A big thanks to everyone who came along!




Hackathon n00bie?

Welcome! Here’s what you can expect:

You’ll be teamed up with some new buddies from various industry backgrounds and given a bunch of open data and tools. It’s up to your team how you use what you have to make something out of it in a very short period of time: 48 hours. Sound daunting? You’ll be amazed how quickly things can happen when you have a team of excited and creative smarties and no strong rules about what your creation has to do. As well as getting to meet and work with new people on new things - there will also be a chance to keep the momentum going after the hack, with winners getting prizes and entry to the next stage of the competition.

Is a node an event?

Is an event a node? Where am I!?

Unlike GovHack events which allow for all kinds of project types, GovHack nodes focus on a particular theme - making the work done a lot more focused. This year, the Camperdown node is specialising on games for learning. If you'd like to read some background about games for learning, we've put together a write-up further down the page. Tl;dr: we believe that when it comes to understanding dense information, games are a great way from people from a broad range of mental capabilities to learn. So if that sounds like your jam, look no further.


Meet your crew

Working together with a bunch of new people is central to a hackathon. There will be plenty of time to get to meet everyone and form teams on the opening night, but we've made a Slack room for you get to know each other a bit before the day.  

Join the conversation

Or ping us @govhackcamper and remember we gots ourselves a hashtag already: #GovHackCamperdown.

This is no ordinary hack...

It's at Boomworks!

Once again, Boomworks is hosting a #GovHack Camperdown node. We have a roomy open plan office with plenty of spaces to get you thinking and building. Having hosted last year’s GovHack and HealthHack, mentored for Samsung’s Adappt weekend, and recently (ahem) being placed in the top 5 projects worldwide for NASA’s recent SpaceApps - it feels safe to say that Boomwoorks kinda like these hackathon thingies.


And, did we mention amazing mentors?


Michael Sarroff

I have always been interested in technology and the arts. Having a background in science and live productions, I started teaching to help others understand how these exciting fields can come together.

View Michael's Linkedin profile


Ingrid van Uden

I've worked for IBM for 16 years where the last 6 years I have looked after NSW State government clients. I have had 2 daughters in the last 3 years that keep me very busy. I enjoy all sorts of sports in particular dragon boating and I love cooking.

View Ingrid's Linkedin profile



Some more background on games for learning.

Some of the text below came from this wikipedia article.

In his classical essay, “Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man”, a German philosopher Friedrich Schiller, discussed play as a force of civilisation, which helps humans rise above their instincts and become members of enlightened communities. He stated that “humans are only fully human when they play”.

Games have long been employed as a means of education. Using the ancient game of chess, noblemen of the Middle Ages learned strategies of war. During the American Civil War, volunteers from Rhode Island played American Kriegsspiel, a game for practising the Art of War upon a Topographical Map, which had originally been created in 1812 for training Prussian officers-of-war. Then, in the early 19th century, came the creation of Kindergarten by Friedrich Fröbel, which was based on learning through play. Children delighted in his Fröbel gifts, a simple educational toys such as blocks, clay, sewing kits, and weaving materials.

Games are interactive play that teach us goals, rules, adaptation, problem solving, interaction, and all represented as a story. A great educational game will satisfy our fundamental passion to learn by providing enjoyment, passionate involvement, structure, motivation, personal gratification, adrenaline rush, creativity, social interaction and emotion in the game itself while the learning takes place. Types of games for learning can vary from analog board and card game to digital video games.

Games for learning are games that are explicitly designed with an educational purposes, or which have incidental or secondary educational value. All types of games may be used in educational environment, even if its initial development goal isn’t intended for educational purpose. To that point, a game is educational if it’s designed to help people to learn about certain subjects, expand concepts, reinforce development, understand a historical event or culture, or assists them in learning a skill as they play.

Game-based learning refers to the integration of games or gaming mechanics into educational experiences. Simply say, it is a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game-based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain, and apply said subject matter to the real world.

The topic on games for learning has considerable traction over the past decade as games have proven to be effective learning tools, and beneficial in cognitive development and the fostering of soft skills among learners, such as collaboration (Dominion, Portal 2 co-op mode), communication (Faster than Light), problem-solving (Portal 2), creativity (Minecraft), empathy (Her story, The longest journey, This war of mine), and critical thinking (Civilisation, Democracy 3, Faster than Light, The Stanley Parable).

The forms of games grow increasingly diverse and some of the most commonly used for educational purposes include Alternate Reality Games (ARG), Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMO), and global social awareness games. Most games that are currently used for learning across wide range of disciplines share similar qualities: they are goal-oriented; have strong social components; and simulate some sort of real world experience that people find relevant to their lives. A great educational games usually designed to support immersive and experiential learning.



Y'all ready for this?

 Before the weekend comes

  • Jump in the Camperdown Slack room and have a chat with your fellow hack-ees 
  • Check out the datasets and do any research or project planning you think could be useful. Just remember not to start the actual project before the weekend comes!
  • Keep an open mind on data and projects etc.
  • If you don’t have a team then can come to the GovHack Connections event in your state to connect with other like minded participants to form a team. GovHack connections event will be held early July, details will be released soon.

What to bring on the day 

There's a full list of things to bring on the GovHack site, but here are the main ones:

  • Laptop and related equipment.
  • Identification or Proof of Age card.
  • Video camera (remember that your team's submission on Sunday includes a video).


So, where's this all happening?

Boomworks is close to Newtown Station on the T2 Inner West and South train line as well as being close to buses on Parramatta Rd (Routes 413 436 438 439 440 L38 L39 461 480 483, Parramatta Rd near Denison St stop #2050 25).

There is also on-street parking available, just take note of the signage if you park in a timed spot. 

Getting started

Seeing all the big and complex video games used for learning, what can you do over the weekend during GovHack? Start small and keep it simple by focusing on one goal for player to achieve when playing your game.

To get you started, here’s a brief anatomy of video games design and what you can do during Govhack:

  1. Get familiar with the type of Open Data that you can use, and pick area of topic/theme that you and your team find most passionate* about. Think of this as the content for your game, instead of starting from the ground up.
  2. Rough ideation of the high level concept of the game. For example: It’s a Pokemon Go for learning historical indigenous places that allows player to collect heroic totem across NSW 
    • What’s the objective of the game? — What players do in the game, how they do it, identify what makes the game fun.
    • What is the game play mechanic? Is it a real-time GPS-based game? quiz-based? puzzle game?
  3. Identify what’s achievable, create a to-do list, agree on a plan and stick to it.
  4. Sketch a rough storyboard of the game
    • In-game user interface that includes game control like play, pause, exit, etc.
    • Game shell UI - what players see before they play your game
  5. Divide and conquer — identify who’s doing what in your team and agree on frequent check-in times to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  6. It's always a good idea to have one person be responsible on the overall pitch and video presentation. Ideally, this should be a different person from the one doing the design and development of the game itself.

*Always start with PASSION, as this will keep you and your team excited throughout the hackathon. Going with the easy one is not bad but if the topic isn’t something that you and your team particularly excited about, you will soon lose interest over the course of the weekend. Remember, the goal is to have fun, so start with Passion, start small and get it done. Done is always better than perfect. 



Friday 29 July

5:00pm Registration opens
Meet your fellow hackers and mentors, form teams.
6:00pm Gala launch
The hack kicks off with a formal introduction and keynote talks
6:30pm Competition details
Housekeeping, competition structure, mentors introduced.
7:00pm Ignition!
DataSlam: Hackerspace opens, prize categories announced, speak to your mentors.
8:00pm Dinner time
Grab some pizza and a drink, charge up for the weekend ahead!


Saturday 30 July

8:00am  Doors open
Grab some breakfast and get started hacking with your team.
10:00am  Submit your team details
Name your team, pick a space to work and write a brief project description.
11:00am One minute team updates
You can also request assistance during this time if you need it.
12:00pm Hackerspace registration deadline
Make sure you're registered by now - we'll show you how.
12:00pm Lunch served
Keep those synapses firing with sustenance.
5:00pm Project page deadline
A Team Project Page and your prize category nomination must be completed in Hackerspace. Record all your team members on your project page and the URL to your proof of concept repository. No new projects pages can be created after this time. You are still able to edit your project page after this time.
6:15pm One minute team updates
Your chance to check in 
8:00pm Hackerspace closes
Go home and get some sleep - you'll need it!


Sunday 31 July

8:00am Doors open
Grab some breakfast and get started hacking with your team.
12:00pm Lunch served
Keep those synapses firing with sustainance.
4:00pm Finalised videos
Your video should be finalised and a URL linking to your video created to load on your Project page. It may take some time for your video to load once you have started the process.

Presentations begin
You MUST have all parts of your competition entry finalised by 5:00pm Local time which includes 1) your team page, 2) your data story description and detail of data sets used 3) your Project outcomes (demo’s, code, graphics, photos submitted, and 4) your video link uploaded.


Presentations begin
Marvel at other the teams' work, and show off your own

6:15pm Sponsor keynote
Details about the person speaking

Local prizes announced 
Where everybody is a winner, but we announce the winningest winner.

7:00pm End of GovHack 2016
Reflect on what a ride it's been, go forth and be awesome.



What’s the perfect size of a team, you ask? 

From personal experience doing hackathon, an ideal team should be no more than three people. Anymore than that usually leads to bystanders with no clear task. It is recommended that you have diverse skill in your team, 2 people to create the ‘thing’ (the game), and 1 person for the pitch and video.


I've never designed a game, where should I start?

Here is some useful info on how to start designing a video games , we also recommend this guide.


Do we have to create a working prototype? A weekend doesn't seem like enough time to make a playable game.

It’s great if you can build a working/playable game prototype as this will be favoured heavily during judging. Remember to start small so manage your own expectations accordingly. Don't forget that you can mix and match your prototype with interactive mock-up using tools like Sketch 3 and Marvel App, Proto iO, Framer JS, etc.


Are there examples of simple and easy games that we can create over the weekend?

There are heaps of simple game mechanics that you can achieve, for example trivia games like Quiz Up uses a simple tap mechanic and utilises great content to hook players to play the game while learning all sort of subject from Math to Geography to history to pop culture! Agar iO is another example of simple game play — the game is abstract enough and thus open to interpretation when it comes to data story telling. Here are some more examples of educational games.