On ‘famous devs’
So, this popped up in my google alerts.
in which a young wannabe designer says the following:
I’ve contemplated learning to code for myself, give Unity a go, but the thought that what I make will never be as good as the works I so adore paralyses me with self loathing and Doubt ‘Of course I couldn’t be the the next Mike Bithell or Phil Fish, why even bother.’
This made me sad. And I wanted to say a few things on the topic.
- I’m not Mike Bithell. At least, I’m not the construct above. I look like Mike Bithell, I even share his name, but I am just a 28 year old nerd who spends too much time worrying about making inputs feel good, and not enough time doing paperwork.
- I am a shit coder. Really shit. I have now hired a couple of coders to help me. I swear to god, the first two days was them laughing at the Volume source code. You may already actually be better than me.
- The horrible reality is that you will never not feel this way. I have the same admiration / frustration targeted at Phil Fish, Warren Spector, Jonathan Blow, Sophie Houlden, Hideo Kojima, Davey Wreden and many others. The fact that I’ve now (with exception of Blow*) met or online met all these devs in no way makes me worry less about never being as good as them.
- The only thing that separates one dev from another is experience and luck. You may not BE phil right now, but keep working, and you may do so one day. Time is linear, and attention is short. Folks may be talking about you long after they forget about our weird little games.
- The best advice I can give is to focus energy inwards. Not in a quasi-spiritual sense, but in an emotional sense. Try to ignore outward pressures and desires to be loved, and focus on making shit you like. You will of course fail to achieve this zen like state, we all do, but the act of trying will probably help a bit :)
Much love, and I look forward to playing what you make.
*I once stood behind Blow in a cafe, and spent approximately 5 minutes deciding whether I had the balls to say hello. I did not. Best case scenario he didn’t spot me, worst case scenario he wondered why the creepy overweight 6 foot 4 guy in the corner kept looking at him.