Belhaven Students Launch Video Game for iPhone


From the Clarion Ledger:

Video games are not just for kids anymore, and app games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush on Facebook have opened the doors of gaming for an older generation and women.  With that in mind a couple of Belhaven University arts majors are taking their love of art and video games and diving into the growing market of mobile gaming.

Chadwick Harman and Joey Nelms, who are seniors at Belhaven and Logan Grandberry, who attends Southern Mississippi University, started Cryogenic Studios and they hope their debut title will be available for download this month.

Cryogenic’s puzzle game “Rails”, can be played on any Apple or Android device, which includes smartphones and tablets.  Harman, is the president and founder of Cryogenic and he describes his company’s initial effort.

“You’re a wheel and you pick-up little orbs and it gets harder-and-harder to collect the orbs as you go,” Harman said. “It’s a very low commitment game, you can sit down if you have two or three minutes, play a level or two.”

For these full-time students this is not some mid-term assignment, but their first taste of real world business. The trio does their best to balance their business and school, and they say they are fortunate Belhaven has provided them with plenty of resources and support.

“There’s some direct influence of people actually working on the projects, as-well-as people being mentors for us through the projects,” Nelms, Cryogenic’s CEO, said.

The aspiring entrepreneurs found that a good way to break into the video game industry is through smartphones and tablets.

“The whole mobile sector has opened video-gaming up to everybody,” Harman said. “My mom plays videogames. I thought that would never happen.”

“Mobile projects aren’t as in-depth or complicated as the big XBOX titles,” Nelms said. “Those things take five years, with 400 employees and a few million dollars.”

By contrast, “Rails” was produced with about 10 people and a few thousand dollars. With “Rails” about to hit app stores they still have their sites on XBOX and Playstation, and taking their art to the blank canvas those consoles provide.

“We’re taking it much more from a creative standpoint of story-telling of art making,” Nelms said. “We take it from the standpoint of art-making, not game-making.”

Their next project is already in the works and it tells the story of Lenny, a mail delivery robot.  It’s an adventure game that the Cryogenic crew hopes will be available for download on XBOX Live in spring 2014. That is the same time Harman, Nelms and Grandberry are scheduled to graduate, and they are excited about transitioning from full-time students to full-time video game developers.

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