Two weeks ago, I interviewed Álvaro, one of the Art Directors in our team. This time, we move to another department to talk to Alex, Lead Programmer. This way, we will show you all the links in Sons of a Bit chain.
Adrián – Hello, Alejandro! Please could you talk a little bit about you and your job at the company?
Alex – Hi, Adri. My name’s Alejandro Campillo, but here I’m known as Alex. I’m 25 and about to end my degree in Computer Engineering. My main task is to manage some of the programming teams, specially AARLens one, but I also work on Islabomba when required.
Adrián – Great. Let’s know a little bit more about your life. What do you think made you love video games so much? How did it start?
Alex – The moment when I realized I love videogames is clear to me. I remember that, when I was 5 or 6, my parents wanted to buy me a Scalextric for Christmas and, in the last minute, they changed their mind and bought a Super Nintendo.
Adrián – Much better, right? (Laughs)
Alex – Yes, sure! When I was a little children, I started to play Super Mario on my Super Nintendo. I had such an amazing time!
Adrián – So a Christmas present was your first contact with video games. But when did you decide you wanted to work on the game industry?
Alex – I was attending high school, so it was time to choose what I wanted to do to make a living and I saw it very clear. I said to myself: I like computers and I love video games, so Computer Engineering is what I must study. I still have some courses to complete the degree, but I’m about to finish.
Adrián – So thanks to the degree, you made contact with Sons of a Bit, doesn’t it?
Alex – Exactly. In 2014, I attended a course about video game programming held in the Computer Science Faculty at University of Murcia (Spain), taught by Alberto Saldaña, Sons of a Bit co-founder. Thanks to this course, I got to know Alberto and, the following year, he called me to do an internship at the studio. Some time after I finished that internship, in 2016, they called me again to hire me.
Adrián – Putting your internship and your time working officially for the company together, you’ve been here for about 2 years. Is that correct?
Alex – Yes it is. I’ve been here for 2 years, more or less.
Adrián – Right now, you’re working on different projects at the same time. You’ve been a lot of time involved in the development of Islabomba, but you’re focused on AARlens full time at present, which we talked about last week .
For all those people who still don’t know anything about the app, could you please explain what it is about?
Alex – The app is a tool to manage the daily scheduled agenda that kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) must follow so they can focus on their tasks. Normally, they coordinate their own daily agenda organized with cardboard by their tutor, on which the kids find written the tasks they have to carry out that day. AARLens helps tutors make this agenda easier and faster, since there’s no need to make cardboard anymore.
Adrián – Very interesting. So we can say that Sons of a Bit, apart from developing video games, also has a strong sense of social commitment.
And how is AARLens development process going? At first sight, it seems that making a daily scheduled agenda is quite simple.
Alex – The truth is that it isn’t so simple, since it’s taking a lot of programming work behind the curtains and it’s sometimes more difficult than I thought at first.
Adrián – Do you know if the app has been downloaded by many people and if they use it when working with kids with ASD?
Alex – Yes, we know there are tutors who use it every day. Moreover, we’ve been told they feel the app runs really smooth. So we’re pretty sure it’s getting more and more used.
Because of the acceptance of this version of the app, a second stage is being developed to provide it with more functionalities.
Adrián – How can an app based on a daily scheduled agenda be improved?
Alex – Right now, the app doesn’t let you edit the agenda once it’s been created. With the second stage we’re developing, real-time tutoring will be implemented, so tutors will know which task kids are doing at the moment and introduce last-minute changes.
Adrián – Regarding the developing process, what do you think has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Alex – Real-time tutoring and editing the assigned tasks. We want to make it absolutely right and it’s taking some time.
Adrián – Well, Alex, one more question about video games. What’s your favorite platform?
Alex – I’ve changed my mind a lot throughout my life. When I was little, I was a Nintendo fanboy. Later, I became a SONY fan in the age of PlayStation 1, but PlayStation 4 has been so disappointing for me that I almost only play on PC at the moment. It’s not that I don’t want to play on other platforms, but right now I use my computer to play most of the time.
Adrián – Is there a game that has marked you somehow?
Alex – Kingdom Hearts 2.
Adrián – I also loved that game.
Thanks for everything, Alex. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Alex – Thank you, Adri.