Naji Kadri says that success boils down to a few key things: "You have to work hard, you have to never give up and you have to be ambitious. But the most important thing is being passionate. If you're not passionate about your work and your skills, how are you going to get better?"
That's sound advice for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere – but it's an odd experience hearing it come from the mouth of a school boy.
But then again, Kadri isn't your average 15-year-old. The Lebanese computer programmer has already created more than 10 games – from “Flappy Bird” clone Tappy Bird to his latest, Round . He also has created his own gaming company, Lightbulb Games Studio, and runs a blog where he not only shares his experiences but offers advice to other aspiring coders.
Entirely self-taught, Kadri started out with simple games – he sheepishly admitted that his first farming simulation's graphics were done in Microsoft Paint – but has now mastered several programming languages and a host of software he uses to make his games.
"If I don't know [how to do] something, I just started searching online to find answers," Kadri said.
He must be a quick learner, as he codes and designs the games entirely on his own, telling StepFeed that the only outside resources he uses are sound tracks available online. His last game, Round, took him five to six hours a day for around two months. Pretty impressive considering he is also in school all day.
Since starting at 12 years old, Kadri has progressed an incredible amount, and he is now working on a 3D game using Blender and the Unity game engine. He's spending his summer working on his latest idea at Lebanese gaming company GameCooks, where StepFeed caught up with the programmer.
In a country where tech startups can be few and far between, a situation that is slowly changing, Kadri is lucky to have found mentors at GameCooks.
"I saw their games on Google play. They were the first time I had seen game developers in Lebanon, I was excited and I found them really impressive," he said.
After connecting with the company, he was eventually offered a summer internship and the opportunity to see how professional game developers take a game from an idea to a finished product.
"The idea was he would brainstorm on a game idea," GameCooks' Marketing Manager Lara Noujaim told StepFeed. "We want to help him develop this idea."
His latest project sounds like a huge step up from the simpler, arcade-style games he's produced in the past. Describing it as a farming simulation, Kadri said it would be a 3-D sim where the player was able to terraform an entire earth-like globe.
Considering how much he's already accomplished, we can't wait to see what Kadri comes up with next.