Games to Change Dyslexia with Arturo Macías

Arturo Macías profile pictureWelcome to another Zenva Success Story! With us today is Arturo Macías, a developer with his own company, Quality Devs, and the CTO of Change Dyslexia.

We’re happy to have you with us here today, Arturo – and can we just say it’s wonderful to speak with someone so ambitious. Before we jump into anything else, can you give us a little background on what got you into programming in the first place?

Hi! It is a real pleasure to share some of my experiences with you. Zenva is a company that I admire very much and that I identify with. I started in the world of programming in a very similar way to your founder, Pablo. When I was 11 years old, our first computer entered my house, and I quickly started playing with it. I enjoyed playing games at the time, and I was always curious to know how they were created. At 14 years old, I started programming small games and applications in Basic, and at 16 years old I took my first programming classes in Turbo Pascal. Shortly after, I started my Computer Engineering studies, and although my initial work did not allow me to do much in regards to my passion for the development of video games, I always had it on my to-do list. At 28 years old, I founded my own development company, since the traditional consultants were not somewhere I felt comfortable. With Quality Devs, I began to deepen the world of web applications, mobile applications, and video game development.

Thank you for sharing! It’s very inspiring to hear how far back programming reaches in your life. Let’s turn our attention to your company, Quality Devs, which does app, game, and web development. How did your company start off, and what are your current projects and future plans?

Twelve years ago, like most developers, I was working in a consulting firm. Although I developed large business applications, I felt out of place and a bit stuck. For this reason, I decided to start up Quality Devs. I wanted a place to work where I felt at ease and to try different technologies and environments. I wanted to make wonderful websites, mobile applications, and, especially, start developing video games. I did not seek to make very complex games but to be able to develop small games for gamification processes, marketing actions, contests, advertising campaigns, etc.

Currently, we are increasingly doing mobile development, video games, and we have begun to work on a new line of machine learning business pieces. All this I compliment with my work as CTO at Change Dyslexia – a wonderful social project where I have been fortunate to be able to develop an entire multi-device application that includes a video game for children with reading and writing difficulties.

PolPosition screenshot of motorcycle

We will definitely be looking forward to your increased success, and are eager to see what you do with machine learning!

Tell us more about your work as the CTO of Change Dyslexia. How did you wind up involved with the organization? Can you tell us a bit about the game you created?

Three years ago, I was lucky to meet the founder of Change Dyslexia, Luz Rello. At that time, she had just completed a crowdfunding campaign to develop Dytective, a game to help children with reading and writing problems. The amount she had achieved in the campaign was about five or six times less than what a project of that size could cost. But, when I met her and she told me everything she did (she had been researching for more than 8 years and had already developed a screener to detect dyslexia in 15 minutes), I felt so excited that I had to do whatever it took to enroll in that project. I promised to look for the necessary professionals (musicians, illustrators, etc.). to do the job and assume all the extra costs that were necessary.

A year later, in April 2018, we published the first version of Dytective. Dytective consists of two tools, a screener to detect the risk of dyslexia and a video game with more than 40,000 linguistic exercises that are customized based on user performance. Dytective uses artificial intelligence and was developed for iOS, Android and Web.

Dytective game word challenge puzzle

Dytective sounds like an ambitious but very ground-breaking game for helping children with dyslexia. Given your experiences with this wonderful pursuit, how do you think our society can use technology and games to help children with disorders like dyslexia?

Technology is a powerful tool to help many people. Thanks to today’s technology, blind people can use voice assistants, we can use simultaneous translators, and there are a thousand examples.

In the case of children, you have to be especially sensitive. And that’s where games are presented as an excellent option. For a child, a game is an environment where they feel idle and comfortable. Doing homework is not the same as becoming a detective who persecutes an evil doctor, although deep down they are performing the same tasks ;-).

Dytective game world map

This is very true, homework definitely isn’t a favorite activity among children!

We’re ecstatic to know that our courses have played a role in giving you the skills that you need to pursue your work with Quality Devs and Change Dyslexia. Can you tell us which Zenva courses you took and how they have impacted all the wonderful work you do?

The truth is that I am addicted to all your courses. I have participated in several Kickstarter campaigns to finance some of your Mini-Degrees. Specifically, the first ones I did were the HTML5 Game Development courses with Phaser. This allowed me to start developing Dytective for all platforms using a single, common source code. Later, I supplemented it with the HTML5 Game Development Mini-Degree.

I have also done the Unity Game Development Mini-Degree, which has allowed me to make some very interesting 3D games for sponsorship campaigns of great Spanish athletes such as Pol Espargaró, Toni Elias, and Juan Mata.

Some time ago I did the Data Science and Python courses, which have allowed me to improve my Machine Learning skills. And related to the above, I am currently working through the Machine Learning Mini-Degree to further improve my knowledge.

Without any doubt, Zenva Academy has helped me a lot to improve professionally.

Beviera Kickoff screenshot of soccer ballWe have to wrap things up now – however, we do have time for one last question. Arturo, since you’re an experienced developer- what advice do you have for new developers, especially those in Spanish-speaking countries?

First of all, have patience. One does not become an expert developer overnight. But with effort and perseverance, you can get to where you want. It is relatively easy to make a program that works, but our goal should be to work in the best possible way.

Second, never stop studying and trying new technologies. There is nothing worse than a developer without curiosity.

And finally, have criteria when choosing which courses to take. The internet is full of courses and trainers in development, but there are few who really teach you good methodologies and practices. And without a doubt Zenva Academy should be a must for all of them!

This wraps up our interview with Arturo, who we want to extend a giant thank you to for such magnificent work with both Quality Devs and Change Dyslexia.

Need a fantastic company for your development needs?  Be sure to check out Quality Devs for high-quality materials.

If you’re interested in Change Dyslexia’s mission to help children, or their fantastic game Dytective, you can learn more by visiting the website.  You can also check out Dytective on GooglePlay and the Apple Store.

Finally, be sure to also visit Arturo’s LinkedIn profile and make a professional connection!