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Advice from an undergrad: how to launch a successful app

Nicholaos Mouzourakis shares source code with his fellow Concordia students
November 14, 2016
By Amanda Clarke

Nicholaos Mouzourakis: “Having a well-maintained toolbox is essential.” Nicholaos Mouzourakis: “Having a well-maintained toolbox is essential.”

Nicholaos Mouzourakis — a member of Concordia’s Institute for Co-operative Education — has taken the coding he learned in class and on his work terms to the online app market.

The Computer Science and Software Engineering undergraduate developed his new card game, KansasCityShuffle, during study breaks at Concordia. It's a fast-moving game that challenges users to hold off on playing their most powerful cards until the right moment arises to steal plays from their opponents.

Mouzourakis came up with the premise for the app during a late-night brainstorming session with a friend, eventually growing it into a full-fledged project. He wrote most of the game’s code from scratch, but leaned on his growing network for support.

“I used a lot of skills and contacts that I gained from my internships at Square Enix Montréal and Eidos Montréal, who I had the opportunity to work for through Co-op,” he says.

“I focused on writing it as cleanly and well-structured as I could, using all the best practices I learned from class and my internships. This made it readable, well-organized and resistant to the constant design changes that games industry source code is often subjected to.”

The value of skill-sharing

All the hard work paid off when KansasCityShuffle was published on the App Store as well as Google Play Store this fall. Mouzourakis hopes that the success of his app will serve as an example to current students — but also that they can learn from studying how it works.

“Once I have written a license for the code, and perhaps had it reviewed by a couple of professors, I plan to make it available to Concordia students under a non-commercial/no derivatives license.”

Mouzourakis says his goal is to show them that putting a professional-quality app online is by no means impossible. He also wants to impart to student some of the great coding standards and practices that are used by professionals once they leave academia.

In addition to providing updates and support for KansasCityShuffle, Mouzourakis is currently a lead programmer at the Montreal-based startup Elastic Games, where he’s working on his next big project, Last Year, a horror-film-inspired multiplayer game which lets players take the role of either the killer or his intended victims.

Mouzourakis plans to keep releasing the source code for his games, and he also wants to create a series of educational web videos which would serve as an introduction to practical programming.

For now, he offers this piece of advice for current students:

“Never stop looking for cool things you can do and techniques you can employ in doing them. Having a well-maintained toolbox is essential, but also having a project in mind that really motivates you to find and apply those tools will make it a lot easier and more fun.”

Get coding today with Concordia’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. 


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