Yet Another Hackathon Victory

Hack Manchester

Hack Manchester is the premier 24-hour coding competition based in Manchester, run by @ruby_gem and @theallseeingpie (with help from others). This year (as before) it was held at the Museum of Science and Industry on the 26th and 27th of October 2013 as part of Manchester Science Festival.

We won again!

I blogged a few weeks ago (the road to Hack Manchester) about winning back in 2012 and what it takes to win based on the lessons we learnt. Looks like it was good advice because WE’VE GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN! Amazing job from my team mates @edhiley and @ryansroberts. This gives me a crazy record of 3 hack events and 3 wins.

The challenge

The challenge (sponsored by Web Applications UK) was to write a game. More specifically, to write a browser-based game with a travel theme.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a browser is (there seem to be quite a few), it’s a computer program with a graphical user interface for displaying HTML files. So, we came up with a travel themed game (written in HTML / CSS / JavaScript for both the mobile clients and server). Nothing to dispute there.

Anyway, here is the more detailed brief we were given:

We’re looking for the most entertaining and damn right addictive game you can muster. Have fun with it and create something great. The most original idea, with the best use of the travel theme and some impressive features thrown in will bag the prize…

- Web Applications UK


Our concept was to assassinate other players with your mobile phone (we supported Android and iOS, but it also probably works on Windows Phone and BlackBerry, with it being browser based), hence the comical name “appsassin” and url “” :)

The game


  • You signup by entering your mobile number and taking / uploading a picture of your face
  • A game is set up on the game server by a moderator
  • Registered players can enter a game if they are in the local vicinity


  • You are assigned a target (another player in the game)
  • You can track your targets location (in realtime) via a map
  • Text messages are sent when you are within 100 meters of your target
  • Text messages are sent when the player after you is within 100 meters of you
  • You “kill” your target by taking a picture of their face (and it passing facial recognition)
  • If you kill a target, you get their target
  • The winner is the last one standing

The tech

  • Node.js
  • MongoDB
  • HTML / CSS / JavaScript
  • Cordova
  • Lambda Labs facial recognition
  • OpenLayers / OpenStreetMap
  • Clockwork SMS

All the source code for the hack day code is available on github, let me know if you’d like me to go into detail on any of the aspects.

What next?

We’re planning to release a new version of Appsassin for public consumption. Until then, you can watch our video of us playing it (professionally produced by team member @edhiley, including the music).


A special thanks again to all the sponsors of the event and everyone involved in the organising and running. A huge success, again.