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Penn College Student’s Game Available as iPhone Application

Kevin S. McKeeverA game created by a Pennsylvania College of Technology student has been accepted for sale as an Apple iPhone application.

Available through the iPhone App Store under the name “WebCC,” the puzzle game (which promises hours of “dodging dangerous monsters, making bridges or collecting computer chips”) is the work of Kevin S. McKeever, Allentown, enrolled in the college’s information technology: web and applications development concentration major.

“A year and a half ago, I created an action/logic game and published it on my website,” McKeever said. “It quickly gained worldwide interest, and I thought that its popularity might make it marketable. Coincidentally, I saw that Penn College was offering a course on iPhone programming. Building on the information gained from the course, I completely redesigned the game to make it compatible with the iPhone.”

McKeever, a graduate of Parkland High School, submitted the application to Apple and was “delighted” when it was accepted.

“The superb training and knowledge I received at Penn College, particularly the guidance and support of professor Pat Coulter, were instrumental in the success of my project,” he said. Coulter, an associate professor of computer science, taught McKeever in the 400-level Advanced Topics/Web Development-Device Applications course during the Spring 2010 semester.

“It all started when I became fascinated with computer games, particularly “˜Chip’s Challenge.’ I was intrigued that it was fun, yet challenging,” he said. “About five years ago, as my computer skills developed, I began creating games of my own.”

McKeever soon began competing with players from around the world, organizing and leading a team of gamers called the “PSU Clan.” He created an online version of “Chip’s Challenge,” which attracted thousands of players to whom the original (and highly addictive) game had become inaccessible.

“The reaction was so encouraging that I decided to make it into an iPhone app,” he explained. “The development process took about 50 hours, and I anxiously waited a week before I was notified that it had been approved.” A corporate spokesperson said Apple doesn’t comment on specific applications, but noted there are more than 200,000 items in the App Store that have been downloaded more than 4 billion times.

Coulter said McKeever’s success might well be duplicated in coming weeks, as classmates with similarly viable prototypes fine-tune their applications for potential publication.

“Kevin’s product clearly shows effort beyond the scope of the final project, and he already has a fan base, so I have high hopes for an app that will make it into the top 10 charts,” she said. “All it takes is a “˜great idea’ and a lot of time making the code work.”

McKeever said the most fun has been reading the comments of those gushing gamers, who have posted such exclamatory reviews as “This game is awesome!” and “It’s challenging and a lot of fun! I can’t wait for more levels!” Still others celebrated the game’s reverence for its old-school roots, all the while reimagining the classic challenge for newer technology.

“Just to say that the iPhone Development class was a very steep learning curve for all involved is a huge understatement,” Coulter said. “The students were troupers each time I introduced yet one more obscure property of the iPhone environment.”

Coulter said the class had many lively discussions, some on the “love/hate relationship” with the programming language required to make a native phone application; others on the pros and cons of decisions at Apple headquarters in anticipation of the iPad announcement.

“Students were able to see how their initial learning curve of the iPhone development environment was easily transferrable to the new iPad platform,” she said.

For more about information technology and other academic majors in the School of Business and Computer Technologies, visit on the Web or call 570-327-4517. For general information about Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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