HackFest 2015

Posted Thu, Aug. 13th 2015 in News

HackFest is an Apple II programming competition held over the course of KansasFest every year and open to all attendees.  Please see here for rules and past entries.  This year gave us a bumper crop of excellent software.  Our judges, Quinn Dunki, Michael J Mahon, and James Littlejohn, had a tough time selecting the winners.  Extra thanks goes to Quinn for creating videos and descriptions of each entry.  Quinn was like a Transwarp for HackFest and made the entire event “awesomer”.

Carrington Vanston decided to make a tic-tac-toe game, but quickly realized the pen-and-paper classic is boring and nobody likes it. He pushed the concept to the next level by adding a meta-game above it. The game has sound effects, animations, music, and AI players. It’s remarkably polished, complete, and fun to play! This entry won HackFest for 2015!

Martin Haye set out to build something for the Apple III, but was quickly stymied by how slow SOS loads. Further frustrated by the poor system monitor, he built his own. Here he demonstrates Monster, a new monitor for the Apple III that lives in one sector and boots in one second. It assembles and disassembles, much like the Apple II monitor. This entry took second place!

Jeremy Rand built a complete Sudoku game in hi-res graphics, including a multi-layered hint system. It also has a note-taking system to help mark up squares while working out the solution. This entry took third place!

KFest 2015 included a game competition around Bob Bishop’s Lit’l Red Bug. Unsatisfied with his score, Kevin Savetz hacked the game to play itself.

Kevin Savetz realized that all the amazing Apple II disk images on archive.org are trapping valuable data and preventing it from being searchable. He built a system to download the disk images, catalog them, list the contents of all text files, produce listings of all BASIC programs, and push all that back up to Archive as metadata. It’s a very powerful tool for preserving the Apple II legacy. This entry was a very close fourth place.

John Leake decided to try his hand at low-res graphics by creating OMG Zombies. Strategize your moves to trick the zombies into tripping over each other!

Inspired by the old “3-sided records”, and trying to create something that 4am couldn’t crack, Forrest Lowe got deep into floppy disks. He created a way to put two different Sector 0s on a single side, effectively creating independent volumes on the same surface. Which one you get when booting the disk will be random, depending on where the head starts tracking. You never know which sector 0 it will find!

Charles Mangin decided to take the idea of a “disk image” more literally. He built a system that analyzes a floppy disk and produces a visual representation of where the bits are actually physically located on the surface.

Sarah W realized that the classic Apple II game Olympic Decathlon has a reference to Bruce Jenner in the introductory text. As we all know, this name is no longer correct. Sarah has fixed that little problem quite handily.