ECE Students Recreate Lode Runner for iPhone
ECE Students Recreate Lode Runner for iPhone

By Susan Grant

Alexander Graham Bell would be surprised. No one in his era could have envisioned telephones being applied the way they are today. No longer just a way to keep in touch, your phone is now a personal computer with more memory and power than the early computers.

ECE students Nathan Chan, Andrew Toth and Anthony Ricci thought the iPhone could do even more. For their fourth-year design project they re-created the popular arcade game, Lode Runner, for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

“You race to collect the gold on each level while evading ‘bad guys’ trying to catch you,” said Andrew when asked to describe how the game works. “You employ the dig technique to trap the enemies or to get to otherwise unreachable areas. Wildly addictive, this game provides countless hours of entertainment. Each level provides a unique puzzle to solve.”

Nathan, Andrew and Anthony repeatedly played the original Lode Runner game during testing and quickly became experts. Once they knew how it worked, they created it from scratch in Objective C. Nathan wrote the game engine in C++ , then passed it over to Andrew and Anthony to port to the iPhone. Andrew used the iPhone Software Development Kit provided by Apple to design the touch screen, accelerometer controls and graphics. He also created the algorithm used by the cops to chase the ‘bad guys.’ Anthony created the various menus and features found throughout the game and added the ability to save high scores and customized user preferences.

“Professor Baochun Li was the inspiration of our project and was the one that originally thought of the idea to port Lode Runner to the iPhone,” said Nathan. “As a teenager, Professor Li played the original version on the Apple II, and he helped us with the details of the game that were difficult for us to pick up on.” Professor Li kept the team on track, making sure that the final product was as similar as possible to the original.

iLodeRunner is a must-have for anyone who's played the original or is looking for a new challenging game. The game features graphics, sound, and game-play identical to the original 1983 version. All 150 original levels are available with two control modes: an accelerometer – tilt to move, tap to dig; touch: tap to move and swipe to dig. Extra features include level select, high scores, and game speed control. A level editor is promised soon.

Interested? You can purchase iLodeRunner through Apple's App Store directly on your device or through iTunes.

I think Mr. Bell would be impressed.


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