BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The class was about to start and in typical fashion, students spent the last seconds hunched over their cell phones. Instead of scrolling through text messages or watching cat videos, however, students in the Illinois Wesleyan University “Software Development” course were making last-minute checks on the iPhone games they’d designed and were about to present.
Teams of students were tasked with coming up with ideas for iPhone games utilizing Xcode, an Apple code development program. To use this program, they had to draw on their knowledge of Apple’s programming language Swift, a language new to the students at the beginning of the semester.
After voting on the most promising proposals, students perfected the best ideas and presented them to their classmates in a sort of focus group test of new products. One of the games was “Swift Hero,” the creation of Jacob Nowakowski ’17. Inspired by the music video game “Guitar Hero” and recalling how much he enjoyed playing rhythm-based games like “Tap Tap Revolution” in high school study hall, Nowakowski (Crystal Lake, Ill.) drew on his love of music to design and program “Swift Hero.”
Classmate Sydney Cucerzan ’18 spent even more time – she estimates close to 40 hours – on her game “Shooting Star.” Fascinated with space, she wanted to create a game that was simple yet challenging. “I was heavily influenced by another game called “Powder” and I also drew from [mobile game] “Flappy Bird,” a hard game that was so frustrating yet you were addicted at the same time,” said Cucerzan, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn. ...