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What NOT to do when starting as an indie game developer


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#1 Art_Sempai   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 02:22 PM

Sharing a post of indie game dev tips.biggrin.png
Opinion:What NOT to do when starting as an indie game developer.

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#2 Shuuny   Members   -  Reputation: 164

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:07 AM

 

13. Do not hide those things.

 

 I would only recommend giving out early playtests only to friends and family. If you are making something generic, or something 'with a twist', then I guess its fine to provide it publicly, but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet, that would be very naïve and even stupid, depending on how good and 'new' the idea is. As added bonus, friends and family will provide more in-depth feedback, especially if you attend them 'live' and ask questions and feedback directly.



#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3988

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:56 AM


but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet
Why? You mean someone would "steal" an idea?

Europe1300.eu - Historical Realistic Medieval Sim (RELEASED!)

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#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19366

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:08 AM


but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet, that would be very naïve and even stupid

I disagree -- I can't really explain why any better than Daniel Cook did so in his blog entry "why you should share your game designs".

 

I often hear from would-be developers that they're concerned about their ideas being stolen, but I never see any actual examples of it really happening in practice.  An idea is just a starting point, and even if it actually catches someone's attention to the point that they want to work on it rather than pursuing their own ideas, it's pretty unlikely that they'll produce exactly the same (or even a particularly similar) game.

 

It's also worth noting that feedback from friends and family isn't always honest -- even if they try their best to make it so -- because they have an emotional attachment to you.  It's also likely that you have surrounded yourself mostly with like-minded people, and feedback from the differently-minded can be invaluable.

 

Obviously different people are comfortable with different levels of sharing and you should stick with whatever you find comfortable, but many people find feedback to be invaluable, the stealing of ideas seems to be very rare, and I think everyone can agree that whatever your comfort level you need to stop short of "stupid paranoia" (link from Tom Sloper's list of "stupid wanna-be tricks").



#5 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31822

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:40 AM

I work in an office building that houses over 10 different games companies inside it, probably working on about 20 different products. When I bump into staff from other studios at lunch or in the corridors, we always talk about our own projects and the new and innovative ideas that we're putting into them. Everyone's too busy with their own cool ideas to steal mine, and my own ideas have actually become more refined by the feedback I've gotten from these other devs. cool.png



#6 ambershee   Members   -  Reputation: 528

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:33 AM

I often hear from would-be developers that they're concerned about their ideas being stolen, but I never see any actual examples of it really happening in practice.  An idea is just a starting point, and even if it actually catches someone's attention to the point that they want to work on it rather than pursuing their own ideas, it's pretty unlikely that they'll produce exactly the same (or even a particularly similar) game.

 

 

I'm genuinely inclined into sharing concepts and ideas quite openly, but I actually have had it happen to myself on just one occasion. I'll regularly discuss game concepts and mechanics in the various IRC chat rooms I attend, and on one of our regular 'bad design Tuesdays', myself and a couple of other people came up with something we realised we could build quite quickly with reasonable results. We were all pretty busy at that point in time, so we scheduled ourselves some dedicated time for about 6 weeks when we'd be less busy, and reckoned we'd be able to get something playable and fairly polished (as far as prototypes go) out within around 3 months. All of our discussions were pretty much in the open, so there was a fairly good template for any potential copycat to work from. The concept was by no means innovative anyway - it was in fact entirely derivative.

 

Around five weeks later, a game appeared for sale on iOS with a carbon copy of the game mechanics as described, built using the same tools we'd discussed using - but it wasn't particularly well built - I have serious doubts that was a coincidence. It's also been noted that a couple of long-time lurkers in that channel have since never returned.

 

We were never really intent on selling the thing in the first place, it was going to be a fun project, so we didn't really lose anything. We considered building the game anyway, but seeing it plonked out there kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit.

 

C'est la vie.



#7 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1059

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:25 PM

I disagree with this "ideas are dime a dozen" , "its execution, not idea" thing.

 

Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not, so if you are after "yet another X with cool Y feature" , go ahead. But if it's an idea good enough that talking too publicly means competition by your own hands, it is wiser to keep to yourself until certain point.

 

I think that certain point for an indie is somewhere between post GDD and beta/prototyping part.



#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10159

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:42 PM

This is not a game design topic. Moving to Business.


-- 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 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19366

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:42 PM


Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not

That's another one I see pretty frequently but which doesn't seem to actually be backed up by much actual evidence.  There are loads of really good ideas out there presented by people with no ability to actually implement them, and many of the lesser ideas could easily be refined into good ideas in the hands of people with a good understanding of practical limitations.

 

Sure, you absolutely need an idea to produce a good product, and some ideas are better than others, but in the end there are a huge wealth of ideas -- most of them with plenty of potential -- floating around out there, and it's only those who are able to successfully execute them who bring quality products to market.



#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10159

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:22 PM

Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not

That's another one I see pretty frequently but which doesn't seem to actually be backed up by much actual evidence.


I agree with jbadams. Ideas are a dime a dozen, and twelve good ideas amount to a value of 10 cents.
-- 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.

#11 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19366

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:32 PM

I think the thing is that it's very rare for an idea to be directly translated into a product in it's original form.  There are changes and refinements along the way, and it's not unusual for the idea to be changed quite a bit from the original thought during the process, especially when iterative development techniques are used.

 

Rather than starting out as definitely good, definitely bad, or definitely average, most ideas are potentially good, and what happens to them after conception can result in either an excellent, a good-but-not-exceptional, or a bad product.

 

 

I also think this concept of a unique, non-derivative idea is an exceptionally rare thing, or perhaps something that doesn't really exist at all.  Creators may not always intentionally use a derivative process to create their ideas, but once you can see the idea you can generally always describe it as "this existing idea, but with these changes", or "this existing idea, without this", or perhaps "these two existing ideas combined".  Building on previous work is a good thing, and whilst it's also good to break the mould a bit with something new and less derivative, the foundations in existing products and ideas is almost always there.



#12 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1059

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:20 PM

 


Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not

That's another one I see pretty frequently but which doesn't seem to actually be backed up by much actual evidence.  There are loads of really good ideas out there presented by people with no ability to actually implement them, and many of the lesser ideas could easily be refined into good ideas in the hands of people with a good understanding of practical limitations.

 

Sure, you absolutely need an idea to produce a good product, and some ideas are better than others, but in the end there are a huge wealth of ideas -- most of them with plenty of potential -- floating around out there, and it's only those who are able to successfully execute them who bring quality products to market.

 

 

We may be seeing this frequently probably partly due to Dunning-Krugerish effect leading us to see no one saying "This is my terrible/mediocre idea, but I will stick to it".

 

Btw, not sure of page but we are on the same chapter at least,  by saying good idea, I refer to business, limitations etc aspects as well. More you know and are aware, less D-K effect and delusion involves.

 

So, "Ideas are dime a dozen" sounds like coal and diamond are same when in the soil (carbon) , but you can polish diamond easier when its in your hands. And also there is no need to shout "hey , look a diamond" before somehow closing :) Not every ideas have high entrance barriers keeping other out or amazing USPs.



#13 ambershee   Members   -  Reputation: 528

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:09 AM

I'm also inclined to agree that ideas are often fundamentally worthless until executed. There's actually an article out there somewhere that approximated the financial value of a game concept (i.e. a short pitch), and it came out to something like $0.03 if I recall correctly - but sadly I cannot seem to find it with a quick google.

 

Execution really is what makes the game - if I were to tell you about my idea for a brightly coloured anthropomorphic mammal that runs around fighting robots and collecting jewellery, you'd probably tell me my concept is stupid. I have of course just described Sonic the Hedgehog, arguably one of the most successful games ever. I'm pretty sure the pitch for other recent successful games also sounds terrible on paper - consider Minecraft or DayZ as two fly-away successes of the past couple of years.






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