Saturday, May 28, 2011


I finally got promoted! I went directly from rank one in the bronze league to rank one in silver.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Website Exploit

Within a few hours of launching my Rock Paper Scissors website somebody found an exploit. The exploit caused all users to be forwarded to another site. I have now fixed and prevented this particular exploit. An exciting website debut!

Rock Paper Scissors

Over the last two days I implemented a new website: Rock Paper Scissors Programming Contest. It is amazing how fast a relatively complex website can be created using Google App Engine. It has probably been one of the funnest programming projects I have worked on!

I think the website could potentially lead to some innovative research. All of the submissions are open-source, so if the website becomes popular I will be very interested to see how the best AIs work. It should be possible to directly convert any RPS algorithm into a compression algorithm - there should even be a correlation between RPS performance and compression performance.

I encourage anyone who is reading this to try submitting an entry. Programming a RPS AI should be pretty fun. Python is also very easy to learn, so even people who have no programming experience should give it a try!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Promote Me!

In Starcraft 2 I am currently rank 2 of bronze league. However, from what I understand the rank within a league is not very meaningful - the important number is called MMR. MMR determines league promotions and demotions. Blizzard keeps the MMR statistic hidden from players. I actually think this is a poor design decision since the benefits of releasing MMR seem to far outweigh the benefits of hiding it.

I have been practicing and optimizing a single strategy which seems to be doing pretty well. I won 17 of my last 18 matches - against bronze, silver, and gold players. The fact that I am winning against gold players should indicate that I need to be promoted from the bronze league. However, Blizzard's algorithm seems to think otherwise and wants me to stay in bronze :(

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Starcraft II

Last week I bought Starcraft II. The game has already been out for a year, so I am late to the party. I also never played the original Starcraft (which has been out for 13 years), so you can imagine that I am terrible at the game.

I have spent a lot of time over the last week studying and practicing. I found the beginner guide at /r/starcraft to be quite helpful. I have also been watching Husky and day[9] videos. This is my favorite match so far. I find watching Starcraft matches quite entertaining, so I anticipate that I will continue watching matches even if I stop playing the game.

I play as Terran (username: omninox). I have started focusing on a single build order that seems to be doing quite well. I have been slowly rising in the bronze league - hopefully I will be promoted to silver soon. Most of my friends are way better than me, so I have been doing 1v1s with strangers. One player I know (a friend of a friend) is ranked at the top of the master league!

I made it to the last level of the campaign on hard difficulty. After a number of retries on the last level, I gave up and beat it on normal. I have also started playing two custom Starcraft games: starjeweled and desert strike. I have been using starjeweled as a way to relax between 1v1 rounds - I find 1v1 to be quite mentally exhausting. Desert strike is a great way to practice unit counter strategies. If you play Starcraft, send me a friend request and maybe we can play sometime.