Hack Manchester 2015

Frog Developer Lee Mills shares with us his experience from this years Hack Manchester.

“We survived! It started with half an hour to set up before the hack began at 13:00. We ran a central app for everyone to access and a replica environment (Docker for you fellow developers) running on each of our laptops to develop against. This was fine for those running Linux and OSX, but we were well into the first two hours of the hack before we could get Windows 10 configured properly for everyone else.

We eventually started building our entry, a volunteering RPG (Role Playing Game) called The Epic Volunteering Game of Awesomeness. Even though the event was 25 hours straight coding, with very little sleep, we decided to take on some relatively new technology and really get the blood pumping.

Here’s the tech stack we used:

I don’t think any of us who haven’t done an event like this before expected the lack of sleep or exhaustion to hit as hard as it did. Sleep at the best of times is not something I do particularly well, I’m one of those people who can go to bed and then spend the next three hours making a note of where all the cracks are in the ceiling of my bedroom. But this was a lot different to letting my mind float aimlessly – we were writing a new database class, plumbing in Twitter authentication, building user objects, integrating Google Maps and even designing 8-bit avatars that look like colleagues. 

We took it in turns to get some sleep on a beanbag or the floor, going out for 5-10 minutes at a time in the freezing fresh air, or drinking so much energy drink we all felt a bit sick.

By the time the morning came round, we had an app that you could log into, with an avatar you could customise and a map for you to find quests and gain rewards! As hard as the night had been, by morning we were buzzing with what we had done.

We finished up as much as we could before 13:00. Around 12:30 we called it a day on the app and began to create a video demoing the app on phones and desktop, which was a rush to submit before the video submission deadline of 14:00. You can see the video here and you can play with the app here

By the end of it, we were all really pleased with what we had created, we might not have won any of the prizes, but we were really happy. I don’t know about any of the others, but I’ll be going back next year. (with a sleeping bag…)”

Pictures from the event can be seen here, other creations here.


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