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Personal exploration through design

Year 2, week 23 3/21/21 - narrative writing and exploration part II

Current thesis thoughts:

Now that I am in phase two of my project and I've had time to talk with my advisers I came to the concept I wanted to explore more. In talking about design, at least in terms of where designers live in spaces and particular types of methodologies. I found that I really enjoyed this level of self analyzation that I previously was against. finding out why I wanted to do specific things always felt too small as if I was asked to reduce myself down to a singular thought. However, that is not what I am asked. we as designers can't possibly fold ourselves down into a singular concept that informs our work but our drives for particular projects don't have to be all-consuming.

I have an interest in my culture, but at the start of this assignment, I didn't want to create a narrative that I was the "Mexican designer making Mexican work." Putting the internalized ideologies fed to me aside, I saw that this is just one area of interest. Being asked to participate in a public-facing design for agroforestry I felt excited, not particularly because I'm excited by the topic of forestry, but because I like making comics, and having the ability to help educate people about important topics was my drive.

the thread is currently very squishy but I wanted to talk about this more, the idea of understanding the self in design. How much of us is too much, exploring important concepts to me now feeds into that framework I think. making a game about trust. regret, and now death, I see a pattern forming and it might be something I need to address with my committee to help me make it more solid.

Media list:

Hernandez, E., Rosales, A., & Brodwin, M. (2018). Death and dying latino/a cultural view of death. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from

I had gotten this article from Maria a while ago and I liked what I read but didn't know how to articulate how to use it this information other than "it's useful for narrative." Now that I am designing my characters more, the narrative does fit more specifically into my view. "Latino/a Americans experience more intense grief after an unexpected death. Regardless of the expectation or suddenness of the death, non-Latinos display outward grief to a lesser degree" I look at this and at first I took umbrage with it because "that's not me." but that is the point. I was taught by my family to not be like that to not be "sensitive." But I remember how death affected my family.

This game is about a person who processes grief like me. in the center of knowing your world was falling to pieces and it could be soothed with expressing that but being separated from that language. emotional constipation because you just don't know how to be.

knowing someone will die soon you grieve as you see them live. them departing is sad but you accept it. but that process is cut short but unexpected death.

Munet, Frances. (1998). Grieving and death rituals of Latinos. Oncology nursing forum. 25. 1761-3.

This article talks a bit more plainly about how latinx people grieve and its deep ties to culture. however, as a person split between two cultures. isn't that every culture? Latinx people are diverse and their grieving rituals are akin to that of decoration day in the Appalachians. So it feels redundant to state "how they grieve linked to tradition." all traditions are just how we are taught to be. the same goes for grief. How we process it however is what I'm interested in. tradition says we should let our emotions spill out. not to let it corrode inside of us. I myself found it hard to do. but over time just letting oneself cry was did soothe the jagged feelings I had. fiding a small safe place for myself and wailing out the pain was like taking a breath. perhaps that's what it meant. a denial of that tradition made it feel like I couldn't accept the reality of the situation.


HOW DO THESE THINGS HELP MY GAME? the character is in the same boat. their grief is in a moratorium, rather than grieve they turn themselves off to persevere themselves. Tradition sometimes asserts itself in us. for better or worse, there is a drive to understand the world the way were taught.

So I turned to design the characters around that issue the disparity between how grief hits and how the ability to process it feels like a journey in itself.

Work was done and Choices made:

Finally having a path in the narrative I was able to solidify the designs of the characters Solida and Tristen.

Solida is a spirit who has passed on. she is as how Tristen remembers her. a larger-than-life figure, and that never changed after she died. she stayed this heroic figure in their heart as a result she is remembered as such in the land of the dead. she will actually be part of the level design helping him move forwarded her hands acting as platforms. the further the player advances the smaller she becomes as Tristen learns more about her. allowing her to be a person and not a story.

Alma triste Is the version of Tristen's interaction with the land of the dead. they lack a proper form but are wearing a hood with the symbol of spirit. while other characters do not. leaving the character like this also serves to remove a bit of personhood from the character. I did change the narrative a bit and actually have the story starting in the land of the dead. and progresses all the way through. not actually referring to the land of the living until the end. I decided that this would make the most sense. it stopped the progression of my story. and was a little confusing.

Current Questions

My next questions are all around my thesis really

I like the idea that forming but it's still just an idea and don't really know where to point my thoughts now. understanding where the self fits in design by developing exploratory designs in "game."

Likely next steps

my next steps are to keep on working on concept art and level designs.

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