Unity HackWeek and Women in Gaming

With Hackweek being officially over I’d like to let you guys in on my experience. Just as for Unite Berlin I had the massive honor to be an invited guest for Unity’s Hackweek in Nyborg, Denmark.

You might ask yourself “So, what is Hackweek?”. It’s basically a week-long “vacation” organized by Brett Bibby and Kjartan Ólafsson for Unity employees where they get to work in teams on a project they are interested in. On the last day of the event, there is a presentation where every group shows off their project in a short video clip (and a great party :-)).

In the past years these Hackweeks have been an internal Unity event with not many externals as invited guests but this year they decided to pair Hackweek with a Women in Gaming event. This, fortunately, led to me getting the amazing opportunity of participating.

If you have been following me for a while you might know that I have a rather “unpopular” opinion on some Women in Gaming events, those kinds of contests held only for women. In my opinion, those events do nothing for inclusivity but rather make it seem as if women can’t win regular contests so they deserve a pity price, but that’s just how I feel about it. Now, why do I mention this here? The Women in Gaming event Unity paired with Hackweek was a very different thing and, if you ask me, a step in the right direction to work on inclusivity and make the gaming industry seem more accessible for everyone. It wasn’t a closed event where only women attended and did their own thing but it was rather a bunch of ladies that were treated just like every other Hackweek attendee. We got to choose a project of our liking and just join any team we were interested in joining in.

Lotte and Addie, who both are amazing ladies you should definitely follow EVERYWHERE, got to do something probably every programmer who works with Unity dreams of. The got to work with Unity source code and got to make their own features for the editor. (Click here to see Lottes tweets about it!)

Joyce (another amazing lady who managed to become basically my best friend in just two short weeks – Follow her!) and I decided to work together on a project that isn’t published anywhere yet, therefore, I can’t really tell you much about it but Joyce is going to share our contribution to it separately at one point on her social media (I’ll link it here and retweet it once she does!).

In regards to the Women in Gaming aspect of the event, I’d also like to mention Anders Peter Kierbye Johanson who basically organized this part of the event and was our go-to person if we had any questions or needed anything. (We should have totally called him the Dad of the group).
I obviously can’t talk for everyone but in my opinion and based on what the other ladies told me: we all loved him and he made us feel welcome and took care of us, asking us how we were and catching up on us whenever he saw us running around somewhere.
Therefore a big thank you for organizing this and putting all his heart into it should go to him.
(Here is a Unity blog post he wrote on the event.)

Hacking and Women in Gaming wasn’t everything, there were also inspiring and informative talks scheduled for the first four days Unity employees held on Leadership and the features they work on. So you not only had the chance to randomly go up to someone and ask them everything but you could also listen to great talks in a much smaller setting than Unite f.e. was. I, for example, loved the talk about MARS (which was announced at the Keynote at Unity) by Timoni West and two of the engineers in her team and I now feel super prepared and pumped for when it finally comes out.

I obviously can’t leave without mentioning the beautiful venue this event was held in, even though it’s not the most important part. I won’t say much and just share some pictures of the beach and the Party we had on the last day:

So what do I take away from this? I can honestly say that going to an event like this felt truly intimidating to me at first but once I arrived I quickly realized that there was no reason to be intimidated at all and that’s mostly due to everyone being so nice, interested and open to help. I feel like you could have asked the most ridiculous question and no one would have judged you. I also talked to some Unity employees about this and about what working for Unity is like and I can tell you that much, if you weren’t jealous for their jobs yet, you should be. It seems as if Unity is an amazing company to work for.

This event paired together with Unite Berlin right before was quite eye-opening for me. I made some decisions to change things that weren’t going as smoothly in my life and to see things from a different perspective from now on. I want to give you guys more things to work with and be a better “Influencer” (still not sold on this term), giving you a wider spectrum of content.

It’s no secret that I used to love Unity as an engine but now I love Unity as a company.

I am blown away by everything that has happened to me during the last two weeks and I feel so thankful for each and everyone that made that possible and who became my friend over the course of this.

P.S – I know this sounds like a love letter to Unity (should have called it that!) but hey, honor to whom honor is due, right?

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