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Drowning, Not Waving
You'll get haters. It's OK, you did the work, they didn't.
You’ll think you got conned getting only £4,000 for a game that sold a million units, but you didn’t. You will be able to say you did the first port of Jet Set Willy for the rest of your very long career.
After Jet Set Willy comes out, you'll go into a funk for ages thinking your time in video games has come to an end, but it hasn't.
You’ll think your time not working on a game is a lifetime, but the truth is that the end of Jet Set Willy and the beginning of Chimera was not much more than a season apart. And one day, a season will feel like a very short period of time indeed.
You'll get told you need an office. You don't.
You'll get told you need an agent. You don't.
You'll get told you're shit hot. You’ll get told you’re so good, you need to be cloned. You’ll believe the hype about you. You're not. You won’t. Don’t.
You'll get told your career will be over. Screw them. They don't own you. Don’t choose what others want you to believe is you over what you want to believe for yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe as you have always done, that if you work diligently enough on the things you want to excel at, you will inevitably excel.
You'll get offered crappy gigs. It's OK. Swallow your pride and do the work. It's fine to do hack work in between your bigger projects. Whatever it is that’s in front of you, do that, and do it well.
You’ll wonder about your purpose. Your purpose is a story you tell yourself. Just do what you’re doing and do it wholly and completely. Your purpose will unfold. Let others talk about your purpose while you give consciously to each moment its due.
You'll get told that contract work is drying up and you must come in house. LIES.
Your friends will tell you to give it all up and go back and study. It will burn. They will think you are a failure. They're wrong. You are not a failure. You haven't even failed. The only failure is in you believing that bullshit and not going out into the market on the back of the Jet Set Willy port and hustling for some gigs, but that's fine, you will make Chimera before long and everything will be great.
You will want to make something else with the code you wrote for Jet Set Willy. You will call it Baby Starts Walking and you will get offered £3000 for it, and out of arrogance, you will turn it down. Don't do that. Take the money then rinse and repeat for as long as you can get away with it; you will still do Chimera.
You will submit a game to Firebird called Chimera before too long and they will turn it down and you will ask your friend, David, for some help. You will go back two weeks later with David and a build that is way better and they will say "YES" and it will be the happiest day of your life, but you shouldn't stop with that build. You should make it better, much better, you are not too far away from making something incredible. Someone else's "YES" should not be your "YES".
After you have put Chimera on four different machines you will be hot shit and wonder what to do next and you will start thinking about Pandora and people will talk of cloning you and you will get an Amiga before anyone bar Jez San and your head will be turned and your ego will inflate and you will be scared and you will work on Pandora which will be a massive overreach and while you work on that you will be offered the Nightshade port to C64 and you will do that while listening to John Foxx and Sade back to back with dot matrix printouts all over the living room floor in the dead of night while drinking pots of filtered coffee and you will talk to Tim and Chris Stamper on the phone and they will offer you a contract for Pandora and you will turn them down because you feel loyal to Telecomsoft even though they haven't given you a contract and you will eat in fine restaurants and travel by cab everywhere and you will be told you need an agent and you'll get one and Tim Stamper will be wooing you and send you every game they have ever made for every platform which will get stolen along with your Gary Numan picture discs from an office you were told to get but didn't really want because you were doing just fine working from your bedroom and Tim will offer you the ports of Knight Lore and Alien 8 to C64 and you will say yes and your agent will write to them and then they will never speak to you again and Telecomsoft will do a management buy out and to do that they will reduce marketing and your game will die on its arse and that will feel like the end of your life and you will go through hell and
You will regret that you didn't just do Chimera 2 straight after Chimera, like you were going to. You will feel like a failure. You will feel like your career is over. You will feel like all of your contemporaries succeeded while you threw it all away. You will be at life’s lowest ebb and your childhood abuse and grinding poverty and bullying will resurface and you will self harm and you will feel like your dreams are tossed and blown but you will
You will make music and you will do it well and you will work at a studio and you will do well and you will work at Virgin and you will do well and you will work at Hasbro and you will do well and you will then believe in your own bullshit again and you will start a startup called START! and you will balls that up massively and your life will go into the most obscene tailspin it’s possible to imagine. You will endure every possible privation and you will be close to death and then you will be at PlayStation for a decade and you will be on top of the world by the end, but this time, you will do it right. This time, you have learned not to believe what is said about you.
You will hurt that going indie after leaving PlayStation felt like your entire life's work came to a juddering halt while you choked water as you fought the drowning reflex under oceans of debt, all the while gesturing to everyone that you are in fact waving, not drowning when you were, in fact, drowning.
You will look on helplessly, foolishly, feeling like a total mug as people around you get deals you know you should have had and you will wonder why when you have worked so hard, so unreasonably hard, that you can't just steer life the way you want to, but life cannot be steered. You are not that good, but that doesn't mean you can't still get better. You have found yourself out, but you realise that the only virtue that matters is to be true to thine self. So don't try to live a life that isn't yours. Nobody else can do what you have done, and you can't do what they have done. To thine own self be true. And you know what?
It will work out just fine. You will go through hell, but it will work out just fine. I have told you all this, but you will make the mistakes anyway. And it will work out just fine.
And you can still do Chimera 2.