21 June 2010

Battleship Chronicles, Part II

While the contestants were working on their programs, Sam and I worked on the Visualizer. We decided to work in a linear fashion, which probably was not very efficient. Then again, neither of us felt like writing an API or outline. We agreed that Sam would take care of the underpinnings and I would do the graphics and interface.

Sam started out with a backbone from another TopCoder visualizer. He slowly built upon it, changing, adding, and deleting functions as necessary. After a week's worth of work in class, during frees, and at home, Sam had a program that displayed the ships as colored blocks. We showed this on 28 May 2010 and wowed the class. BruteForce, Random 1.0, Bob, Over 9000, Slayer (Nick), and ./battleship (Alec, Mark, Vikram) participated. We were confident that people were awed by how fun the Battleship tournament would be.

Following that Friday was Memorial weekend. This was basically my only free time to substantially revamp the program. Coincidentally, I received my beautiful Dell Ultrasharp U2211 21" screen, of whose widescreen-ness I took advantage to do the graphics for the ships.

the second window is 1px higher than the others >_<

Sound effects were secondary, since those could be trivially found on the internet. I settled on a frog croak and glass breaking. After about a day's worth of work, I can say that I have made some progress.

I then sent the two screenshots to two folks, who then gave me comments and suggestions. Both of them thought it was phenomenal compared to the original. One of them suggested using a top-down view instead of a perspective view of the ocean.

In the meantime, the competitors kept on working on and sending me their programs. Sam assisted me in debugging and critiquing programs. He almost cried as he read through one of the programs I received. We showed demos every Tuesday until the 15th of June, since neither of us would be present in class on Fridays. 4 June 2010 was ARML and the Friday after that was afterprom. In addition to the 15th being our last day of class, I decided to have a party for celebrating the end of one year for Computer Team. After two more demo days, the contestants were confident that their programs would fare well in the tournament.

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