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RGC 2012: Observations from the First-ever ROBLOX Hackathon

July 20, 2012

by Andrew Haak


Hackathon SignROBLOX Game Conference 2012 had music, lights, crowds and noise – distractions at every turn. It was the type of environment where you don’t get work done. Yet, in the gated-off space behind the black Hackathon sign, ROBLOX users intently churned out code and built complex structures – with the pressure of limited time, no less – like the rest of the conference didn’t exist.

Now that’s composure.

The first-ever ROBLOX Hackathon featured 14 rounds, each 15 minutes long, with both a scripting and building challenge. Participants raced the clock to finish one or both of the challenges, earn points and get their user name to the top of the leaderboard. But only user aperson1890, who racked up 1,150 points with lots of quick solutions, would claim victory.

RGC 2012 Hackathon - Final ScoresWhat started out as a calm event evolved into a tournament, of sorts, during its 3.5-hour run. Some participants fell behind in the standings and eliminated themselves to check out other RGC content, while those near the top fiercely protected their leads. That even meant skipping lunch in the interest of fending off any would-be lead-takers.

One participant, known on ROBLOX as fremontboy, never quit; he started later than the rest of the group, but made a dramatic comeback into the top five by showing a solution with seconds left in the last round.

“I was cheering for him – not publically – but inside I was like, ‘Come on, you can do it’,” ROBLOX developer and Hackathon organizer Daniel Ignatoff said.

Participants ran to the front to collect details on new tasks, exclaimed, “Yesss!” upon completing tasks, and formulated strategies to be the first to solve a task – thus netting more points – according to Daniel.

Despite its intensity, the Hackathon combined problem-solving and fun. Participants brought to life the spirit of the online ROBLOX community by helping each other through difficult challenges. Users leperdy and willgreat even teamed up – there was only one laptop between the two of them – and discussed plans to divvy up any winnings.

RGC 2012 - Hackathon ChallengeThe Hackathon was successful enough that we’re considering hosting more in the future; maybe even experimenting with teams and online challenges. The vast majority of ROBLOX users were unable to attend RGC 2012, and we’d like for them to have an opportunity to participate.

The event also reminded us just how motivated and enterprising ROBLOX users are, and has us considering other ways we can encourage that spirit in future events.

Have your own Hackathon

Here are three scripting and building challenges. If you want to host a mini-Hackathon in the style of ROBLOX, follow these rules.

1. There are two tasks available at a time. You have 15 minutes to complete one or both.
2. You get 50 points for each task you solve before the 15 minutes run out.
3. If you are first to solve a task you receive 50 additional points.

Scripting challenges

 Script - Painting the Town RedScript - MinimapScript - Better Faster Stronger

Building challenges

 Build - Flaming MohawkBuild - My First Solar SystemBuild - Pyramid Scheme

You can also download the complete RGC 2012 Hackathon in these two PDF files: all building challenges and all scripting challenges.