Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge 2024 (Hackathon)

In February 2023 – Thomas Sandsør reached out to me and asked if I would like to join the ACDC competition (Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge) and got me hooked in to the event. This was something that I have had in the back of my mind since and not been able to decide, but when I saw this years theme was gonna be “Super Mario World” – I was basically sold! So we signed up and 5x of our talented colleagues from Bouvet (Malin Tollaksen, Malin Wick, Torbjørn Jørgensen, Ginevra Testa and me) participated in the hackathon of the Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge in Oslo.

What it is

The hackathon is a creative and social event for IT professionals, where teams can develop a chosen solution within a given theme based on Microsoft technology 🎮 and consists of 3 days of intense coding, collaboration, innovation, and last but not least pitching your idea to the judges and “sell your product”. ACDC was created as a social gathering by and for the IT community and has been running since back to 2009, where the focus was on SharePoint development back in the days. As the world moved forward and Cloud and later Low Code was the next big thing, the hackathon itself expanded its categories and became more inclusive towards the services and technologies based on Microsoft’s cloud platform, which eventually focused on Power Platform / Dynamics for the last few years.

Categories

This year came with various categories in which the participating teams needed to score points on – which varied between Excellent User Experience, Most Extreme Business Value, Rock Solid Geekness, and Killer App. Our brilliant team who went under the creative alias of “Boouvet” went straight to work on our first day. Our strategy was to focus on the General business value and Design as a starting point. The participating teams have the creative freedom to choose what to build and what tools to use, but the common factor is to build around Microsoft’s Power Platform.

Our journey

We started off setting up a new Azure tenant, Azure DevOps and the Power Platform Solutions/Canvas App for mobile and created UI/UX based on the Figma design that was worked with in parallel to development. While me and Torbjørn was working with the technical setup and preparations, our team of three other non-technical team members were working on the concept and the red line of sewing all the features we’ve brainstormed together. While we did try out the Figma framework for Power Apps, we ended up creating our own from scratch without using it.

Design

In our development process, we prioritized the user experience, ensuring the best possible interaction. The color palette was picked from Princess Peach’s dress, jewels, and crown, aiming to evoke a sense of familiarity and safety for the user. Every page was designed in Figma before the actual development phase.

We employed clear and concise language, explicitly outlining the goals for each module to ensure Princess Peach’s understanding and engagement. Additionally, we conducted contrast checks across the entire design, considering the possibility of any vision disabilities Princess Peach might have. We also included several elements from the Mushroom Kingdom or Mario universe, like the coins, power ups and Toad, to endorse the sense for familiarity even further for Princess Peach. Buttons are placed within thumb reach at the bottom, to make sure easy access to navigation.

The application

Our idea focused on creating an app helping Princess Peach to advice and prepare her to the world of Mario, a tool preventing her from future kidnappings by evil Bowser. The application consists of four modules that she can use in order to make the right decision and helping her to recognize dangers of the world, based on OpenAI and AR/VR (Virtual Reality) technology. We’ve also implemented a scoreboard and progress overview with statistics made from Power BI to track what skills she scores most on and what she needs to work more on in order to be prepared. The Power BI statistics are based off of the various Dataverse tables which we use to track her scores. Technically the goal of the app is to reach 100% on all the four modules that would verify Princess Peach’s skills and knowledge to tackle every obstacles faced in the Mario World.

Module: The good and the bad (Hinder app)

After enduring prolonged captivity and countless kidnappings by the notorious Bowser, Peach is determined to distinguish friend from enemies.

In this revolutionary app, Peach is presented with profiles of Mushroom Kingdom characters. Using a Tinder-like interface, she can swiftly make decisions – swiping right or clicking the heart for allies, and swiping left or hitting the ‘X’ button for potential enemies. It’s a modern twist on the age-old struggle for independence, and can be called PeachyConnections.

Swipe function with PCF component (Swipe PCF Control | PCF Gallery) that triggers a request to OpenAI’s Web API (Power Automate: Integrate ‘gpt-3.5-turbo’ Model And ‘GPT-4’ Model With Microsoft Teams – recursion.no) to summarize Princess Peach’s choice and the relationship between Peach and the swiped character to predict whether the choice is good or bad.

Module: Problem Solving

A random set of questions populated to a Dataverse table with choices and answers based on OpenAI reply where we specify its format and repopulates it on each Application start with a Power Automate flow (Solved: JSON array to DataVerse (CDS) column/field – Power Platform Community (microsoft.com) Here we’ve also deployed a chatbot (Ask Toad) with CoPilot Studio to help Princess Peach on tough questions that she is unable to answer directly, where we leverage AI-feature scraping information from https://mariowiki.com to get help with every question.

Module: Exploration

The Exploration module immerses Princess Peach in the art of navigating the intricate landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom. A perilous realm filled with unexpected dangers – from clouds ejecting pig shells to sentient flowers with an appetite for mischief. While unconventional, it’s a survival-of-the-fittest scenario for Princess Peach.

Within this module, Princess Peach encounters diverse worlds, each harboring both kind and hazardous elements. By interacting with these elements, she gains insights into what aids or threatens her survival. With four distinct worlds to explore – sea, land, desert, and sky – Princess Peach must choose wisely. Selecting favorable elements earns her coins, while interacting with perilous one’s results in point deductions.

To triumph in this module, Princess Peach must accumulate enough points by making strategic choices and mastering the art of distinguishing between the Kingdom’s treasures and its potential pitfalls. It’s a test of survival instincts and strategic decision-making in the fantastical realms of Mushroom Kingdom.

Some of the people and items are considered good, while others are considered bad. Peach earns points when she clicks on the people or items that are deemed good.

Module: Jumping Skills

Mastering jumping skills is crucial in the Mushroom Kingdom. This module focuses on Princess Peach ability to judge how far she can jump safely. Using the app, she can measure distances and receive instant feedback on the feasibility of each jump. Repeating this process allows her to learn and make informed decisions about her jumping capabilities, ensuring she doesn’t attempt jumps that are beyond her reach. It’s all about enhancing her judgment for safer navigation through the kingdom. To successfully finish the modules, Princess Peach needs to accurately measure multiple safe jumping distances, gathering the necessary coins in the jumping skill module.

We have implemented a out of the box solution called mixed reality and customized it to our needs. Especially the measuring feature, so Peach herself can point between two real life objects that she thinks she can make the jump between and get instant feedback about how it would go.

There is a threshold for her built in that increases as she levels up. So she (hopefully) gracefully increases her jumping abilities as she plays the game.

Summary

All in all it was a very intense and fun hackathon where we all enjoyed the event! Our team was placed 8th in the end where we competed with 12 other teams. I was super impressed by the other teams and learned a lot with tips and tricks from judges, organizers and other teams members as well! I connected with many new people with jokes and laughs – which is what I valued the most during the Hackathon! A huge shoutout to the organizers/committee (Ragnhild Baumann, Thomas Sandsør, Carlos Briceno, Ulrikke Akerbæk, Marius Børresen, Eirik Christiansen, Håvard Andersen and Øyvind Henrik Nilssen for putting in the work creating this stunning community-driven hackathon – each year. ❤️

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