Kid’s business

Every 4 years in Douarnenez, France, where I lived, there was a big event of old sailboats. It brought a lot of people in what was otherwise a 20000 people city. I lived in a farm, my parents had a quite big garden and in any place that’s 100 years old there was old garbages laying around. If you wanted to find some piece of old material you could just lurk around to find them. It was easy to find slates.

I was about 10 years old. I had fun carving very stylized old sailboats inside

My mother was very admirative of things I made, because she is a mother, but this time, carved slates were quite cool. I can’t remember how I figured out that I could sell them, but one morning I installed a little showcase next to where my parents sold vegetables. I had often sold with them, so this was a place where it felt normal to be. It was the first day of festival.

All the stock sold very quickly, so quickly that my little sister had to help
me to sell slates as I was making new ones.

The next day we were back again with all the slates that we had found. Some things are easy to sell. We were at the perfect place, feeling authentic
because we were two little kids selling stuff we had made. It sold so well that my mother said that we outperform her that day.

I regret one thing, one of the people who approached me at that time was a
russian sailor who came in on a military boat. He had no money, and would have like to trade one against a plastic pin of no real value. I didn’t really understand what he wanted, so I refused. I’m really sorry he was disappointed. Today I wish my little slate had come to sail on the sees.

After that I pickup the money and bought a box of lego. It was something I
really wanted, but now when I’m thinking at this story, I had more fun,
creating and selling stuff than playing with my little game box.

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey

When I began my career, I worked as a graphic engine programmer on an XBox game : Tork. It didn’t got a big press, because it came way to late and only got a US release, but it was an nice game.

The computer game industry is like a lure to many people, because it feels so nice to play with games all the day. We used to have hundreds of resumes for an job offer. This is also what allows games to be done despite the engineering beeing way more complex that the usual shop : you have this huge pool of talents to pick up to build a team.

In that pool, some volonteers were great but many were completly disconnected from the reality of this work, because, actually, building games has little to do with playing games :

Engine programmers spend their time with maths and algorithms, tester jumps around maps everywhere for literally months, game developers try every variation of what fun could be, and everyone has some dirty tasks that needs to be done like moving bytes from one format to another. Building a game last for 2-3 years, imagine playing the same game everyday for 3 years and it become hell on earth but if you love the process and your buddies.

So, if I get bored of my idea, because I worked on it too long, I remember myself to enjoy the journey too. Sometimes it’s nice to focus on doing the things, do them just well and forget about the big vision. You might even notice some unpolished details you wouldn’t otherwise.

Take care though, because that’s how all mad scientists began, by doing small things without a vision, you might become evil.