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November 30, 2010 > Three's a charm for application creators

Three's a charm for application creators

Irvington High School seniors make history by creating an Apple iPhone application

Photos and story by Rajeswari Ramanathan

While most students spend hours with their eyes glued to the newest addicting game on the iPhone, inventors and Irvington High School seniors Rohan Agarwal, Rahul Bhatia, and Akshay Narayan decided to use logic, science, and interaction to create one. On November 15, their iPhone application, Galactic Odyssey, was approved and released into the application store, and can now be bought for 99 cents.

Like many other young adults, Agarwal and Narayan became interested after seeing their fathers create the application, Micello Indoor Maps. They felt that with their knowledge and support from family, they could create an application, too. The actual idea of the rocket game was created while discussing it among themselves in their Advanced Placement English class last year. The three friends decided to take up the project in June of 2010, and throughout the process, interacted with family members to make the application as perfect as possible.

"We didn't have much outside help, and we got through everything together, but we did bounce ideas off our families along the way," said Agarwal. "For example, I found myself teaching my mom sin curves in an effort to clear things up for our programming."

A six-month project from June to November proved that hard work really pays off. The team faced several obstacles but kept finding solutions and never gave up. They knew they were heading in the right direction. Narayan explained that the hardest part was "debugging," making sure that the game would work under any situation. He said, "We had one random bug where our scoring system could be altered by entering and leaving levels in a certain order."

Agarwal, Bhatia, and Narayan created the game from scratch and took no inspiration or ideas from others. They wanted something original that used physics and common reasoning. The game, "Galactic Odyssey," revolves around the use of gravity to get oneself back home in a rocket. The hardest part is understanding game functions in relation to the gravity of the other planets.

"This game is so addicting! I played for 2-3 hours straight on my flight to Chicago," read a customer comment on the application store. "It's pretty difficult, but that's what makes me want to keep playing it. Also, it's amazing how the creator was able to implement gravity into the game. Bigger planets have more gravity, which is a real-life characteristic."

The three friends will earn 70 percent of the profits, while Apple takes 30 percent. After receiving great reviews from family, friends, and complete strangers, Agarwal, Bhatia, and Narayan are hopeful that they can earn quite a bit.

While Narayan and Bhatia are focusing just on their current work in school, Agarwal is definite about his plans for the future. He plans to pursue engineering in college and become an entrepreneur, starting his own company in the future.

Other than technology, the three are avidly involved in the Speech and Debate team and Chess. Agarwal is the current President, Bhatia is Treasurer, and Narayan is the Parliamentary Debate captain. Additionally, Bhatia and Narayan are members of the "We the People" team on campus.

When it comes to chess, the three are very competitive and have been playing for over ten years. Recently, Agarwal, Bhatia, Narayan, and senior Ankita Roy of Irvington High School hosted the first Fremont Elementary School Chess Championships attracting approximately 90 student entrants. Narayan is also a National Merit Semi-Finalist and helps coach his younger brother's soccer team.

The three are not yet sure what their next idea will be, but Agarwal sees it as a solution to an everyday problem. He said that it could possibly be another application, online resource, or a physical product sold in stores.

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