The Great Canadian Appathon is This Weekend!

great canadian appathonAre you a Canadian post-secondary student? Do you think you (or better still, you and a team of your fellow students) whip up a mobile game in 48 hours? Are you looking for something to do this weekend, something where you could end up with a published app, some fame and prizes? Then the Great Canadian Appathon, which takes place this weekend, is right up your alley.

Toronto-based mobile game shop XMG Studio, along with the National Post, Telus and KPMG are holding this event. As the folks behind the phone with what I believe to be the easiest development frameworks for apps and games – Windows Phone 7 with Silverlight and XNA – we’ve stepped up and are the official platform sponsor of the Great Canadian Appathon.

The Appathon isn’t just about building a great game, but also doing so within a limited timeframe. Competing teams can’t start developing until Friday, March 11th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern and are working towards a deadline set at 48 hours later: Sunday, March 13th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Teams can be up to 4 students and can compete either at specific Appathon venues located in several colleges and universities across Canada (which will be providing the appropriate hacker food and energy drinks) or in the comfort of their own room.

The importance of participating in competitions like the Appathon is greater than you might think. For starters, participating in such an exercise will help bring you closer to the 10,000 hours you need to become an expert in software development (if you’re not familiar with the 10,000 Hour Rule, you should read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers). The time constraint will be a challenge, but things like that will help give you the necessary experience to handle the sorts of stressful situations that you’ll encounter in the working world. There’s also the matter of prizes. And finally, contests are a great way to get noticed by potential employers, even if you don’t place first, second or third. Kristan “Krispy” Uccelo, a friend of mine, placed 4th in a node.js contest and was contacted by Google – he’s got a pretty nice job with them now.

If you’d like to participate in the Great Canadian Appathon, your team should sign up by 5:00 p.m. this Friday, March 11th. And may we suggest that you build a game for Windows Phone 7?

Windows Phone 7 Developer Resources

If you’re planning on competing in the Appathon, you might want to check out these phone developer resources:

  • App Hub. This is the first place you should go if you’re getting started with Windows Phone 7. You can download the developer tools here, along with tutorials, example code and more.
  • Programming Windows Phone 7 ebook. Charles Petzold, the guy who literally wrote the book on Windows development, has put together a great FREE ebook on Windows Phone development, and it does a great and very thorough job of covering both Silverlight and XNA frameworks.
  • C# Yellow Book 2010 and Windows Phone 7 Blue Book. If you’re new to the C# programming language, worry not! It’s easily picked up by anyone who’s worked with an object-oriented programming language, and author and computer programming instructor Rob Miles has made it even easier with the C# 2010 Yellow Book, which is free. Also free is his Windows Phone 7 Blue Book, the perfect companion for the Yellow Book.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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