Student Interview: Lenny Martinez

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LENNIE MARTINEZ: I'm Lennie Martinez. I'm a sophomore in AeroAstro, actually. I'm part of the Saving Gora Gora group. Our game is called Saving Gora Gora. It's a game about-- well it has to do with tropical cholera. And our goal was to teach children how to prevent cholera, because our target audience were Gonian children ages 8 to 13, approximately. And pretty much our main goal was just to educate them in a fun way that wouldn't seem like we're educating them.

Oh, OK. So our design brief was pretty general. It said, look at the cholera tool kit that's online, that you find online, and try to create a game to teach kids about cholera. So they gave us our target audience, which was Gonian children ages 8 to 13. And we we're thinking, originally-- well, it was an idea that we had based off Animal Crossing, where it's a bunch of different mini games. So each mini game would include a small lesson. And then, they would all come together to become one large MEDI PUZZLE. And in solving the MEDI PUZZLE, the players would learn how to, I guess, prevent cholera or counter cholera, and that was what led most of our design process.

The visual style came about- well, we had a very-- well, we had an original visual silo that was very different from what you guys saw in the presentation. We had to research-- we had done research on children, but we had to take a look back and redo everything because it wasn't as-- once we compared it, once we had a finished build, we compared it to-- we had to do research on what cartoons would better look like. And we found that it was very different and very clashing.

So we did some research some more on Gonian culture, and we tried to find, make it fit better. And so we went for more artsy, woodsy, cartoonish little people, very little kid, but it's still not too childish for other people.

I originally, really, was interested in the class because one of the textbooks was Design of Everyday Things. It's a book I find really interesting. I've been trying to read it, but it's hard with the curriculum, the overall MIT curriculum.

So, I really came into the class thinking that I really wanted to work on the design aspect of things. But as we started working on projects, the match win side became a bit more interesting, a bit more, something I started working a bit more because it was more accessible for me with my not so robust knowledge of coding. But then, later on for this project particular, I took the role of the writer. So I was in charge of writing most of the dialogue, and that was also very interesting. So I feel like I gained a lot more skills than I thought I would have.

I think a really big part of the process is to start writing really early. The writing, we left it off a bit until we had the general mini games and used the writing to tie everything back together. But I think it would have been a much more smoother process or a much more interesting process if we had started the writing, had we used the writing to lead the design process. But it wasn't, I mean, it would have been better had we started early, but it wasn't too bad or too much of a difference between the work we have now and the work we had before.

But aside from that, I think it's really important to start and meet early and sort of come to a consensus on what you want to do. We had a lot of mini-- the reason we-- we had a lot more mini games to begin with than when we ended, and it was good that we met early and decided what to cut and what to include. And that helped us work towards one common path.

Working with the client was very interesting. We met him two, three, four, or five maybe, almost five times, I think it was. We've met him a lot and interacting with him was interesting. The first time we met him was where he did a lot of demonstrations was, sort of, I guess, showed us more what we were supposed to be aiming for, because it was a very social interaction, very deep interaction. And that I think the goal of our games is to be a bit more, is to be really deep while also appearing to be very just playful.

And he also helped us when we were going on our art reworks, that he was suggesting, like, maybe you should look at these. You should look more at towards this type of the culture, this part of the culture or this part. And that was very nice. That's the sort of interacting.

The class has been actually really fun. It's a lot of work. But it's a lot of interesting work, because once you see the game-- I actually hadn't seen the final builds we had until today, and it was like, this actually is really-- I had written the dialogue separately, so I was just looking at the art assets. And it was very nice to see everything come together in one nice build of, here's the game you helped make.

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