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Textual Indices, a software company founded by three California State University Stanislaus students, just released their first product, a puzzle game for the Android platform.
Refraction Lite, available on the Android Marketplace since March 30, has surpassed 6,000 downloads, and has received glowing reviews overall.
“People love the concept and love the challenge and strategy. A ton of people have given positive feedback on it,” Brandon Risell, (Junior, Computer Science) said.
Risell, along with friends Sean Kelly (junior), and Zach Donnell (senior), all computer science majors, began work on the game at the end of February.
A full version of the game, which costs $2.99, was released on April 11. Although not as popular as the free version, it has been steadily gaining customers, ratings, and requests.
“Originally when you beat a level there was a big popup over the screen saying congratulations,” Kelly noted. Initially, one of the most popular requests was to remove that screen so players could take a good look at how they beat the level.
Right before the release of the game, Risell predicted that it would hit 50,000 downloads in a week. Kelly, however, was much more modest, saying they would get “maybe” 5,000 downloads.
Overall, they are pleased with Refraction’s success. The game has proved to be one of the more popular recent Android releases. It has been featured on a number of Android related websites, including the front page of AppBrain.com.
The game itself is based around manipulating various colored lasers using mirrors and prisms with the goal of getting the correct color laser to its corresponding checkpoint.
“I always come up with these really cool solutions that are completely unnecessary,” Risell said, noting the fact that there are usually multiple ways to solve each level.
Although the full version features 120 levels, the next major goal is to release a level editor so that the community can create their own Refraction puzzles. Ultimately, they want the game to be self-supporting.
According to Risell, most computer science majors are just waiting around to graduate so that they can go work for Google, Yahoo, or some other Bay Area computer company.
“None of us liked the idea of going out into the corporate world and trying to climb the corporate latter. It sounded like a drag, it sounded boring,” Risell said.
“Really, working on Android apps or iPhone apps or whatever…It wasn’t necessarily with the idea of being lucrative, but more with the idea of let’s just do something that will give us an edge when we get out into the world. When we get out and say, hey, we want to work at your company, we don’t just want to say that we have a degree–we want to be able to say that we’ve done this, we’ve done that, and this is some of the work we’ve done. That was really the goal of it.”