Hackathon: Singularity 6's Yearly Tradition
Hackathon is a big deal here at Singularity Six. I had been hearing about the tradition since I joined back in November 2020 with a mix of awe and a slight hint of skepticism. With no shortage of work left to do on our first title, it seemed risky to give everyone time to explore.
The thing with risk is that it often can lead to great rewards, and Hackathon had proven that in previous years.
A YEARLY TRADITION
2021 marked the third Hackathon at the studio. For one week in March, Sixers get to chase whatever project has ignited their curiosity. Ideas are pitched, cross-discipline teams are formed, and we’re given the support needed to unleash our creativity.
As this year’s Hackathon was approaching, I felt uneasy. Some studios tend to make a clear distinction between development and supporting teams. Hackathon seemed like something only developers could do.
I had forgotten for a moment that here at Singularity 6, we’re all developers, regardless of what our title may be.
Still, I wasn’t certain what exactly I could contribute to any team. I mentioned this to our game director who immediately helped me brainstorm. By the time our meeting had concluded, I had a handful of projects I could tackle and no excuses to exclude myself from the event.
Armed with plenty of ideas, I joined one of the teams led by our narrative designer.
Our goal was to create in-game books for our first game. What exactly we wanted to write about was up to each one of us to determine. We had free reign to write how-to books, poems, stories, etc.
I focused on writing about the world’s history.
The biggest challenge lay in writing something that could live alongside the already established lore. Although there was some pressure of making sure whatever I created did justice to her existing work, the team worked together to create a safe environment.
What came next was magical.
When I shared my writing for critique, it inspired another of our designers. My story inspired her poem, which helped me discover the name for the book I had written. This cycle of inspiring and being inspired repeated several times. Creativity begets creativity.
Our narrative designer carefully examined all the creations to ensure they fit into the game’s existing lore and met our quality standards for player content. By the end of Hackathon, the group had managed to create over 30 in-world books for our players.
HACKATHON BUILDS STUDIO CULTURE
At the end of the week, we all came together for a show and tell. All the teams got to show off their work along with what they’ve learned and everyone else got to celebrate their achievements. It was at that moment, watching the faces of everyone at the studio, that the importance of this tradition finally clicked.
Hackathon served to build bonds across colleagues and allows folks to explore creating things outside of their main discipline. More importantly, it shows the studio’s commitment to its core values as it ties directly to Bloom: Learn and Grow.
"Innovation happens when you trust your team to explore ideas that will allow them to grow and make space for them to indulge their curiosity."
We’re still hiring for a few roles with new positions expected later in the year as we get ready for the release of our game. If you’re passionate about creating experiences that can make a positive impact on the lives of others and believe games can be a force of good, I encourage you to apply.