My story started at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoon. Since I found myself without having already purchased a ticket, and with all the slots technically full, I had signed up to volunteer a couple of shifts in hopes of getting in (spoiler, it worked). Anyway, I headed down quite early to start helping set up. I got to experience bringing a few thousand cans of red bull up to storage. After that I helped set out drinks and snacks (of which there were a ludicrous amount) before heading over to help with registration. I got to sit at a desk and watch as 1200 eager nerds filed past me into basketball arena for the kickoff ceremony, and (thankfully) was able to register myself as a competitor in a moment of downtime. Watching students come in from All over was pretty cool, and I even saw a fellow TL user, but he never answered my pm (humanimal, why!).
After all of this, I took off my staff shirt and headed to the 4th floor to find a seat next to my friends. Seeing the box sections of the Big House packed with computers and people was pretty great. I arrived too late to get dinner, but it was ok since I got some pizza while I was staffing the registration. I started right into my project, which is called Live Report Companion. The goal is to be able to generate a live report from some simple such as the player names, format, date and time. I did get it to work, and I will be releasing it thursday at the latest, after I fix some bugs (Thanks R1CH). I had sort of thought out what I was doing, so I jumped right into making the parts that I could do.
I programmed the whole thing in Java because I have some experience in it, and its not to onerous to create a GUI using NetBeans. At the core of the program was a class that could get the source code of a TLPD page and get player information from it. Coding started officially at midnight, and I kind of fucked around for a few hours between talking to friends and making classes that were easier/tedious, so I really didn't get down to this until around 4 or 5 AM. I was able to get it to work, but noticed it would sometimes return a 503 error, which I chalked up to my internet being faulty (it had been a problem). However, when I finally got most of the package together, I realized it would give me that error every time that I tried to get information for 2 players in the same program. It turns out that TLPD limits the amount of requests to it in a certain time period, and the limit is pretty low. At this point I I figured my program might just fail completely.
Luckily, we have the same information in multiple places. After while I figured out that I could get a very similar set of information from Liquipedia. Using many of the same methods, I was able to get the required information and write the rest of the class. Making a GUI in NetBeans was a bit frustrating at first, but once I had a knowledgeable friend explain how to conceptualize it to me, I was able to get the hang of it. Although it wouldn't win any prizes due to not taking advantage of very current technology and being a somewhat obscure application, I was (and still am) quite proud of the result. 1000+ lines of code later, I finally got some sleep at 4AM on Sunday.
To address all of the other stuff that happened in between coding, I can totally see why there are people that fly around the country doing these. The atmosphere was just amazing. I was constantly running into friends, inquiring about their projects, and learning all kinds of new stuff. Not to mention fun side activities like guest lectures from companies like google and playing on the official field (where I successfully kicked a field goal). The event was crazy and I was glad to be a part of it.
On another note, after this event I am 100% confident that I am in the right major. I'm hooked on dev, and I can't wait to make more cool stuff. Stay tuned for how I plan to use computers to put lichter out of a job.