What is stronger than the Kraken? Chicken. And what is stronger than chicken? Akasha. – Some joke I made.
Krakathon had its second edition this week-end, 21 and 22 October 2017, at the Turbine, Vivea Business Park, Saint-Pierre, Mauritius.
What is Krakathon?
Krakathon is a hackathon with a Kraken and a treasure. In other words, it is a coding competition, pirate-style. Kraken hunters have 24 hours to defeat the Kraken and get their hands on its treasure. To do so, they solve a variety of coding exercises with varying levels of difficulty (easy, intermediate and difficult) and each carrying points. Team are ranked according to points obtained. The first 3 are the lucky ones to get a share of the Kraken’s treasure.
Krakathon is organised by ict.io.
Here is a quick video by ict.io:
The love story between Krakathon and I…
Krakathon 2016 was the first hackathon in which I participated. I am a beginner who is always willing to learn. So, I wanted to seize the opportunity to put my coding skills to the test, to see where they were standing at and to improve them.
I found out about the Krakathon through the company where I was doing an internship at that time. Initially, I was going to participate with their teams but, afterwards, they decided that they wanted experienced people on their teams (this year, they had mostly fresh graduates on their teams; I am really happy for those youngsters).
Later, I found that the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) was looking for a crew for the Krakathon and I immediately jumped on the opportunity! Our team’s name was The Flying Craftsman – inspired from The Flying Dutchman, a ship in the Pirates of the Carribean – and we were ranked fifth! The hackathon was a hell lot of fun and I was also learning a lot all throughout. Thanks to JoKi and the MSCC for this opportunity.
Since then, I have participated in a few other hackathons: #RiSk[Solutions] Cybersecurity Innovathon 2017 and WebCup Maurice 2017. Needless to say, I was waiting for Krakathon 2017… 😀
Of all the hackathons I participated in, my favourite is Krakathon. I find it to be the coolest and most fun hackathon in Mauritius. The hackathon is about coding in general and not just about a specific field (for example, the others were about cybersecurity and web development respectively); it covers a variety of topics such as algorithms, logic/mathematical stuffs, cryptography, esoteric programming languages and application development, among many others. The Turbine is a very nice and comfortable place to be – it is a big open-space building with good amenities; and Vivea Business Park is beautiful with all the greenery around. The atmosphere at the Krakathon is also very friendly 🙂 And, oh, there is nice food as well: pizza for dinner, croissants for breakfast and energy drinks anytime. In short, the Krakathon is interesting, well-organised, held in a nice place with good amenities and the people are friendly (read: secret ingredients to an awesome hackathon).
This year, I participated under the flag of the Front-End Coders Mauritius (new name of Front-End Dev Mauritius), with David Dias, Cedric Poilly and Myaja Rajaonarivelo – part of the team with whom I helped to organise the Front-End Code Camp (short pre-event blog post about it here) earlier this year. 😀
The programme this year
Before the hunt…
Pirates arrive in the morning and set up their Kraken-hunting arsenal: swords, guns, explosives… a.k.a. laptops, additional screens, coding environments, etc. Of course, they do not forget their rum: snacks and drinks for the 24 hours.
This year, ships (tables) were already assigned.
I was very happy to see many familiar faces – among which some of the usual suspects at tech events in Mauritius – along with new ones, including some more girls than last year, although not enough.
Organisers do their opening keynote. Some sponsors do their speech. Pirates then go for lunch and supplies at nearby commercial centres. Some pirates go around the Turbine to meet their other fellow pirates. After lunch and refueling, pirates come back to the mother ship (Turbine). Some more sponsors do their speech. In short, typical pre-hunt ceremonies take place.
At 2 p.m., the organisers finally open the hunt and crews go to their respective ships and set course towards the Kraken and its treasure.
Pirates access the treasure map at a location specified by the organisers. Here is the treasure map for 2016, also. Those treasure maps can help you practise for the next Krakathon and for coding in general.
Many students tell me that they are interested to participate in Krakathon and other hackathons but they think that they are not of the level yet. Let me tell you one thing, aspiring pirates and future Kraken hunters: it’s by hunting the Kraken that you learn how to hunt the Kraken. Of course, practising using coding challenge websites is very good; participating in a hackathon as well is even better.
This year, the treasure map was different, as compared to last year. There were less exercises and less variety. The exercises were also less about algorithms and logic/mathematical stuffs and more about applications. The exercises were also more difficult and their scores were kind of weird. The exercises were still fun and interesting but I prefer last year’s, in terms of exercise topics.
With the map in hand, pirate ships start making their way towards the treasure, solving exercise after exercise, using their coding skills. Some pirates are more experienced than others, with years of piracy under their hat. Some pirates are younger, yet gifted and courageous to venture in the Kraken’s waters.
Alongside the hunt, there are activities. Drawing, gaming, accessories to try on, etc…
The ships keep sailing. Visitors board on and off the ships, encouraging the crews – or infiltrating for strategic information to give to their comrades on other ships.
The hunt was intense! Some pirates even had to use umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching sun of the Kraken’s waters.
Dusk falls. Some pirates go crazy. Still, everyone keeps advancing towards the Kraken and its treasure.
Meanwhile, the organisers are hard at work: even pizzas for dinner have to be guarded against the scavengers!
Throughout the whole hunt, the organisers put on music. This was somewhat distracting – which was the goal, anyway. I found it too bad that they were not putting any Metal – especially Pirate Metal, given that Krakathon is pirate-themed.
Pirate Metal is a subgenre of Metal whose lyrical theme is about pirates. Yes, it exists in Metal. There is even a subgenre of Metal called Viking Metal – you guess the theme! Amon Amarth is a reference in the genre. I cannot not share this here.
Indeed, Metal has a huge variety of themes. Have a look at some Metal bands whose lyrical themes include pirates on Metal Archives. One of the most famous Pirate Metal bands is Alestorm. Check out some of their songs below!
Later during the night, I heard music playing that sounded like Symphonic Power Metal. It was not playing as loud as the music that was playing since the afternoon, though. Discrimination? x’D I listened more attentively. It was indeed Symphonic Power Metal. I was so happy when I heard that! Metal was finally playing at the Krakathon \m/ And it was the band Rhapsody of Fire! It was nice to know that some of the organisers are fan of the genre!
Yes, I was that happy to hear Metal finally playing at the Krakathon! 😀
Check out some songs of Rhapsody of Fire below!
Power Metal is a subgenre of Metal whose sound is quite fast, uplifting and melodic – in short, powerful. The vocals are often clean and in an anthem-like style, the choruses are strong and the lyrical themes often include fantasy and mythology, among others. Symphonic Power Metal is simply Power Metal with symphonic elements such as keyboards and other instruments of classical music.
At around the witching hour, I had to go to the hospital because I was sick. So, I was absent for nearly half of the Krakathon – which explains why you will not see me much on the photos and videos. For nearly half of the Krakathon, I could not contribute to the crew’s Kraken-hunting progress. After recovering, I came back at around 1 p.m. to continue sailing. There was around 1 hour left before the hunt was closed. New exercises had been added during the night. I thus proceeded with some fun regular expression exercises.
Nearing the closing of the hunt , we could hear the clock start ticking – literally. The organisers were having fun putting on the audio of a clock ticking fast. After a few minutes, there was a big siren sound and claps and cheers. The hunt was finally over.
After the hunt…
Everyone stopped hunting and the evaluators went around for one last round of exercise correction. We would soon know the three crews who would get a share of the Kraken’s treasure!
The organisers talked, then some sponsors.
Finally, it was time!
Congratulations to everyone!
Some sponsors talked again, then the organisers did the closing keynote.
We packed up, said bye to everyone – well, I said one big loud bye to everyone at once x’D – and went home, tired but glad 😀 And eager to catch up on sleep.
Thanks to ict.io for this great event, keep doing the good work, congratulations to all participants and see you all for Krakathon 2018!
Photo credits to ict.io, Pritvi and David.
Meanwhile, have a look at articles, photos and videos of Krakathon 2017:
On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.: #Krakathon
Krakathon 2017 – Day 1 by Bilaal
Krakathon 2017 – Day 2 by Bilaal
Photos by ict.io
Photos by Pritvi
Some articles, photos and videos of Krakathon 2016:
Krakathon 2016 – Day 1 by Bilaal
Krakathon 2016 – Day 2 by Bilaal