CREATING AN APP: Shelton computer whiz starts family business venture

Computer programming is something Jordan Piscitelli has always done and will probably continue to do.

Shelton residents Gary Johnson, left, and Jordan Piscitelli display their word game, Chain Link, on an iPhone and an iPad. (Photo by Susan Hunter)

Shelton residents Gary Johnson, left, and Jordan Piscitelli display their word game, Chain Link, on an iPhone and an iPad. (Photo by Susan Hunter)

“I always liked it,” said Piscitelli, 24, who has lived in Shelton all his life and is a 2009 graduate of Shelton High School, where he had “a good computer science teacher.”

His talents seem to run in the family. “A lot of my uncles are computer programmers,” he said, including Gary Johnson of Shelton.

Six months ago, Johnson and Piscitelli formed a company, Pocketpests LLC, and released their first mobile app, Chain Link, in March.

Johnson, 52, is a 1981 Shelton High graduate.

 

‘We just wanted a challenging game’

Piscitelli described Chain Link as “an easy-to-play, but deceptively challenging word puzzle game for all ages.”

Each Chain Link puzzle consists of five sets of three words. The middle word of each set is missing, and when discovered, it pairs with the words on the left and right to turn them into compound words and phrases.

An example of a puzzle would be Bed — ? — Spray. The answer would be Bug, forming compound words on each side, Bed-Bug and Bug-Spray.

“We just wanted a challenging game,” Piscitelli said. “Everybody likes apps.”

Chain Link players can work on several puzzles within a 20-minute lunch break, he said.

 

‘A lot of fun’

In their quest to create the game, “we started working two nights a week together,” Johnson said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Jordan did most of the programming. I did most of the puzzles.”

Jordan Piscitelli and Gary Johnson hope more and more people download the new mobile app they’ve developed. (Photo by Susan Hunter)

Jordan Piscitelli and Gary Johnson hope more and more people download the new mobile app they’ve developed. (Photo by Susan Hunter)

Users can download Chain Link at no cost at the Apple App Store, searching for Word Games and Chain Link.

Customers get the first set of puzzles free and then pay to purchase more.

“We’ve had 5,000 downloads,” Piscitelli said last week. “We’ve made some money. We’re hoping the numbers slowly go up.”

“We hope to get more and more downloads and more and more people playing it,” Johnson said.

 

A natural progression

Creating the Chain Link app seemed a sensible step to Piscitelli, who, as a consultant, makes apps for a company in Rocky Hill.

“I make apps at work,” he said. “It’s kind of natural to do this. I have an iPhone. I wanted to make something for myself.”

Creating games is something he’s done for a while. For a senior project at the University of Connecticut, where he majored in computer science, he and three other students created an iPhone game.

His computer experience also includes a summer job in Shelton at S & P Visions, a producer of software for schools.

Piscitelli has a background in the programming languages Objective C and C#, and the Chain Link app was written using Xcode, a software development tool, and the iOS SDK, an Apple software development kit.

 

Logic and math

Computer programming involves the skills of problem-solving and “a lot of logic,” Piscitelli said.

“Math certainly helps,” especially trigonometry, he said.

He and Johnson are developing more apps, which probably won’t be word games. “We have some ideas for more games,” Johnson said.

For Piscitelli, the future is clear. “I see myself making as many apps as I can,” he said.

For more information on Chain Link, visit www.itunes.apple.com or www.pocketpests.com.

 

 

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