February 28, 2018 Student Spotlight: Pedro Ortiz
Pedro Ortiz

Tell us about your experience in the course.

My experience with the course was a life changing experience. I have a BA in Arts and a Master in Computer Science, but my dream has always been to be a Game Developer.

When I started to study, there were not any Game Development programs in college where I come from and due to the limited resources that me and my family had on that time, I wasn’t able to move outside of Puerto Rico.

I started to study Unity with online tutorials and even books, but they were not working for me, even when I am a self-taught person. I work as a Full-stack Developer for an Educational Company, but the apps we create are very far from being games, so I felt that I was putting my dream on hold, for a long time.

After Hurricane Maria, which destroyed a lot of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico, including my parents’  house, and caused a lot of deaths and loss, I realized you only live once and you should live your dreams. This was the push I needed to finally lose that fear and jump off the bridge to make my dreams come true.

So I enrolled at Playcrafting Unity, and started an adventure in NY for two months, where we learned how to work with 2D and 3D projects. I finally understood how manage the scripts with the Game Objects, how to manage the editor, do simple animations, among other things. I finally feel very comfortable using Unity.

I always be grateful to Rob, Jose, Kurt, Dan and their team, and of course, Playcrafting for doing a Face-to-Face course. And that’s why I called it a life changing experience, because thanks to Playcrafting and their team, I’m feeling that I am one step closer to achieve my dreams.

Tell us about your game.

My game, LAB.O1 (pilot name, not the final one due to already taken domains), is a point-and-click adventure puzzle solving game with a nice narrative, interesting characters and challenging puzzles.

Games like Trace Memory, Ghost Trick and Zero Escape 999, were the ones that influenced me to do this type of game, which unfortunately are very rare to find. The trilogy of Zero Escape has the best writing that I have found in games. So I have a huge respect and admiration Kotaro Uchikoshi, he inspired to create more about those type of games.

LAB.O1 starts in a Research Laboratory, where a group of human subjects agreed to be a part of a scientific research which the final motivations were not exactly explained. The instructions were just to interact with a set of puzzles, the main researcher, had created.

After giving them a nice welcome, her face changed and put down the human subjects into an elevator, making them desperate and without knowledge about what will happen next. As I’m still developing the story, and I do not want to give any spoilers, so I will discuss other aspects of the game.

For the user interface, I just wanted to create a very simple one, so you just have to use the mouse and in case of mobile, use the touch to investigate the area, drag and drop items, and solve the puzzles.

My goal is to add at least 10 challenging logic Puzzles, and a simple point and click to interact with objects and characters, and of course, a nice narrative, with very nice arts.

The characters, for now, are almost done. I have them very clear in my mind and I already did the their design, but the artist I’m working with, will redesign them with his artistic touch. As for the art, I hope, if he gives the opportunity, to continue to work with my fellow friend, Ansel Hasani for the rest of project. He is an amazing artist and was the one that converted my concept, what I have envisioned, into the beautiful art that you can see in the demo

Quick Questions

1. How did you get into games?

My mother bought me a Game Boy for Christmas, I mean, Santa. I was just 5 years old, and Zelda Link’s Awakening was my first game. So I had a great start, and of course, who doesn’t love that underrated piece of art?

2. You’re part of the first manned mission to Mars! You’ll be gone for 5 years and can only bring 3 games to play alone or with your 3 fellow astronauts. What are they?

Sorry fellow astronauts, but you can play my favorite games after I’m done with them because all of them are single player. They are 999, Final Fantasy VIII and then Zelda Link’s Awakening.

3. What would be your dream game to build?

A game with a good writing, beautiful art, nice music, nice story and mentally challenging puzzles. I enjoy to watch people struggling with puzzles (it kind of satisfies me).

4. What do you love best about the game community in NYC?

They are brutally honest. I received a very good feedback in the Playcrafting open house. Some people gave me a very nice critic about how to make the game better. They seems nice too. And of course, there is a lot of talent, I mean, you are in NYC. I’m not from NYC and I just stayed there for 2 months course duration,  but I hope to meet them in other events later and I will, once that I have the game in another stage.

5. Choose 5 words to describe your experience making games so far.

Strikingly beautiful fulfilling creative experience.