HackFest 2020

Posted Fri, Sep. 25th 2020 in News

HackFest is an Apple II programming competition held over the course of KansasFest every year, and we were fortunate to continue this tradition in 2020. It’s amazing what people can develop in such a short time.

We had 8 entries and 5 awards. Video, links, disk images, and source code are available from our Website.

  • Matt Rand with “Using an Apple ][ through Discord” (1st place)
  • Charles Mangin with “Canyon” (2nd place)
  • Sellam Abraham with “Mesmerizer Exorciser” (3rd place)
  • Micah Cowan with “Fnord” (4th place)
  • Ben Smith with “Etch” (5th place)
  • Matteo Trevisan with “Visual Apple II OS”
  • Scott Lawrence with “Video Switcher for the Apple ][c Rollercoaster LaserDisc Game”
  • Andrew Roughan with “Patch Mockingboard speech titles to use SAM software speech”

Please thank our judges: 4am, Carrington Vanston, Kay Savetz, and Quinn Dunki

HackFest 2020 Award Presentation

HackFest Begins

Posted Fri, Jul. 17th 2020 in News

HackFest is an Apple II programming competition held over the course of KansasFest every year. HackFest begins today and is open to all attendees. See the archive of past HackFest entries for examples of the creativity and methods this competition inspires.

This year, since we’re virtual, HackFest looks a little different. The contest begins on Friday, July 17, 8am CDT and ends Thursday, July 23, 5pm CDT. The judges will award prizes end of the day on Saturday, July 25. For details on the contest deadlines and rules, visit the #hackfest channel on the attendee-only KansasFest Discord server.


Posted Wed, Jul. 17th 2019 in News

Contests are a tradition at KansasFest and a great way to be more involved. Plus, we have awesome prizes for the winners.

HackFest – Starting Wednesday morning and going through Saturday, coders write original programs using specific tools and languages native to the Apple II, then show them off to the conference attendees. A panel of judges reviews and selects the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd place). Please see the Official HackFest Rules and archive of past entries.

Door Sign – A door sign can say a lot about the attendees. Where you’re from, who you are and what your interests are. You can put up a poster, picture or anything clever or fanciful (usually Apple II related) to wow the judges. You’ll need to use masking tape (no tacks or anything that would leave a hole in the door) to hang your door sign. Judging occurs at Friday’s pizza banquet.

Wacky Tie – KFest alum Roger Wagner was known for his colorful taste in ties. We honor his past contributions to KFest by having a wacky tie contest every year. Ties can be wacky, metaphorical, traditional or nostalgic in nature. It comes down to whatever strikes the judge’s fancy. Bring your ties to Friday’s pizza banquet.

Boot Up and Run!

Posted Tue, Jul. 2nd 2019 in News

Have you seen Steven Weyhrich’s new Apple II parody video? A lot of the footage comes from last year’s KansasFest.

HackFest is an annual competition to create original software at KansasFest. Take a look at past entries and rules here.

HackFest 2017

Posted Fri, Aug. 25th 2017 in News

You might think that software created in a few sleepless distracted days wouldn’t be amazing and noteworthy.  And, you would be wrong.  This year’s HackFest entries show incredible skill and creativity.

The entries include:

  • Martin Haye: Invoking Apple III Satan Mode, an assumed-to-be-impossible way to access Apple III hardware from Apple II programs.
  • Ivan Hogan: An assembly language game making use of the text screen. Jump on the lines without touching the heads!
  • Jeremy Rand: ColourGo, an implementation of the casual game Chameleon Run, using Apple Hi-Res.
  • Russ Ross: An implementation of the classic casual game 2048, using the text screen.
  • Rob McMullen: Fujirun, an assembly language game based on Amidar. Save the Apple from the Atari interlopers!
  • Alain Zanchetta: Hacking Sargon II to take input not from the keyboard, but from another copy of Sargon II connected by serial port.
  • Alex French: Rendering particles on the Apple IIgs in Super Hi-Res, while playing nice with GS/OS.
  • Charles Mangin: You Are a Grue – A text adventure written in Inform 7.
  • Kevin Savetz: A version of the Simon game, with custom-made button controllers hacked on-site to interface with the joystick port.

The winners were:

  1. Rob McMullen: Winner for sheer scope, the level of polish, and the embracing of modern community tools.
  2. Charles Mangin: Winner for stretching outside his comfort zone, creating something clever, and refusing to give up when his first idea failed.
  3. Alain Zanchetta: Winner for the creativity of his idea, and embodying a true hacker grit in the project.

Many entries, often with source code, are available here.

HackFest 2016

Posted Tue, Jul. 26th 2016 in News

We had four excellent HackFest entries.  I’ll let the videos speak for themselves.  You may also download disk images and source code.

Please thank our judges, Quinn, Martin, and Kate, for their work to make this all possible.

Beneath KansasFest: HackFest

Posted Tue, Jul. 19th 2016 in News

HackFest participants write original Apple II software entirely at KansasFest.  Considering everybody has a full schedule already, the breadth and quality of the software is amazing.  The videos below speak for themselves.  Also, take a look at the rules and past entries.

Spin up your floppy drives and start hacking Wednesday morning.

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.