Pangalaktik App Camp 2012

About 3 months ago, I got a call that marked the start of an incredible experience. The call may have been a surprise, but the incredible experience wasn’t—from the time I filled out the application, I know the Pangalaktik App Camp could be something special.  

The Pangalaktik App Camp is a program organized and funded by CarnationGroup in Hungary. It consists of gathering young talent from different locations with different skill sets to build an app in a short period of time. It’s a great program for several reasons, but the main factor is the talent assembled from around the world; my fellow campers hailed from Singapore, Romania,  the Czech Republic, the US, Russia, Korea, the UK, and Hungary.

The camp is divided into 3 phases: 2 weeks pre-campus offsite, 3 weeks onsite, and 2 weeks post- campus offsite. The first 2 weeks, we worked mainly on the concept, prototypes, and the design of the creatures (“creatures?” Don’t worry, I’ll explain later). Everyone had specific tasks and feedback that made it a smooth transition to the on-campus groupwork , and on August 20, after three planes, one bus, two metros, one taxi and about 22 total hours of travelling, I got to Budapest.

The rest of the team was already there waiting for me before dinner and drinks. The next day, we went to visit CarnationGroup’s super cool office, and afterwards we headed to our Campus HQ in Zamardi, a small town an hour outside of Budapest next to touristy Balaton lake. S, there we were, the 7 onsite members, in what was going to be our house/office for 3 weeks. We worked, laughed, drank, and cooked (some better than others), but most of all we shared knowledge, experiences and ideas as part of a multi-cultural group working as hard as we could to make an awesome product.

The project, Photogotchi, was essentially a camera app combined with a Tamagotchi, an 8-bit creature users care for and use to unlock achievements. Our goal was to design and develop the app in 3 weeks for iOS and WP7— so yes, as you can imagine, it was a lot of work. We are now in the post-campus phase, testing and fine-tuning little things before submitting it to the App Store and Marketplace. I am really amazed by how well my experience was organized— not only from the project point of view, but also because of the exceptional time we spent there.

I want to give special thanks to Bandi, Sjazmon, Geri, Kitty and Krisztian from the Carnation office, who worked really hard to make this an amazing experience. I can say without second thoughts that the Budapest office has great, great talent and really interesting things going on. For those of you who’ve made it though this post and still want to know more, visit the Facebook page for updates.

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