Tech

July 13, 2012

One of AFIT’s own designs top word game app

by Cindy Holbrook
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Wouldn’t it be cool to design your own app? And wouldn’t it be cool if the app was among the top 50 to be downloaded?

Maj. (Dr.) Kennard Laviers, an assistant professor of computer science in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, recently developed a new app called Anagram-it, that started out as just a game for his wife to enjoy. The app has achieved a good measure of success.

“The reason I made Anagram-it is because my wife, a longtime fan of word games, was not able to find one she liked in the app store, so it seemed like a good idea to make one,” he said. “It took me about two weeks of weekend and night-time programming to put it together using Apple’s standard software development kit. My daughter, who is 8 years old, and my wife are mentioned in the app as my software testers. They helped me in a major way to bring the app to the quality it is today.”

Laviers teaches software engineering at AFIT so the development of Anagram-it came natural to him. Anagram-it is a word puzzle game where the object of the game is to find as many sub-words as possible from a given word.

“For example, the game may ask you to find the anagrams of Kennard,” said Laviers, who also does research on artificial intelligence, cyber security with cognitive modeling, and intelligent/mobile interfaces at Wright-Patt. “I would then guess the words ‘and’, ‘red’, ‘nerd’ and so on. Anagram-it was in the top 50 for word games in the Apple app store for a few days and stayed in the top 100 for a few weeks. It continues to sell copies on a daily basis.”

Laviers taught himself to program when he was 12 years old and it has always been a hobby.

“It is something I absolutely love to do,” said Laviers, who is currently working on another app. “I do feel anyone that has a passion for programming can write an iOS application and Apple makes it very easy now to get those applications into the market. Making the programs a continued source of income, I think, requires a lot of time spent testing the application for correctness and asking people their honest opinions about what they like and don’t like about the app, and a willingness to make those changes.

Also, Facebook, Twitter and blogging regularly on the Internet helps a whole lot. My philosophy is not to ‘strike it rich’ with any one application, but just to have a lot of applications in the app store to provide a steady source of income after I retire from the Air Force in three years.”

His new app, currently referred to as Webzy, will be available in the Apple app store soon.

“This one was motivated by something we are trying to do at work,” he said. “More and more interest in the government is getting directed to the use of mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones, and we thought it would be great to look at using the iPad as a type of mobile network controller. So to motivate myself to work on my off time at home, I thought I would take the idea and make a game out of it.”

In this new game/app, users are provided a scrambled network and they have to uncross all the links before the timer runs out. If they uncross all the lines, they move up to the next level and it gets a little harder. To make it interesting, spiders crawl into the picture and try to undo the players’ work. The spiders come in and add more lines. Flies are used to distract the spiders. Players can pick their difficulty level, change sound settings, pick themes and turn on and off graphics features to speed up the game. Also, the top 10 high scores are recorded.

“The game has some interesting particle effects that make it not only fun to play, but also beautiful just to look at,” Laviers added. “This game is an arcade puzzle-style game, which we hope will share some of the popularity of the Anagrams game. This one was far more difficult than the Anagrams app, so hopefully it will have some level of success.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 
 

NASA cargo launches to space station aboard SpaceX resupply mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m., EDT, April 18. The mission is the company’s third...
 

 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 
 

Boeing to give California workers $47 million in back pay

PALMDALE, Calif. – Boeing will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced April 18. An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records...
 
 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>