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College of Engineering and Computer Science Fall Newsletter

Thinking Outside the Bubble

Alum Maksim Surguy Turns Classroom Idea into a Sellable App

Dec. 13, 2013

Computer science alumnus Maksim Surguy created iPhone gaming fun. Photo: College of Engineering and Computer Science

Whether you worship wordplay or just have a penchant for puzzles, Bubble Scramble is a phonetic phenomenon offering hours of gaming fun. But Maksim Surguy '11 (B.S. computer science), Bubble Scramble's sole creator, says the ground-up development of the iPhone application was not all fun and games.

"Bubble Scramble was born from a project assignment in an application development course at Cal State Fullerton," Surguy explains. "Programming was challenging, but I was excited by the prospect of making a game that required players to unscramble words. The iPhone's touchscreen interface provided an ideal platform for the concept I had envisioned."

As its namesake suggests, Bubble Scramble poses a straightforward objective: One-by-one, sets of jumbled, bubble-bound letters must be unscrambled to spell words by tapping the letters in the correct sequence.

"I'm pleased with the functionality and overall gameplay," says Surguy. "Players enjoy Bubble Scramble because of its pick-up and play simplicity; they can easily have fun while practicing spelling and reading comprehension."

Despite the game's unassuming premise, creating a consumer-ready version proved to be an ambitious undertaking for Surguy.

"Plenty of hard work and polishing went into bringing this game to life," he explains. "The commercially available version is the result of many hours spent overcoming my struggles with graphic design; attaining fluency in Objective C, a complex coding language; and eliminating bugs and quirks revealed through extensive beta testing. Luckily, the game was approved for distribution after my first submission to the App Store, which is pretty unusual."

Although marketing efforts were practically nonexistent, Bubble Scramble's launch generated a surge of downloads 500 in its first month. In the weeks that followed, Surguy sold the application to an online bidder for an undisclosed sum. He is currently channeling his ingenuity into, a popular website that provides HTML snippets for web developers.

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