Hack the Future 4 was a Huge Success!

Hack the Future 4 was a Huge Success!

Last weekend at Stanford 100 young students came together on a blazingly hot day to code. I wanted to post a brief recap to get you excited about joining in on the fun for future Hack the Future events.

There were approximately 8 different stations setup with different activities for the students to try. Each student was free to set their own schedule for the day – they could go to whatever station they were interested in, stay as long or as short as they wanted, or even work on their own projects. I was a roaming mentor, helping students get started on various stations. Here is a brief description of the three stations I associated with the most:

Multi-User Dungeon

Students and mentors all played a text-based dungeon game – something like “you are in a drafty room with a no windows, a fireplace, and one door to the north. On the mantle is a candle holder but no candle.” You can explore the dungeon and interact with the various objects and people.

The exciting part of this station is that the environment was continuously changing. While playing the game, students could create and edit rooms, items, and actions. These were all defined in JavaScript files and they could learn how to create their own by looking at the existing code. Many students stayed at this station all day!

Unity 3D Gaming

I was shocked by the raw power of this gaming platform and what the young students were able to accomplish in just one day. Kids that enjoy playing video games today are likely to play Halo, not Pong. Well this was an opportunity to create a 3D game just like Halo!

Objects were created and added to the environment visually. Then scripts could be defined to handle just about anything you could want. One student created a game where a character has to jump across various platforms and get to a door while avoiding huge fireballs randomly falling from the sky!

JavaScript Game Editing

Partially complete versions of JavaScript Pong and Chess are provided to students to hack. They could finish building the remaining parts of the game or make whatever changes fit their fancy. Students were able to come in with no JavaScript experience and learn how things work just by tinkering with the existing code.

One student I worked with was able to quickly grasp how the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript combined to make the game work. He doubled the size of one Pong paddle, made the small paddle score two points for getting it past the big paddle, sped up the ball, and was well on his way to making a hit counter. All in one hour with no prior experience!

Join Us Next Time

There were many other exciting stations which you can discover for yourself next time. To learn about the next free Hack the Future, join the mailing list at hackthefuture.org.

Posted by Brian Skinner / Posted on 24 Apr