CHS sophomore Skylar Thomas, CEO of Troublemaker Technologies, recently launched his app “Saviors” on the App Store.
“‘Saviors’ is a game that was built to promote animal activism and social change by forcing a changing perspective in the player,” Thomas says.
As the character runs through a factory farm—and no, the character is not Thomas himself, though commonly mistaken—he must save animals while jumping away from employees.
“I wanted to make something that had purpose,” the creator explains, and since he has been programming for five years, an app seemed to be the perfect platform to share his message.
The inspiration for the game came from the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer in which Foer snuck into a factory farm and ended up running away from an employee, obviously not saving any animals at the moment, hence the title “Safran Foer,” earned when the player reaches the game’s first checkpoint.
The app took a year to make, and when asked about the challenges, the programmer he had to face during the process, Thomas replies, “There were a lot of learning curve struggles.” Lots of time was spent reaching People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals and getting through Apple, which Thomas admits rejected him twice.
However, the work was worth it because now the creator may use the organization’s logo in his app and get help promoting his game, but half of the in-app purchases go to PETA.
“The day it was released was a Friday, and I remember coming to school, and I checked to see if it was up like every five seconds…. My brain was not in school at all.”
But the project is not officially done. Thomas had a meeting with the CEO of the Human Society, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, and is working with them. Thomas shares that a sequel app may exist somewhere in the future focusing on the Humane Society.
Thomas is a self-taught programmer who learned predominantly through YouTube and has been obsessed with computers and Apple for years.
Aside from programming, Thomas participates in robotics, which ties in his passion, sports and art and leaves very little time for sleep.
Other than “Saviors,” Thomas’ next big project is entering the Google Science Fair with a virtual reality app.
When asked where Thomas sees himself in the next 10 years, he replies, “Making beautiful apps. I want to be working with other people and not just alone and that is one of the things that I am working on now—branching out to others.”
As for “Saviors,” Thomas concludes, “You do not need to become vegan to become an animal activist. Just be educated.”