App Store Sensation: Left Shape Right
On February 7, Cyrus Illick ’19 released the arcade game Left Shape Right.
Hannah Szabo ’21 was drawn in by its “aesthetic graphics and easy gameplay.” Jason Chung ’21, surprised that Illick’s masterpiece had not yet gone viral, would “recommend this game to anyone.” Illick is a current co-head of Hop Codes, along with Ben Goldstein ’19, and uses his Instagram platform, Not Bad Software, to promote his new
Illick currently specializes in hyper casual games that are instantly playable. Elaborating on his style, Illick commented: “I really like apps in which the only control you have is with a tap, and fguring out how the tap can control something that constitutes a game.” Acknowledging that the straightforward nature of the Left Shape Right made him “skeptical at first,” Sam Mason ’22 confessed his love for the game: “once I started playing, I could not stop.” George Wang ’20 believes that the genius of the app can be found in its simplicity: “the simple design and objective allows for it to be a fun game for everyone.”
Although the app appears simple, a lot of hard work went into its creation. When asked about the process, Illick described how, “When I first started to code it, I had no idea what I was making. I started by adding physics bodies to objects. Then I added the paddle, took it out, and added it back in again. I played around with the concept until I figured out how to make the score work.” Illick discussed
how one crucial aspect of designing a successful game is creating balance: “I did not want it to be so easy so that it becomes extremely long, but it also cannot be so hard that people do not want to play it.” Although his coding abilities have improved since he launched his last hit game, Skizn, and the actual coding took him less time, Illick described how in developing his new app he “spent more time figuring out the concept.” “
Another big part of coding is realizing where something is going wrong, and updating the app to fix the problem,” remarked Illick. After releasing Left Shape Right, he realized the importance of a convenient leaderboard to promote competition between players, and created an updated version that included one. Although Illick codes most of his projects individually, he appreciates collaboration: “I had never done anything with databases before, so for the Left Shape Right leaderboard, Ben showed me how to interact the server, and how that changed the app.” After launching this frst update, Illick received over a dozen reports of the app crashing, and discovered the malfunction was due to a miscalculation in the leaderboard. Illick has since released an update that both fixes this issue, and provides many additional features.
Despite a few mishaps, Left Shape Right has taken the Hopkins community by storm, and maintains an impressive five star rating. When asked about Left Shape Right’s success, Illick responded: “I’m really happy with how it turned out. Quite a few people whom I don’t know that live in Australia have downloaded it, and that is really exciting.” While he looks forward to developing new games, Illick is still focusing on improving Left Shape Right.