The weekend of November 9th kicked off WOWZAPP 2012: A Worldwide ‘Hackathon’ for Windows, the first simultaneous global hackathon for students, start-ups and professional developers in Microsoft’s history. The event saw over 15,000 developers from more than 120 countries take part, including four in Ireland.
Most notably was the event held in LIT Tipperary’s Thurles campus. Students from Ireland, Canada, England, Italy, Estonia, and Bosnia descended on Thurles last weekend to devise and develop digital games for Windows 8.
During this 48 hour development marathon weekend, innovative games were produced, which should make it into the Windows 8 store in time for Christmas.
Tipperary is a fitting location to play a part in this global event as it has a long and historic association with the digital games industry. Prior to the invention of home consoles, Ireland - from a base in Tipperary, was Europe’s foremost manufacturer of arcade machines, producing gaming cabinets for Atari Inc.
The arcades machines of the seventies were a favoured pastime of the very first gaming generation. Iconic games such as ‘Asteroids’ are an example of the many classics manufactured and distributed from Ireland.
Phil Bourke who mentored the students over the weekend spoke about the skills that students learn from these events,
“Students gain expertise ranging from graphic design to marketing to coding which allows them to understand how to release games to a global audience and potentially earn money through app downloads, before even graduating from college.”
Michael Meagher from Microsoft Ireland who also attended the event spoke of the commercial opportunity for students “Last year, students became advocates of Windows Phone from the day it launched and created thousands of apps that have become popular among consumers around the world. Windows 8 is now poised to be the biggest opportunity for students who want to make their mark on Microsoft’s latest technology platform.”
LIT Tipperary’s Thurles campus has been renowned for supporting game development in Ireland, including the hosting of the annual Games Fleadh showcase event. Seamus Hoyne, Head of the Department of Technology, Media and Science at LIT Tipperary said “Our department has strong ties with industry and we’re delighted to support events like WOWZapp where students learn new skills which will help prepare them for careers in the technology sector.”
All the Games created as part of WOWZapp will be exhibited to the public during Games Fleadh: Expo on 13th and 14th March 2013. For further information in relating to WOWZapp or Games Fleadh please visit http://www.gamesfleadh.ie