GopherCon Europe 2020: Alex & Kevin - Building a Game Engine for 300 DEFCON Hackers to Smash

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About the talk:
We wanted to host an event we had not seen before: a narrative-driven capture-the-flag (CTF) game that would immerse the players in it’s story. Since no platform existed that would facilitate the kind of direct, ongoing player interactions we wanted, we set out to build our own game engine.

We created a platform that enabled players to receive game information, objectives, hints, and scoring, from a semi-automated/interactive entity known as their “Handler”.But these were no ordinary players: with our booth at DEFCON 26 and a $10,000 grand prize on the line, we had 300+ of the best hackers on the planet motivated to beat our game however they could. This is the story of how we built the game engine that would bring the vision to life, and lessons learned from surviving the onslaught.


About the speakers:
Alex Stockwell (@astockwell) & Kevin Tyers (@WarOnShrugs)

Alex Stockwell (@astockwell) is a Sr. Security Engineer at a large healthcare organization, and the head of development for iCTF. Throughout his 15-year career, he has worked in management consulting, client services, and healthcare, focusing on software engineering, cybersecurity, IAM, and application development in Go, Ruby, and (rumor has it) even PHP. Alex has served as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, and spoken at a variety of industry conferences such as CactusCon and SANS Hackfest. Beyond his professional pursuits, Alex loves to spend time with his family, read both fiction and non, and roll jiu-jitsu.

Kevin Tyers (@WarOnShrugs) is a SANS Instructor teaching SEC504, the head of cyber intelligence engineering for a Fortune 250 company, and the head of infrastructure for iCTF. Throughout his 15-year career, he has worked in the government, telecom, health care, and financial industries focusing on network engineering/security, incident response, and tooling. He holds the GCIH, GPEN, GCIA, GNFA, GCWN, and GCUX certifications. Kevin is the cofounder of the Information Security group DC480 in Phoenix Arizona. He has spoken at a variety of public and invite-only conferences such as BSidesLV, CactusCon, and SANS Hackfest. Beyond his professional pursuits, Kevin loves to spend time with his family, make mechanical keyboards, train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and study history.

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