The Dundee University Computing Society Quackathon is the society’s annual free hackathon for students all over Dundee. This year saw the return of the Quackathon being held in person on campus with the last time this happened being in the early months of 2020.
This created a fun atmosphere for everyone, attendees and sponsors alike. This year the sponsors included BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT, BlackRock and Unity who provided the challenges.
BlackRock presented the challenge of creating a solution to an environmental issue faced by ducks. This could have included a technology to improve their ecosystems, a prediction of water quality in the UK, a visualisation of migration or any other solution that may help conservation efforts. Solutions would be marked on creativity, polish and effort.
Unity proposed that attendees create a game under the theme of ducks. Attendees were allowed and encouraged to be as creative as possible using any technology or framework they wanted and could be in any format (3D, 2D, text-based, etc). The other requirement was to integrate one of Unity’s values: In It Together; Go Bold; Users First; Best Ideas Win.
The society’s committee’s challenge which was endorsed by BCS. With the popularity of the viral game Wordle, especially within the society’s Discord server, the committee decided to use one of the core aspects of Wordle... words! This was made to be as open ended as possible so that it was accessible to all attendees of all skill levels.
The solutions would be marked on a range of factors; creativity, polish, wow-factor, technology choice (whether they were experienced with the technology, languages, frameworks, etc), what was learned and commitment. This intended to make it fun and fair for all those taking part.
At 12pm on the second day, coding stopped and during this time, teams showed off their creations to the judges. Submissions ranged from visualisations of animal trade between companies, to web apps to track endangered species, to save a duck game using the power of words. All teams showed evidence of real effort being put in - the committee and sponsors were impressed with each team they visited.
After a tough decision, BlackRock chose the project named SAA as the winner of their prize (A Nintendo Switch Lite for each member). This project was a comprehensive visualisation of different aspects of animal trade in the world. The team demonstrated passion and effort towards the project with the depth of research and work put into development.
Unity was the next sponsor to announce their winners. Although they related that they had a tough time concluding, Ultimate Duck Squad Builder was announced as the winner. The team showed great collaborative spirit and worked to their strengths to produce a polished game. Each member earned a £50 Amazon voucher and a Unity Pro licence for their sleep-deprived work (worth £1800).
Finally, the BCS sponsored committee challenge. The committee’s judging standards were heavily rooted in encouraging teams for their level of prior experience. One project got a special shout out for impressing the committee for the amount they developed while only being in their first year of university, Quackzilla. In the end, the conclusion was that the project Duck of Fortune met all expectations and then some. The team went away with £50 in Amazon vouchers each and the prized giant DUCS duck.
Overall, the weekend was a great return of the Dundee University Computing Society’s flagpole event and was enjoyed by all attendees. A huge thank you to the attendees and their hard work despite the lack of sleep - it’s you who makes these events fun and memorable. The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the sponsors and partners; BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT, BlackRock, Unity, Game Maker 2 and HackathonsUK.