Burn And Tremble

Code Jam 2012 – Round 1A

In which the hero completely failed to place. Like, anywhere.

Beware of the sour grapes below!

So I woke up at 2.30am CEST, after about four hours of sleep. Not a complete zombie but still my eyes wouldn’t properly focus. Asked myself again why exactly I was doing this. Got out of bed, made tea, sat down in front of the machine in stylish 80s GDR bathrobe—feeling a bit Arthur Dent at this point—totally not ready to do any heavy mental lifting.

3am rolls around, the round starts. I read through Problem A, after about ten seconds I think ZOMG, floating pointsez!!1! (the familiar panic! part) further I’ll completely mess up if I start with this (the it’s 3am, I should’ve known better-part) and decide to instead work on Problem B, which sounds reasonable.

I hack until about 40 minutes into the round, which by itself is already quite unimpressive. I then fire up the algorithm for the first time and get precisely zero output. Why, I’m loving this! One or two grave errors jump at me, I make some corrections to those parts, add some debug output—I should really learn to use a command-line debugger efficiently—and still loop like I got nothing better to do.

Realizing that I’m starting to thoroughly mess up my approach to the whole thing I decide to check the scoreboard. Something close to 1700 and very obviously not improving. So, choose your own adventure? Carry on, yay/noez?

  1. You go to bed at 5.30am.

    You wake up totally knackered, having lost 20 health. Roll the D10. You will lose as many points of your ability to concentrate over the next 24 turns. Roll the D10 again. If it’s less than eight, you will not gain points for problem solving.

    Also, definitely no cigar.

  2. You throw in the towel.

    You gain +100 on your ability of being a quitterWELLSOMETIMES. You wake up semi-refreshed. Add Potion of Self-Deception and The Excuse of Having Loads of Other Goals™ to your inventory. The One Who Pushed On provides +5 encouraging words. (No, really.)

    You didn’t really want that cigar, right?


I’ll try again in Round 1C, as an upcoming Golden Jubilee conveniently keeps me from competing in Round 1B. I will probably be facing the same situation, but with the contest starting at 11am rather than in the middle of the night, I see myself taking the time to hang in there, even if I clearly won’t make the cut from early on.

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