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[java] Java4K - Game programming contest!

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This year is the 5th time the Java4K competition is held. The Java4K competition is a game programmer competition. The goal of the competition is to create the best game possible in Java. But what's the catch? Well, it wouldn't be fun if there wasn't any catch! There are limitations, and these limitations are: The game must be maximum 4KB in size (yes, that's 4096 bytes maximum!). Anyone is welcome to submit their game, starting from December 1st 2007 and ending February 29th 2008 when no new submissions can be made. So it's a perfect thing to do over the holidays! Read all about it at: http://java4k.com

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"Currently there is no plan to give prizes."

so, um... What's the incentive?

I mean no offence whatsoever because I think it's a good, fun idea, although I enjoy coding purely for fun like other people on this forum, what would anyone get out of it? apart from a sense of accomplishment?

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Original post by soulcast
"Currently there is no plan to give prizes."

so, um... What's the incentive?

I mean no offence whatsoever because I think it's a good, fun idea, although I enjoy coding purely for fun like other people on this forum, what would anyone get out of it? apart from a sense of accomplishment?



You get feedback on your game, peer review, and also the honors of winning, if you win :) Also we've had prizes in previous competition, but it's mostly the fun of participating in creating these games.

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Original post by soulcastwhat would anyone get out of it? apart from a sense of accomplishment?


Same question could be asked about Assembly competitions. The point is squeezing as much stuff as possible into 4kb.

Perhaps the times have changed so much, that what once drove whole teams to work for a year just for one 4/16/64kb demo presentation is no longer seen as worthy (geeky) cause.

It should be noted that many winners and runners up of those competitions and long time veterans have ended with very high profile positions in various parts of software and hardware industry. Not just because they won, but because of the reasons they engaged into them in the first place.

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Quote:
Original post by soulcast
"Currently there is no plan to give prizes."

so, um... What's the incentive?

I mean no offence whatsoever because I think it's a good, fun idea, although I enjoy coding purely for fun like other people on this forum, what would anyone get out of it? apart from a sense of accomplishment?


This does not seem to be a problem. The last 3 years we have had over 50 entries each.

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it's a cool idea and well worth entering, I only mentioned what would someone get out of it because times seem to have changed, as in most people 'want' something for their efforts although the sense of achievement is enough for me, definately, others aren't so noble ;)

I apologise if I seemed as though I was saying it wasnt worth entering.

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Original post by soulcast
it's a cool idea and well worth entering, I only mentioned what would someone get out of it because times seem to have changed, as in most people 'want' something for their efforts although the sense of achievement is enough for me, definately, others aren't so noble ;)

I apologise if I seemed as though I was saying it wasnt worth entering.


It's a great competition to take part in. The rules, 4KB max, enables both advanced game programmers and new game programmers to participate and compete on a more level play field.

Some say it's a great way to prototype a game, showing off some particular gameplay, but just squeezing it into that 4KB file limit :)

It's also a more productive way to make games (AND RELEASE), finishing the game quickly in a few days, instead of putting months and months of work into a game that might not even take off the ground.

The games do get some exposure, and the competition is getting more recognition and attention, like being mentioned on Slashdot and other bigger sites.
Some games have even been put on Java.com game section. We are working on trying to bring more exposure to the competition.

AFAIK the Java4K is the *biggest* _Java_ game programming competition, over 50 games submitted every year by at least 30 different authors. Hopefully this year we'll see more :)

I don't think times have changed, maybe you're in the wrong place :|, but we've already seen 6 games submitted so far, in only 3 days! Starting very well!

Besides, you got nothing better to do over the holidays ;)

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Hello everyone,

It is a great competition! Every year I check out some of the smartest entries, and you won't believe how much fun can be squeezed into 4KB. Not to mention the crazy workarounds that people come up with to use more resources, like ultra-compressed images represented as arrays of bytes.

And, Java 4K has its own coding and design style ;) You can check it out here. So even if your're not a seasoned Java programmer, you'll be able to start something. Since size is the barrier, you'll have to shift paradigms of game design (and coding) in order to bring the best out of your tiny jar.

Good luck this year, folks!

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I've had a go at this and although its quite fun I don't think I'm going to pursue it further.

Its good in that it has a low bar on entry, high bar on excellence and that there are opportunities for genius e.g. the guy who uses reflection to extract class names to create a dictionary at a 40:1 compression ratio.

Fundamentally however minimising binary size requires skills and evil practices that I don't find useful i.e. writing code without functions or data-structures, avoiding libraries with long names, use of post-processing obfuscation and compression tools and most importantly, focussing on how the java compiler's byte code refers to things and how its output responds to compression.

I find most of this to be a waste of time. Personally I would prefer constraints that still allowed you to write great, real-world relevant code.

p.s. Obviously I'm bitter that my masterpiece is 5.6k so it might be a good challenge that currently has the better of me ;)



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(Strictly as a bystander, I have no intention of entering)

The thing that grates about this contest is that it encourages
really bad programming, just to keep the size of the code down.
-- the saving grace being that in only 4K, there's not enough
room to be all that bad.

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Quote:
Original post by ddyer

(Strictly as a bystander, I have no intention of entering)

The thing that grates about this contest is that it encourages
really bad programming, just to keep the size of the code down.
-- the saving grace being that in only 4K, there's not enough
room to be all that bad.


Hey... you guys missing the point of it.

Contests shouldn't have the responsibility of 'teaching the kids about good practices in programming'. Contests are for fun! Well, at least this one is.

J4K does not aim to stablish any standard of any sort, or spread the evil of ultra-compression in sacrifice of good programming practices. It never had any purpose other than fun. And, since squeezing a good game in 4K isn't the type of thing a junior programmer can do, so people that enter the contest are already beyond the temptation of sacrificing good practices of programming for some performance in *real* projects (i.e, those they do not throw at contests =)

Rodrigo

PS: I know I've just said in the post above that anyone could participate, despite their level of expertise. I was just advertising their good wiki content, that might get you started if you're having trouble figuring out how to squeeze a game in 4k.

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