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Seattle investors support Battlesnake. They are the creators of Battlesnake which turns coding into competition.

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“Battlesnake” action during a tournament broadcast on Twitch. (Battlesnake Image)

To experiment with new tools or technology, programmers are looking for ways to win bragging rights in a coder community. Battlesnake now needs new funding from Seattle investors to expand its reach.

The company announced Wednesday that a round of $1.5 million was led by Madrona Venture Group for Victoria-based Battlesnake. The round included Liquid 2, ascend, 200 OK and angel investors such Jason Warner, former CTO of GitHub, and Chris Aniszczyk, CTO, Linux Foundation.

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Battlesnake was first held in the Pacific Northwest in 2015. It began as an event for developer recruitment. By 2019, the Victoria Battlesnake Tournament had attracted 1,200 participants and 1,000 more spectators.

Battlesnake co-founder and CEO Brad Van Vugt. (Battlesnake Photo)

GeekWire was told by Brad Van Vugt, co-founder and CEO of Battlesnake. He said that Battlesnake sits at an “weird intersection” between programming and gaming. It’s a game experienced programmers can use to discover new ideas and develop new algorithms.

Van Vugt stated that “it’s not education” and “we’re not teaching people to program.” There are many ways you can learn code. Our focus is on developers in the mid-career or further along who are interested in new technology and want to learn more. This is mainly for entertainment.

Battlesnake was completely digitalized after the 2020 pandemic halted in-person events. This allowed programmers who were unable to travel in person to communicate with one another and win prizes. It now has around 10,000 members from all over the globe.

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Amazon Web Services held a tournament over the summer for its North American interns. AWS Program Manager Chelsea Stum described the experience as a friendly, welcoming and challenging way to gain real programming experience within the company, and with the wider developer community.

A deep dive by the AWS Machine Learning blog on Amazon’s SageMaker cloud-based machine learning platform for winning the race.

The phenomenon known as “Battlesnake”, the game has two heads. One end has a team of highly skilled developers, who keep their secrets and use a range of tech stacks, programming languages and cloud providers in order to win and be celebrities within the community. The other is the “Battlesnake”, a more cooperative and less competitive place where developers can discuss technology and collaborate to build better snakes.

It basically involves snakes eating food on a grid, trying to outmaneuver each other and staying alive for as long as they can. Every snake can be controlled remotely via a web server, an AI or any other tech stack that the programmer chooses.

Six people run the startup, which produces Twitch shows. Van Vugt considers the competition more approachable than other e-sports such as StarCraft or League of Legends.

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Van Vugt stated that the game mechanics in multiplayer, competitive ‘Battlesnake’ are so easy to understand that everyone can see and instantly understand which strategy is best or how one snake beats another.

The crowd of developers at a Battlesnake tournament in 2019. (Battlesnake Photo)

Battlesnake’s Fall League will be starting soon. The funding will allow Battlesnake to meet the increased demand from events and competitions in various communities, such as universities clubs and engineering teams of companies who want to make use of the platform for learning and trying things out internally.

Van Vugt believes there is plenty of growth. He cites popular games like “Minecraft”, “Roblox,” and the community that has grown around them. It should be enjoyable and fun to learn about algorithms and programming strategies.

Programmers can add a feather to their career by adding the skill and uniqueness of playing and winning the game. Many programmers add the “Battlesnake” success to their GitHub or LinkedIn profile, as well as their resumes. Van Vugt stated that developers can use the backstories and stories they have been involved with in this game to build their personality. This is something Van Vugt suggested to employers.

Van Vugt stated that it was very interesting for recruiters. This isn’t a brain teaser. It’s not a LeetCode, or an HackerRank in which you solve small puzzles. This is a very big and complex problem, which you can work out your way around, then present the results.

Publited at Wed 15 Sep 2021, 15:07:33 +0000

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