As some of you out there may know, I’ve been taking a sabbatical from the whole game development black hole. More recently I’ve been using my personal time to venture into other hobbies. I am hoping to find inspiration outside of video games and maybe someday bring it back into video game form. I don’t know if that idea will ever become a reality but it has allowed me to see a different side of the world, a part of the world that is outside of zeros and ones, outside of digital computing.
Throughout my recent journey away from video games I’ve discovered photography, carpentry, and even investment properties. I am widening my perspective on life and it all seems to ring a kind of truth that resides in video game development as well. What you put into something will almost always be more than what you get out of it, and getting more from what you put in is a nice surprise but not an end to justify any sort of means. In short, don’t expect to make money from the things you do, just do them because they interest you.
In theory this is all well and good, and I’d imagine that if we all did the things that only interested us then we would have no one left to take out the garbage or give the dog a bath. If we simply did what pleased us it would inevitably leave us all living out of cardboard boxes and wondering where all of our money has gone. So what is the answer?
Now, in the peak of my gaming sabbatical, I have found myself looking more closely at the things that people create outside of games. I study the craftsmanship of the furniture I find in a random doctor’s office. I mentally disassemble the components of an elaborate picture frame I see on the wall. I even go through the process of analyzing how functional a space may be and question if there was a better design for the space allowed. Most importantly, I make mental notes of the price that has been associated to these items whenever I get the opportunity.
I have seen flee markets offering up $1500 upholstered chairs for $500. I have even seen houses sold on the market for fractions of what it costs in materials alone to build the house. This idea we have in our minds that we can create something and give it value is a complete gamble. We are betting on the hope that someone else finds your creation to be as valuable as you. Seldom is it ever the case that a buyer sees the value in something as much as the person who painstakingly stapled the cloth onto that chair, or the home owner who put their blood, sweat, and tears into a home that is selling for less than the “value” of the land it was built on.
A property investor recently told me, “In real estate, the key to coming out on top is finding a bigger fool than you.” He was obviously implying that everyone is a fool for betting on something as subjective as the value of property. In many ways I find that statement to be true about everything I’ve seen thus far, from real estate to the things we put in them. We all have to be a little foolish to keep trying, to keep assigning a value to the things we create and maybe someday actually make a sale.
To my fellow fools, Cheers.