Ruth VargheseMercury Staff
POSTEDMarch 7, 2017
UTD students develop ‘Cosmunity’ platform to connect gaming, cosplay, anime enthusiasts
Zac Cooner, a computer science junior, co-developed a platform to connect a community enthusiastic about “geek culture.”
He was inspired after attending the Fan Expo Dallas in June. Then, he noticed there was no app to help people at the convention interact with each other.
“I was shocked at how there was really no technology to be seen,” Cooner said. “And so my mind just kind of lit up and I thought, ‘Well, what if we built a platform that could cater to all of the different audience profiles of people who attend these conventions?’”
Cooner’s answer to the missing component at the Expo was his app Cosmunity, which has three main components. Users can keep up with other users, buy and sell items popular within “geek culture” and create or find events in the area to share interests.
“Cosmunity really hits not only cosplay, but also comics, anime and gaming. We really tie it all together in the term ‘geek culture.’ Because it’s a very broad range of interests, but we wrap it all up in one nice package,” he said.
Cooner played videogames growing up and enjoys watching Japanese anime, and said he feels it’s a fairly popular past time in people’s lives.
“We just wanted to build a platform that could help drive that experience and bring it to as many people as we could in a meaningful way. That’s really important to us,” he said.
Chance Hudson, a former computer science and software engineering student, said that he, Cooner and their co-founder Cole Egger all worked well together in developing the app.
Hudson left UTD to work at a private company before Cosmunity. He said he didn’t like the computer science program at UTD, and wanted to find an opportunity that would let him code freely.
“I’ve been coding since I was 14 so that’s just what I want to do. I didn’t want to take classes about the theory behind it necessarily, I’m more interested in the actual practical application,” he said.
Cooner is a current student at UTD and is on a deferred scholarship while working on Cosmunity. He said he’s unsure about returning because he has high hopes for the app.
“Right now I feel like I’m on a rocket ship and I’m just holding on as tightly as possible to just push it as far as I can because I think that we’re onto something really special here and it’s kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Cooner said.
The app was launched on Feb. 21 and is available on iOS and Android platforms. For Cooner, Cosmunity is a way to achieve what most students strive for during their college careers.
“I think that many people go to school to maybe find something that they’re really passionate about, find something that they can earn a living with and just find something that is rewarding to them every day,” he said. “This is by far the most significant and rewarding endeavor that I have ever had the opportunity to participate with. So for me, I’m totally in love with Cosmunity. I hope that it never ends.”