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Geeks and Games: A Hack Out of this World!

On Saturday, October 17th, members of Team Venturesity hopped on over to the Moonfrog office at the “otherworldly” hour of 8:15 a.m. With the aid of the Moonfrog team, the team set up the registration desk at the reception to welcome the hackers. And it was a good thing that the team got there that early!

Team Zen, all the way from Chennai, entered the venue just as we (i.e. Harpreet, Sonu, Pratik and Tejaswi) were setting up shop. (As usual, the enthusiasm never ceases to amaze us.)

Check-in officially got underway at 9:00 a.m. As each team checked in, Moonfrog handed them a green hamper bag as a souvenir. (Of course it was green!) We also had a Venturesity Team to represent us: Sumit, Prateek and Bhargav. A total of 80 participants split into 28 teams checked in.

After the check in, the Moonfrog team introduced the problem statements. Participants had a choice of three themes to work on:

  • Theme A: Build super fun mobile games designed specifically to onboard the next 500 million users in India
  • Theme B: Build systems and infrastructure that are designed to scale at a moment’s notice
  • Theme C: Build tools to manage humongous amounts of data as well as ways to use that data to manage user behavior

Pretty interesting themes, wouldn’t you agree?

Then the hack commenced. The Moonfrog team took care of the participants quite well. They ensured that attendees were never short of food or drinks.

Post lunch, an extensive brainstorming session began. By evening time, everyone had sorted out their ideas and began to work on the code.

I entered the venue at around 6 p.m. This time, I was on a mission! I wanted to interact with all the teams to see what ideas they were working on and get their feedback. In order to improve the experience for all next time. (Thank you all for the valuable feedback. You guys really hop! I mean rock!)

I started off the interaction talking with our hackathon representatives (Team Venturesity). The idea was cool: to bring typeracer to the mobile. I must admit though that I was not really convinced about the use case. (They eventually did convince me, but I digress …)

I made my way around the room talking to all the developers. Most worked on building a great mobile game and some of the ideas were out of this world. I knew the judges were going to have a hard time of it the next day. Assuming the coders could code up all their ideas of course. Which most of them did.

I left the venue around midnight. I had no qualms because I saw that the Moonfrog team were taking good care of the developers. I was excited for the morning.

On Sunday, I got to the venue around 10 a.m. Tejaswi, Pratik and Harpreet had gotten there before me. As usual, the morning was frantic. Coders ran around here and there like a frog with its head cut off. They had to fix up all bugs before Judgement began.

The Moonfrog team invited a couple of external judges to judge participants: Anandamoy Roychowdary and Anshumani Ruddra. They went around judging the 13 teams that survived the brutal night. As I said, it was not an easy task for the judges because of the quality.

At the end of the day, somebody has to win. And without further ado, here are the winners:

  • Winner of the gaming track: Team S.O.S. They brought an interesting twist to the game Bagh Chal. Their version was Bagh Bakhree! Replete with goat sounds and the like. Here is the link to their project.
  • Winner of the data track: Tuples. They built an automated review system to classify user reviews of apps from Google Play Store. This would provide real-time analytics on how users perceive the apps. Useful stuff! Take a look here

Unfortunately, no one really sank their teeth into the scalability track. As a result, there were no winners in this domain. (Next time, folks, try an obscure track. You might have less competition!) 

It was a great experience for all who attended. I still marvel at the stamina and enthusiasm shown by the participants. I also got to interact with some of best minds in the Mobile gaming business. This experience makes me want to design my own mobile game. Or even go hacking! Even though I’m not a coder per se.

Want to grab your next opportunity? Take part in our next big hack for Grabhouse on October 31st. If I, as a non-coder, want to go a-hacking at this hack, then what’s your excuse? Head on over to our website, enroll, and get hacking!



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Bharat Ramakrishna

Blogger. Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.