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Game Design: Check. Everything Else: ?.


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#1 DevDave   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:17 AM

Hey y'all.

 

So about a year ago I had a really, really good idea for a game that, from a marketing perspective, could really take off on the market due to the fact that it fits current gaming trends. Not only that, but it was also on a genre/topic that I am extremely passionate about and would fill my little young heart with immeasurable joy and satisfaction. In addition, it would contain some doable game play elements which are pretty damn original and gamers, such as myself, would love.

 

It only took about 5 minutes of browsing online until I found that one can not simple jump into game development with an idea and a couple thousand $$$. I was heartbroken :(

 

Nevertheless, I started researching game design and over the past few months I've been writing, writing, writing and writing some more in my free time. Looking at that document-filled folder today, which I poetically and originally named "Project X" (working title, obviously), I found that I've basically got the game down to a science.

 

Not only do I have a specific descriptions of all gameplay elements, such as characters, enemies, items, backgrounds, plot, goals, challenges, etc... But I've also calculated and designed the technical stuff, such as the damage rates of different weapons, character progression, amount of experience points earned per kill and more. I've made sure that all the 'technical numbers' were pretty balanced out, so that game progression is not too easy but not too hard. This aspect probably gets perfected as the game development proceeds, but for now it is at a more-than-acceptable level.

 

Heck, not only have I calculated how much artwork would be needed and the number and type of animations, but I've even hand-drawn and scanned the playable map including all the details. I've found an awesome, epic song to be used in the trailer and contacted the person who sang it to request rights to use that song. I've even composed some music myself for the game, using Ableton Live 8.

 

So with all of this drawn out the next logical step would obviously be getting a team together and starting to work on it. The problem is that if this game is to be done properly, I've estimated that the development will cost between $500.000 and $3.000.000 USD. THAT is a BIG problem.

 

You guys got any ideas on what steps I should take next?

 

It just seems like such a waste of time and creativity to give up on something I've worked on for months, something that if marketed correctly (and yes, I'm in marketing) could become a potential blockbuster (and yes, 99% of people think their idea is a potential blockbuster but I have the good fortune of being very familiar with all types of video games from firsthand experience, as well as knowing quite a bit about the industry).

 

Cheers!

 



Sponsor:

#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9108

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 08:54 AM


You guys got any ideas on what steps I should take next?

 

That depends. What is your business idea for when the game is done?  You assume we know, but we don't.  We can't.

Some possible business ideas:

- Self-publish, making this game your source of income

- Self-publish as a sideline while continuing your current career

- Self-publish as the first game of your new business (your own game company, a developer-publisher)

- Pitch the game to established publishers, with a view towards becoming a developer (your own game company, a developer)

- Pitch the game to established publishers, then take the money and retire on a South Pacific island while you're still young

 

What steps you should take next depend on what your business idea is.  Most likely, you should start by writing a business plan.

As such, I don't think this is a Production And Management question.  I think it's a Business question, so I'm moving this to the Business forum.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 DevDave   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:33 AM

 


You guys got any ideas on what steps I should take next?

 

That depends. What is your business idea for when the game is done?  You assume we know, but we don't.  We can't.

Some possible business ideas:

- Self-publish, making this game your source of income

- Self-publish as a sideline while continuing your current career

- Self-publish as the first game of your new business (your own game company, a developer-publisher)

- Pitch the game to established publishers, with a view towards becoming a developer (your own game company, a developer)

- Pitch the game to established publishers, then take the money and retire on a South Pacific island while you're still young

 

What steps you should take next depend on what your business idea is.  Most likely, you should start by writing a business plan.

As such, I don't think this is a Production And Management question.  I think it's a Business question, so I'm moving this to the Business forum.

 

 

Thank you, Tom. Your insight has been very helpful.

 

Please let me elaborate further on these possible scenarios so you can gain a better understanding on what I'm actually asking.

 

Firstly, if I had the resources to complete the game myself I would definitely launch my own game development company. I'd market the sh*t out of the game, starting with a full-blown trailer on YouTube, followed by handing out early/closed beta's of the game to video game review websites/magazines. I'm fortunate enough to have some connections in that department, so it shouldn't be a problem. My plan would be to generate lots of buzz for the game before its release (the details of how to do this I will not share publicly).

 

It would be nice if the game went on to generate a gazillion dollars so I could buy my private island in the Caribbean and sit on the beach smoking grass all day. But that's not going to happen. I might be relatively young, but I'm not a fool. 

 

I guess that with these hundreds of pages of data that I have compiled, I'm already making these assumptions:

A) I will not, in the foreseeable future, be able to afford developing this game independently.

B) It will be close to impossible to find a team willing to put in months of hard work for a 'possible' future paycheck. 

C) If economical shortcuts are taken during the production of this game, the whole thing will fall apart and will not generate enough revenue to cover all the costs.

 

So, I guess my real question is: If I want to see this game get developed, what should I do? Who should I contact? 

I'm pretty sure you can't just show up at a game development company and give them the game design and say "Make this for me!"



#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9108

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 11:53 AM


1. I would definitely launch my own game development company.

2. I'd market the sh*t out of the game,
3. what should I do?

4. Who should I contact?
5. I'm pretty sure you can't just show up at a game development company and give them the game design and say "Make this for me!"

 

1. Okay, so you would develop games. Not only this one, but other games after this one.

2. And you would also publish them, you're saying. 

3. You should write a business plan, including not only all development costs but also publishing costs, marketing costs, and post-publish costs (running the business) for five years.

4. People with money.  Read about startups and ways to obtain money. Start networking now.

5. Of course you can -- of course, you need to have the money beforehand. But I'm confused. You want to be a developer yourself, so why would you be talking about hiring a developer?


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#5 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1781

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:06 PM

First, congrats on having done more work than 99.5% of everyone who "has a great game idea that will really take off."

 

Since you're in marketing, it's now time to start marketing.. but not to the public, to people who are in a position to provide resources.

 

You don't say where you are located, but in many cities/states there are 'incubator' programs that assist small companies looking for business assistance.  (here in Seattle, we even have one specifically for gaming startups).  See what kind of resources are available where you are and what kind of networking events they have.

 

Think of it this way... you have a movie script and you want someone to make a good, but not block-buster budget movie from it.  In your favor is the fact that you have a full script, while most people only have a 2-page plot synopsis (to use the movie analogy)

 

Also, and I presume you're familiar with this-- Going from a written description of a game to a game is more than just implementing what's in the document.  Going from "paper" to "fun" is often a long road with many twists and turns. 


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#6 DevDave   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:41 AM

First, congrats on having done more work than 99.5% of everyone who "has a great game idea that will really take off."

 

Since you're in marketing, it's now time to start marketing.. but not to the public, to people who are in a position to provide resources.

 

You don't say where you are located, but in many cities/states there are 'incubator' programs that assist small companies looking for business assistance.  (here in Seattle, we even have one specifically for gaming startups).  See what kind of resources are available where you are and what kind of networking events they have.

 

Think of it this way... you have a movie script and you want someone to make a good, but not block-buster budget movie from it.  In your favor is the fact that you have a full script, while most people only have a 2-page plot synopsis (to use the movie analogy)

 

Also, and I presume you're familiar with this-- Going from a written description of a game to a game is more than just implementing what's in the document.  Going from "paper" to "fun" is often a long road with many twists and turns. 

 

Thank you!

 

This is what I was looking for. I love the movie script analogy because I think that it most accurately describes my situation. Of course, while 'filming' some of the script will be changed, but the script 1.0 is done. 

 

So, seeing as I have no actual development experience, I should find a team of (possibly independent) developers and then find an individual or company to sponsor the resources for the development? I am aware that if someone invests the money for the production, it is likely that they'll be asking for something around 99% return on all future profits, but I don't care; the important thing is that my name/logo appears on the finished game. I've come to realize that good ideas for games are actually extremely easy to come by, it's the implementation and good management of opportunity cost that makes the difference.

 

Best,

DevDave


Edited by DevDave, 19 August 2013 - 05:41 AM.


#7 afliii   Members   -  Reputation: 464

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:17 AM

DevDave. Good that you're taking their advice. Everything they're saying is golden, which is why I won't bother to quote... 

 

I've been at the indie dev business for two years now. I started Broken Limits Media August 27, 2011. I linked so you could see our progress in two years. We've only finished one (sorta) beta game and we're like 10% of the way through a nice 3D game. These guys aren't leading you to anything unattainable, however, it's not easy to build a game. For me, I'm just the business guy with a slight amount of experience in every field, but more in management. The primary reason I'd like to become a producer, eventually.

 

Coming up with a game and writing it all down is easy. As you mentioned, "good ideas for games are actually extremely easy to come by." I've got a dozen of my own. If you read into Tom Sloper's lessons/faqs http://sloperama.com/advice.html, for selling your game or game idea he mentions writing down all your game ideas and putting them away. Then, go to school, get a job in the industry, tweak your game(s), rank up in the industry, and then pitch your game (after more tweaking). (I paraphrased btw)

 

The best way for guys like us is to combine education, career opportunities within reach, and actual indie development. I'm constantly looking for some kind of management job to prep myself for the Producer position I want with the AAA studio, here in Maryland. I run my own small asphalt construction business now, but that specific industry sucks. Go to school, learn how to make games on your own, get a team together, make a few games, and live happily ever after on your island! Good luck!



#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9108

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:30 AM


seeing as I have no actual development experience, I should find a team of (possibly independent) developers and then find an individual or company to sponsor the resources for the development?

 

It depends on what you mean by "should."  What I think you should do is write a business plan and start networking, and learn about what it takes to start a business and build a network.  In the process, you'll figure out what you can do and what you should do.

 


I am aware that if someone invests the money for the production, it is likely that they'll be asking for something around 99% return on all future profits

 

That number sounds high to me.  Start networking, go to business mixers, meet people who've gone through it and find out how much profit investors typically look for.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#9 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 810

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 10:29 PM

 


I am aware that if someone invests the money for the production, it is likely that they'll be asking for something around 99% return on all future profits

 

That number sounds high to me.  Start networking, go to business mixers, meet people who've gone through it and find out how much profit investors typically look for.

 

 

It would probably based on revenue rather than profits, and probably would be a lower number. While I'm not much of an investor, I probably wouldn't put money into a company whose leader was willing to throw away 99% as it shows the person probably isn't thinking much about how to sustain the company. If there is no plan to sustain the company after the game is released, how big of a risk would it be that the game would never be finished due to running out of money?

 

Treat it like business. "I'm gong to market the shit out of it" isn't really a business plan. How does the money break down? Where does it come from, how will you recoup it? What are you sales projections? What market research do you have that validates these numbers? etc. etc. The other information provided in this thread is a good start.






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