Climathon takes off heading into #MIGW16

Hack out Melbourne’s climate, catch the action at SheMakes, and kick of Melbourne International Games Week with GCAP

Melbourne seriously has it all; hackathons, conferences, festivals, conventions, and a WHOLE WEEK dedicated to video games.

Last Friday, I started a busy week with Climate-KIC’s 24 hour international hackathon. I know, who “starts a week” on a Friday? Hackathons start my week! Anyways, Melbourne’s challenge; build a campaign to raise awareness around how your choices affect the city’s sustainability and resilience. Around thirty keen hackers took over LAB-14 as their home for a whole night, developing eye-catching ideas to showcase our impact on the environment. We managed to get out into the environment a bit too, the roof counts right?

Just casually making a pyramid on the roof
Just casually making a pyramid on the roof

Stocked up with Red Bull and Red Frogs, and generously fed by the lovely people at Sorgum Sisters and ECCO catering – seriously, we had enough to feed an army – we managed to get through a night of no sleep. Come Saturday afternoon and our hackers presented to a panel of judges.

Against a beautiful, sunny spring Melbourne backdrop, the judges were super impressed with all the ideas pitched. From taking over Federation Square with an climate-based interstate competition, to marketing campaigns, informative electrical vehicle charging stations, and a fully-fledged eco-site, the panel almost couldn’t decide on our winners and wanted to implement ALL the solutions. But it’s a hackathon after all and we need a winner. State of Power came out on top for their live displays atop the Fed Square big screen.

Well done team!!! Now go home and sleep
Well done team!!! Now go home and sleep

After some wine and cheese, most of our hackers and organisers headed home for some much needed rest. For me however, I had other plans… Melbourne International Games Week had just begun with the #SheMakes Gameathon/Hackathon; it’s pretty much a Game Jam, but participants get a good grip on the available gaming engines as well as tailored talks for each of the three hackathon pillars – hacker, hustler, hipster. Whilst I missed most of the action during the day, I made up for it with networking drinks and gameplay (let’s face it, that’s one of the best parts right?)

Games games everywhere!
Games games everywhere!

Gamers and devs showed off their games ahead of PAX’s Indie game showcase later this week. Attendees raced the clock delivering pizza Mirror’s Edge style, tried their hands at being a cyber princess, and worked together to solve co-op platform games. It was great to see gaming showcased in this way and made accessible to as many people as possible. I can’t wait to see some of these games even more polished at PAX.

Oh and did I mention SheMakes was run at ACMI-X? Pretty cool place! The energy and excitement was most certainly high, possibly due to Games Week, GCAP (Game Connect Asia Pacific), and PAX (Penny Arcade eXpo) all being around the corner, but hey, whatever makes the crowd tick.

Come check out ACMI-X if you haven't already
Come check out ACMI-X if you haven’t already

Speaking of GCAP, I had the pleasure of attending the networking drinks (again more drinking, more networking). Based on feedback from previous attendees, this year’s GCAP is bigger and better than ever. I was lucky enough to meet the organisers at SheMakes, a committed bunch of individuals getting stuff done for the gaming and dev community, now that’s what I like to see. The talks were packed out, stands were full of eager people, and the noise on Twitter was amazing with #GCAP16 trending for most of the day – pretty good considering it’s on the same day as the #MelbCupCarnival. I expect GCAP will be rather hectic and by the end of two days participants will need a good night’s rest before trying to tackle three days of PAX.

You'll see this placed at strategic locations during Games Week
You’ll see this placed at strategic locations during Games Week. This was GCAP

Well that’s enough from me right now. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for some exciting announcements and a running commentary of PAX Australia!!! Don’t forget, PAX starts Friday morning.

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