HackingCancer is an attempt to create a challenging web applet game in Java with the main purpose of utilizing the power of crowd sourcing to improve cancer research.

Game’s main menu

This is a side-scroller, platform game in which the user first creates their own map from visual representations of a Gene Micro-Array. The user is challenged to determine the path with the most amount of orbs present which would allow them to collect these orbs in the second stage of the game.

This path is not an automatable process due to the sheer amount of data involved and thus is the bottleneck for scientists in their progression to find a cure for cancer. Allowing users to solve these simple problems has been statistically proven to increase analysis speed by 600% (Jonna Reynolds, Cancer Research UK).

Once the map has been created, the user is placed at the starting point on their own map. The map is populated with many monsters that will kill the user if they touch them to make the game challenging and competitive. Upon reaching the finish line the user is shown their score and the extracted research data is saved online in JSON format for further analysis.

My partner, Konrad Pfundner, and I programmed this project in under 36 hours at HackWestern 2015 and were awarded as one of the top finalist at the event. Our goal for this hackathon was to attempt something challenging and really improve our programming skills. To achieve this level of difficulty we refrained from using any external libraries or frameworks to make game development easier and programmed everything using basic java graphics and processing. This decision turned out to be very rewarding as I ended up learning a lot about drawing and manipulating shapes in java.

HackWestern 2015 was also my first time presenting a hackathon project on stage by myself. I had been awake for 36 hours and didn’t have any time to prepare so it was quite an interesting experience. I was surprised that we made it to the finals because we spent the first night of the hackathon trying to hack the internal display system of a Tesla… that was fun, but didn’t work out very well.

While thinking of ideas we were trying to make something that would cause a social impact because that was one of the sponsor prizes and we like to win. We ended up qualifying for the following list of prizes on DevPost:

  • Most Creative App
  • Best Use of Mashape APIs
  • Best Use of AI
  • Best Domain Name Registered
  • Best Social Impact Hack

For further analysis take a look at the Code on Github.

Gurpreet Singh

I was born to write good code.

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