The second edition of Virtuleap’s Global WebXR Hackathon has officially come to a close. This year’s event was sponsored by Mozilla, Samsung Internet, Supermedium, and VR First, and unlike last year, the competition theme was narrowed down to just two tracks: participants could either reinvent a classic game or give education a facelift using the immersive web as the medium.
In total, 21 concepts were received from teams hailing from the USA, Serbia, Germany, Argentina, Italy and Canada. Refreshingly, over 80 percent of submissions were education-themed and although over two-thirds of submissions were developed by US-based teams, 4 of the top 10 were developed by foreign teams, including first prize by Argentina’s Alfredo Consebola for his mesmerizing game, Crystalis VR.
“Crystalis VR is a game inspired by retro puzzlers like Columns and Tetris, with the goal of combining a retro game to life in a synesthetic experience full of color, movement and sounds where the player is in the center of the universe. This is a non violent, casual and replayable game, that also includes an online leaderboard component. A thematic room for social VR was built to host meetups, and to reinforce the idea that the internet can be a place and that events that happen in one experience can have repercussions in others. In this case the leaderboard on the wall is the same as the one from the game.”
“Crystalis stays very literal to the analog nature of a retro arcade game while taking a bold approach to just focus on a three dimensional visualization of the game score feedback.” says Roland Dubois, Virtuleap’s resident WebXR geek. “And it works beautifully; you feel like you are in an arcade, zoning out inside a game and all that matters is to outscore your opponent.”
Second place was awarded to Jeff McSpadden from New York-based Composure, for “Prelude“, a fully-interactive WebVR experience centered around spatial audio for stress relief. The education concept is designed to help users find ease, productivity and happiness in their lives by combining the therapeutic benefits of music and sound with engaging virtual environments.
“The VR app market has found its temporary cash cow in fast paced visually overwhelming games that make you feel like you have Las Vegas and Times Square strapped to your head. That’s why it is so refreshing to see well-polished submissions like Prelude, an app that is focused on doing nothing. No challenges, no high scores; it’s sole purpose is to create a space of peaceful recovery and self-exploration. All that with serious next level spatial audio technology, world class sound composition, and truly progressively enhanced working on a desktop, mobile, or tablet, and all levels of VR headsets thanks to WebXR.” says Dubois.
“You are humanity’s last hope (or final curse)” reads the description of third place winner, “ARs Attacks!”, a cross-modality sci-fi arcade game developed by a 4-member team from across the US: Jasper de Tarr, Dulce Baerga, Travis Bennet, and Will Murphy. Murphy is welcomed from last year’s edition, where he in fact won second place for his concept, Adit: Enter the Data Mine.
The competition ran from May 25th to July 31st, after which the top 10 most popular concepts were sent to a panel of 16 industry WebXR experts, influencers, and industry leaders to rank according to 4 criteria: technical complexity, polish & design, originality & innovation, and quality of immersion. In addition, “brownie points” were also awarded to concepts that included special features like supporting multiplayer, implementing progressive enhancement, and enabling accessibility (e.g. visual, hearing, and/or motor physically impaired users).
The hackathon’s theme, tracks, and the judging process this year were all designed to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and provide a creative space apart from the oversaturated market of 360 VR galleries and walkthroughs.
The next edition of the Global WebXR Hackathon will likely come much sooner than you think, so to make sure you stay up-to-date, follow Virtuleap on Twitter and register for the newsletter on the hackathon homepage.
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