A three-person student team from the University of Missouri-Rolla recently
placed second in a 24-hour programming contest.
MechMania, held Oct. 12-14, is an annual programming contest hosted by the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s student chapter of the Association
for Computing Machinery. A UMR team won the competition in 2006. A total of 16
student teams from the Midwest competed this year.
Students had roughly 18 hours to write artificial intelligence for a game.
Details of the game, the application program interface and framework were
announced the evening of Friday, Oct. 12. The teams then competed on Sunday
morning in a double-elimination tournament. The top team received $375 and
This year’s project required teams to play a ground-based combat game with a
goal not of killing opponents, but racing them to a particular destination.
“The object was to reach the destination, while preventing our opponents
from doing the same", said team member and coach, Raymond Myers, a graduate
student from Columbia, Mo.
The teams could choose from three characters to portray – the U.S.,
represented by David Bowie; the U.S.S.R, represented by a character named “the
communist;" and Sesame Street, represented by the Count. UMR’s team chose
“We could force our opponents to dance and waste their time to keep them
from beating us to the finish."
UMR’s second-place team included the following students, all members of the
university’s ACM chapter:
• Richard Allen of Kirksville, Mo., a senior in computer engineering
• Brian Goldman of St. Louis, a sophomore in computer science
• Raymond Myers of Columbia, Mo., a graduate student in computer science and