Students in the College of Charleston’s game programming class (in the Department of Computer Science) have created a new video game for Android phones. Adolfo Rico Motis (an exchange student from Mexico), Corneliu Illisescu (an exchange student from Italy), and Carlos Rodriguez Flick (an exchange student from Mexico) prototyped “Okho” while taking a computing in the arts course at the College in 2010. They returned to their home countries, continued to correspond about the game, and added it to the Android Market in early September 2011.

“Developing video games is harder than it looks,” Illisescu says. “It is very time consuming, but it is very rewarding to see it working in the end. Coming to the College of Charleston gave me the opportunity to experiment with different things. I don’t think I would have developed a game, and put it on the Android Market, if I had stayed in Italy.”

“Okho,” which means box in Russian, is inspired by the popular game Tetris, except that in this version the squares come at the player from four directions. The game is free, but uses paid advertisements for income. The game can be downloaded here:

“We probably could have done this even if we hadn’t been at the College of Charleston, but Dr. Bill Manaris’ help was invaluable,” Flick says. “He was more than a professor, he was a colleague and a friend. We had a great experience working together, thousands of miles away from home.”

Motis adds, “I am very grateful to the College of Charleston for that fall 2010 semester experience. It was unforgettable.”

The game programming class teaches students how to design, prototype and test computer games using a scripting language. This class is part of the College’s new Computing in the Arts (CITA) major. The CITA major is designed to offer students an interdisciplinary experience in computer science and the arts. CITA combines creativity, problem solving, and computational thinking through an interdisciplinary curriculum of courses offered by Computer Science, Music, Art History, Studio Art, and Theatre. This new major is managed by the Department of Computer Science and is supported by the combined faculty from computer science and the School of the Arts.