Type-Right, Inc. Job #MDA1001
Interview with BEN CHUN at GALILEO
Transcribed: May 2, 2012
Chun: [TO CAMERA] Everybody who makes something really, really wonderful, gets there through a process of making something that's really not that great to start with, and then slowly improving it, taking feedback, getting new ideas, and what I think is a ... a process that's a little bit closer to the real world.
[TITLES] "TECH 2 LEARN"
Chun: [IN CLASSROOM] The decisions that you need to make today are decisions about what's going to get into the game and what's going to need to be left out in order for you to finish in time for the 5th graders to actually play these games in a week. Okay?
[00:00:45] [TO CAMERA] And this project that they're working on right now is the biggest one of the year. They're, umm ... they're making an educational video game for a particular 5th grade class that we went and visited at a local elementary school.
[00:00:57] [TO STUDENT] Oh, oh, it's when the ... when the corn pops up and it's ready to harvest. Do you have to actually activate on each one?
[00:01:03] [TO CAMERA] And so, we went and ... and interviewed the students and got to know them, and found out what kinds of music they listen to, what movies they like, the cartoon characters that they follow, the video games that they already play. Students also interviewed the 5th grade teacher and found out what the learning objectives are -- the California state 5th grade content standards.
[00:01:24] And so, by going there and really seeing what their classroom was like, we ... we were sort of immersed into their world and ... and we understand that we're creating something for them.
[00:01:33] [TO STUDENTS] Why are we hitting the "Out of Memory" error? You've hit it.
Chun: Because of what?
Student: Too many images?
Chun: Too many images. Or, the images themselves are too big, right?
Chun: [TO CAMERA] The software that we use is called "Processing," and it's actually a ... a project that was initiated at the MIT Media Lab. It uses the Java syntax.
[00:01:50] The thing that Processing provides is a ... a built-in graphics library, and a really easy sort of development process, so you don't have to compile it; you just push "Play" and then your code immediately turns into something that's happening on ... on the screen.
Student: It's pretty interesting to do, I mean, like, if you want to be a computer scientist, and it's a good starter.
Chun: [TO CAMERA] We formed teams, and the teams go through a brainstorming process and a[n ??] idea refinement process.
[00:02:23] Right now, I have teams of three. The different roles that the ... that the students take on are the technical lead -- and that's the person who's going to be sort of most responsible for the programming; the art lead -- the person who's going to be responsible for not only the concept art, but actually the production art -- the ... the actual, you know, pixels that go on the screen during the game. And then a project manager.
Student: Half the [INAUDIBLE (??)] is going to be like a city; other half is going to be, like ... like a grass playtop area.
Student: I'm the project manager, which is basically telling these guys when the project is due; like, what we need to catch up on; the schedule; umm, and what kind of pace we're going to be on.
Chun: [TO CAMERA] Instead of having there be a designated designer role, it's actually that everybody is the designer.
Student: I took, like, an image of a horse, shrink it down, and then I remade it into a pixillated horse.
Chun: [TO CAMERA] There's 13 teams, and there ... and there's some pretty interesting stuff going on. There's a game called "Cookie Attack," and, uhh ... and it's about fractions. I think this is a ... a real achievement in terms of responding to the audience.
Student: We notice that the 5th graders, they kind of like the violence, and we kind of incorporate it into our game, where they have to answer questions to get the cookies, and they have to use the cookies to shoot the monsters.
[00:03:39] I'm better at programming than all the other stuff, so I did the programming. And then Miranda, she's better at PhotoShop, so she did the, uhh, graphics. And then Angel -- her part was to separate kind of like the jobs, and then assign some concepts.
Chun: [TO CAMERA] Just recently, actually, that 5th grade class came here, to Galileo, and visited us, and we had a chance to show them some demos and some prototypes of ... of the games that ... that my students are working on. And my students took that feedback to really help them shape their games.
Student: This is the same thing?
Student: No, this screen [INAUDIBLE (??)]. This is when you exit and ...
Student: I really want to know if they get bored of the game or if they're having fun with it, because it makes me feel happy if they ... if they like the game. If they have some bad feedback, then I have to work on it some more.
Chun: [TO CAMERA] By doing a project that ... that has a real audience, I think it provides a little bit more motivation to ... to really put the effort into making it good, umm, and that allows them an opportunity to find out that you don't just make something good the first time you try. And software that's running on computers -- whether it's on your smart phone or on your desktop computer or on a web site somewhere -- that software dominates a lot of our reality.
[00:05:01] And so, having some idea of how those things work I think allows you to ... to be just a more informed citizen.
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