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Students are game for a 30-hour Hackathon

11-05-2013

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Sacramento State’s two-day Hackathon, which will run from 9 a.m. Saturday straight through to 3 p.m. Sunday, is a unique version of pulling the college all-nighter.

“There’s no sleep for the students, and they love it. Most will go all night, although a few may take naps,” says Paul Steinberg, Intel Software’s student community manager, who teamed up with Sac State’s student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to organize the event.

The groundbreaking Hackathon is the first time a group of students will build games using Havok.com Inc.’s new 3D gaming platform, Project Anarchy. As many as 50 students, most from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, will work in teams to master the Anarchy engine and use the Android operating system’s tools to develop simple games or applications.

San Francisco-based Havok is a leading provider of 3D game development technology. Representatives from Havok and Intel will be on hand to provide support, encouragement, food and caffeinated drinks for the participants.

“It will be a challenging Hackathon,” Steinberg says. “The students will try to create something new. They will teach themselves a new technology.”

Sometime during the wee hours of Sunday morning, a bit of silliness will unfold in the Hackathon tradition known as the Lord of Misrule, when a bit of each participant’s hair is spray-painted a color. It’s a badge of honor, of sorts.

 “We are bringing creative minds together to develop something truly unique that takes people out of their comfort zone and encouraging the collaboration that could lead to future ideas,” says Peter Avalos, a third-year computer engineering major and webmaster for Sac State’s SHPE. “This is the first Hackathon that Intel and Havok are teaming up for, so we are a trial run to see what goes well and what we need to improve on. We hope to have more events like this in the future.”

Organizers received more than 100 applications for the Hackathon, but limited lab space allows for no more than 50 participants.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156. – Dixie Reid