Students develop game for Android devices


Yimeng Han

Juniors Prem Nair, Ameya Khare and Shrav Mehta test their game on a Google Nexus phone. Titled “Candybot,” the project took a year to develop and is almost ready for release. Photo by Margaret Lin.

Candy, robots, and physics. Juniors Ameya Khare, Shrav Mehta and Prem Nair have managed to combine all three into a new application, “Candybot.” In development since July 2011, the game is now in the final stages and will soon be ready for beta testing.

Inspired by the puzzle-solving genre, the three friends began creating the game with limited experience and no help from adults.

“I just googled [how to code], no formal trading no class, nothing,” Nair said. “Because we took this project we were able to learn so much. You have to have a goal in mind and then you have to research how to get to that goal … If I was just doing random stuff I wouldn’t have learned as much.”

Throughout the course of development, they figured out how create a physics engine, optimize code so that the game ran smoothly and fix numerous glitches. Because they stuck with Android, they also had to take different screen resolutions into account in order for the game to work on a variety of devices.

“On the surface it looks really simple,” Khare said. “But once you get into the coding it’s really difficult.”

Despite some problems with low frame rates, the three were able to create a game with polished two-dimensional graphics. The objective of “Candybot” is using a robot to efficiently push a piece of candy to a goal, but although the candy is susceptible to gravity, the robot isn’t. Enemies, more complex environments, and other obstacles are introduced as the game progresses.

“You get points based on the number of moves you make in the level,” Mehta said. “You [start off by getting] three or two stars, and you get one star just for completing the level, and it gets harder and harder.”

Android was the chosen platform because it cost less to register (only $25 compared to iOS’s $99). Although the game will be free, the juniors hope to make money using advertisements — if it’s a success, they might even develop a version for iOS. Profit, however, isn’t their main goal. The three are glad just to have a finished product.

“The best part is just the end result,” Mehta said. “When you’ve managed to accomplish coding something and it works.”

To learn more about Candybot, visit its Facebook page or Embed Labs.