Monday, 6 April 2015

KinectHackLondon!

The KinectHackLondon Adventure!

On some day late March me and three (should have been four, thanks Sam ;D) of my university class mates ventured away from our games for the weekend and travelled to Microsoft's London headquarters. 
Why might you ask for a hackathon games jam thing!!!!

This was my first time attending such an event I wasn't quite sure what to expect!?? 
We decided to meet at Victoria station at a local Starbucks or Costa I can't remember, sadly this wasn't as easy as we thought I travelled around the station and the surrounding area finding far too many coffee shops are they all needed? I'll never know... But we found each other soon enough but lets talk more about the KinectHack!

We entered the building which was rather large and found the Microsoft office where we was greeted with free t-shirts and a Polaroid camera great I have to smile for the camera I thought, sadly this wasn't the last time.

Soon after entering we set up our equipment and grabbed a drink, the building was full of sparkling water. I dislike sparkling water, where was the non sparkling water you ask!? I have no bloody clue! Thank god for the cans of coke and Dr pepper that we eventually found!
Soon enough the event started we were told about the event how it was set up and what they wanted us to achieve while we were there. A couple of people gave their ideas of what they wanted to do during the event but we had our group and knew exactly what we wanted to do. There was talk on a Kinect start up talk which we had to attend, so we did! 

We entered the room where a Microsoft employee told us about the Kinect how to get it started with certain engines and all of that good stuff I don't understand that much. We were given Microsoft branded jellybean's during the talk they distracted me quite a bit from the talk. They were hard to open and in the silent room I didn't want any accidents to happen as I can be rather clumsy at the worst of times. I got it to open and ate a few, this caused more noise than opening them and I decided to give up with that until I was in a louder room.

After the talk we went back to our workstations our team leader gave us ours duties and we were off! I was given the task of artist, which I already I had so I was prepared! 3D game art is one of my stronger traits, coding is far lower down which saddens me. Coding is something I defiantly need to work on!

During the event there were small competitions such as twitter posts and Jenga, free stuff I had to be involved!!!!! So I began my quest to win as much stuff as possible for those two days. We went into the two games of Jenga strong sadly we were defeated in the first game but we came back strong the second time and won some Microsoft branded goodies some can be seen in the image above with our celebratory dance!
There was also some great food from three different companies The cheeky indian, Cheeky Burger and Gourmet macaroni and cheese factory which were all delicious! 

Lets talk more about the Kinect though the main tool for the event, we needed to build a Kinect game. Believe it or not the Kinect is actually a very interesting device!

Lets talk more about the Kinect, the main tool for the event. We were tasked with building a Kinect game/program! As game development students we decided on creating a game. Our game was loosely based off kids toy where you put shapes through holes and the TV show Hole in the wall. Just imagine you moving blocks though holes in a wall with that wall coming towards you that's pretty much it! We didn't want to do anything too complicated as it was our first times using Kinect and most of us were newish to unity. 
Over the two days we had a pretty good outcome a basic working version of the game. You can move the objects make them bigger or smaller for the holes but sadly the collision didn't work the best. Which is arguably the most important part to the game. But we were not disheartened the group made a good effort and we all did well!

Game in action!
At the end of the second day we had our presentations, there were various games and programs on show. Some that stuck out to me included an object making program using and a rhythm style game which used the player as a controller using the power of the Kinect. (These are all shown in the video found at the bottom!) Our game was met with good reception, sadly we didn't get many volunteers to play the game. But we showed it off and we were proud! 
Oh and at the end of the event, the winners!

Great another photo to smile for...
Thanks to my hard work during the event tweeting as much as I could... I won a Kinect V2!!! Me and the group are planning on continuing development on our Kinect game and with the Kinect V2 in our hands we will be able to do it without having to buy one(which you cannot do any more as you will have to buy a Kinect for Xbox and a PC adapter)!!! Muahahaha... Another group member James also won a prize a Rasberry PI version 2 which is just as good of a prize and hopefully he will find something to do with that!

Overall the event was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We all had a great time!!! It was a good experience and I plan on taking part in more hackathons/game jams in the future hopefully when I have more time to do so. Sadly university work is piling up on me and with tests and coursework due I have little time to do much else.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please ask!

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