When your hack day idea gets out of control

People at White October love doing hack days. It is a great way how to push your limits and have fun making silly things. We held another hack day in January 2017, first one in the new year. You can read more about what we have done during one of our previous hack days here.

The purpose of this hack day was to start the new year with fun. There was also a competition happening at the same time as we still had some free spots on the presentation table for our annual winter client party. Obviously, everybody got very excited and we all wanted to come up with the best ideas.

How did we start?

As it is around 30 of us, we were distributed to teams at the morning of this gathering. Every team consisted of a designer, a developer and a non-tech person.

My team included me in charge of design, Josh — front end developer and Frances the account director. Pretty awesome combination. We held a brainstorming session straight away.

“What do we want to do?” was the question. Would it be something practical or something fun, maybe cool and not usable at all? After a few minutes of thinking (quite unsuccessful in terms of ideas) we looked at Josh and asked him what it is he is interested in. And the answer was: “The voice recognition.” Bingo! We had a theme, therefore we came back to brainstorming of what could we do with this kind of feature. We filtered all the post-its down to a game idea and that is when it has begun (maybe going a bit out of hand).

A mission — Voice recognition based fighting game!

Maybe we can have sound and some graphics popping out when you punch your opponent? Maybe you can choose a person from White October you want to fight? Can it be project related? What about the ability to upload your picture? Do we want those characters to move? How complicated are all those things? But what can we do in only 5 hours?

We went back to basics and started simple. Josh had a go with the speech recognition library called annyang! and Frances and I had a look at the design direction and did some research around commands and existing voice based games.

How did it go?

Well, like I already said we were a pretty awesome team so you can judge by yourself:

Brainstorming and progress
Let's make some stuff!
Progress, progress, progress…. maybe we will get there.
Go crazy!
Demo test went well = happy team!
Yeah! The voice activated game is ready to go!

Yes, we managed to have a working prototype by the end of the day! And we also successfully demoed it. Did we make it for the Winter party list? We still have no idea, but it was one of the best days ever.

If you haven’t been a part of a hack day you should definitely try it! It is an amazing way how to bond with your colleagues, find out a little bit more about what they like and most important to have fun and make silly things!

What would you make during your hack day?