Hackathon 2017: Day One

4 minute read

At this point, it’s just after 6pm on day one of our annual week long Hackathon and we’re happy to report we’ve managed to achieve a great amount since 9 this morning.

For this week’s Hack we have been challenged to provide an interactive experience (for events, conferences, etc.) using LED light panels. It might be a simple multi-player game but we're free to design whatever we want in terms of interactions. It should be scalable so that we can increase the number of panels for a larger "screen". Ideally the experience should allow for dozens of people to interact at the same time, via their mobile phones. It should be relatively simple to reuse the technology in different venues.

We've got hold of some suitable 32x32 RGB LED panels in advance of the Hackathon but we need a day to assemble everything and get it connected.

It was a perfect project for us because it combines hardware, gaming, software development and design. We could also see that we could leverage some of the very cool Audience Participation technology we worked on last year. It has an achievable goal within a week and it should also have a life beyond the Hackathon, if we wish.

It's always great to work on the same project, as a team, so we're really excited about where this week will take us!

Hackathon development meeting

Since this morning’s kick off workshop, Henry, Luke and James have been busy working on testing the technology we plan to use for the build, the game engine Phaser. At this point we’re pleasantly surprised at how straightforward and customisable Phaser has been. So far we’ve managed to achieve a remote user controller for iPhone / tablet, that can control a sprite (nicknamed Froggy) on a test canvas running in a browser.

Today’s main hiccup was to do with fitting together the LED light panels: although Jack had followed the spec and ordered the fittings accordingly, it turns out the spec was wrong. Most of Jack and Simon’s day has been spent searching madly for a stockist of very specific and niche screws and fittings. We’re happy to report that we’ve now successfully located and purchased said parts.

Laura has spent most of the day researching potential game concepts, looking what has already been done and what works well. Having watched and played countless games in a very short period, we’re currently favouring side scrolling, deathmatch, catch the flag and team vs team games.

So what’s next?

  • We need to make a decision on our general game concept so design, the build of the LED light panels and specific game mechanics can commence.
  • The details of our game e.g. theme, objectives. etc
  • Jack needs to get building
  • Buy more Kit Kats as they’re diminishing quickly

Continue to Day Two of Hackathon 2017

Hackathon collaboration