Lessons Learned From A Hackathon

Prosoft Nearshore Software HackathonFor the last two years of my software development career, I have been learning and implementing new tools and technologies. In that time, I have worked with tools such as Python, MySQL, PHP, Node.js, Cassandra, DDD, Test Driven Development, Ember.js, Web API and most recently, Mass Transit Service Bus.

I love learning, implementing and getting things done. I challenge myself and never get bored. As an indirect result, the quality of my work has increased which has led to better custom software development opportunities for me.

Last weekend, I participated in a hackathon. This was not your average hackathon. It was game development event specifically designed for mobile devices. I stopped playing video games more than six years ago because my thinking of game development at the time was “I don’t know how independent game developers would ever make money selling games. I don’t see myself creating a video game. I don’t think I have what it takes.” This was the perfect opportunity to push myself to be a part of something outside of my comfort zone.

We had 26 hours to create a playable game from scratch. My team and I had no experience whatsoever in other things then creating web pages or distributed systems. We were comfortable with the mundane things, nothing more. Here, we were pushing our limits. Most of the time, I enjoy doing this but in this instance, I was nervous.

Growth was the main topic of the event. I thought: “How can we resemble growth…? Oh yes! Maybe a plumber that needs to rescue a princess and when eating a mushroom he grows twice his size… Oh, wait… that already exists… bummer”.

We made up our minds and started working on building the game. We watched tutorials on how to get it done as well as used our own ingenuity to solve the problems we encountered. On our team, we had a talented designer working with us. Throughout the night she had the assets done beautifully. We got the stage working, the movements of the player was smooth as was the spawning object from the sky. We accomplished so much in a very short amount of time starting from scratch. We started with almost no knowledge in video game development and worked together to build the game from nothing.

We didn’t win the hackathon but the path was once heck of a ride.

Most of us underestimate ourselves. The truth is that we are capable of such great things, things we don’t even imagine we can do. The only thing keeping us from that – is ourselves. Sometimes we need to be confident enough in ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone and just think out of the box and many times, incredible things will happen.