There's an app for that

''Green Geezer''

Additional images

June 8, 2010

Today it takes no more than a few minutes to download an application to your smartphone.

But building one. . . that’s a different story.  Just ask the students of Bradley’s Interactive Media 313 class, who showed off their final projects – totally original mobile phone games – in a showcase at the Caterpillar Global Communications Center.

“We probably worked on this project for 20 hours a week throughout the entire semester,” said Gus Childs a junior in the class. “It was like having another part-time job.  We all did way more work than we thought was possible.”

For the curriculum of the class, professor Jim Ferolo broke his students into two teams and tasked each with building a functional interactive game to be downloaded and played on mobile phones.  The two games that his students came up with will eventually be released to the Google Apps store and available for download on phones using the Android operating system.

“I think this showed just how big of a time commitment a project like this is,” Ferolo said. “There were a lot of comments like, ‘We never realized how long it would take to do something so simple.”

Ferolo said the class chose not to create the games for the iTunes store because the iPhone does not run Flash, which is used in the games.

The two teams in the class, named Fast Rocket and DJ DAK, came up with one game each and demonstrated them at Wednesday’s open house showing.  Fast Rocket’s “Green Geezer” features an old man attempting to clean the environment by recycling dirty cars, while the other, DJ DAK’s “Egyptian Bug Slayer” requires the player to mummify the a skeleton while fighting off a number of different attacking insects.

Ferolo said the goal is for both games to be available for free download this summer.

In their presentations, many students explained that they had never been a part of such an involved project, but said the class gave them a chance to gain a great deal of real-world, hands-on experience.

 “This gave me a chance to learn a lot about the software I was working with, but more importantly it helped me learn how to properly lead a team,” said Childs, who was the team leader of Fast Rocket. “None of us had ever been a part of a group project of this caliber before or been pushed as hard as [Ferolo] pushes us, so I think this really taught us how to succeed.”

In addition to generating the idea for the game and building each of its components, the students also wrote their own music and designed Web sites explaining the history and instructions of each game.