Windows Phone 7 Garage Event Coming!

In a few weeks, my colleagues Glen and Joe will be in Charlotte (and a few other locations around that time) holding their successful Windows Phone garage events.  The latest event is coming to Charlotte on May 24th!  Here’s the breakdown: 9 – 10 am Introduction to Windows Phone Development No experience with Windows Phone 7 development? No problem. During this optional session at the start of the day we will cover the fundamentals of Windows Phone Silverlight and XNA Development. We'll explore... [More]

RPA: Burned by Static Cling

In a previous post about locking in Rock, Paper, Azure, I said this somewhat offhand: In this case, there’s no reason to use such code in a bot. The only time you’d need to is if your bot has a static method/object reference, but that’s a bad idea in a bot because it will lead to unpredictable results. Your bot should have only instance members. I should’ve called that out more, and in this case, we have a player who lost because of it. It’s especially tough because thin... [More]

RPA Game History Available

You spoke, we listened.   Rock, Paper, Azure is going well, but one thing we’ve heard from many people is that they would like a history of their games.   The main reason for this is the “attack and retreat” approach  some people have taken – that is, they submit a bot with their main game playing skill, quickly observe/download the results, then resubmit a weak bot.   Because the MyBot page shows only the current results, odds are the other players won’t see the interim r... [More]

RPA Winners, Losers, and Eligibility

Over the past few weeks, we (the dev team of Rock, Paper, Azure) have gotten to be best friends with our internal legal department.  It’s been an educational experience, and this is where things stand with Rock, Paper, Azure. When one player wins a round, he or she is ineligible to win a future round.  If you don’t win, you are eligible to keep playing in subsequent weeks to try to win.  We’ve received a number of very good questions and concerns, so, I’ll try to summarize them here. 1. Wha... [More]

Can’t Lock() in RPA

For security and performance reasons, we often review what bots are doing and review any rejected bots to see how things are going.   When a bot is rejected, it is typically easy to spot the exact reason when looking at the code, but sometimes it’s not so apparent.  By far, the biggest case that I see is using the Lock keyword.  For example: 1: lock (someobject) 2: { 3: //synchronized code 4: } On the surface, it’s not appa... [More]

Testing a RockPaperAzure Bot in a Winform

In Friday’s webcast, I showed a quick ‘n dirty utility for testing a RockPaperAzure bot outside of the game server and even the Bot Lab. When we ran some of these tournaments in person, it was very difficult to get a good feel for your bot before deploying it, and that’s why we introduced the idea of a Bot Lab. But even with the Bot Lab, if you’re working out a complex algorithm, it can be handy to have a simple test hardness. By pulling in the DLLs from the Bot Lab, it’s ... [More]

Rock, Paper, Azure Tournament Information

We had a couple of great questions on RPA tournaments over the first week – I thought I’d clarify a few things here. International Players As many of you know, the main tournament (with prizes) is limited the US residents. This is for legal reasons as I explained in this post. But, we wanted to get the framework in place to expand – and I’m thrilled to say that we’re there (how’s that for fast implementation?). Currently, when deploying bots, you’ll see other ... [More]

Getting a Windows Azure account for Rock, Paper, Azure

If you’re interested in getting a Windows Azure account to play in Rock, Paper, Azure (RPA), there are a few options available to you, from least painful to most painful (in my opinion, anyway): Method 1 – Windows Azure Pass The way most people are getting an account is through the Windows Azure Pass program (using code PLAYRPA).  More details can be found on the Get Started page under step 1.    But, this certainly isn’t the only way to get an account, and – for a few of you – might n... [More]

We’re Ready to Rock…

… but there are some changes to Rock, Paper, Azure we need to discuss based on our test week.   First things first:  I highly recommend you download the latest Bot Lab and MyBot project here.  For the most part, old bots bots will continue to work, but since this was a test round anyway, I highly recommend you upgrade – there are a few edge cases that might break bots, or cases where a bot doesn’t do what you think it would.  Let’s discuss all of these changes we’ve made.  I’... [More]

RPA: Why is my Bot Rejected?

We’ve had a few people ask about getting the following message when submitting bots: Bot contains invalid calls. Please review the official rules for more information. In short, this message means the bot didn’t pass the static analysis tests.  On the About the Challenge page, you’ll see this: While this list is subject to change, we do not allow any classes/methods from System.IO, System.Net, System.Reflection, System.Threading, System.Diagnostics, or System.GC. That list is subject to change, and... [More]

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