An app of charity

CWRU and CIA build iPhone game; sales benefit kids

News Release: Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Your plane’s delayed, the kid’s basketball practice is going long, or you’ve been dragged to the opera. What could be better than playing a game on your iPhone?

Maybe knowing that 70 cents of the dollar you spent to download the game is going to a charity that buys books and toys for children in hospitals around the world.

Students from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art teamed up in a class to create the game “ChromaWaves,” now available at the Apple App Store.

“We agreed we weren’t going to be able to keep the proceeds, with everyone moving on after the class,” said Chris Jennewein, a senior computer science major at Case Western Reserve, who led the programming team. “Some of the artists had contacts with Child’s Play and everyone thought it was a great charity.”

The team of 12, half from each school, spent last fall building ChromaWaves from the ground up: programming, art, music and storyline.

Based on feedback from gaming company executives who reviewed their work, they knew they had a product they could market, Jennewein said.

The students weren’t done when the class ended, but members finished the game during spare time through the second semester and part of the summer. The App Store accepted the final version two weeks ago. This is the first class to publish a mobile application.

So, what is ChromaWaves?

The game has attributes classified as casual games and pick-up-and-play games. Played on the iPhone or iPod touch, ChromaWaves can be a diversion for a few or 10 to 15 minutes, when life’s running comes to a brief stop. The goal is to get the top score.

A player uses swatches of red, yellow and blue to turn a high-tech version of paintballs the same color as attacking monsters. The bad guys come in primary colors but also violet, green, orange and black. As the game progresses in complexity, so do the methods of eliminating the monsters.

“It’s not a clear genre,” said Jim Wiser, a digital media major who led the art team and has since graduated from CIA. “We wanted to take a few risks and build something outside the norm.”

“I purchased my copy, and I’m telling my friends about it,” said Marc Buchner, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve.

Buchner and Knut Hybinette, a professor of T.I.M.E. (Technology Integrated Media Environment) Digital Arts at CIA, have taught the class each fall since 2005. “This team was a particularly good team, and they worked well together,” Buchner said, “which is why they had a good product in the end.”

Learn more about the game, how it was developed and more at

Posted by: Kevin Mayhood, August 16, 2010 06:01 PM | News Topics: Official Release