A cartoon fire ant with a devilish grin surrounded by gold coins and with a wall of fire behind him runs away from the scene, clutching a black cannon with a skull-and-crossbones design painted on it.
Illustration by Jared L. Nickerl (’20)

Flint the fire ant is a key part of Captain Kate’s crew, even if a propensity for pyromania makes him a bit of a loose cannon. Kate’s ant pirates are on a quest of minuscule proportions to recover a stolen cache of chocolate gold doubloons. Their journey plays out in Avast Ye!, the latest video game produced by BYU’s Center for Animation.

At the Intel University Games Showcase this spring, the game won awards for best gameplay and best visual design, marking the first time any game has won first place in two different categories at the prestigious competition.

Producing the game took the combined efforts of more than 30 students, who created the art, game design, and programming. “[The students] drove the entire project,” says computer-science professor and project advisor Seth R. Holladay (BS ’04, MS ’07, PhD ’13). “They were willing to work and learn and iterate and improve. . . . And this led them to a historic win.”

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