Micro Focus has come up with a novel challenge - create a video game using Visual COBOL Personal Edition. Although this is part of its Academic Program, the competition with a first prize of $1,000 is open to anyone in non-embargoed countries.
Yes, no mistake - COBOL...
Why would anyone in the 21st century choose COBOL - even the free visual version of it, to craft a video game?
As Micro Focus points out COBOL is the language behind 90% of the Fortune 500 companies and you are not expected to use it on its own. The stipulation is the 50% of the code is COBOL and you are encouraged to use Visual Studio or Eclipse as the IDE and to introduce as many technologies as possible.
As well as the cash prize, the winner could have their game included as a demo in the next release of Visual COBOL. There are hardware prizes for two runners up - 2nd prize is a Sony Xperia Z and 3rd prize an Apple iPad mini.
The competition got underway on September 30th and entries have to be submitted by December 17th. Your game doesn't have to be original - but if you re-write an existing one you are advised to check the copyright.
The first step is to download a copy of Visual COBOL Personal Edition and once you've completed the coding stage you need to submit a zip that includes the game's source code - no .exe files are permitted; a game screenshot and a game summary as a .doc or .txt file. A game description of 1,000 characters minimum also needs to be included on the sumbission form along with entrant's full details.
Commenting on the value of the COBOL code contest, Michael Coughlan, Lecturer at the University of Limerick which is one of Micro Focus's Academic Partners said:
“COBOL supports 90% of Fortune 500 business systems and many organizations will continue to use it for decades to come. Students who wish to work in enterprise environments need a mixed skill-set, combining experience in modern programing languages with knowledge of enterprise applications written in older languages such as COBOL. Competitions like this help to encourage an interest in COBOL and allow enthusiastic students to gain experience with the language that may prove a useful differentiator when seeking employment in an increasingly competitive job market.”
MicroFocus now has around 200 partner universities in more than 20 countries in its Academic Program which is part of a commitment to bridge the IT skills gap, build the next generation of COBOL developers and ensure that COBOL remains an important component of the academic curriculum.