When sports injuries sidelined cross country runner Matt Frechette, he channeled his energy into something new that he also enjoys -- computer programming.
In December, Frechette launched Sad Alien, a free iPhone app that involves helping an extraterrestrial return home.
"The game takes place on planet Earth, where Sad Alien has crash-landed his spaceship. Your goal is to help Sad Alien get back to space by jumping on top of rooftops, clouds, and eventually, onto asteroids in outer space," Frechette, 16, said.
"You can also unlock fun prizes for Sad Alien after you collect so many coins playing the game. The game consists of easy controls that allow all ages the capability to play it."
Frechette worked on the app for four months, teaching himself along the way.
"I found a free program that smaller developers use to program games. From there I watched videos online as well as read articles and other documentation, learning the basics of code syntax and commands," he said.
After gaining more knowledge, the teen enrolled in a programming class at Crown Point High School in Crown Point, Ind. He plans to bring the app to the Google Play Store soon, and has an opportunity to make money through advertising and views.
"I have received only really good feedback from the game. It’s an awesome feeling knowing that other people enjoy something I have created."
Frechette is the son of Alan and Jill Frechette and is a sophomore at CPHS. Although undecided on a college, he now hopes to study computer science.
"I really found a fascination in how much you can create with only a keyboard and a computer. I have always really enjoyed drawing and creating things, which I think has been a major reason I find the attraction to programming," he said.
“I would really like to participate in a job one day where I have to work together with a team, as I enjoy working with other people on a common goal."