This past weekend I took part in my first ever Hackathon (Amsterdam Hackathon) and with a team of two other people (Rene Pot on front-end and Irma Scheer on design) we managed to take second place 🙂
The topic was “Augment Amsterdam”. We spend almost three hours brainstorming different ideas. We wanted to work on something that felt good and right to all of us, something that we could be excited about, something so good we would want to work on it even after the hackathon was over. Eventually we settled on the idea of a game based on the board game “Scotland Yard” that would use Google Maps as the mapping engine.
With only 17 hours left to execute the idea we set to work. A fully functional multiplayer game plugging into both Facebook and Google Maps seemed like a hugely ambitious project for such a small team in such a small timeframe. In the end we surprised ourselves with just how far we managed to take the project. Not only was it fully functional and virtually bug free but we had managed to incorporate every feature from our original list of ideas and it looked great. We had expected to compromise on features and deliver a subset of what we had planned but in fact we were already looking at incorporating new features in the last few hours.
Some of the gameplay features we included:
- different methods of transport such as walking, cycling or catching the tram (some require money)
- drawing money from a cash machine
- buying a bicycle from a junkie
- the criminal can hide in a church
- hide in a coffee shop with a chance of going the wrong way when you come out stoned
- randomly get mugged by a junkie who steals either your bike, wallet or tram cards
- continuous display of events such as when a player purchases something
- inter-player chatting
Here’s a screenshot of the game showing a portion of the map with different transport options available.
In all it was a very fun and rewarding experience. As a team we worked very well together striking a perfect balance between each of our responsibilities. As for the idea, we’re still very much excited about the possibilities and are planning for the next version of the game which will, of course, be far more polished and sophisticated.