Advent of Code is an Advent calendar with daily programming puzzles designed for all skill sets and levels, which can be solved using any programming language. (Image credit: Eric Wastl via Twitter)

 

Tis’ the season… for ascii art and puzzles. Advent of Code is an Advent calendar created by Eric Wastl, which offers daily programming puzzles for all skill sets and levels that can be solved using any programming language the player prefers. Every day in December, a new problem is posted, all of which are connected to form a little story, in this case, the need to save Christmas. The puzzles begin easy enough but gradually get more challenging as the days progress, requiring a bit of research to overcome. According to Eric, "You don't need a computer science background to participate - just a little programming knowledge and some problem-solving skills will get you pretty far. Nor do you need a fancy computer; every problem has a solution that completes in at most 15 seconds on ten-year-old hardware."

 

Competition comes in the form of leader boards, and points are based on how few players have in their groups. Yes, you can have a team of players or play as a single, but most find it rewarding playing with others from around the world who are proficient in different programming languages. On December 25, the game culminates where winners vie for the top spots on the leaderboards by completing the story. Below is an example of how the questions are posed (The problem was taken from the 2019 event)-

 

--- Day 1: The Tyranny of the Rocket Equation ---

 

Santa has become stranded at the edge of the Solar System while delivering presents to other planets! To accurately calculate his position in space, safely align his warp drive, and return to Earth in time to save Christmas, he needs you to bring him measurements from fifty stars.

Collect stars by solving puzzles. Two puzzles will be made available on each day in the Advent calendar; the second puzzle is unlocked when you complete the first. Each puzzle grants one star. Good luck!

The Elves quickly load you into a spacecraft and prepare to launch.

 

At the first Go / No Go poll, every Elf is Go until the Fuel Counter-Upper. They haven't determined the amount of fuel required yet.

 

Fuel required to launch a given module is based on its mass. Specifically, to find the fuel required for a module, take its mass, divide by three, round down, and subtract 2.

For example:

For a mass of 12, divide by 3 and round down to get 4, then subtract 2 to get 2.

For a mass of 14, dividing by 3 and rounding down still yields 4, so the fuel required is also 2.

For a mass of 1969, the fuel required is 654.

For a mass of 100756, the fuel required is 33583.

The Fuel Counter-Upper needs to know the total fuel requirement. To find it, individually calculate the fuel needed for the mass of each module (your puzzle input), then add together all the fuel values.

What is the sum of the fuel requirements for all of the modules on your spacecraft?

 

Advent of Code begins today - December 1 (Tuesday); those who would like to play can sign into GitHub, Google, Twitter, or Reddit, which are linked at the Advent of Code website.

 

Have a story tip? Message me at: http://twitter.com/Cabe_Atwell