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Everygames design article, forum, or discussion always seem to have a statement along the line of... 'You say you got a great idea for a game? I can tell you that your idea could be fantastic but it isn't worth nothing'. I am on of the people who have had an idea for a game, rather than amazing new gameplay more of making a good complex story, and hopefull creating a good combat system, mixing elemtents from previous games of it's kind. Anyway, I was wondering what do these people think idea as? Because when I think of it I mean having a plan of charchters, story, areas, enemies, gameplay elements etc, all planeed on paper. I was hoping that this was the start of showing my ideas to developers and see what they thought. Are most people thinking that ideas are rubbish in the form of 'Oh my lord, I though up of an amazing idea for a game, it crosses pac man with tetris!', or does a detailed plan of my ideas count for nothing?

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I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it. Kind of in the same way someone gets a book published. I mean instead of just having a good idea and saying to a company 'Hey guys, I had this idea for a great game, just imagine pac man meets tetris, i can explain it abit more, but want to make my game, its sure to be a hit'.

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Original post by OdHero
I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it. Kind of in the same way someone gets a book published. I mean instead of just having a good idea and saying to a company 'Hey guys, I had this idea for a great game, just imagine pac man meets tetris, i can explain it abit more, but want to make my game, its sure to be a hit'.


Imagine:

"Hi game development company. I just had this great idea. I understand you guys have lots of experience and ideas, but they're nothing compared to this idea. I want all of you to work on it for two years, figure out details, invest your blood, sweat, and tears into it until it is a commercial success. Then give me the money and credit because I had an awesome idea."

OR imagine:

"Hi game development company. I know you guys have your own profitable company, experience on making things that I know almost nothing about, but here is a great idea that I want you to spend the next 18 months and at least $1.5 million bucks on, because it's a really good idea. I'm only asking for credit as 'other design by', but you should drop your other ideas and use this one instead."

Are those realistic?

NO!

Why not?

Because you are offering them almost nothing (an idea) and they are risking and investing everything.

Now, imagine this one:

"Hi game development company. I'm offering $1.5M if you will make this idea into a game. Any takers?"

Or

"Hi game publishers. I've just spent the equivalent of $1.5M making this game, will you publish it?"

Those two might get you somewhere.

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I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it.


It's my understanding that they wouldn't even look at it.

Firstly, the company probably has ideas lined up longer than they could ever hope to impliment.

Secondly, they don't want to read a good idea only so you can sue them later for implimenting an idea that's even vaguely similar.

And that ignores any machinations that a gamedev company has to go through with a publishing company just to get their games greenlit...

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On the other hand, take these pieces of your post, re-arrange them a little bit, and you get this....

Quote:
Original post by OdHero, completely rearranged by frob
I ... have ... an idea for a game.
I can tell [the] idea could be fantastic.
I have ... a detailed plan of my ideas ... all planned on paper.
I [am] showing my ideas to developers [here on the forums.]
What do [you] think of this ... great idea for a game?


Then follow it up with something in Help Wanted:
Quote:
Something to post on the Help Wanted forum, properly formatted
I am making this game as my own hobby project. Here is a demo and basic proof of concept. Would anybody like to help it out?

Now you have a chance.

frob.

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Quote:

I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it.


It's my understanding that they wouldn't even look at it.

Firstly, the company probably has ideas lined up longer than they could ever hope to impliment.

Secondly, they don't want to read a good idea only so you can sue them later for implimenting an idea that's even vaguely similar.

And that ignores any machinations that a gamedev company has to go through with a publishing company just to get their games greenlit...

It isn't hard to get somebody to just look at it. Post it and request comments. Several people here on the board are in the industry and can comment. [smile]

I seriously doubt that anybody would take your idea, or that your idea is sufficiently unique that you could sue a developer over it. I can count on one hand the number of those that I've seen, and nobody I've met has had the resources to implement them.

You can insist that it is a great idea, and that the idea itself is worth thousands or millions of dollars. If so, see a lawyer because that idea really is that valuable. Next, be prepared to sign an agreement with anybody you show the plans to so you prevent legal troubles with them. You'll also need to pay reviewers for their time, but it's not a big deal since the idea is so valuable. But that's almost certainly not the case.


frob.

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Actually, while I don't want to discredit your storying writing, world creating, and character building skills (they're almost definitely better than mine), those types of ideas are probably worth less than creative new gameplay style ideas, and are also the type of ideas that usually get criticized in the way that you are worried about. A lot of people can create characters, worlds, and stories (although some are better at it than others, no doubt), but new and creative gameplay styles can revolutionize the industry or create all new genres.

But such revolutionizing genre-defining concepts are much more difficult to come by as well (which is a good reason why they are more valuable), and it usually takes creative genius, plenty of experience of what makes good or bad gameplay, and a good chunk of luck in stumbling upon the idea.

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Original post by OdHero
....I was hoping that this was the start of showing my ideas to developers and see what they thought.
You already read the answer in all the other forums, yet you still ask the question.

You asked so here is the answer.... your idea is worthless UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE GAME. No developer or publisher (of retail games) will even look at it. If you want to know why read http://www.obscure.co.uk/faq_idea.shtml.

As Frob said. The best use for your idea would be to post it here or try to assemble a hobby team in Help Wanted to make the game.

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Quote:
Original post by OdHero
I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it. Kind of in the same way someone gets a book published.

When you approach a publisher for a book, what they read is an actual piece of your book. You don't just walk over to a publisher and go 'I have an idea for a book that would be great, but someone else's gotta write it'.

In the same way, you could approach a game company with a working prototype of your game, and ask for funding to finish it yourself.

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You have to remember something: there isn't a shortage of ideas in the game industry. Game stories, characters, scenarios ideas are so many companies wouldn't even consider an idea unless it has some background (a demo or some proof) and some guarantee it would work. Even if you come up with an original gameplay idea that will "rock the world" (it does happen) the company will be skeptical if the idea has no background, even if the idea itself generates confidence in the company it is still a risky shot to just try something new.

That's why we have tons of FPSs, RPGs, MMORPGs, etc. And the publishing companies will only look into game projects from companies that has a minimal background. If a company has recently started and has no background but has this idea of a space-shooter MMORPG with FPS elements and RPG gameplay (or another original idea better than my original idea example :) ) it would probably won't be chosen by a company that has made 3 succesful FPS.

This is how I see the industry. Please correct me if there are any mistakes. Thanks,

JVFF

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I am a designer, an idea-person. But in order to package ideas in a format other people can use, it is essential to have excellent writitng skils, and the ability to sketch is also tremendously helpful. Not to mention secretarial and management skills, as the designer often ends up being the one in charge of making and maintaining the design doc, doing initial concept art, assigning and explaining tasks to other team members and giving them feedback on their efforts, keeping track of who's currently doing what and what still needs to get done, etc.

There are basically two game development jobs you can aim for - lead designer/manager/producer of your own project, or writing/art lead for someone else's project. And like frob said, either way you will be better off placing a properly-formatted post in the helpwanted forum than trying to talk to a game design company which will ignore you.

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Hey guys, I totally get what you're saying. In fact, you're all almost bang on. You are, however missing one huge aspect.

The Wheel of Time, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix. These are all examples of stories which were taken and made video games out of. The one thing to notice though is that none of these stories were immediately pitched to a game company. You -can- get a story made into a videogame and it happens quite a bit with successful franchises, however you have to have a blockbuster hit published as a bestselling book or produced as a movie first.

If your story idea is so potent that you feel you could make a compelling novel or multi-million dollar movie out of it, that's one roundabout way to get a game made from your idea. If it's a great story, you should write a great story, not look for a game company to make a game based off that story. To be brutally honest, I doubt that you have a story idea of quality enough for publishing at this moment. I also doubt you would follow through.

I'm just offering this as an example of how a great story idea can (in a roundabout way) end up as a videogame. It isn't nearly as easy as "hey videogame company, take me with my no credentials and shaky design docs and make a game."

So, if you're interested in making storylines I suggest you get into writing. There is a designer position at EA which you can apply for if you are sure you want to do that sort of thing, but generally you need some post secondary and a nice portfolio.

As was already mentioned, you can pad a portfolio by participating in the "Help Wanted" section of the forum and get some indy projects under your belt.

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Original post by M2tM
.......You -can- get a story made into a videogame and it happens quite a bit with successful franchises, however you have to have a blockbuster hit published as a bestselling book or produced as a movie first.

If your story idea is so potent that you feel you could make a compelling novel or multi-million dollar movie out of it, that's one roundabout way to get a game made from your idea.
Hardly a realistic option. You don't solve a difficult problem by solving an equally difficult problem. Its just sa hard to get a film made or a book published as it is to get a game made. There are just as many wannabe authors and script writers out there as there are wannabe game designers. It doesn't make any sense to invest 5 years trying to get a film made of your idea just so you can get it made into a game - much better to just get an entry level job in the industry and work your way up until you are in a position to do your project.

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"I am on of the people who have had an idea for a game, rather than amazing new gameplay more of making a good complex story, and hopefull creating a good combat system, mixing elemtents from previous games of it's kind."

Then this is not a game idea. It's a story. If you can prove yourself a good writer you might become a writer for a game, but that particular job title is few and far between. Usually games either have the designers write the story (sometimes ok, sometime a very bad idea) or they contract their stories out to professional writers.

Until you pitch some sort of compelling gameplay, though, you are not designing a game. That is ok, just remember that a game isn't a story.

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Original post by OdHero
I guess what I mean is, if I approach a games company, with a plan of all my ideas, thats in depth detail of story gameplay charcters etc, would they take the time to read through and consider looking at making a game out of it. Kind of in the same way someone gets a book published. I mean instead of just having a good idea and saying to a company 'Hey guys, I had this idea for a great game, just imagine pac man meets tetris, i can explain it abit more, but want to make my game, its sure to be a hit'.


I would say you'd have to get a job at the company before you started pitching ideas to them. A writer of the book doesn't have some concept layed out, and gives it to a publisher to write the actual book.

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Original post by OdHero
Anyway, I was wondering what do these people think idea as? Because when I think of it I mean having a plan of charchters, story, areas, enemies, gameplay elements etc, all planeed on paper. I was hoping that this was the start of showing my ideas to developers and see what they thought. Are most people thinking that ideas are rubbish in the form of 'Oh my lord, I though up of an amazing idea for a game, it crosses pac man with tetris!', or does a detailed plan of my ideas count for nothing?


No, it's just that everyone has (good) ideas, and that you need a lot more than just ideas to actually get your game made. Not because your idea is bad (it may or may not be), but because, well, why would anyone else use it?

First, they'd have to work out a legal arrangement with you. Who gets the rights? What if you later decide to sue them for abusing or stealing your idea or something?

Second, why would they use outside ideas in the first place? That's assuming they can't come up with any themselves. And I doubt that's ever happened.

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Hmm, how about if your idea is based on new game theory and systems not curently used in the industry? technical theory design?
Including Psuedo code, spreadsheets, maths involved, basic program demonstrating systems in action and so on.
You want to pitch to people who people who need mechanics, not game ideas, people looking for new systems, not recycled ideas?
As you say, "an idea" is not much unless you can demonstrate and finance, but what if you take your unique systems out of your idea and try to pitch to game companies who may have a project just waiting for a fresh system?
Something that could be applied to many different games and turn them from "another clone" to a completely new style?
I understand my game ideas will never go anywhere no matter how good they are, but is there possibilities of being a technical consultant and game mechanics designer if your game theory is that good?

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It usually works the other way. They want to do something and they aren't quite sure how to do it, so they find a consultant for that topic.

I insist... the only way to pitch is demo in hand. Sometimes a rendered video works if you can convince them you can pull trough. And then, of course, you'd have to pull trough.

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Original post by Tharsis
I understand my game ideas will never go anywhere no matter how good they are, but is there possibilities of being a technical consultant and game mechanics designer if your game theory is that good?
Your just asking the same question using different words. "Can I sell my [design/technical] idea" so the answer is the same as above.

There are two ways to do business. The establishment way and the maveric way. If you want to do business with the establishment you have to do it on their terms. In the case of the games industry that means having proven experience in the industry and shipped titles, before anyone will listen to what you have to say. In much the same way as every other industry a consultant is deemed to be someone with proven experience in the field they are consulting in.

If you have an idea but don't have the necessary experience to get the establishment to listen to you then the only option is the maveric way - that means doing it yourself, taking all the risk yourself. Think Dyson and his cyclone vaccum cleaner, which none of the established companies would touch. He had to find the money himself, take all the risk himself - go into debt and risk it all. Alternatively using your communications skills to convince others to make your idea a reality (in other words posting a Help Wanted and getting a hobby team to make it).

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your idea is worthless UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE GAME.


I always hated this sentence, its a dream killer. This forum's supposed to encourage posters and guide them onto the right path of game development, instead of shoving the cold hard truth to their face. Just tell him to post his idea in game design/story board, learn to program/write and gather a group of pals to make his game.

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Original post by GameFreeek
Quote:
your idea is worthless UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE GAME.


I always hated this sentence, its a dream killer.

Perhaps it is sometimes better to kill dreams before they turn into nightmares?

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Original post by Arild Fines
Quote:
Original post by GameFreeek
Quote:
your idea is worthless UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE GAME.


I always hated this sentence, its a dream killer.

Perhaps it is sometimes better to kill dreams before they turn into nightmares?


But this is gamedev.net, you're supposed to turn dreams into reality.

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