Programmers who want to experiment or improve the tools and techniques used in their daily work are turning to a competitive game called “Battlesnake”-made by a company of the same name-to gain bragging rights in the programmer community.now War snake It is seeking new funding from Seattle investors to help this startup expand its influence.
The company announced on Wednesday that Madrona Venture Group led a $1.5 million funding round for Battlesnake, headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia. Liquid 2, Ascend, 200 OK, and angel investors including Jason Warner (former GitHub CTO) and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation CTO) also participated.
Battlesnake originated in the Pacific Northwest in 2015. It is a developer recruitment event. By 2019, Victoria’s flagship Battlesnake tournament attracted 1,200 developers and another 1,000 spectators. Interested in competitive drama similar to e-sports.
Co-founder and CEO Brad Van Vugt told GeekWire that “Battlesnake” is at “a strange intersection between gaming and programming.” In essence, it is a game used by experienced programmers to explore new ideas, new algorithms, and new technologies.
“This is not education, we are not teaching people to program,” Van Vugt said. “If you want to learn coding, there are many ways to do it. We specialize in providing services for mid-career and more distant developers who are looking for ways to interact with new technologies. Mainly for fun.”
When the 2020 pandemic derails face-to-face events, Battlesnake is fully online, allowing programmers trapped at home to connect with each other and compete for prizes. The community has grown to approximately 10,000 developers worldwide.
Amazon Web Services hosted a competition for all its North American interns in the summer, and AWS project manager Chelsea Stumm called this experience a “friendly, welcoming, and challenging way that can be used within the company and within the broader developer community Build a real programming experience.” ”
An article on the AWS Machine Learning Blog In-depth discussion of how to use Amazon’s SageMaker cloud machine learning platform to compete in the game.
As a phenomenon, the game “War Snake” is a bit like a two-headed monster. At one end is a group of very skilled developers who keep their algorithms very secret, use various programming languages, technology stacks and cloud providers to compete and become various celebrities in the developer community. At the other end is a “war snake” with less competition and stronger collaboration, where developers discuss technology and share resources to help each other build better snakes.
The game itself basically involves snakes eating food on a grid, defeating each other and trying to live as long as possible. Each snake is remotely controlled by a web server or artificial intelligence or any technology stack chosen by a particular programmer.
This six-person startup produces shows on Amazon’s Twitch. Van Vugt believes that compared with e-sports games such as “StarCraft” or “League of Legends”, ordinary audiences are more likely to accept this game.
“We found that the game mechanics of competitive multiplayer’War Snake’ is very simple. Anyone can watch and understand and immediately understand why one strategy is better than another, or why one snake will definitely beat another snake,” Fan Vigt said.
The new funding will help Battlesnake, its Fall League It will start soon to meet the growing demand for activities and competitions from various communities such as college clubs or engineering teams from companies that want to use the platform to learn and try things internally.
Van Vugt sees a lot of room for growth, mentioning popular games such as “Minecraft” and “Roblox” and the communities that grow around them. Learning programming strategies and algorithms should be fun and interesting.
The skills involved and the unique nature of competing and winning in the game can also be an additional highlight of the programmer’s career ceiling. Some people successfully added their “Battlesnake” to their GitHub and LinkedIn profiles or resumes. Participating in the game’s backstory and storyline establishes a personality behind the developers, Van Vugt said, and they can then bring it to potential employers or other communities.
“This is really interesting for recruiters,” Van Vugt said. “This is not like a brain teaser. This is not a Force code or Hacker level You do one-time little puzzles there. This is a very large, hairy, open-ended problem, you can solve it as you want, and then show the results for it. “