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SUNY Potsdam graduate student creates game app for Apple, Google

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POTSDAM — More than 800 Apple tabloid users have downloaded a new app for a physics-based game called Puzzletopple.

Trevor S. Dugan, a SUNY Potsdam graduate student from Madrid, spent the past year creating the game app that was just published in September on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The addictive 50-level puzzle game is similar to Snood, Tetris and Candy Crush with small colored boxes that collapse when selected.

The difference is the game uses real physics.

“Instead of blocks snapping into locations, they actually fall in a gravity and physics-based way,” according to Anthony K. Betrus, a professor in the business administration department at SUNY Potsdam. “It requires a lot of math and takes a lot of computation power. Essentially, the devices haven’t been ready for this type of game up until now.”

Mr. Dugan’s game idea started as a concept he wanted to use in a final project in a multi-media authoring and scripting graduate course taught by Mr. Betrus.

“When I saw it I said it was something he should pursue, so I gave him a little nudge,” he said.

It’s the first time a SUNY Potsdam student has created and published a successful app, according to the SUNY Potsdam Graduate Office.

Mr. Dugan said that he gets 69 cents for every 99-cent download,.

“On the day that Apple was reviewing it, they called me and the woman on the phone said she had been playing it the last two hours and got very behind on her work,” he said.

The initial game took Mr. Dugan a semester to design, but with all the testing and changes that needed to be done, the app took about a year to launch.

“Apple’s very picky, even down to your icon sizes, which have to be exact dimensions,” Mr. Dugan said. “It has to look like it belongs in their store. I went through several different icons.”

Mr. Betrus said that after the concept stages Mr. Dugan spent three months working on a prototype for the game which he used for the class. He then continued on the Alpha phase of his project for three months, when he added the final “bells and whistles” to his app. After the four-month Beta or debugging phase of his project, he was ready to bring his app to market, which was a two-month process.

To keep track of how popular his game is, Mr. Dugan said he uses the iTunes Connect Mobile app that allows developers to see daily reviews.

At the end of the 50 levels he’s developed for the game there’s a trophy that no one has seen yet. Mr. Dugan said he’s currently working on the phone version of the app and a desktop version of the game.

Mr. Dugan, an educational technology specialist major who is in his last year of school, said he’d like to continue in the field of computer graphics after graduation.

A launch party for Puzzletopple is being held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today on the third floor of Dunn Hall at SUNY Potsdam.

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