One of the themes for Urbana15 is the question “What story will you tell?” That’s something I’ve been trying to do with this blog: turn each post into some sort of story. Everything’s way more interesting when it’s part of a narrative – people are naturally geared to follow the paths of stories that have a story arc, or a “beginning, middle, and end.” But now that Hack4Missions is finally here, I have absolutely no story for you guys. The hackathon has just started, and I have no idea what kind of story we’re gonna be telling! So in no particular order, here’s my observations from Day 1 of #hack4missions:
- MY PEOPLE. Today’s the first day that I haven’t felt out-hipstered by the people around me. Seriously though, it’s really cool to be surrounded by 200 kids my age who are both tech-savvy and faith-driven. The overwhelming majority of my fellow computer science students at school have been non-Christian. While they have been wonderful people I’m proud to know and have been able to share a little of my faith with, the lack of vocal Christians in my classes had led me to dissociate my two passions, thinking that Christianity and technology just don’t mix. I learned today that couldn’t be further from the truth.
- I was shocked by the number of “grownups” that have signed up to help put this thing on. Dozens of professionals from all kinds of big-name companies are here to help. It’s always cool to feel support from people higher up the food chain.
- After listening to pitches from all twelve challenge leaders, I settled on the Games for Missions challenge. While the other challenges sounded incredibly interesting, I felt that since our teams will have a mere nine hours to come up with our solutions, I should play to my strengths. I’ve got a significant amount of experience with 3D game development, so that seemed like the best fit for me. After spending a couple of hours with my new teammates brainstorming game ideas, discussing strategies, and divvying up roles, I can definitely say that I made the right choice. I won’t spoil the surprise of the theme that we settled on, but it has a ton of potential and I’m already amped for the final presentation on Thursday.
- Hack4Missions isn’t technically a track, but it’s still the best track, because we have the best snacks.
- The WiFi in my hotel is still terrible. The only website that I can get to work? Bing. BING. It’s a nerd’s nightmare. Once again, I’m posting from the crowded lobby of the America’s Center, getting ready for another action-packed day of Urbana with nerds, or as I like to call it, Nerdbana. My wife thinks it’s funny, so ha.