Like many developers, Chris Galzerano is a creature of the late night. Fuelled by quick afternoon power naps, he typically codes straight into the early hours of the morning before going to bed. After all, he has school in the morning.
One of three young developers with apps in the Leap Motion App Store, Chris is the creator of Sky Muffins – an arcade-like game about a muffin who has mastered the art of space travel. It’s a concept that he first developed at 14, and his inspiration was simple. “There weren’t any games about skydiving muffins,” he says, “so I made one.”
Chris broke into app development at a young age, creating a pet rock app for iOS at 13, and later building a complete prototype of Sky Muffins for the iPad. After succumbing to the great time sink of 2012 – Minecraft – he started experimenting with the Leap Motion Controller as part of our early developer community. Excited by the prospect of developing on a brand new platform, he began to refine Sky Muffins for Leap Motion.
“When I started making Sky Muffins, I had a pretty lazy attitude,” Chris says, “but by the end, I was a better developer, and my attitude changed from lazy to inspired.”
Sky Muffins was among the first apps in the App Store in July 2013, and has since garnered positive reviews for its engaging gameplay and unusual style. More recently, Chris has been working on Playr, an app that lets you create your own games based off classic addictive game types.
If Henning Steinbock could travel back in time to give his 13-year-old self just one piece of advice about building games, it would be “get your friends to try it.” In his four years of app development so far, he has learned that in order to make an app people will love, you can’t just code for yourself. You have to code for the person next to you. You have to get inside their brain.
Steinbock, 17, is the brain behind Jumping Line, a minimalistic new jump ’n’ run game in the App Store that lets you create your own levels, as well as parse through hundreds of levels from other players. It’s easy to understand, hard to master, and a match made in heaven for Leap Motion technology. With a version of the app already optimized and released for iOS, Henning managed to Leap-enable the app in a single afternoon.
After high school graduation, Henning hopes to work as a game developer, a pilot, or both.
Simon Nilsson, age 17, began developing applications just two years ago. It started with a love for Flash games. But for Simon, simply playing the games wasn’t enough. He wanted to know what was going on under the hood. He wanted to pull the code apart, then put it back together his way. He started tinkering with iOS. Desiring to pioneer into an entirely new playground for app development, he found the Leap Motion Controller, and with it a newfound sense of creative freedom.
Simon’s app Qubic takes us through a maze of oncoming obstacles, using the Leap Motion Controller for an intuitive and natural way of steering. Every 20 seconds, you level up, the game gets harder, and the soundtrack intensifies. It’s undeniably addictive.
Once Simon finishes high school in Sweden, he plans to study game development, with the hope of meeting like-minded engineers who share his ambition to challenge the status quo of app development and create unforgettable experiences in three dimensions.
Update 9/12/2014: The Airspace Store is now simply called the Leap Motion App Store.