Please be aware that the City of Westminster will be working on a road resurfacing project that will impact campus during the month of October. More information »

Computer Science professor brings mobile apps from sabbatical to classroom

Senior Josiah Nusbaum seeks advice from professor Sara More on his iOS game, Baseball Card Showdown, which he describes as the Dungeons & Dragons of baseball. Nusbaum, from Westminster, Md., is developing this application for his senior capstone project a
October 01, 2013

Computer science students now have the opportunity to develop mobile applications for Apple devices, thanks to the sabbatical work of Sara More, associate professor of computer science.

More, a specialist in cryptology, was ready for a variation from her theoretical background by the time her sabbatical was due.

“I intentionally wanted to switch things up a bit,” said More. She spent the semester-long hiatus from the classroom instead teaching herself X-Code and Objective-C, the software tool and language of iOS applications.

The fruits of her labor were recognized this spring, when her senior capstone class developed applications for the iPad. Using devices on loan from the college’s Information Technology office, the 10 students created an assortment of games ranging from variations on Tetris to a strategy-based zombie apocalypse survival game. The finished products each featured hundreds of lines of code.

Computer Science professor brings mobile apps from sabbatical to classroom
“Survivor: The Last City,” the brainchild of four class of 2013 graduates, involves attempting to save citizens from zombies who are attracted to noise by building shelters, weapons and barriers. The strategy game was made from hundreds of files of code, said computer science professor Sara More.

“I thought it would be a capstone experience students would get excited about,” said More, who said that all of the students chose to program a game even though that was not required.

More encouraged students to consider the uniquely mobile challenges of limited memory and battery life. Now head of the Mathematics and Computer Science department, she looks forward to exploring more features of mobile devices with students in the future, including location awareness capabilities and gesture options.

Computer Science professor brings mobile apps from sabbatical to classroom

Before the spring semester even began, the four creators of the zombie game (pictured above) started work on their project. Gus Foley of Westminster, Md., Isaac Wolinski of Taneytown, Md., and Brandon Myers and Matt Brooks of Hampstead, Md. – all of the class of 2013 – were the masterminds behind “Survivor: The Last City,” and are still working on the project in hopes of one day uploading it to Apple’s App Store.

Foley, who is waiting on a security clearance from the SI Organization in Laurel, Md., said the team is also in the process of making a word game, although they are still debating the actual gameplay.

“After all the hard work put into the senior capstone class, we wanted a short break from the game,” he said. “There was a transition period after college with trying to get used to us all having jobs, but we’ve managed to keep meeting regularly.”

More said the collaborative effort is typical of students in the Computer Science department.

“It mirrors real life because coding isn’t an isolated experience like it’s made out to be in the movies,” she said. “Our students tend to work well together. There’s a strong sense of community here.”