So what is the /dev/null thing anyway? A game? an event? what?
Escape from /dev/null is a science-fiction or fantasy adventure that you experience by coding it. That’s about it :)
The outer game map is a graph, which is navigated on a communal web-based interface. When a team decide to take a certain path from the node they’re on to a connected node, they’re presented with a challenge. The inner game is revealed step by step a challenge a time.
From a birds-eye perspective it works like this;
- Each team logs in to a web-page which display the team position on a game map, similar to a kids game with discs connected with lines. All teams see the position of the other teams on the game map, with live updates of positions.
- When a team selects a disc to go to (from their current or starting disc) the web-page shows them the programming challenge they must complete to move to that disc. An arrow is also placed on the game-board for all other teams to see, complete with a counter which tells how many minutes the team have spent on that challenge.
- When the team think they have solved the challenge, they submit a small message through the web-page which will alert the judges (which are monitoring the game through similar web-pages of their own).
- One or more judges will then go to the team, see if they have indeed solved the challenge and do a short code review with them to see how good a solution they have found. If they are found to have passed the challenge, the judge press a button on their web-pages and the team icon will now move to the desired position.
Otherwise the team will be stuck with the challenge and will have more informal meetings with the judges until they pass.
The challenges all describe programming problems involving calls to a web-based API which is the ‘inner game’ It can be a space game simulation with resource management, exploration and combat, or it can be a dungeons and dragons inspired rogue-like environment where you can create characters who beat up monsters and other teams characters (*cough*).
Here’s a blot post with more in-depth information about how it works from a participants perspective; http://unclescript.blogspot.com/2014/02/developer-games-how-do-they-work.html