I'm starting this topic to have a place to ask questions or discuss this coding challenge. The rules are included in the download on the downloads page, but I included it here again just in case it is easier for some people. The two zip files are the same.
Can we assume the bmp will have an image depth of 24?
Does "Characters Encoded" weigh more than "Chars/ms"? In other words, if I encode 1 character with a faster "Chars/ms" than someone who encodes 1,000,000 with a slightly slower "Chars/ms" do I still win?
Yes, you can assume that the bmp will be 24 bit. More specifically, you can assume that the image will be the sample image provided in the download- and all that that implies.
Any entries that don't pass the requirements (message matching, image corruption, etc) will be disqualified, but other than that, the only judging criteria is chars/ms, so yes if someone can encode a single character more than 1,000,000 times faster than someone else can encode 1,000,000 characters the very fast single character would win.