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A Look at the First TwitchCon Hackathon

Nov 13 2017 - By Bernie Marger

TwitchCon was home to many competitions, but beyond the H1Z1 arena teeming with screaming fans and streaming celebrities, past the expo floor with mobile gaming showdowns and esports exhibition matches, one fierce fight was tucked away from the rest. At the end of a hallway, only dull chatter and the click-clack of keyboards could be heard.

These were the sounds of the TwitchCon Hackathon.

We invited university students from all over the country to come to TwitchCon and compete in teams of up to four for 24 hours straight as they raced against the clock to build software projects using Twitch’s suite of developer products. For some of them, it was their first exposure to Twitch’s API. For others, it was their first hackathon entirely — drawn forth by their love for our platform and a desire to improve the experience.

All in all, we saw 101 student developers flock to Long Beach last weekend representing a host of schools in Southern California as well as a few visitors from out-of-state, including representatives from Brown University, Arizona State University, and the University of Florida. The hackathon venue was the only room in the convention center open overnight, and most students took it as the free lodging it was: a stroll at 3am showed most of the participants asleep at their tables, on the couches outside the room, or on air mattresses.

Despite sleep deprivation and the ever-alluring draw of ditching the Hackathon to attend a Meet and Greet with DrDisRespectLIVE, our participants submitted an impressive 24 projects. Here are a few of the favorites:

Twitch Audio Split Stream: An extension that encodes certain audio sources from a stream with special “optional” markers, allowing users the ability to either receive or deny them. The demonstration showed how a viewer could mute the streamer’s background music while still preserving their commentary.

Kappa Cloud: A data visualization that showed the popularity of all emotes used on a particular stream. Similar to a word cloud, more frequently used emotes would get larger the more they were used.

Surprise Me!: A chrome extension that suggests a random streamer for the user to view, specifically focusing on streamers that are on the border of “making it big” with around 500 active viewers.

We were amazed by the ingenuity and tenacity shown by the hackers, and we can’t wait to see where they will take their projects in the future. We also want to give a huge shout-out to Major League Hacking, the official student hackathon league, for supporting our event and providing us with invaluable resources and expertise along the way. Thanks so much for joining us all in Long Beach, and we can’t wait to see what you build next year!

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