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Three NKU Students Create New Mobile App Game

Students from three different colleges at NKU worked together to create an iPhone game application that may soon be on the market.

Tyler Frazier, a student at Chase College of Law, came up with the idea of building the app for Box-Off, a game where players take turns connecting adjacent dots to see how many boxes each of them can complete.

Alex Krebiehl, a student in the College of Informatics, handled the computer programming for the project and Nick Brummer from the College of Arts & Sciences was graphic designer for the software.

Frazier said the game has been submitted to Apple and could soon be among those offered on the company’s online app store for iPhone users around the world.

“I feel like people are going to love this game,” Frazier said. “Anyone who played this game as a child, like I did, they’re going to love it because it’s made just for them.”

Frazier paid the NKU Center for Applied Informatics (CAI) to develop the app.  Krebiehl and Brummer are student workers in that program.

Frazier expects to get a good return on the money he invested in the project. Last summer, Forbes published an online article that listed the average revenue of an iPhone app at $4,000. A highly popular game app like Candy Crush, however, can bring in millions.

“I feel like I got something people will play and people will like,” Frazier said. “In my wildest dreams, I know there’s the Candy Crush makers and all these other people who make a ton of money (on apps). I try not to think about that, but of course it would be nice.”

Chris Rider, director for the Center for Applied Informatics, put together the NKU student team that produced the Box-Off game app. They began working on it during the summer of 2013.

The CAI often does contract work for professors or external companies who have funding for their projects.  Rider can’t remember working with an NKU student who invested his own money in a venture like Frazier did.

“To me, it seemed like a fun project,” Rider said. “It was entrepreneurial in nature and I know a lot of students in our mobile app lab love games. I keep hearing from them, ‘We want to make games.’”

Krebiehl was glad to be chosen for the Box-Off project because it was something different to work on besides the academic and business apps that CAI student workers usually get.

“We did do our recon when we first started developing this and there’s no other games that look like this out there,” Krebiehl said. “I think we definitely got the punch on the look and feel of it as far as graphics goes, and I think that’s going to be a pretty big contributor to its success. People don’t want to play something that doesn’t look appealing.”

Brummer has designed game software for contests, but Box-Off was his first long-term project with a chance for commercial success. He also recorded and engineered all of the music for the game app.

“All that experience (in contests) gave me an idea of what I was getting into and I was able to develop the process here,” Brummer said. “Everything was carefully thought out, allowing me to analyze every detail.”

Frazier admits he had a very limited knowledge of technology when he first proposed the game app project. He said the CAI team guided him through the process and he was happy with the final product. 

“For a lot of it, I just kind of rolled with the punches because I wasn’t too sure about anything,” Frazier said.  “But, mostly, I loved what they were doing. Nick did a great job, he got the exact look I wanted for the game, and Alex made it work great.”

Written by Terry Boehmker, Web Marketing & Communications at NKU

Photo: Tyler Frazier, Alex Krebiehl and Nick Brummer, and Center for Applied Informatics director Chris Rider have teamed to create Box-Off, a game where players take turns connecting adjacent dots to see how many boxes each of them can complete (Tim Sofranko/NKU)