Shortly before Christmas, students in my class were invited to participate in Aardvark Swift’s Search For A Star, a games related programming competition split over several knock-out rounds.
Although the first round was taking place on the day before an exam, myself and two other students from Abertay took part. This round involved answering ten programming questions: 9 based on the C++ language and a final question focussing more on object oriented design.
I wasn’t sure what to expect beforehand (other than a vague notion that reversing a string in place might be involved) but found actually sitting the test to be quite a relief! Although I wasn’t 100% sure all my answers were spot on, there weren’t any concepts which I was unfamiliar with. It certainly increased my confidence (or at least reduced my sheer terror) concerning programming tests I might face when applying for a job.
I was pleasantly surprised to be told that I was one of the eleven programmers who had reached the second round, a more open-ended programming task. For this we were given an uncompleted and incorrect Asteroids like game, and tasked with fixing and improving it within seven days. Working with someone else’s code was an interesting exercise, and I aimed to uphold their programming style and standards as much as possible. I hadn’t touched DirectX or DirectInput in some time, but I didn’t find it hard to get back into; nothing in the codebase was particularly surprising or unfamiliar.
The only downside of the problem was the short timespan, as I also had coursework deadlines and continued work with Digital Colony and on my dissertation to contend with. I successfully submitted a corrected and improved application, however it would have been nice to dedicate more of my time. I’m still waiting on the results of this stage, so I will of course update the blog when I hear back. Since I worked on someone else’s codebase I’m unsure whether posting screenshots of the application is acceptable, however I may also follow up with those at a later date after seeking permission.
Image used under Creative Commons license from Computer Science Geek.