TNGL Inaugural Hackathon At Carnegie Mellon

The weekend of November 13th to 15th 2015, a group of CMU students gathered in Hunt TNGL Weekend Report. During the weekend of November 13th through the 15th, a group of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) students gathered in Hunt Library Studio B for the first-ever TNGL (Toyz Nation Gaming League) Weekend. TNGL Weekend is a hackathon/game jam aimed at motivating a diverse range of students to collaborate in projects, utilizing both technology and creativity.

The event was a success and a great learning experience! For 48 hours, beginning Friday, November 13th, four teams raced to build a game. Friday night was utilized for idea-generating and planning. After taking a break to sleep at 12am and returning at 9am on Saturday for breakfast, the work truly began and continued until 12pm on Sunday. A total of 10 participants and 11 observers attended the event with diversity achieved on multiple levels: majors of study, school/class year, ethnicity, gender, and race, meeting a big part of the gaming league’s goal to achieve innovation and creativity through a diverse body of participants.

Throughout the event, many informative discussions took place that transformed into impromptu lectures with TNGL’s faculty advisor, Thomas Corbett, Associate Producer with Electronic Arts and EA Special Faculty for the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU. These discussions involved next generation technology and the future of gaming, including but not limited to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Biometrics.

At the event’s conclusion, the four teams presented their projects: an in-progress VR experience using the Kinect and Oculus Rift, a text-based two-player game written in Python, a Unity-based reaction-time game set in an eternal train tunnel, and a level-based platformer game with interactive music elements.

The founder, Wole Idowu, also presented a long-running project, a Personal Portable Server (PPS1) using Intel’s platform: a Z3735F quad core processor with 2GB of RAM; a Windows 10 operating system; and wireless charging capabilities for mobile devices. The presentation began an engaging discussion on the Internet of Things and useful applications. Through this experience, the TNGL officers learned many things that they plan to utilize in the planning and execution of future events.

In this first event, the TNGL achieved innovation, engaging discussions of ideas, superb creative engagement, and widely diverse participation and audience. The TNGL officers are analyzing attendance data and presentation footage in order to best implement what they learned in moving forward. The TNGL looks forward to scaling up its event planning process in order to host a larger and more interscholastic TNGL Weekend next spring! The attendance data and presentation video are available online and for further review, upon request.

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