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JKUAT students want to transform gaming apps in Kenya

Momentum Core

From Left to right: Allan Mukhwana, Dennis Mugambi, (bottom left), Dennis Riungu, Timothy Wambua, and Chris Kivaze.

When you get Computer Science majors in campus, they are busy behind their laptops coding oblivious of the time and other activities in campus. The number of softwares and apps that have come out of student halls across the globe has resulted in big companies and billions in revenue.

This is where five Computer Technology students at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) want to be in a couple of years. The five classmates came together in 2012 to create Momentum Core – a group of app and software developers.

Their first work together was when they created a JKUAT mapping app which was mainly used by their friends. Momentum Core then expanded their wings to create a blood type-matching app.

Simiyu chicken


“Blood Match is an app that matches the blood type to the nearest available blood centre and is meant to save time especially in the case of an accident,” explains Dennis Riungu, a member of Momentum Core.

Blood Match won the Random Hacks of Kindness Award and Kenya Red Cross picked it up as one of the tools for effective blood management.

Momentum Core’s dive in gaming came in the form of a browser-based mosquito game with a mobile app for the same in the pipeline.

“We learnt a lot from our first venture in gaming which we are applying in other developments,” says Dennis.

The team participated in Intel’s Code Fest where they won $5,000 to market their app – Simiyu the Chicken. Intel was particularly impressed by localization of the game and gave one member a chance to showcase the game at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

“Through the Intel Developer Zone, we got free access to software and tools to develop Simiyu the Chicken. The coding lessons we learn in class are not enough so we would often get help through the online forums as well as live support,” says Dennis, who attended MWC in Spain.

Dennis Riungu at MWC, Barcelona

Dennis Riungu at MWC, Barcelona

Dennis says attending the biggest mobile congress gave Simiyu the Chicken an international platform to be showcased alongside other apps from developers across the globe.

“I interacted with other developers and found out what we need to do to take our apps to that level. For example, using Intel’s native development kit and coding with C and C++ optimizes our games making them faster and can run across 12 different mobile operating systems,” says Dennis.

And as Dennis brings back that wealth of experience to Momentum Core, the team is looking to improve the user experience of Simiyu the Chicken on the tablet and mobile phones. The team is working on a new gaming project called Tuk-Tuk Mania which Momentum Core promises will take local gaming apps to the next level.




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