Posted Thursday 24th March 2016

Youngsters steal the show at Games Hackathon

Competitors aged from 11 to 22 bagged the top prizes at the recent Hackjsy Games Hackathon held at the Digital Jersey Hub, with the first almost all female team getting the #WTF prize.

Youngsters steal the show at Games Hackathon

Techies from across the island competed in the 40-hour coding marathon, creating computer games, a room security device and a web app to organise football matches.

A hackathon is a community event aimed at gathering as many members of the digital, technical and creative communities as possible and encouraging them to work together to build an app or digital solution.  It was open to developers, designers, project managers, games enthusiasts and gaming and e-gaming experts.

The event, which was sponsored by KPMG, started at 8pm on Friday 18th March and ran until noon on Sunday 20th. Top prize went to Team B# made up of 15 year olds, Alex Methven and Tom Garfield-Bennett and 22 year old Alex Taylor. The team created a 3D survival game for virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, impressing the judges with their level of coding skill. They won an HTC Vive VR set sponsored by Vizuality Studios.

Second was 11 year old Jacob Laity who had been working on a room security device using a Raspberry Pi and a webcam. Once activated it shot foam darts at the intruder and sent a photograph to Twitter. His £500 prize was sponsored by OpenRock.

Third prize went to Benedict Lewis for his warfare game between Jersey and Guernsey. He won £200 sponsored by KPMG.

One of the organisers, Matt Chatterley, said: “It was another great weekend of coding with everyone mucking in and helping each other. Events like this bring out the best in the digital

community even though it’s a competition. It was great to see more women involved in the Hackathon this time round, with five in one team, some of whom had never coded before.”

The #WTF prize went to the Hacking Harlots, a team of six, five of whom were women ranging from complete non-coders to seasoned software developers. Team leader was Emma Gamble, with Nicolle Maltwood, Vicky Milner, Linda Hansson, Gwyn Garfield-Bennett and Sam Bullock.

Head of the Digital Hub in Jersey, Gwyn Garfield-Bennett said: “Events like this are exactly what the Hub is all about. It was particularly positive to see so many young people taking on adult coders and excelling. This bodes well for our digital industry and with all of the top prize winners either members or mentors of educational charity, Jersey Coders, it proves community initiatives like the Hackathon and teenage coding club are working together to drive our tech industry forward.”

Participants presented their projects to a panel of judges who spent much of the weekend observing the teams as they developed their ideas:  Genevieve Leveille, CEO of KrypC, and a finalist in the Women in IT Awards, 2016; Ian Hughes, game technology specialist and Giancarlo Achler, Director, SidePlay Entertainment Ltd were the judging panel.