Kathryn Brusewitz and Brandon Ramirez used Corona SDK to secure first place at Code Day, a weekend-long hackathon put on by Student Research and Development (StudentRND). The organization is a nonprofit that provides a space for college and high school students to learn, innovate and create new technology.

Creating their mobile game “Bustin Blocks” in just 24 hours, the duo received special praise from the judges for presenting  the most complete app of the bunch.

Code Day was rapidly approaching and my teammate Kathryn and I began to brainstorm ideas. We had 24 hours to build a winning mobile app and decided that the best route was to create a mobile game. We wanted to try our hand at the App Store and this contest gave us the opportunity to accomplish this at super speeds.

We then had to think of options for development tools. Though there were many possibilities, Corona SDK stood out. I had looked through other games developed with Corona and was impressed by the quality of many. I did some more research on the platform and learned that Corona ported to many app stores. As the programmer, I was a little nervous about using a new SDK for a 24-hour competition, with a language (Lua) that I wasn’t familiar with. However, Corona seemed like the best option, as we didn’t have time to learn native development.

Before the competition, I had only managed to get the simple “Hello World” button to work and I was a bit nervous to compete. However, within a few hours, I had created a scrolling background, behind a menu that overlaid it, and the base of our game was nearly completed. I was pleasantly surprised by how EASY it was to learn Corona SDK. The platform was very straightforward and the event system handled nicely. 

The Corona API reference index became my go-to place whenever I had a question. I liked that everything was documented there and it provided most of the information I needed to build my game. I also found the forums and tutorials very helpful. I highly recommend that Corona newbies discover EVERYTHING Corona can do by checking the API index, forums, and tutorials. Doing this will save a TON of work, by not having to create features yourself. The widgets were especially helpful in this field.

Our game, originally called Slide but recently renamed to Bustin Blocks, dominated the competition was awarded first place! In fact, we got extra praise from the judges because they felt our app was the most complete and fun of the bunch. Our top competitors were: another mobile game (Space Cat) and a utility app (a server and client program that allowed a user to control the mouse using the accelerometer on their phone).

Since the competition, we’ve polished our game, added a store with virtual currency, created an entirely new gamemode, added more options, and much more. We plan to release the game on Google Play after we reach a solid number downloads in the App Store. The game is currently in the review stage and we’re excited to get our first app published with the help of Corona!

-Brandon Ramirez

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