Recent SUNY Oswego graduate Tonia Sanzo and senior Wyatt Matt earned the top prize for Best Video Game at DandyHacks 2020 tournament in late October. 

For the challenge, they created a desktop game called Yoga, a yoga-themed rhythm game where players must click on the arrows prompted on the screen to match the yoga poses to succeed in the game.

“The reason we did the hackathon was because it’s a good challenge to work on your skills,” said Sanzo, who earned her bachelor’s in software engineering. “It’s a very good learn-by-fire type of method to get good at something.”

This year, in contrast with past editions of the competition hosted by the University of Rochester, there was a wide array of projects capable of solving different problems, Sanzo said.

For Matt, this was the computer science major’s second hackathon after participating in a different one with Sanzo approximately one month before.

In the previous hackathon, they introduced a game called “Duel.”

“We were pretty happy with the result, we got what we got done but it wasn’t like a complete game,” Matt said. “This time we learned from Duel and we had a complete game ready and won us the award.”

In contrast, Sanzo says this project that earned them the prize went smoother. She was the technical lead and did most of the programming, while Matt worked on art and conceptual programming.

Making time

One difference between both hackathons comes in terms of the length of each. The first hackathon they participated in was a 24-hour competition while this one fell under the 36-hour category.

While DandyHacks lasts 36 hours, it does allow for contestants to take breaks during that time frame. Team sizes varied between one and four.

“We started off the first day and we just did a little bit, we were playing around with the ideas and we were like ‘OK, we’ll start the project, we’ll get something going,’ and then we went to sleep on the first day and then once we woke up we were back to work right away,” Sanzo said.

Then they stayed up through the following 24 hours. 

The contest also incorporated competitors from countries such as India or the United Kingdom, and also encompassed high school students and adults.

“I think having it international makes it very diverse, very different, they’re fun, they’re using different technologies and I think that’s a very fun and exciting part of it,” Sanzo said.

SUNY Oswego showed the importance of being diligent and committed to a project consistently throughout a project's lifecycle, regardless of if you are just starting or at the final stretch,” she added.

For more information about the game developed by Matt and Sanzo, visit this developer site about Yoga.