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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Putting the puzzle together: Computer science student creates mobile game

Photo courtesy of Zane Wallace
Photo courtesy of Zane Wallace

Zane Wallace is a freshman getting used to the transition from high school to college. He came to college knowing exactly what he wanted to achieve — creating his own mobile game.

Now a computer science major at Wichita State, Wallace has created “Boxmania,” a 2D puzzle game app.

Throughout his high school career, Wallace took different computer science classes, including video game programming, during his senior year. 

“(I took) a class called advanced programming, which all it really was my teacher’s way of letting anyone progress through their computer science knowledge,” Wallace said. “So, towards the end of that class, I wanted to make a game, and I didn’t know how or when to start, so I spent the majority of that class just kind of messing around.”

During that class, Wallace was able to figure out how he could make his game work on his computer. After he was able to do that, he tried it out on mobile devices and continued working on the game during his senior year.

Wallace’s friend Izzy Encapera, who worked on the graphics for “Boxmania,” said Wallace was the brain behind the game.

“I kind of just tried to give him advice where I could and when he wanted it,” Encapera said. “I was flattered that he put me in credits, but at the end of the day, it was definitely him who did all the work, but all my little pieces of influence — I really enjoyed giving.”

When it came to the graphics, Wallace went to Encapera with a request for it to be simple with a darker color scheme.

The Boxmania icon

“He wanted it to be about the game more than being very flashy or overwhelming to the eye,” Encapera said. “I learned he wanted really simple when I was trying different thought ideas and he didn’t like those stuff, but I got to kind of a bigger better idea of what he’d enjoy eventually.”

Wallace’s friend Ayman Hemed, who was a beta tester for the game, said when he started, there were around 30 game levels.

“Over time, he kept on adding more and more levels,” Hemed said.

Testers would report back the difficulty of each level or if there were any bugs or glitches that were found in the game. 

Hemed, who has known Wallace since high school, said he doesn’t see his friend stopping with “Boxmania.”

“Zane is a really good guy,” Hemed said. “There’s probably a lot more to come from there.” 

Since coming to Wichita State, Wallace has been working on other projects that could benefit others in the future, such as an ice cream indicator app for the dining hall as part of a class project.

“(The idea is that) you have the app on your phone, and when you load it up, it’ll say if it’s active or not active, and then it’s kind of like crowdsourced,” Wallace said. “If you see that it’s active, you press a button on the app, and then it changes it to active, and then everyone else who opens the app will see that it’s active, and then if you see that it’s not active, you press inactive, and then everyone else will see that it’s inactive.” 

For those interested in studying computer science, Wallace has a piece of advice.

“You got to start somewhere,” Wallace said. “And if you don’t feel like you can do something, start something small and then work your way up.”

“Boxmania” is available for download on the iOS App Store. Upcoming updates for the game can be found on Instagram @boxmania.game

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About the Contributor
Jacinda Hall
Jacinda Hall, Podcast Editor
Jacinda Hall is the podcast editor for The Sunflower. Hall is a junior majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in English literature. Her favorite quote is by Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” In her free time, Hall likes to go to the gym, crochet and make fancy beverages. Hall's pronouns are she/her.

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    Ethan WessleyApr 19, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    I love Boxmania! I heard Zane is also a phenomenal trumpet player. How talented! WSU is lucky to have him!