Make or Break, more than a hackathon!

Make or Break Team
Make or Break Blog
Published in
5 min readDec 12, 2017


Make or Break 2017, the 4th edition of Porto Summer of Code

On September 8th, we opened the doors to Make or Break 2017, the 4th edition of the event previously known as Porto Summer of Code.

Make or Break 2017

Make or Break 2017 was a 3 day tech party.

The main event was a hackathon that culminated in a hackfair.

It also featured 6 workshops, board games, and video games.

A 3 day tech party in downtown Porto

From Friday to Sunday, we were up and running at Palácio dos Correios with lunch and dinner to everyone, as well as fruit, snacks, and energy drinks. It’s a hackathon, after all!

Hackathon + hackfair

To compete in the hackathon, 78 participants formed 20 teams, initially.

In the morning of the first day some teams were already at work

The goal was to create the best software project (with an optional hardware component) in one of 3 categories:

  • Useful: projects you could see yourself (or others) using;
  • Funny: entertaining projects, or projects that make people laugh;
  • Hardcore: projects of enviable technical prowess.

15 out of the 20 initial teams managed to finish their project and present it at the hackfair.

The hackfair run in the afternoon of the third day.

Rui Moreira (front left), mayor of Porto, made an appearance at the hackfair

As the hackathon came to a close, projects were put on display and teams were asked to present their work to the public.

Unlike prior editions where a jury would decide the winners, this time it would be up to the community (participants, guests, and organizers) to vote on their favorite projects.

We invested some time in finding a good alternative to the usual First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system, where the candidate with most votes wins, as its outcome is most likely determined by a minority.

Eventually, we decided to use a variation of the Schulze Method, where voters would pick their 3 preferred projects on each category. You can further read about our voting system in this post.

After processing the votes, the winners were announced at the closing ceremony.

The winning teams: Break. (left), Pickle Riiick!!! (middle), ToGhent (right)
  • Most useful: ‘TODOS’, a plugin to find and group code annotations, developed by team ‘Break.’ (João Pedro Silva,Margarida Viterbo, Rui Carvalho, and José Martins)
  • Most funny: ‘Whoops’, an application to find and rate the best public restrooms, developed by team ‘Pickle Riiick!!!’ (Luis Sousa, Vasco Ribeiro, João Ribeiro, and Nuno Reininho)
  • Most hardcore: ‘GoatieSimulator’, a simulator of goat populations with artificial intelligence, developed by team ‘ ToGhent’ (Luís Figueiredo and João Silva)


Make or Break offered 6 workshops with topics like game development, 3D printing, Internet of Things, DevOps, design, and hardware maintenance.

Attendees were composed by hackathon participants and other external applicants.

My First Game with Unity3D

My First Game with Unity3D

João Jacob guided the creations of ‘Super Angry Bowser’, a 2D Angry Birds clone game using Unity3D game development skills.

Introduction to 3D Printing and Parametric Design

Introduction to 3D Printing and Parametric Design

Rui Teixeira discussed the essentials of 3D printing and parametric design, and proceeded to actually design and print some samples.

Introduction to the Arduino ecosystem and the Internet of Things

Introduction to the Arduino ecosystem and the Internet of Things

Mário Carneiro and João Gradim showed how to build simple circuits using Arduino-like platforms and electronic components, and implement prototypical Internet of Things tasks.

A Server From Scratch — A DevOps Primer

A Server From Scratch — A DevOps Primer

João Anes helped create and configure a webserver hosting with a number of valuable services, like a blog, a personal website (with HTTPS), a torrent service, or a GitHub-like repository, among others.

Should Coders Design?

Should Coders Design?

Paulo Pereira challenged attendees to solve interface design problems, with each revealing key interface design principles, concepts and guidelines.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hardware Maintenance

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hardware Maintenance

As in the previous edition, Hélder Silva held a hardware cleaning and maintenance station, where he helped participants clean and improve their dusty laptops.

Board games

In addition to the usual video game corner where participants can relax and forget the development for a few minutes, Make or Break 2017 also had a new side activity: board games.

Boardgamers Porto joined the party!

Our friends at Boardgamers Porto held two sessions of board game fun: one on Saturday and another on Sunday.

From Codenames, to Settlers of Catan, to Ticket to Ride: Europe, we took our chances trying to ride our train to victory. It was a blast!

Closing thoughts

We loved Make or Break 2017, and so did our participants!

In our closing survey, this is how respondents classified their time at MoB:

  • Excellent: 64%
  • Great: 31%
  • Good: 5%
  • Not so good: none

However, we honestly think we can do a lot better, as this year’s edition was just a sample of what we can bring to the table.

Make or Break 2017 might be over, but we’re only starting.


What’s next?

Join us at and apply to the next edition of Make or Break!

In April 2018 we’ll host a bigger and better event, in our mission to galvanize Porto’s tech scene and unite all players — students, professors, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, politics, universities, start-ups, companies, you name it — in a cozy event around software and technology, organized with love and without profits.

Make or Break 2017 was brought to you by these amazing sponsors and partners!