One mans nightmare

How did it happen that it’s already in Halloween! I feel like I’m in a Junji Ito world and every moment and week is passing by instantly. This won’t be the last halloween post however, I’ve still got one lined up after this!

One mans nightmare can be another mans dream, something that sounds so awful to one person can sound great to another. The thing I’m getting at is that I went to an event with my university where I programmed for 25 hours. – and I just felt like talking about it.

It’s an event called a hackathon, even though you don’t hack, and you normally have 24 hours to code anything you want! You then have to present it to judges and you get prizes if you win. I instead had the luxury of 24 hours since daylight saving time game me an extra hour!

It was going to be the most difficult competition to win of my life. I, as a first year student, would be facing off against 4th years. Not only that but my team of two first years had to compete with teams of other teams of 4 4th years. Needless to say the competition would be tough.

We brainstormed an idea for a game, then we decided what to program and what language to program it in. We eventually decided on using the unreal engine so I downloaded it from the internet. It was a 7 hour download. Many hours were lost. I was like 10 hours in and hadn’t even written a single line of code. It didn’t look good.

In the meantime while downloading I stole all the free stuff, ate all the free food and went to talks because I had nothing else better to do. To brighten up the fun they had stuff like salsa and yoga and talks, all of which I went to. Anything to pass the time and keep me awake. Oh yeah I didn’t sleep through the entire thing – yoga really wakes you up if you’re tired – remember that folks.

Then once that was over and my download had finished the grind began and we made a video game.

At this point we had thought we’d already lost, so we took our time to bumble around and do some other stuff.

I stole two free t shirts in exchange for two free water bottles – worth it considering that I had already stolen one of them previously. And we also grabbed ourselves an oculus rift to play around with – none of our PC’s matched the requirements for it though – it was a very sad thing.

But then there was hope, because in the Oculus rift box was a wireless xbox1 controller, which we promptly added to our game. With the controller our game would become the most fun out there.

We decided to make an arena game about a gladiator. You enter an arena, fight monsters, earn gold from it and then upgrade to fight more. The monsters get harder as you progress. It was a simple concept, but we decided to enter it into the arcade game entry. Competing with my dear friend but temporary bitter rival “banking and gambling” who made a hack where you set up a bank account, and automatically deposit a percentage to go towards gambling on horses. It was quite frankly, genius.

Then there was my other mortal enemy, who made a website where you put on pictures of your lost dog, and people pretend that they’ve found it.

The competition was harsh, it was brutal, but it was crunch time and we had to do everything we could to win.

We struggled to make it through, cutting corner after corner, getting through glitch after glitch until we had made our bare bones program. Now was time for the easy part right? No, it’s never that simple.

With half an hour left in the hackathon we had encounted a problem: upload times. Our program would take ages to upload, and it would be cutting it close! I contemplated taking a car out to drive to the internet and upload it via usb, but that would take too far, the internet was too far away. Instead we just hoped and hoped. Luckily it got through.

With a sigh of relief we slumped down exhausted after a tiring 25 hours.

But the fun wasn’t over because we still had to present. We gave our presentations our hearts and souls before walking off to play other people’s video games.

So now that it was over it was time for the awards ceremony. Despite the fact that everyone else was more experienced than us and had more time we were still hopeful. It was that feeling when you get a scratch card – you know it’s not going to be good but you still hope. That’s how we felt.

We got through the entire awards ceremony. and nothing, we weren’t mentioned in the slightest. Not even in the honorable mentions. It was sad, but what we expected. We went home thinking about how fun it was any way and how happy and proud we were of our game.

But the story didn’t end there. What I forgot to mention was one tiny detail which won me a prize. Ten minutes of the hackathon was spent doing this, and I had completely forgotten that it might lead to something, that something might happen because of it. I just did it without thinking but it ended up saving me and giving me a prize.

All it was was a quick 10 minute survey which I filled in without a moments thoughts, I got an email through the next day that I’d won it so I came to pick it up. Turns out I had just won an amazon echo worth £120! YEAH! What a weekend, what a hackathon, what a hack!

So yeah happy halloween people, got another post coming later today, but it’s going to be nothing like what you expect it to be.

4 thoughts on “One mans nightmare

  1. Taking off my anime hat for a minute and putting on my developer hat… Congratulations on getting through it! The Unreal Engine is amazing — though, as you point out, it’s enormous!

    I wonder if you could post some screen shots of what you were able to achieve? I’d love to see them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it took at least an hour or so to download the launcher to download the engine!

      Yeah I’ll release a post soon where I talk about it with probably me playing the game as well. I hope you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

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