Piano Dude game

Winner, UBC GFN Hackathon 2020

I attended the Build Day 2019 Hackathon before this one, but it did not go well. I didn't have the background to really contribute to my team's idea, and we weren't able to get our project to even a minimum viable state. Fortunately, the GFN Hackathon, organized by Michael Coren, gave me a chance to try again.

The team of Erin, Louise, Sydney, and myself was formed through a random hallway meeting, but I think we all realized we had a good group early. We started with a great idea by E of a music game, inspired by those large piano toys you play by stepping on the keys. Since we had seen a sample Java game project in our software design course, we were able to work out a set of doable features. We then set up a group repository, and split off to start working. (We knew we had to work fast, since we had only 10 hours to finish!)

While Erin and Sydney worked on music note generation, and Louise worked on user input, I focused on the visuals. I designed a keyboard visual with colored keys, and later added a light-up effect to show which key was pressed. I also advised on GitHub use for project management, and helped Louise put the finishing touches on the keyboard input system.

Towards the end, we all worked together (on one computer!) to get our project ready for display. We had to cut some ideas, but in the end, we had a game we could proudly demo. It seems the other hackathon participants agreed, because we were judged the best project by popular vote!

I think we did a great job, and there's not a lot I would do differently other than GitHub use. I was pushing for a Gitflow model, with lots of feature branches, but it was just too much overhead for our needs. I think just using one main branch might be best, since there's probably not a lot of overlap between team members. (I have heard some people having some success with making individual forks and using pull requests to collaborate, which might be best if there's likely to be more overlap, but I suspect this would still be overkill.)

Overall, it was a really great experience, and a really great team to work with. I think we worked together very effectively, and I'd be glad to work with this team again.

(Header image by Michael Coren on the GFN Hackathon site)

30 January, 2020
  • java
  • game
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