Duncan is really into his Roller Coaster Tycoon PC game. He's been trying for ages to recreate some of the Disney World/Land rides, in particular, Space Mountain. He kept showing me YouTube videos of these amazing versions of the rides, and bugging me to download them for him. I didn't know how or where to get the sets from. He's been going onto the Atari forums and scrolling through the posts. He showed me a few topics that seemed to help. It took me ages to piece together what I had to do though. It's not bad, what he managed to achieve. He typed his request, and found the relevant pages. He managed to read enough (and find the right images) to know when he was on the right track. He has tried so hard to make the coasters by himself, and he has designed some fabulous scenery, including a great version of Expedition Everest, with snow topped mountains and all. He has a great feel for how to use the program, how to build the walls and change the landscape. It's quite astonishing really.
Since I finally figured out where to get the set of files he needed to build Space Mountain (Mission 2) I helped him get the files in place. He asked me to help connect the multiple pieces, so I gave it a go. He was very disappointed with my efforts. I was sent away and he got to work himself. He kicked my ass at the game, building a beautiful, synchronised version of the ride using the well designed scenery of someone kind enough to share his work online.
I downloaded Google Sketchup (a cool, free 3D modelling program) and let him go to work, after spending a couple of minutes showing him some basic techniques. He knew what to do and had some ideas to try out instantly. The boy's got skills at stuff like that. Perhaps it'll develop into something marketable some day, but for now, he's learning loads through his interests and enjoys them. That's good to see.