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Hackfort 2017 Lineup + Events

Get ready for an exciting year at Hackfort! The two-day digital humanities conference has announced the full lineup of speakers, panels, roundtable discussions and workshops planned for Friday (3/24) and Saturday (3/25) during Treefort. Hackfort will be primarily located on the 5th floor of JUMP with a few events at The Egyptian Theatre and Trailhead.

    Join the speakers, staff and sponsors of Hackfort 2017 to kick-off and celebrate this year’s awesome lineup on Thursday (3/23) at Woodland Empire. Enter with your Hackfort Badge, mingle with the speaker you’re most excited about and enjoy Happy Hour prices all night. Doors open only to Hackfort badgeholders at 8 p.m.
  • KEYNOTE: TECHNOLOGY & THE TOOLS OF SOCIETY – Dex Torricke-Barton, founder of Onwards
    Dex Torricke, founder of Onwards, is kicking off Hackfort as our keynote speaker. Drawing on his experience working for Google, Oculus, Facebook and SpaceX, Dex will be talking about how technology is changing society, giving us the tools solve fundamental human challenges.
  • COMPOSING MUSIC FOR VIDEO GAMES – Alex Hackford of PlayStation/Sony with Michna
    PlayStation’s Director of A&R for Music Affairs Alex Hackford is one of the top music supervisors in the gaming industry. He will be leading an onstage discussion with DJ Michna about the process of choosing and adapting music for the quirky and majestic PS4 game, HOHOKUM.
  • FIVETHIRTYEIGHT LIVE – Nate Silver & FiveThirtyEight Team
    Political and sports forecast site FiveThirtyEight, also known as Nate Silver’s Political Calculus, will be hosting a live podcast at Hackfort. Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight team will talk about how we can use data to make sense of politics and policy from the local to national level. This is a Hackfort badge priority event.

    Join members of the FiveThirtyEight team to discuss and learn tips on how to start your own podcast in a roundtable talk. This is a Hackfort badge priority event. Signups will open once the Hackfort schedule is announced.
    Moderated by local developer Jim Bradbury (Black Box VR), this panel of all-stars will be discussing the guidelines, nuances and challenges for writing strong narration for PC, Console & VR games. Panelists include Ann Lemay (Mass Effect 3), Sabrina Jacques (Eagle Flight VR), Toiya Finley (Fat Chicken) and Cory Davis (Here They Lie VR).
  • BOARD GAME HACK – CARVR & Citizen Scientific Workshop
    CARVR, in conjunction with Citizen Scientific Workshop, will be leading a two-hour board game hack, in which attendees are invited to create a board game from scratch, given components from other games and new building pieces/rules/guidelines. This is an all ages event.
  • UTILIZING MUSIC DATA – Britnee Foreman of Next Big Sound at Pandora
    One of the forefront companies in music streaming, Next Big Sound at Pandora leverage huge amounts of user data to ascertain what song you want to hear next on your randomized listener station. Britnee Foreman, head of client experience, will be discussing how both musicians and listeners can utilize this data to make more informed decisions.
    Recently reviewed by PC Gamer as ‘the industry’s most eclectic studio’, publishing studio Devolver Digital has become well-known for their mix of awesome games. From Hotline Miami 2 (Boise’s own Magic Sword is on their soundtrack!), to The Talos Principle, Devolver has its fingers in many gaming pies. Founder Mike Wilson and Andie Grace will be leading a roundtable discussion about the foibles and fortune of publishing indie games.
  • LAPTOP REBUILD WORKSHOP – Brook Lacey of Tech Savvy
    Join Brooke Lacey of Tech Savvy for a workshop in which you’ll learn to disassemble and reassemble. She will educate us on what each part is responsible for and how all the parts fit together. Participants are welcome to bring a laptop, or laptops will be provided.
  • THE WORLD OF AUGMENTED REALITY – Paul Reynolds of Vertex Labs
    One of the hottest topics on the tech industry right now is augmented reality. From Magic Leap to Microsoft, numerous companies are building for this under-realized platform. Vertex Labs, built by CEO and founder Paul Reynolds, is creating tools and technology for AR. Reynolds will be talking at Hackfort about how this medium will ultimately transform the tech industry.
  • THE INS & OUTS OF LEVERAGING BIG DATA – Marshall Simmonds of Define Media Group
    Marshall Simmonds is the Founder of Define Media Group, a company that specializes in SEO consulting and advising, and will be speaking at Hackfort about internet big data. He’ll be teaching Hackfort attendees how to use online tools to interact with audiences, fans, clients and communities. Leveraging big data allows for deeper analysis and helps identify trends for business and personal use.
    Once a Boise local, Marianna Budnikova has turned her passion for augmented reality into a burgeoning career. She will be joining Hackfort to discuss the possibilities that mixed reality can bring, what Microsoft HoloLens is and what you can create with it. She will also demonstrate to start building mixed reality prototypes with HoloLens.
  • BUILDING ANA – Don Winiecki
    Don Winiecki is the Professor of Ethics & Morality in Professional Practice at the College of Engineering at Boise State University. He has created a computer program, titled ANA, which autonomously draws and paints in a limited genre blending naturalistic skylines with abstract expressionism. Don will be describing the genesis of ANA, as well as displaying some of its workings.


    The leading production company in building hand-crafted animation and the makers of timeless movies like Coraline, Paranorman, Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, Laika is an unparalleled company. Director of Rapid Prototype Brian McLean will be coming out to give a keynote about their use of 3D printers to create their life-like puppets.
  • COFFEE & CONVERSATIONS – Dex Torricke-Barton, Ann Lemay & Eric Barone
    Hackfort will be mixing it up with a series of Coffee & Conversations, where attendees will have the opportunity to sit down in a small group setting with select speakers and ask specific questions over a cup of coffee or tea. Featured speakers include Dex Torricke-Barton (SpaceX, Google, Facebook), Ann Lemay (co-writer of Mass Effect 3) and Stardew Valley builder Eric Barone. These events are sign-up only. Hackfort badge holders get first priority and availability is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. Signups will begin once the Hackfort schedule is announced.
  • STOP-MOTION ANIMATION LAB – David Ultis & Brian McLean
    David Ultis with Citizen Scientific Workshop and Brian McLean of Laika will be hosting a Stop-Motion Lab in which attendees will be creating a community-made stop-motion animation short film by challenging everyone who participates to fill in their own unique effects and movements in the culmination of a community-created final project. This is a family friendly workshop.
  • HARDWARE HACK – Tristan Andreas
    Tristan Andreas returns to lead the fourth annual Hackfort Hardware Workshop. This is a hands-on activity, where participants will build functional instruments to keep and play. Soldering skills are optional as participants will be guided by experienced builders. In past workshops, participants have built acoustic and electronic instruments including noise drones, drum machines, kalimbas, and monochords. In 2017, we will have new kits that are as fun to build as they are to play.
  • VR & THE ART PARADIGM – Agatha Yu of Oculus
    Recently purchased by Facebook, Oculus has become one of the frontrunners of the virtual reality race, pushing both its VR headset called the Oculus Rift as well as producing content through its Oculus Story Studio. Agatha Yu, product development manager, will be discussing how virtual reality is impacting art at large; pushing it from a paper paradigm to a world dominated by 3D design and 3D modeling.
  • DIRECTING FOR VIRTUAL REALITY – Sabrina Jacques of Ubisoft
    Hackfort is honored to bring out Sabrina Jacques, cinematic director & narrative designer for Ubisoft Montreal, who will be sharing her experiences in leading the team for the VR experience Eagle Flight, discussing the technical challenges of directing for VR and the exciting possibilities this new technology has to offer.
    Boise’s all-girl powered FIRST Robotics Competition Rookie Team, Chickadees, will be hosting a Lego Robotics Workshop and displaying some components of their next robot build. Details soon to come for sign-ups.
    Magic: The Gathering is the oldest and most successful collectable card game. Not only has it survived far past original expectations, it defined the genre. Since its inception in 1993, it has developed robust game-play and a massive following, all of which is supported by a complex and highly technical multi-billion-dollar financial market revolving around the sale and trade of the cards. Bringing industry experts to Hackfort, this panel includes judges, store owners and long-time market followers to explain the complexity and larger picture of this seemingly simple game.
  • NARRATION IN PC, CONSOLE & VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES – Jim Bradbury, Ann Lemay, Sabrina Jacques, Toiya Finley & Cory Davis
    Moderated by local developer Jim Bradbury (Black Box VR), this panel of all-stars will be discussing the guidelines, nuances and challenges for writing strong narration for PC, Console & VR games. Panelists include Ann Lemay (Mass Effect 3), Sabrina Jacques (Eagle Flight VR), Toiya Finley (Fat Chicken) and Cory Davis (Here They Lie VR).
    In additional to VYNYL’s augmented reality experience at Treefort Music Fest and Hackfort, VYNYL President Ian Harris will share his insight into the use of VR and AR (Mixed reality) in the context of large group experiences such as concerts, conventions, spectator sports, and other events. The presentation will include a live demonstration with audience participation – examples of past successes and failures, new and experimental uses, and what the future may hold for these technologies.
    Michael Wilson of Ponywolf and Scott Meyer of Mutated Software will be representing the group Idaho Game Developers. The duo will be demoing their latest creations and talking about the triumphs and pitfalls of being a developer in Boise.
  • MAKERSPACE PANEL: TOOLS, TRICKS & THE FUTURE OF HARDWARE – Amy Vecchione, Brooke Lacey, Dave Ultis, Scott Schmader & Graham Carter
    Join Boise-native makers as they talk about how they got started, their favorite tools and projects, and what they’re looking forward to the future bringing to the craft! Amy Vecchione (Boise State University) will be moderating and panelists will include Brooke Lacey (Tech Savvy), David Ultis (Citizen Scientific Workshop), Scott Schmader (Creative Technologies Association) and Graham Carter (UP Makerspace).
    Robin Arnott, the artist behind the experimental technodelic SoundSelf, draws inspiration from meditation, ceremony, and neuroscience to introduce a new frame for understanding interactivity: trance. Every experience invites its users to surrender themselves to a trance state. Understanding trance gives us the key to a wholly new experience – the first true digital psychedelics.
  • AI NERF WARS – Glen Colby
    Join Glen Colby of Healthwise in a class that will be using Javascript to create a simple AI script to control the actions of an actual person in the world’s most over-engineered nerf gun battle. Up to 8 teams will compete in a fully scripted live nerf battle. Participants should have basic Javascript knowledge. Signups will be announced soon.
    The Idaho Virtual Reality Council (IVRC) and Hackfort are excited to announce the 2017 Immerse-a-thon, a virtual and augmented reality hackathon. This will be an overnight event held at Trailhead on March 11-12. The event theme is Musical Mischief. Teams can range from one to six members. There is a $25 registration fee per team, and food, drink, and t-shirts for all participants will be provided. Registration, prizes, rules, and sign-up instructions will be available starting 2/1.
    Bring the family out the last day of Treefort Music Fest for a screening of Laika’s Oscar nominee Kubo and the Strings. This Filmfort-Hackfort crossover is an event free to the community and fun for the whole family. This event has limited space available.

    Featured at Yogafort, this crossover VR piece is a project that explores the process behind resetting, refining and presenting a dance performance and seeks to promote new avenues for audiences to be transported by the art of choreography and movement.
    Never experienced virtual reality? Excited about the potential of augmented reality? Eager to see what Boise natives are building and creating? Our expo hall is your chance to get your hands on some awesome experiences – VR and beyond. Expo participants include Stardew Valley, Bion, Curious Media, VYNYL and many more! Open 10am – 6pm, Friday, (3/24) and Saturday (3/25).
    The Meridian Library District’s program unBound will be leading a hands-on workshop with Cubelets. These modular units can be assembled into hundreds of combinations creating simple robots. Cubelets are a great tool for teaching robotics and coding to kids as young as age four, but are a lot of fun for anyone with an interest in modular building. This is an all ages event.
    Join the BoiseLAN crew for two full days of gaming, fragging, fun and hanging out with other gamers. BoiseLAN parties start Saturday (3/25) and will run through the night until Sunday (3/26). This event will be at Trailhead. Signups will begin once the Hackfort schedule is announced and Hackfort badgeholders will be emailed a signup link.
  • STEMbusUSA
    The 60-foot interactive STEMbus brings hands-on STEM activities to Hackfort, featuring the latest technology including virtual reality and robotics. They’ll also be doing science demonstrations outside of the bus using liquid nitrogen!


To learn more about the events, the speakers and panelists, check out the Hackfort page here.

You won’t want to miss all of the fun to be had at Hackfort this year so scoop up your Hackfort pass today! With a Hackfort pass, you gain access to all the classes and events on the schedule plus entry into unique crossover events with other forts!

Get your Hackfort pass now for only $30 (plus fees) here or swing by the Record Exchange!


And while you’re at it, save $20 on a Treefort 2017 Pass before March 1st!