Tool Jam: Invent the tools of tomorrow. May 13th-15th

Game developers will gather in San Francisco on May 13-15 for Tool Jam, a three day hackathon for creating the next generation of game development tools.

What is Tool Jam?

Tool Jam is a weekend hackathon to create software tools to help game developers.

Developers of all sizes, backgrounds, and budgets face the same technical roadblocks and challenges. It might be as simple as a common repetitive tasks that could be automated, or as big as a major technical roadblock for next generation AR/VR development.

Instead of creating a prototype or pitching a concept, we are bringing together people to create tools that will help developers immediately. From something small like a generalized code template, to something more complicated like a SDK that might become the new industry standard. Continue reading Tool Jam: Invent the tools of tomorrow. May 13th-15th

Global Game Jam 2016 starts this weekend!

This weekend is the Global Game Jam 2016!

I hope that you will all join me in making a game over the weekend, and if you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area you should join me in person at the Microsoft Reactor!

RSVP here:

Continue reading Global Game Jam 2016 starts this weekend!

Alpha Game Jam September 12th through 14th

Alpha Game JamTime for a new Game Jam! The Indie Game Developers of Silicon Valley group will host “Alpha Game Jam” at Microsoft’s SF Campus on September 12th-14th.

Instead of just the normal monthly meetup, we wanted to run an event that encourages developers of all skill levels to get together, learn from each other, try something they have never done before… or just simply have fun making a new prototype.

There will be no strict rules on what kind or game you should make, or how you should make it. Bring an idea, or create one on the spot. Meet new teammates, or have your team all ready to go. All experience levels welcome, from newbies to veteran devs.

To sign up, go to the Indie Game Developers of Silicon Valley page and RSVP. We will be using ChallengePost for the hackathon, and you can preregister there by going here.

One thing to note, this will NOT be an overnight event. We jamming until midnight each night, returning at 10am the next morning.

Spread the word, and I hope to see you there in San Francisco on September 12th!


PayPal BattleHack World Championships 2013

I was lucky enough to have been invited to the PayPal’s BattleHack World Championships, held at PayPal’s offices this weekend. Battlehack For the last six months, PayPal held 10 hackathons in 10 different cities around the world. Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Miami, Moscow, Austin, London, Washington and Barcelona. The winning team from each hackathon was flown out here to PayPal’s offices in Silicon Valley to compete in a final 24 hour hack to win $100,000! Out of over 2,000 hackers, these are the elite 10 teams. PayPal went all out giving the hackers everything they needed. Such as massages, beds (which were seldom used), awesome food, and unlimited caffeine and sugar. Battlehack World Championships Microsoft gave the team who had the best use of Microsoft technology membership to BizSpark Plus, giving them $60,000 worth of Azure. Team Seattle won this prize (as well as Nokia’s best use of Window’s Phone prize) with their app for xbox/windows 8 and windows phone. They had a shopping app that lets people try on clothes with their kinect, take pictures of themselves in their new clothes, go virtually shopping together with a friend over the web, backend using Windows Azure, all controlled by voice recognition, and then buy the item(s) using your phone or sms. The overall winner of the hackathon and the 100k prize was Team Moscow, for their very cool app “Donate Now”. Donate Now is an app for charity that encourages people to give to a cause quickly and easily. The example they used for their demonstration was a food truck passing out food in the city. Using bluetooth low energy, they broadcast out that this cause is looking for donations. On the truck there is an LED display saying the current running total of their donations. People passing by can open the app, it automatically detects the organization in the area due to BLE, and with one tap using PayPal to donate to that charity. The running total on the truck’s LED display is instantly increased to the current donation total. Battlehack World Championships Winners           Each team created an awesome hack, given their tight 24 hour time limit. I was also a fan of Team Berlin’s “Net Pay”, which helped businesses do payroll for seasonal or temporary workers. I could see myself using that app in my business, and I am sure many others would find it useful. Congratulations to all the hackers for their victories, hard work and creating amazing products in such tight timeframes. Battlehack was a very cool event, and I look forward to being able to attend Battlehack 2014 (as a judge or as a participant)! -Tobiah

LAUNCH Hackathon 2013

This weekend, I competed at the LAUNCH Hackathon 2013 in San Francisco.LAUNCH

What was it about?

The goal was to create a product + company in a little less than two days. The hackathon started on Friday night and all coding stopped at 4pm on Sunday.

Prizes ranged from $250 to $5k for SDK implementation, and the grand prize was 50k in venture funding + AngelList investment of $800k

My team was all Microsoft Evangelists. Myself, Kevin Ashley, Alice Pang and Craig Presti.

What did we do?

We arrived on Friday and started planning our project. We debated a lot over different ideas and business models, trying to find the right balance between technically doable (with time constraint), profitable business model, and what would pitch well to judges.

By early Saturday morning, we settled on the idea “RENTAG” a “one tap rental solution” Website with screenshots and info:

We got a simple prototype working on Saturday, and Sunday we focused on perfecting our pitch. Kevin even brought in his Skis (with NFC sticker placed on) we could “rent” for our live demo.CraigWorking

What was the result?

I thought we nailed the pitch! Alice tapped her phone to the Skis, and the rental appeared almost instantly on Craig’s Surface. The judges seemed interested throughout and understood the idea. Afterwards, they had positive things to say.

Our review we got afterwards:

“9 out of 10. Great team and great implementation. Good use of hardware too and finding a partner! Would be great to see more platforms as well (but know that is easy.)”

Despite our good review, we were not selected as one of the final 15 (out of 147 teams who finished products and 1,000+ contestants). But we showed off some cool technology (Windows 8+Windows Phone devices and app development, as well as NFC), talked to a few other developers, and overall had a great time.

Congrats to all the awesome teams who participated, and especially the winners and finalists!