Game on Fractions Looks to Round Up Students

San Fernando Valley Business Journal, January 11, 2016

Game on Fractions Looks to Round Up Students
INTERNET: Trying to make education fun a factor in Nuhubit’s mobile app.

SFVBJ Game on Fractions_Alex pic

Right Brain: Alex Bozman draws figures for numbers game.

Learning fractions isn’t meant to be fun but Alex Bozman wants to change that.

The Santa Clarita entrepreneur has released a mobile game incorporating learning about factoring and prime numbers.

“Fractions are one of the points where math starts to get hard and students get frustrated,” said Bozman, who distributes the game through his Nuhubit Software Studios. “I wanted to help that problem.”

Bubbly Primes became available last month through the iTunes app store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A version for Android devices is not planned, Bozman said, because of lack of resources at his one-man company.

Nuhubit is one of three fledgling companies based out of the Santa Clarita Business Incubator, sponsored by the city’s Economic Development Division, and the Small Business Development Center at College of the Canyons.

Bozman worked for a year on coding and animating Bubbly Primes, doing much of the work himself.

“It is refreshing to have an entrepreneur so engaged and determined to make his mark in the marketplace with something different,” said Catherine Grooms, the director of the Small Business Development Center.

Other startups in the incubator, located in a former library building in the Old Town Newhall neighborhood, are Kovariant, a data modeling and analytics company, and Thinkquarium Entertainment, which has developed a business model of creating original story lines for content in online programs, TV series and films.

Before starting Nuhubit, Bozman had been a software engineer with an aerospace company in Van Nuys. He also plays and teaches the cello, a skill he said came in handy in creating music for Bubbly Primes.

Even with his software background, Bozman had little experience in coding programs, which he learned in order to create the game. He also learned how to do hand-drawn animation with help from an employee of one of the other incubator companies who loaned him an textbook used at CalArts in Valencia.

“For the music, I arranged and performed a piece from Renaissance composer John Dowland,” Bozman said. “The music contributes to the atmosphere that I built with the game.”

The rules of Bubbly Prime are simple – bubbles float on the screen containing a composite number (that can be divided by more than one number) or a prime number (can only be divided by itself). The player pops the bubbles with the composite numbers and lets the prime numbers float to the top of the screen. Play ends when five composite numbers are not popped.

Scoring is based on the composite numbers that are popped. As the score gets higher, sea creatures, such as shrimplike crustaceans, appear that may help or hinder in popping the bubbles.

Bozman said that if all he had to do was coding, animation and music, the game would have been completed sooner. But while in the development stage he handled the business aspects of getting the game out, which included marketing, a skill that was new to him.“I really enjoyed the whole process,” he said.

Bubbly Primes can be downloaded for $2.99 through Jan. 15, after which it will cost $3.99

 

Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com

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