SpinPunch founder explains Sheridan’s role in gaming company


From a dorm room to the internet, Sheridan students helped create remarkable games for thousands, the owner of a web-based gaming company owner told an audience last Wednesday.

Ian Tien, co-founder of SpinPunch, spoke in MacDonald-Heaslip Hall to a crowd of Illustration, Animation and Game Design students about how Sheridan College helped make his games what they are today.

SpinPunch creates war-based games such as Thunder Run and Mars Frontier. Tien says the games attract thousands of players worldwide and the company gets its name after his favourite Street Fighter move.

Tien felt compelled to visit the Sheridan community after working with Sheridan co-op students.

“We’ve worked with Ian before. He hired a co-op student in the Animation program last summer,” said Cory Latimer, co-op adviser. “Ian was in town today and asked if he could have the opportunity to speak to a group of students,” said Latimer.

“Animation, illustration and game design don’t get many opportunities to get together in the same room based on the same passion and interest,” said Latimer.

Sheridan students and Tien’s recent hires came to see him speak.

“I came to support my boss, because I never see him in person. Every time I see him it’s on Skype, so this was a chance to meet and see how people react to the company,” said Betty Jing, a 20-year-old, third-year Illustration student.

Tien is known for hiring Sheridan co-op students to collaborate on his gaming projects.

“I actually went in there [SpinPunch] for co-op but then he hired me. I do the same work Betty’s doing and I’m working on a film,” said Ricky Trung, 21, a fourth-year Animation student.

Both Trung and Jing work on character design and animation concepts for battle themed games SpinPunch designs for the web.

Sheridan students have also had the opportunity to learn from Tien even after co-op.

“I guess what I learned from Ian is learning how to learn. I feel like I’ve learned not only just art from him but business and a lot of communication skills, especially with the company,” said Trung.

Tien praised the efforts and talent of Sheridan’s students, tracing back to his company’s roots.

“Since the very beginning of the company our very first artist was a student in fourth-year Animation. He’s absolutely awesome and he helped come up with a  lot of concepts for the game,” said Tien. “Since then we’ve had other Sheridan students join and there seems to be tremendously high-potential artists at the school and we’re very lucky to have them.”