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I just wanted to wish all of the contestants good luck, and to encourage anyone who isn't sure about entering to give it a chance.

It's not an easy thing to take a coding project from an initial idea all the way to completion, even for experienced developers. You may find yourself frustrated, stuck, or unsure if you want to continue. This is normal, and that frustration can turn into a wonderful learning experience that will help you for the rest of your life. If you feel like you've bitten off more than you can tackle, take a step back and try to narrow your scope until you've found a challenging project that fits your skill set.

Having your code be judged by others can sound scary, but don't worry: you can only learn from this experience. Not all of you can win prizes, and I'd recommend focusing not on what can win first place, but on what can make you a better coder. Even if you don't get a shiny new calculator, you're still a winner if you learned something new.
allynfolksjr wrote:
If you feel like you've bitten off more than you can tackle, take a step back and try to narrow your scope until you've found a challenging project that fits your skill set.


To expand on this, think of your project as multiple smaller projects. Don't focus on everything at once. Work on getting movement down before worrying about creating detailed sprites; You can win with a completed game with basic sprites while an unfinished game with detailed sprites won't get you very far. Basically, work on getting the basic features done before adding fancier features on top of them.

With that, you are more than welcome to continue working on your programs past the deadline to submit an even better version for everyone to play - the latest program you submit prior to the deadline will be graded anything submitted after that will be ignored. Generally, we encourage users to upload their programs to the archives for general downloading after the grading and results announcement.
Thanks for the kind and encouraging words to our contestants, Nikky and comic. In fact, these are good guidelines for any sort of project, not just contest entries. Breaking down what might otherwise seem like a huge, unmanageable project into smaller, bite-sized chunks is how every experienced programmer approaches big endeavors. In fact, this deconstruction often is used to write each piece of functionality separately and test it with a process called unit testing. Unit testing ensures that since each separate piece works on its own, once you put the whole project together, it is much more likely to work. And if it doesn't, you'll be able to use your unit tests to help you narrow down which piece is malfunctioning. It's always a mistake to write a huge amount of code without testing, as you'll have no idea where to look to track down issues.

Good luck to everyone, and as Nikky and comic said, I hope it's a learning experience!
  
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