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100k challenge will rAge

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The finals for the Entelect R100K Challenge are taking place at rAge on 11 October. Semi finalists were chosen from a previous play-off where they had to design a graphical user interface for the popular PacMan arcade game.

Winners will be chosen from both pools (advanced and beginner). For those who don’t make it to the front to see all of the action in person, the event will also be projected on-screen for the audience.

The build up to Entelect’s annual R100K Challenge final, taking place at the rAge expo this October, has created much excitement within the amateur, professional coding and gaming communities. The recent semi-final play offs, which took place at The Venue in Melrose Arch, proved to be a huge success, with eight finalists being chosen from each pool of contestants, bringing them one step closer to the coveted ‚ÄòR100K’ prize.

Timothy Kroon, General Manager at Entelect Solutions says that this year’s challenge has been exceptional so far. “Entries, previous rounds as well as the semi-final event that recently took place have all set a benchmark for the R100K Challenge going forward. We are very excited for the final event at rAge – where the ‚Äòultimate coder’ will be crowned.

This year has seen 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 are 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 fantastuvally 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 range 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.

Another interesting development with the challenge this year was the release of the test harness as an open source project on Github, along with the creation of the official R100K Challenge Forum. “Entelect has achieved an impressively high level of engagement with its community through the introduction of the open source approach using GitHub,” explains Kroon. “Great feedback has been received so far through giving the community and contestants the ability to make sensible modifications and enhancements, discuss problems with their bots, debate strategies for more optimal bots and communicate ideas with us. This will definitely be implemented going forward to ensure further engagement and integration.

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.

The R100K Challenge finals take place at rAge on 11th October at 09h20. Winners will be chosen from both pools (advanced and beginner). For those who don’t make it to the front to see all of the action in person, the event will also be projected on-screen for the audience.

The eight chosen finalists for this year’s challenge according to each pool are: Pool A – Pierre Pretorius, Bernhard Haussermann, Rethabile Mokoena and Gregory Daukas. Pool B – Raymond Claassen, Lindsay Hans, Nicholas Scheltema and Ruan Liebenberg.

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