CIA and CWRU students collaborate on iPhone game ChromaWaves
Issue date: 3/5/10 Section: Focus
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EECS 390, Advanced Game Design, is offered every fall to both Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Institute of Art students. There is no instructio - students are expected to know basic game design skills from their previous courses - and the classroom serves only as a meeting place for students to collaborate on the semester-long class project. In the past, projects have typically been XBox games, so this fall's iPhone app was a bit of an experiment. It turned out to be a success. The students were able to produce a finished, working, and even marketable game by the end of the semester; in fact, ChromaWaves is expected to launch within the next few weeks. All proceeds will benefit Child's Play, a nonprofit organization that donates games to young hospital patients.
The idea of the game is to protect a "core" in the center of the screen by shooting down approaching "enemies." To destroy one of the amoeba-like enemies, the player must flick the core in the enemy's direction while simultaneously pressing buttons corresponding to the enemy's color. The buttons function as a sort of palette: blue and yellow must be pressed together to attack a green enemy, yellow and red for an orange enemy, etc. In this way ChromaWaves takes advantage of one of the most appealing features of the iPhone and iPod Touch: multitouch capabilities.
The students involved said this year's success could be partly attributed to the project's small scale in comparison to previous years. Another contributing factor was the exceptional work ethic: this year's team members were more dedicated than past students, and they were all willing to work on the project as much as necessary outside of class, even during the following spring semester. In fact, senior mechanical engineering student Jesse Lee was not enrolled in the class, but donated his time to help CIA student Andrew Kuhar put together the game's soundtrack note by note.