For the past week, a young man has sat in the offices of GameDuell, Germany’s largest game site. His name is Fabian*. He is just 14 years old and has already earned the respect of the GameDuell development team.
He showed us his version of Crazy Chicken programmed within a few weeks during Berlin’s cold winter. Fabian replaced the main characters with UFOs which he finds much cooler than chickens. He lets them soar through space on a mouse and keyboard controlled flight.
Although Fabian* is proud of his little game, he does not seem completely satisfied with it.
“I only programmed this to reinforce my knowledge of the commands and to learn a new method. I would much rather work directly as a developer already, expand my knowledge, and invent brilliant games.” He has, of course, no intention of leaving school just yet because he knows, “to do this, I need to graduate high school first.”
Success in programming does not, as many suspect, require complete sacrifice and Fabian* does not want to deny himself a carefree youth. He has many friends, plays soccer and is currently avidly following Germany’s progress in the European championship. He also likes music. Due to time constraints he only plays a single instrument right now, but he is still young and has time to add a few more later on.
Still, one thing remains clear: Programming offers him constant new challenges on a daily basis that he wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. And this is the reason why he loves to piece snippets of code together into useful entities.
After all, a game needs to be the end result. He’s produced countless websites and other small programs but still finds game development “really interesting.”
Almost without realizing it, he seems to have chosen an industry with a lot of potential. At the present time, social game developers are looking for personnel. GameDuell alone has over 50 open positions and the entire market grew from 1.84 billion dollars in 2009 to almost 5 billion in 2011. This rate of growth is expected to continue over the next few years.
The expense of a private teacher to help Fabian* therefore seems like a smart investment. In addition to sharing his knowledge with the ninth grader, he imbued him with an enthusiasm for programming.
At GameDuell, he was able to gain experience at a company that loves technology and technical innovation.
It was already clear on this student intern’s first day: Fabian* hasn’t come as an observer – he wants to be an active part of things. He’s a doer. He immediately set about writing a script and adapting the layout of a website.
He later wants to study computer science and found his own company, or, if it doesn’t work out with his own company, start at a game developing company. Maybe GameDuell? “I definitely like it very much here so far.”
At any rate, Fabian* will need a good company behind him, because his dreams are big. “I would like to develop a very big game that is sold all over the word and earn a lot of money.”
At the end of his internship, Fabian* brought along his USB stick and showed us his latest jump and run game. All of us are amazed and agree about two things. First, Berlin and our industry need more young people like Fabian*. Second, the world is going to hear from Fabian* again.
*The name was changed for data protection reasons.