Being a Hack YSU Hackathon Mentor

hack ysu hackathon

Being a Mentor

Over this past weekend, I was a mentor and judge for Hack YSU’s Hackathon. It was a lot of fun. I think I ended up helping 5 of the 20 – 30 hack groups with some game development in Unity. Some of the games being made had force fields that a player used to climb up obstacles, while others we Virtual Reality. And still others had a focus of using musical and player reaction mechanics to help the player win the game.

Of course, not all of the hacks at the hackathon were games. Most of the student groups, in fact, were not games. There was one team who used Bitcoins, others who created login apps using Facebook, a doorbell app that worked with Alexa and Facebook to find your Facebook friends and greet them at your door… the list goes on.

Being a Judge

So, not only did I get to mentor these students, I also got to judge their projects! I was 1 of 6 judges who are all also tech people from the Youngstown area. While I was judging, I took the judgement into 6 categories: completeness , presentation, marketability, usefulness, tech learning and challenge and tech complexity.

Everything I saw was amazing. I’m not even kidding. Of all the groups that attended, 28 (I believe) completed with a presentation. All of the projects that were presented could score points in the Marketability tier if these students continue to work on their projects. But, in the end, only 3 could win medals.

So, us judges narrowed it down to about 8 projects. An robotic on wheels that sensed things using a sensor, a game that used a custom light board to map out an interactive dungeon maze and even an app with facial recognition.

Out of the 8, we discussed the ideas, and each chose their top 3. The final 3 were chosen based on the scores we gave them with the winners being:

  1. Mobile Mouse – A mobile phone attachment (printed using 3D printer) and an app that allows you to use your phone as a mouse using the accelerometer.
  2. Force field – A 2D game in a 3D world using force fields to overcome obstacles to complete levels.
  3. Cell Block – A series of computers networked with checks and balances to create an ultimate secure network

In Closing

Everyone who took part in the Hackathon was amazing. I hope that I will see them in a few months for the Youngstown Game Developer’s April Fools’ Game Jam March 31 – April 2.

For more info about Hack YSU, please click here.

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