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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chp 470. Our Hackathon

It may sound a bit geeky but… but… ok fine, I really don’t know how to make a “hackathon” sound non-geeky at all. A hackathon is, as the name suggests, an event where coders and others involved in a project including illustrators, animators, designers, UI developers, project managers etc work together continuously and intensively on a given project until it is completed.

That usually means staying at the same place together with the entire team for days until the work is done. Yes you heard me right. By staying together, I mean you work in office, eat in office, sleep in office, even bathe in office, until you meet the deadline. 140% focus on that one work.

So last weekend, we decided FITH Media should have a hackathon, just to test our limits and capabilities, and to see if we stand any chance of participating in NASSCOM Gaming Forum’s 48 hours BYOG (Build Your Own Game) Hackathon competition to be held on October 25th. We’re a new company and we just want to know where we stand among all these veterans around us. 

The rules were simple –

1. The hackathon starts from 0:00 Saturday and ends at 0:00 Monday.
2. Nobody can go home in-between.
3. The moment it starts, we’re to brainstorm on a NEW game concept.
4. We’re not supposed to discuss games that are already in the pipeline.
5. We’re to drop all projects and updates we’re currently working on.
6. The game should be awesome, and yet develop-able within 48 hours.

And so, as the countdown to the hackathon started, everybody excitedly looked at the timer and at exactly 0:00 Saturday, the discussion started immediately. Suggestions. Criticisms. Arguments. Counter-arguments. Interruptions. More suggestions. More criticisms. Wholesome participation from everybody. Here’s an idea. Here’s a reason why your idea won’t work. Here’s a reason why your reason why my idea won’t work is invalid. And so on. Lots of constructive criticisms. Tons of examples and gaming references and links and strategies thrown in. We actually came up with a couple of really cool game ideas, which unfortunately had to be sidelined because it was not practically possible to execute those within 48 hours.

Finally, by 06:00 Saturday morning, we had all decided on the concept. Stamped. Approved. Locked. Confirmed.

Some of us went to take a short nap, wherever they could find something to sleep on. The others continued working.

More than 100 redbulls were consumed during the entire hackathon weekend. Salim bhai, our regular general store shopkeeper across the road cursed us for not warning him we were planning to have a hackathon, because we not only consumed his entire stock of redbull, we even moved to other inferior energy drink products that tasted like shite. He told us he could have pre-ordered a whole bunch of redbulls for us had we given him a heads up.

By 4 AM Sunday morning, we were ready with our first alpha prototype!

We tested it thoroughly. Explored every avenue for improvement. More suggestions. More discussions. More implementations.

By 10 PM Sunday, we were ready with our beta prototype!

I even ended up missing the Arsenal West Brom Match but it was worth it. The pace, passion and enthusiasm in which FITH Media worked for this hackathon really placed everything else as a secondary distraction.

So here is our BETA release on Google Play, do let us know what you think of it. Ladies and Gentlemen, FITH Media proudly presents to you – Basti Basera: The Land Mafia, a 48 hours product.

Do download it from Google Play, and do give us 5 star ratings puleeze :D

Let us know what you think of the game, we’re open to feedback and suggestions.

By the way, we’re not promoting this game yet as this is just the BETA release. A lot of changes are coming up, like certain plot of lands having higher value than others, daily missions, achievements, global leaderboard, multiplayer functionality, ability to destroy an opponent's conquered land or even nuke an entire area, and many other special power-ups :)

Will keep you all updated. Cheers :)