Students Win at HackBI

Congratulations to PVI students Paulo Korowajczuk Nader, Julia Korowajczuk Nader, and Allen Riotto, along with a non-PVI student, the winners of the Best Overall Category at the HackBI on January 27-28, 2024 at Bishop Ireton High School.
HackBI is a 24-hour hackathon by students, for students to learn things, collaborate with others, and make ideas come to life! Students have 24 hours to learn a variety of new things through various workshops, collaborate, and create a project. HackBI was open to all high schoolers, who do a full 24 hours of hacking, and middle schoolers, who hack for a day. ​Hackathons are fun events in which teams and individuals create their own custom programming projects to showcase and potentially win prizes.

The PVI team created a game called "Circuit Breakers,” which explored the question: What would happen if you were stranded in a dystopian future with menacing androids on your tail? In this game, players defeat evil androids and stay alive as long as possible.

The team shared the following about their inspiration, process, and challenges:

Inspiration: The dungeon crawler genre of video games inspired us heavily. At first, we intended to create a dungeon crawler where the enemies would learn your play style and adapt. However, this was deemed too complex and time-consuming, so we had to pivot from our original idea. We challenged ourselves by creating our own AI in the project rather than utilizing an already built AI.

What it does: The game’s goal is to survive as long as possible in a dystopian future against heinous robots. You can upgrade your weapon and buy powerups with scrap that you get from progressing through the game.

How we built it: This project was made in Unity (C#) with some publicly available assets from (Screaming Brain Studios and

Challenges we ran into: We greatly overestimated how much we would get done. We initially intended to have random level generation, custom entities that adapt to the player, and a dozen custom weapons. In the end, however, after 24 grueling hours of coding, we barely finished 20% of our initial estimate.

Accomplishments that we're proud of: Most of the sprites were made by team member Julia, and they look fantastic. The movement and shop were both challenging things that we believe we executed superbly. As previously stated, we created our own AI that tracked input from the players, analyzed that data on a set of parameters, then changed the enemy types and play style to directly counter the player’s preferred play style. This AI was completed, but we could not finish all the enemy types in time.

What we learned: We learned that Github is very finicky when it comes to merging conflict, and most of us expanded our C# and Unity knowledge. It was very interesting to learn about ScriptableObjects and how they work.

What's next for Circuit Breakers: If we were to continue, we would want to fulfill the goal of our initial vision. On top of fixing pathfinding quirks, we would add randomly generated levels, player-adapting enemies, and many more weapons.

Try it out: GitHub Repo
St. Paul VI Catholic High School is a private Diocesan Catholic preparatory school for girls and boys in grades 9-12 in Chantilly, Virginia, seeking to help our students Grow in Grace and Wisdom. Our school is part of the Diocese of Arlington and offers rigorous academics, an inclusive community focused on spiritual and leadership formation, and a proud athletic tradition featuring nationally renowned programs competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.

St. Paul VI Catholic High School is an accredited member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.