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To Say Or Not to Say

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To Say Or Not to Say

I've been trying to program games for many years now. I've even been a user of this site for like 13 years but under a different user name. My thinking has changed a lot over the years. When I was younger, I think I was very idea focused. I felt like ideas were precious like gold and needed to be protected at all cost, so I rarely let ideas known to anyone outside of my inner circle. My long time development partner who is a 3D modeler felt the same way.

This "ideas are like gold" mentality has cost us a lot of problems. Probably the biggest issue with it was it actually stopped us from finishing any games. This would always happen. We'd start making a game with a nice story and suddenly one of us would say, "this could turn into a really good game, but we don't have the resources to do it justice. Let's make a different game first to make some money and then we'll go back to the original game." Needless to say, we've gotten close, but have never finished a game. Eventually we'd get so enamored with our "quick development" games that we'd stop making them because, "they were such good ideas, we wouldn't be able to do them justice with our limited resources." We had one game called "Cybernetic Dawn" that had levels, AI, music, menus, etc. It wasn't the greatest game, and the AI needed work, but we were so worried about the idea, that we couldn't see that. Even Genesis SEED suffered from this.

Now let's think about the title of this blog entry, "To Say or Not to Say." As I said before, we were so fixated on the idea that we were very secretive, but as I've gotten older I've realized something. We are just indie developers and indie developers need to think and act like indies. Community support is needed to stay focused and motivated. Once people know about your ideas, you'll feel pressure to finish it. This is one of the reasons why I feel it's necessary for indies like myself to talk about our games. I don't see many benefits in saving ideas. It's better to let the idea be known and just try make it quickly so no one can copy it.

Another reason why I think it's better to tell people about your projects is publicity. Imagine there's a person who has been following your project for months. Later you decide you want to try Steam Green Light. Well, if you've been telling people about your project, you'll already have potential supporters. Then those supports can help you further advertise your project in a very grass-roots way. Sites like Gamedev.net are great for getting your ideas out there.

This is my thinking, but unfortunately my development partner still feels things should be kept secret. That's why I haven't been able to really describe the project as much as I'd like. I'd like to be able to talk more about more game specific stuff and show some of our concept art, but I can't right now. Hopefully I'll be able to reveal more as the project moves further along. I'm tired of that old mentality because it hasn't worked. We've accomplished nothing being secretive. It's time to try something different.

Thank you for reading my rant.

Project B Progress

If you're new to this blog, I've been updating my engine to run on Direct X 9 and 11 and I hope later I'll be able to port it to other platforms. I've had a plan for it, but things have ben going slower than expected as I sort through thousands of lines of code and fix bugs and defects along the way. The good news is though, I've ported systems to the new framework that I hadn't expected to finish yet.

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"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken.


I came across that quote many years ago. At the time I thought it was merely humorous. But since then I have found that more and more it reflects my own experience and observations. I have seen so many new developers on these forums who do not want to share their ideas and have you sign an NDA, etc. before they are willing to actually tell you what they are working on. Is that really serving your interests? As you mentioned in your entry, how do you expect to get people interested in your work/project/idea if you won't share it?


It is only in recent years that I have really come to embrace open-source software. I am not anti-proprietary software, but we all gain so much from open source, and, frankly, no game I make is likely to make a profit so I would rather just put it out where people can find it, play, and use it. So I have come to the point where I will happily talk about and share my ideas with anyone who is interested in listening.



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I think what happens is many think of games as inventions and feel that if they hide it and make it on their own, they'll get rich. 15 years ago, this is also how I felt. The idea should be hidden otherwise it will be stolen. Unfortunately, a new game idea isn't like inventing the light bulb.

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