2012 Scripting Games Post-Game

So I finished up my participation in the 2012 Scripting Games Advanced category a few days ago. They haven't finished all the grading yet, but all the events have been completed. (10 total scripts in 10 business days.) Here are few of my takeaways:

  • It was 100% Powershell, so it really should have been called the Powershell Games, but I realize Ed's blog used to have a lot of VB Script on it too before PS really came into the spotlight, so I guess the name is sort of legacy. His blog is not known as "Hey, Powershell Guy!" after all. Besides, I don't know of anyone else holding a similar event, so I guess he gets to use whatever name he wants.
  • I don't think there's any chance of me winning first place in the Advanced category, but I should (hopefully) finish in the top 10. Which, I guess isn't all that bad considering how many participants there were from all over the world. Leaderboards should be viewable here, but like I said the grading is not finished yet and so the leaderboards are still going to be changing.
  • The Games were reasonably challenging, and I did learn a few new tricks and best practices along the way. For instance, creating my own custom objects, and adding those to a collection of objects, has become much more natural for me. I will probably post all of the scripts I wrote and some commentary about them in a later post - I want to make sure the deadlines for the Games are completely passed before I do that.
  • Even though several days were given to complete each event, I turned in my submission for each event on the same day it was released. I have a pretty single-track mind when it comes to things like finishing code. It's often all I can think about or concentrate on until I finish, especially if there's any sort of deadline involved. Not only that, but I have other things like a job which also demand my time and energy -- unlike those damn Germans with their 6 days off for Easter holiday and 2 months a year of vacation. (Just teasing, Germany.)
  • I felt like a couple of the scenarios were not very well-defined. One could start scripting for the scenario given, but then several hours later go back and see several confused reader's posts, asking for Ed to clarify a certain piece of the scenario, and then after reading Ed's responses, do something differently in your own script. Even worse, I saw some inconsistency in the way different judges judged people's scripts. For instance, Ed posted the official rules and grading criteria before the games began. One of those grading criteria was "avoid using aliases." I think that's perfectly reasonable, as aliases are good for quick, interactive commands, but when writing a long, complex script, aliases often make it even harder for someone else to follow. (Aliases are things like "?" instead of "Where-Object" or "gci" instead of "Get-ChildItem.") But, browsing the judge's comments of other people's scripts, I would see a judge commenting on the participant's "excellent use of aliases!" So in that regard I don't feel like all the judges were on the same page, which is unfortunate, because it seems like only 1, and maybe sometimes 2, of the ~35 total judges ever grade any one script, so depending on exactly which judge you get will significantly impact your score.
  • I don't like a judge giving me a score on my script, but not leaving any comments at all. (Especially if it's a crappy score like 3/5.) That said, I understand that the judges are all just volunteers that have their own lives, and there are hundreds of participants, so the judges are overworked and probably in a hurry.

So all in all, even if my comments above sound negative, I'm really meaning them to be constructive. I did enjoy the 2012 Scripting Games and I'm really happy that Ed put forth the time and effort (which I know must have been substantial) to organize them!

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