Hack3city 2014 - Review

May 2014

Hack3city 2014 - Review

5-11 May 2014 there was first edition of Hack3city - a hackathon in Gdańsk, Poland. It was interesting and unusual in many ways. First of all, there were 4 different tracks, so each developer could choose what is interesting to him.

Teams could have up to 3 people. Of course I was in the Playsoft track. We made a game together with Arek Duchnowski and Marcin Szymczak, who work in aideMMedia.

On Monday evening there was an official beginning (and free beer :) That's when themes of each track were announced. During the week we could work on our projects from home. On Saturday and Sunday (including the night) we were invited to work all together in an open space in Starter.

Also on Saturday organizers announced additional "diversifiers" (like on Global Game Jam). Fulfilling them was additional plus. For games, they were like "graphics is black and white", "game is controlled with one button" or... "game includes Playsoft logo". You could imagine how such logo might be used in a game themed "fear of the dark" :)

On Saturday and Sunday we have 3 meals - all for free (and free beer at the end :) There were mentors representing the sponsoring companies available in place so we could ask them for help.

There were totally 19 teams participating in all tracks. Most of them were in the gamedev track. Projects were evaluated by a jury based on a 5-minute presentation and there were winners selected in each track. Some teams just presented their applications, while others focused on delivering a PowerPoint presentation. Finally we took 3rd place. See also more about Our game from Hack3city 2014.

Among teams that were creating a game, Unity was the most popular technology. That's also what we have used. But there were different technologies present too, like C++ with Marmalade (which was officially recommended and the prize for 1st place was a license for this library), JavaScript and... Lisp (or Scheme, to be more specific). During work, many interesting stuff could be learn and overheard, like what do artist say when they want to insult programmers: "lerpuj kwaterniona", which means: "go lerp quaternion" :)

But the event was not only about programming. Maybe because it was organized by and in the Starter, it had a "startup feeling". For me it looked like many people, while being programmers, were more focused on money and business than technology. Maybe the culmination of it was presentation of an application that helps with first aid - shows information about how to help injured person, helps measuring rate of artifical respiration etc. Someone from the audience asked a question: "Do you have business model?" Someone else from the audience answered jokingly: "If you want to save someone's life, please first watch this ad".

Overall I think the event was well organized. Rules and general feeling was somehow similar to Global Game Jam, still quite unique and different in many details. I don't know if it's a good idea to announce the theme on Monday and allow working during whole week. Developers with lots of free time have advantage over these who study, have family or a full-time job. I also didn't like the idea of presenting each project 3 times instead of only at the end. It took lots of precious time that we could spend on coding and also made the final presentation less of a suprise. Everything else was great (did I mention free beer?), so I recommend attending this event when it will be organized next time!

Comments (1) | Tags: hack3city competitions events | Author: Adam Sawicki | Share


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