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Is it Important to have a Concept for a Game?(Small/Medium/Large)


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#1 SnakeMaster   Members   -  Reputation: 188

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:07 AM

Greetings to everyone in the community

 

I was reading the topic on GameDevTuts+ (http://gamedev.tutsplus.com/articles/roundups/start-here/) and i came accross the question. "Is it really important to have a game concept for a game?" I mean ask yourselfs, if you still wanna change and things in a finshed or almost finished game you would have to recreate or modify the concept. Or what if you would have a medium or small project? Would you still need a concept or not?

 

And to concept what kinda phases are there? Would there really be only 4 Phases or more? Is it like changeable like the HERMES Concept for IT project or is it something fix you just have to follow to have a successfull game?

 

Thank You For Your Feedback



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#2 walsh06   Members   -  Reputation: 606

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:24 AM

I would say without a game concept you would have no game. The concept is the game you are making. Otherwise you are just slapping bits and pieces together to see what happens. It might work when trying things out or prototyping but not for a full game. But I think by concept you mean plan. I think a plan is important. Even if you are going to change later on its important to stay on top of what you are currently doing. Depending on the scope of the project the plan will vary I suppose.


Edited by walsh06, 28 June 2013 - 04:25 AM.


#3 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1418

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 05:24 AM

I'm not sure you understand what a concept is.   The concept is the initial idea (A brief outline) without which you would have no game idea. After the concept stage you then flesh out the design and produce a game design.

 

I'm not sure which article you are reffering to on gamedevtuts so I can't comment what they suggest a concept is.

 



#4 superman3275   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1976

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:11 PM

I don't really understand this question.

 

"Do you need an idea to make your idea?"

 

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#5 coderx75   Members   -  Reputation: 406

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:54 PM

To start a game, no.  You can have some code lying around, slap it together into a prototype and play with some ideas.  If you're a beginner, no again.  Take something simple that already exists so you can gain some practice in game development.  It really depends on what you mean by making a game.

 

If you're starting a serious project then you should have a firm grasp of your concept before any development begins.  A serious project, even a smaller indie project, can be pretty vast in scope.  So, you don't need a concept if you don't mind spending 6 months to a year of your life trudging aimlessly for 12 hours per day to produce something incoherent (if you're extremely lucky). ;-)



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#6 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18870

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

1) "Is it really important to have a game concept for a game?" I mean ask yourselfs, if you still wanna change and things in a finshed or almost finished game you would have to recreate or modify the concept. Or what if you would have a medium or small project? Would you still need a concept or not?

2) And to concept what kinda phases are there? Would there really be only 4 Phases or more? Is it like changeable like the HERMES Concept for IT project or is it something fix you just have to follow to have a successfull game?

 

Thank You For Your Feedback

 

 

EDIT: Rewriting for the For Beginners forum.  Sorry about that.

 

1) You need to know what kind of game you are making.  You cannot suddenly decide "We're almost done with this shooter, let's turn it in to a side scroller!" Or perhaps say "My driving game is almost done, i'm going to change it to a 2D puzzle game".  

 

For medium to large games there is much more involved.  There are game design documents that evolve over the life of the process.  There is a lot of work involved to come up with a very clear purpose of the game. Usually this is best expressed as a single statement or slogan, every other design can be approved or denied based on that single statement.

 

For a hobby game, do what you want.

 

 

2) There are no required stages.

 

For medium to large games, this is just one piece of the business operations plan. It is common (but not essential) to have a concept phase where the concepts are reviewed and the details worked out, a prototyping phase where the idea is vetted for actually being fun, and lots of ideas are experimented with and discarded.  Then you have another phase, perhaps called pre-production, where core components are implemented.  This again gets tested and vetted to ensure it is fun.  Then another phase, production, where the game actually gets made. This can include main development, feature complete, alpha, beta, pre-final, and final stages. Then there is post production where everything gets packaged up, distributed, sold, sold back and returned, players are supported, and more.

 

For a hobby game, do what you want since you will likely never sell it.  If you intend to commercially release it, you better develop a solid business plan before developing the game.


Edited by frob, 28 June 2013 - 02:42 PM.

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#7 Khatharr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2820

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:06 PM

Conceptualization is also something that will save you time in the long run. If you do it properly then you're write out the details of how you're going to implement things at the larger level, which forces you to start thinking about how the program is going to fit together overall. For small, hobbyist projects you can sometimes do this in your head, but for anything of any real size you'll be doing yourself a favor if you start plotting things out on paper.


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#8 Tom KQT   Members   -  Reputation: 1504

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 02:48 AM

To start a game, no.  You can have some code lying around, slap it together into a prototype and play with some ideas.  If you're a beginner, no again.  Take something simple that already exists so you can gain some practice in game development.  It really depends on what you mean by making a game.

How can you start a game without a concept? If you have no concept for a game then you are not starting a game. You can be starting some general application, or rather some game engine. Yep, in this case you don't need a concept of a game - but you need a concept of the engine or application smile.png Programming really cannot work just by adding lines together, hoping something will emerge from it.

 

"slap it together into a prototype and play with some ideas" - a prototype of what? Here we go again - you cannot make a prototype of "something unspecified". Of course you may change your game concept during development if you're just messing around and trying different stuff, but you need SOMETHING to start with. And the concept to start with can be something extremely simple and general, like "you will control some object with your mouse". You can start implementing this concept, build some sprite rendering code, some mouse input and then start really making a game from it ("...you will move a soldier and shoot at enemies, top-down view..."). But you had a concept to start with.


Edited by Tom KQT, 29 June 2013 - 02:48 AM.


#9 SnakeMaster   Members   -  Reputation: 188

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 05:29 PM

Sorry for the Late reply been having alot to do with Finals at school and such. 

 

Anyways i been reading true most of the comments and surely been suprised how many kinda overlap each other. 

 

I mean sure you need a Concept for making a AAA Title. But thats not my goal at the moment, im just really aiming for somethign simple. Lets say: I want a game to be 2D side scrolling, with a multiplayer abillity and customizable maps. First questione is, is it a medium game or just a small hobby game? Second is it needed aConcept for such a thing or can you just ...

 You can have some code lying around, slap it together into a prototype and play with some ideas. 

Do the same as coderx said. Or would you need a whole new different approach? Im sorry if im making this Topic abit to long on you guys, but i wanna completly understand why a Concept is here and when exactly is it needed to be used. 

 

If you are curios why im so focused on this Concept thing, i will explain it to you. 

 

I been lately (After i get some free time to study video games) testing out minecraft and researching its Java Code. I even went so far to look at how Notch exactly planned or even came to this idea. It is funny but in the video i saw, he was really not planning anything or going anything after the plans to make the game fully working. He just created hes game to match hes needs without following any Concept he planned first out. But then i thought... So wait...If Minecraft is like Medium game it would need a Concept because of its multiplayer features, modelling and so on... So why can someone like Notch just manipulate anything in the engine without following any strict Concept?

 

Like i said im sorry for making this Topic so hard on you guys im jus trying to fully understand it

 

For all the others the replied already. Im very gratefull for your anwsers and im Thankfull for the ammount of help you gave me already. But some questiones have been anwserd and new ones appeard. So i hope you can still support me here and try to make me understand what Concepting a game truly is :)

 

Yours Truly

 

Snake(Enigma)



#10 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17235

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 06:31 PM

A "concept" in this context, at least according to Tom Sloper's tutorial #2 ("Sample outline for a game design") is "one or two pages describing the basic idea", and it's something that you would probably discard after writing (or that would evolve into) a more detailed design, as beyond getting your initial idea across to another person or small team it simply isn't that useful.

 

I think the confusion in this topic has come about because it's also a plain English word simply meaning "idea" or "notion", which you obviously can't not have if you're working on something, and because the term is relatively uncommon in just about every online community I've seen.  You could perhaps avoid some of this confusion in future by more precisely referring to it as a "concept document" rather than just "concept".

 

 

As to your actual question, no.  A written concept document is something a lot of smaller hobbyist or indie projects don't bother with, especially if you're a lone developer or in a very small (2-3 person) team.  You'll have the idea in your mind, and you might potentially have some more detailed documents (such as a full design document or design log), but you may not actually write out a concept document.

 

Some reasons a short written concept could be useful include:

  • Communicating your idea to others at the very beginning of the project, before you have anything more tangible or detailed to show.  This might be just to get feedback on whether people think the idea shows promise or not, or it might be to recruit team members or explain the idea to an existing team.
  • To check if you're staying on track later on in the project.  If you're not following a more detailed design document (as many hobbyists don't) a written concept might be a good way to see that you aren't wandering off into features that weren't planned or completely changing your design.

 

Other documents commonly used include:

  • Design Documents.  See Tom Sloper's lesson (linked above), and "Why Design Documents Matter" for more details on these.
  • Pitch Documents (or "sell sheet").  To help get funding or land a publisher for your game.  See "preparing a product pitch".
  • Business Plan.  Not needed by most hobbyists.  Tom Sloper describes this a little in his lesson #29.
  • Some people use alternatives to design documents that are more suited to an iterative approach where designs constantly change, such as the above-linked design logs.

 

It's quite common that hobbyists will use few or none of these, and for smaller projects you will probably be just fine without them.  Some or all of them may become more useful or be required as your projects get larger, you start working with more people, or if you're dealing with a publisher, but as frob said above there are no "required" stages that all games must have.  You simply do what works best for your own project, or when interacting with others what they require of you.

 

 

Hope that helps! smile.png






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