Hack Manchester 2013 – Jelastic Challenge Round-up

Hack Manchester 2013 Awards CeremonyHack Manchester, the 25 hour “24 hour” coding competition right here in Manchester, UK, recently saw 230 developers descend onto MOSI over the weekend of 26th / 27th October to kick-start the Manchester Science Festival.

72 teams competed, with 30 projects eventually submitted to competition judges for the various sponsor challenges.

Layershift challenged teams to ignite their creative juices on our innovative Jelastic Java & PHP PaaS – with a cool £800 in Amazon vouchers on offer for the winners.

An amazing 1 in 5 teams took up the mantle and engaged with our particular challenge – and 12 out of the 30 final entries (i.e. 40% of all entries) used our platform in some way for their project, demonstrating far lower attrition for the wise teams who chose to develop on our Jelastic PaaS vs. those who didn’t. Startups take note here!

Entries across the competition were heavily influenced by one sponsor challenge in particular – the Clockwork SMS challenge called for the most pointless use of their service. This all but guaranteed that plenty of really fun yet totally “pointless” projects were prevalent (competitors were able to submit their entry against multiple challenges).

Despite that small distraction, we were honoured to have 12 amazing entries to judge when the competition finally ended and keyboards were securely stowed after 25 hours of hard graft. Each entry really creative and inspiring in its own way, and a real credit to its respective team member(s) – yes, there were some brave individuals who took on the challenge alone. It’s always an absolute pleasure to witness just how much the talented developers of Manchester can achieve in such a remarkably short period of time! (obviously buoyed by the immense power of our Jelastic PaaS)

As promised, we judged entries based on technical merit, and we were completely blown away with the entry from The Foot Injury Clan. On the face of it they’d merely developed a ‘simple’ text based adventure game – but actually they built so much more: a software platform to author and run their games, and architected it in a fully scalable manner (perfect use of our Jelastic platform!). As a bonus feature, they even displayed the journey through the story graph on some Novation Launchpads (not a use of Jelastic in itself, but still very cool! Flashing lights are always cool!).

Take a look at their entry submission video, which gives a brief overview of their project:

Want to know more about it? You’re in luck! They blogged about their Hack Manchester experience using our Jelastic PaaS, and their future plans for their new game platform – excited to see what they’ll come up with!

You can also have a little play on their demo games, which for now show a proof of concept for the game platform (sadly the demo stories are quite short, but give the guys a break – remember they did ALL of this in a mere 25 hours!).

Many congratulations to The Foot Injury Clan (@FootInjuryClan) on their winning entry. Keep us updated with your developments.

There were of course many other great entries too. Unfortunately we couldn’t give them all prizes, but I would like to reserve special mentions for 3 in particular that caught our eye for various reasons:

  • I Like Trains is an SMS based app which calculates the longest train route between 2 train stations – just in case you like trains so much that you want to ride around on them for as long as possible (as you can probably tell, this one was also an entry to the Clockwork SMS challenge!)
  • Welfare Support Finder is a website and Android app tackling the serious issue of helping poverty-stricken families avoid starvation and find their local food bank – Team Wireless Guy (aka Stephen Mullen / @StephenMullen) is continuing work on his app and aims to release it onto Google Play soon.
  • TFU is just a little bit crazy – it was another Clockwork SMS entry – but amusing nonetheless; they created the world’s most annoying “nag system” for those times when your significant other doesn’t respond to your text message or answer your phone calls etc.

Here are the rest of the entries for the Layershift Jelastic challenge (in no particular order – each and every participant was amazing and should be really proud of their entry):

Thanks to the organisers, volunteers, and most of all to the developers – the dedication you all put in to give up your weekend and spend 25 (mostly) sleepless hours coding really paid off and you all achieved individual greatness! Thanks also for your considerable praise and feedback about our Jelastic PaaS; the development team are already soaking it up and making it even better.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on all of these projects to see if any mature into something further. If we can help you with that, just let us know!