Miami Computer Animation Graduates and Sylon Studios Multi-Platform Game “Surfin’ Sam – Attack of the Aqualites”

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

June 21, 2016

Four Computer Animation graduates of Miami International University of Art & Design worked on the game “Surfin’ Sam – Attack of the Aqualites.” The game is available for both Apple and Android devices. It will soon be available on Nintendo Wii U and Microsoft Xbox Live.

Sean Yearwood, CEO of Sylon Studios, LLC in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, worked closely with the graduates during the game creation. Yearwood’s company, which distributed “Surfin’ Sam,” has an established relationship with Miami International University of Art & Design.

The graduates of Miami International University of Art & Design who worked on the game are:

  • Luis Aguiar, 2015, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Computer Animation
  • Michel Rodriguez, 2015, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Computer Animation
  • Valentina Ramirez, 2015, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Computer Animation
  • Juan Lau, 2011, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Computer Animation

As a member of the game design team, Yearwood worked alongside the computer animation graduates as they focused on everything from rendering and texturing characters to preparing art for the programmers. “This game really required us to work as a team,” he said. “We had to have artists designing level art pieces that needed to be imported by the level designer. [This required them to] communicate on what items are needed in order to put together proper levels.”

Overcoming challenges as a team

The team faced challenges during design—the biggest of which was making it a multi-platform game. “Some of the ideas that we had would work great on mobile, but wouldn’t work at all on console. Then some of the console ideas would work great there but not on mobile. The key was trying to find the right balance to allow the game to work on both [platforms].”

During the process, artists communicated with programmers to ensure that the art was setup in specific ways that the programmers could utilize. “This game was developed across our two studios in Florida and Karachi, Pakistan. We used a combination of Skype, Dropbox, and SVN version control software to make sure that all parties developing the game had access to current version of the game at all times.”

Preparation and Seeing the Finished Product

Yearwood asserts that a strong background in media arts helped the entire team to overcome challenges and create the game. But he admits that to him, there’s never a “finished” product—it’s always a work in progress.

“Surfin’ Sam was completed in most of the teams’ minds a few months ago. However, the more you play it, the more you want to add to it. So it’s sort of nerve-wracking. We kept adding minor details to the game for the last couple of months before finally calling it finished. But at the end of the day, I believe that we developed a high quality title that I am proud to show.”

Yearwood adds that even with the game’s official release, there are still opportunities to continue building upon it. “The good thing about the time we are in is that we always have the ability to update the game as well as we see fit. So technically, it’s never really finished.”

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

June 21, 2016

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