September 7, 2020 TCO Regional Event SEA & Oceania 2020 Recap

The legendary Greek philosopher Aristotle once said “Man is by nature a social animal”. We cannot live without each other and we are most comfortable when we’re connected, sharing strong emotions and stories. This is one of the main reasons why Topcoder organizes TCO Regional Events, to get members connected with each other, meeting in person, sharing stories, skills and knowledge, or just to have fun doing social activities for a day. 

Topcoder has been visiting South East Asia for a few years now, which started in 2015 for the TCO Design Finals. TCO Regional events were held in Indonesia for three consecutive years (2016 to 2018), and this year (2020), Topcoder is doing a big move by having a large scale TCO Regional for twelve countries in the South East Asia and Oceania region.

It’s not surprising that Topcoder holds regional events in this area because 10% of Topcoder’s task force/community members are in the SouthEast Asia and Oceania region. That means more than 150,000 members are from this region, considering Topcoder currently has 1.5Millions + members in total based on the latest community statistics.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic happening around the world, travelling has become impossible for most of us. There was initial concern that the TCO Regional event would be cancelled. Fortunately, that did not happen! This year, the Topcoder Regional Event still happened, but as a virtual event.

The TCO Regional Event for South East Asia and Oceania Regional happened on August 2, 2020 and was fully packed with fun virtual activity for a full day. The event organizers, Harshit (hmehta) and Jessie (jmpld40), brilliantly set up the virtual event to be exciting and fun, with scavenger hunts, fun competitions (UI Prototype, Bug Hunt, and UI Design), to various online games, you name it! The participants received exclusive Topcoder SWAG and there were cash prizes available for all challenge winners, very exciting! 

The TCO Regional Event for SEA and Oceania was managed using a tool called Hopin. This new tool offered a virtual event experience with a lot of features that are similar to the onsite event like the main stage where all audiences gathered to watch the ceremony, sessions for specific activities in a virtual room, and booths where sponsors showcased their products. 

The Regional Event start at 10 AM GMT+8 (local time) with an opening ceremony and introduction from Community Admins (adroc, jmpld40, hmehta, nick.castillo) and supporting staff (DaraK and cendhika) in the main stage on Hopin application. 

Harshit explained why the event was being held virtually, how the event would work and how to enjoy it. Jessie and Adam also welcomed everyone to the event.

The audience for this event consisted of Topcoder members that are actively competing in the platform and are listed on the Regional leaderboard, so it was not open for all members in the SEA & Oceania region. You must be active in the Topcoder platform in order to get the exclusive invitation, so please remember this, because this is the requirement if you want to get invited to the TCO Regional Event in the future.

Once the opening ceremony was over, members chose to join sessions such as Design Workshop or to participate in a Bug Hunt competition. In the design workshop, Adam Morehead, Topcoder Community Vice President, explained about visual design theory and in the Bug Hunt competition, competitors were asked to perform exploratory testing for Functional/Security/User Interface/UX/Content issues against one web application and two mobile applications (Android app and iOS app). The Bug Hunt challenge ran for around three hours, with $200 total prizes available.

At 11:15AM GMT+8, members with a design background were invited to join a design competition session. Adam and DaraK prepared a new design tournament format called bracket challenge tournament. This tournament format was originally used in the TCO19 Final where participants battled versus other participants in a one on one design duel using a bracket format. 

For the SEA & Oceania design competition tournament, there were six challenges prepared with various problems, which were:

The bracket tournament had a fast timeline where the Seed/Qualifications round ran for one hour and the other rounds (from round 1 to round 5) ran thirty minutes each. The design bracket tournament offered cash prizes for four winners (1st place $500, 2nd place $250, 3rd and 4th place each $150) that survived until the end. 

The Seed/Qualification challenge ran for one hour with forty-four members registered to the challenge. In this challenge, participants needed to design one screen for a tablet device to be used in a warehouse. The fast timeline proved challenging for some designers and in the end only twenty-four members were able to submit their design to the challenge.

At 12:30 GMT+8, the event took a break for around two hours. While waiting for the event to start again, audiences were able to join and try online some fun online games.

All these games offered great gameplay and the winners received Topcoder goodies. A lot of the event participants tried to become winners, I really loved the enthusiasm and atmosphere here!

After game and break time finished, the event and competitions continued with the start of the UI Prototype competition with total prizes of $300 available in the challenge and the announcement of the design bracket tournament seed/qualification results where all twenty-four members that submitted passed the seed/qualification challenge. The top eight placements directly advanced to Round 2 and the other sixteen members competed in Round 1. 

As a reminder, the Bracket Challenge main competitions for the SEA & Oceania event consisted of five rounds, each round running for one hour (thirty minutes submission phase and thirty minutes review) and each round using a single elimination style. After five exciting hours, the SEA & Oceania Bracket Challenge wrapped and the winners were selected. Congratulations to all Bracket Challenge winners!! Here are the Bracket challenge Winners and complete results:

Design Winners

While the Design Bracket tournament was the main highlight in the event, the other activities were also really fun. We got a lot of participation in both the UI Prototype and Bug Hunt challenges and a lot of good submissions. However, at the end of the day, only the best submissions can win, so congratulations to all winners in UI Prototype/Development and Bug Hunt challenges:

UI Prototype Winners
Bug Hunt Winners

The TCO Regional Event SEA & Oceania ran virtually for more than nine hours, but it was really fun and enjoyable. Thank you to the event organizers hmehta, jmpld40, and adroc for the effort to get this regional event running. And last but not least, thank you to all members (eriantoongko, idblack, lunarkid, cendhika, winterflame, DaraK) that helped the TCO Regional Event SEA & Oceania 2020 run so smoothly, you are all awesome! See you guys again in the TCO Regional next year (2021), and hopefully in an onsite event! Till then, please stay safe, be healthy, and let’s continue Topcoder-ing! 


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