize winner will take home $5,000 for a trip to Cancun (or other purchase(s) of your choice). First Prize is an Acer Aspire S3 Laptop - Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $900. Second Prize is a Windows Phone - Approximate Retail Value (ARV $600). Third Prize is an XBOX 360 + Kinect bundle - Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $500.
For the type-A folks, we’re still keen on making this a competitive effort as well, so each week - beginning Nov. 25th and ending Dec. 16th - the top FIVE bots on the leaderboard will win a $50 Best Buy Gift card. If your bot is good enough to be in the top five on successive weeks, you’ll take home a gift card each of those weeks too. Of course, since you’ve entered a bot, you’re automatically in the sweepstakes as well!
Note: As with past iterations of the challenge, even though you can iterate and upload updated bots for the competition, you will only be entered into the sweepstakes one time.
Now is the time to get in the game and code your best bot!
Get started with the “Get Started” page on the Rock Paper Azure Challenge website. This page has links to the downloads and screencasts that step you through the Bot coding process:
If you are on a Mac, you can follow the steps I outlined here back in July:
If you are using Windows XP, you can follow the steps I outlined here back in July:
Good luck this time around! And if you have any questions, post them here or e-mail us at rockpaperazure AT microsoft.com.