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fdominek

Writing a new RPG game

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Ok so I'm writing a script for an RPG game.. i got about 25pgs or so written.. and it goes deeper than just the story...what im writing basically outlines how the game should play and all the things that should be included in it. And I've talked to alot of people that say after reading what i have so far that it would make an awesome game. In any case my question is basically what're the chances of selling a script like that to a high end company so the game can be published/animated/basically made correctly?... Just trying to find out if its worth my time to even try selling it or just wait till i get out of college to make it...

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not good most compnys stay away from that for legal resons,
might want to take a look at gamemaker or rpgmaker xp

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What you have done might make an awesome game. That's wonderful.

But the odds that a publisher would want to buy your script are zero. Nada. Zilch. None.

Such a thing does not happen, nor will it ever happen in the forseable future.

I suppose if you were best friends with lots of people in the company, then you might have an infinitely small chance of it happening, but still essentially none at all.

Required reading.

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Ok so I'm writing a script for an RPG game.. i got about 25pgs or so written.. and it goes deeper than just the story...what im writing basically outlines how the game should play and all the things that should be included in it.


This is called a design document, and they're typically more than 100 pages long.

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And I've talked to alot of people that say after reading what i have so far that it would make an awesome game.

No offense, but this form of peer review is usually worthless, unless it's game designers who have been saying it's awesome.

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In any case my question is basically what're the chances of selling a script like that to a high end company so the game can be published/animated/basically made correctly?...

Your chances are pretty close to zero. Most publishers have already decided on a particular kind of game, because they know it will make money. There's also the legal aspect. What if they made a game like yours in the future, after rejecting your idea? You could sue them for stealing your intellectual property. This alone causes publishers to ignore most design submissions.

If you really want to see your game made, I would reccomend learning how to develop your own games. That's what this site is for! Good luck.

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yeah i can guarantee it will be upwards of 200pgs, and it kinda sucks to think that you cant sell a script of that sort. with all my hard work, i guess ill hold onto it and make it myself. Sad Day.

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No! It is not a sad day! It is a wonderful day! Assuming some high end publishing company did want to make your game. They would ultimately butcher it into a watered down piece of garbage like 99% of the games out there today. They don't care about making a great game, they want to make money. You have the chance to make your game! Make it however you want! Make it long, make it short, make it fun, make it hard, make it pretty, make it evil, make it entertaining, make it thought-provoking. The world is your oyster! Take your long and drawn out document and turn it into your own piece of artwork. I guarantee the sense of accomplishment will be greater if you pull it off yourself.

Pick up a game making tool, learn it, and show us what you got!

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I would recommend getting RPGMaker or RealmCrafter, and building the first two levels of your game using whatever art comes with the tools (plus what you can find for free or cheap on the internet). Your vision will be limited by the tools -- however, you should be able to create as much of your awesome game as possible even within those tools.

Then, figure out whether the game is actually awesome. Once you have a good prototype like this, you might be able to find volounteers in Help Wanted to build a more full-featured game. This could be done either by expanding the prototype, or by re-doing it in a different environment, but the main goal should be to build as close to the envisioned game as you can, given the limitations.

Once you have as much of the game done as you can, THEN you can maybe schedule time with acquisitions people at publishers to try and get something going through the demo. The road there is long and arduous, however.

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I suppose it would make more sense to do that, but i would like to make the game with reasonably high end graphics and im not sure that RPGmaker can exactly do that for me. also with RPGmaker the battle system is really.. pretty lame. I've made a game before following the story of Singring and the Glass Guitar. Which is a song thats like 18min. long or so. In any case i suppose i could do that to pitch to the help wanted boards... but i dont really wanna post ne thing until i can get it copywritten. Is it feasible to get a team together and make a full-ledged game over the net?... I mean this isnt going to happen right now cause its gonna take me atleast 2-3 more months to finish writing my design board or w/e its called. and then probably another month or so to make a small demo in one of those programs. But do u think that would be a successful approach to this?

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If its really that good, I'd advise trying to get a team of developers together to build it.

I love RPG's, but whenever I try to script my own they never seem to be terribly original (I think iv been brainwashed by the FF's :))

Chances of selling an idea are effectively zero. If you haven't the skills or resources to build it yourself, there is going to come a time that you need to show it to people to see what they think.

I'll be happy to read over your script and give any feedback, if you aren't too worried about me stealing all your ideas at least.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I still recomend using rpgmaker xp becouse you can basicly go strait to scritping the events and dialog, if you have no past expeniance in game development or project managment getting a team to make a game with better graphics might be shooting a little high but yes, the battle system is lame.
Gamemaker is more versitile but you will actually have to build the game and battle mechanics yourself

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I have experience with programming, just not alot.. im a software engineering major in college and i know how to code pretty well in C++... and some other languages but they arent too useful to game dev. I'm not worried that i wont be able to program it.. I just wont be able to make the art. I'm no artist, I'm a pretty good creative writer, and i can code to an extent.. . obviously id need help from someone with experience. Once i get the script filled out alot more i plan to copywrite it... Once thats taken care of I'll post some of it so i can get a little feedback. I understand what u mean with originality. It's pretty difficult to invent an original story since most things have already been done. My story will be original.. but it always seems to fall into the same system of good guy bad guy hero followers type of deal... i just plan to implement some original concepts into it, and some plot twists. And just a fresh feel basically on an old idea. I'm pretty far from being done though, I've only written maybe like the first 40min of the games story. Not including dialogue, just like backstory, intro movie. and an intro to the control interface. I'm currently filling out characters to be involved, lots of concepts, And lots of names of places in the game such as cities, continents, worlds, w/e the case may be... I apologize for the poor grammar in my posts I promise my writing isnt this bad.

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Original post by fdominek
I'm not worried that i wont be able to program it.. I just wont be able to make the art.


Don't worry about it. Draw a bunch of stick figures or whatever, as long as it conforms to your own technical specs (some given tile sizes and/or spritesheet requirements), and make sure your code can handle the art properly (i.e. draws everything in the places they should appear, with the right clipping). Then go look for artists.

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I support the suggestion that you try to get a development team together. Anyway, i'm sure there are a great many terribly bored programmers hanging around GDNET that would be glad to have a new project to work on.



Programmers are fun, if horribly eccentric, people :-) (i would know)

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Well I'm gonna have to finish writing it up, I'll try to toss it to a couple companies just for the hell of it, who knows maybe ill get lucky... but you can expect to see a new thread in Help Wanted not too long from now... heh. I hope you guys are ready to help me out.. I'll post more about my game in the coming weeks/months. Thanks for all the support guys.. Feel free to add any insight into this thread. I'll respond to any ideas/criticisms you all might have.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
That sounds like a plan. But i think it might be a good idea to look for a concept artist already now, someone who can make some sketches of your characters and the environment of your game. This will help paint a picture of what the overall feeling of the game will be like when finished. Good luck...

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yeah thats a good idea, and it might be good to have a concept artist to help me visualize what im writing as well. Maybe not right now though since i still have so long to go.. But, after i get another 20-30pgs finished then i can give him/her the first part and they can start doing some concept art based on how they feel the places look.... not a bad idea at all.. and then i dont finish it and then sit and wait on concept art to come along cause its already being done while im writing. Sorta speeds the process... Heh thanks.

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Quote:
Original post by fdominek
Ok so I'm writing a script for an RPG game.. i got about 25pgs or so written.. and it goes deeper than just the story...what im writing basically outlines how the game should play and all the things that should be included in it. ...

A note of caution: a game is not a movie. The "script" is usually a very minor part of the a design. It is not a game design unless it describes all the elements and rules of the game.

Anyway, your chances of selling it are 0 (as others have already said). However, it may be helpful in getting you a job.

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So im gathering that selling it is obviously way unlikely... But for what reason?.. do game developers not need new design documents?... A game is basically a movie is it not, just u can manipulate the actors, atleast an RPG game is. Every RPG is a larger than life epic film. With a large in depth script... plot twists the whole nine. Just you dont use physical actors to make it.. unless doing voice acting. So why unlike the film industry is it so difficult to sell a script and design document?.... I would think developers would love to get a fully polished design document that all they need to do is program out and make all pretty. I would have thought that writing the story and script and design specs and all that was 50% of the battle in making a good game. And if i could just buy a good story with all the game specifics outlined cheaply program it and distribute... then that saves time and money id have paid to professional writers.. Assuming the Design Doc is good of course... Soo whats the big problem with developers looking at design doc's that come their way and saying "yeah ill buy this"...? If anyone can explain this to me.. please do... cause i dont fully understand.

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There are lots of reasons why it is unlikely that anyone would buy your game design and it would take too long to explain them all. Here are some reasons:
  1. It costs money just to consider your design, but it costs nothing to say no.
  2. The game design is only the starting point for a game. Most of the value of a game is created during development, not in the initial design.
  3. Publishing a game is extremely risky -- most lose money. Publishers try very hard to reduce risk.
  4. You are a nobody with no experience and no track record.
  5. Your design is probably no better than anyone else's -- it's hard to tell the difference between a best-seller and a flop.
  6. Publishers have an idea of what games they might want to make. If yours isn't one of them, they don't want it.
  7. The cost of the initial design is an insignificant part of the total cost of development.

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To add to what JohnBolton said...
Quote:
Original post by fdominek
So im gathering that selling it is obviously way unlikely... But for what reason?.. do game developers not need new design documents?...


No - they pay professionals with experience to create them.

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A game is basically a movie is it not


No, it's not at all. 99% of the game is not just about moving characters to carry out a script. For a start there are no characters in games that you could just instruct in the way you can instruct an actor. If anything, it is more like shooting a film acted out by robots you have to build yourself, wearing costumes you built yourself, on a set you build yourself (no shooting on location), with cameras and microphones you build yourself. In film you can buy these things in and hire people to do the same job they've done 100 times before. In games you can still buy some things and bring in experience but you still have to do a hell of a lot of construction to get even the basics working.

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just u can manipulate the actors, atleast an RPG game is. Every RPG is a larger than life epic film. With a large in depth script... plot twists the whole nine. Just you dont use physical actors to make it.. unless doing voice acting.


Many game magazines will judge a game by its graphics, sound, gameplay, ease of installation, control methods... yet you have skimmed over all this in favour of the story. Sadly implementing the story is a tiny part of making the game and doesn't make the difference between a good game and a bad one. The graphics etc are where the hard work goes.

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I would think developers would love to get a fully polished design document that all they need to do is program out and make all pretty.


The 'programming out' and the 'making pretty' is the truly hard part.

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I would have thought that writing the story and script and design specs and all that was 50% of the battle in making a good game.


Nope.

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You guys are very wrong. While I obviously can't agree or disagree with you saying he has no chance of selling it, I strongly disagree that the story isn't important. See, you already think this way and hence we don't see any original games nowdays. The story is one of the most important parts of the game. It's actually not a "part", it's the thing that ties everything together. A good interesting story can make a bad game good (it often does), and a bad story can spoil a good game. Especially in RPG's. It's an essential part. But I mean "story" as in not only the actual script, but the whole non-technical part of the game. As I said, it's really important. All the good games (bar the ones that don't NEED a story) have a good story. There was a game called Mafia, which was basically a GTA clone but its magnificent story turned it into an amazing game. Gothic 2 has a great story, so does Fallout, Planescape, and many other classical RPG's. Even GTA itself has a really good story which "works" in the GTA mechanics. The story IS the most important part of an RPG. Too bad nowdays even the press doesn't care. All they want is pretty graphics and good PR. Oblivion got all the 10's in the world just because it looks good and had a brilliant PR campaign. The actual game sucks (bar the extraordinary quests). Please don't start a war, I was just making an example up. Obviously if you like a game, no one will be able to change your mind.

So my point is: hold on to your story. I don't know how you do it in America so the others are probably right: you have no chance of selling it. Yet do hold on to it and finish it. Remember, if it's really great, it won't go unnoticed.

Cheers.

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Well, in my experience in the game industry, game ideas are talked about, but few make it to fruition. Even internal projects are a dime a dozen, and of the few that make it to prototype stage, I've never seen one actually produced. The big companies (publishers) that hold the purse strings want proven ideas (sequels) or extremely tight control over products that represent risk to them. Individual vision, and especially innovation, are too risky.

So, the publisher isn't inclined to take risks, because it's a matter of beancounting to them, and unknowns just don't make them happy.

The developer isn't likely to accept outside ideas, much less pay for them, since they have a surplus already, and even if they didn't, they would have to do work for something that they don't have a guarantee of ever being profitable. Back to beancounting.

That's a couple reasons why, ultimately, you're going to have to take the risk for something that you believe in. If you think it's good enough, put some work and money into it, and maybe even self-publish it. If the corporate beancounters see it doing something great, you may get bought out at that point... but it's not likely even then, and almost impossible before you prove yourself.

Yes, it stinks, yes, it stifles innovation, yes, the industry has problems. Not much you can do about it, unless you're Will Wright or Sid Meier. As Joe Nobody, you're just going to have to do the legwork yourself.

I feel your pain. I've been designing games for years now, but I know I've got to do it on my own, or with a few other people. I need programming skills, or people. That's just how it goes.

Oh yes, and regarding story? Games are about the mechanics. Movies don't require the audience to do anything other than just sit there. Games require active input, and if that input and the resultant effects aren't engaging or interesting, the best story in the world won't save it. RPGs especially need good stories, yes. But RPGs are something of an anomaly. They are heavily story-based, but still need good mechanics. FF8 had a pretty good story, but the mechanics just weren't up to par with FF7. It was still good, but it's not the "classic' that 7 was.

But, a great mechanic can still make a good game (Tetris, anyone?), but a great story won't save a bad game. (I don't know many of these, but i'm sure someone else could tell you... if the game is no fun, I don't play long enough to see if the story is any good.)

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I still think it's all about the developer and the game itself. If it's really good, yet original (hence big publishers won't accept it), with a little luck you can still become "famous" and sell. Lots of examples of weird, yet really good games. And there are all kinds of specific publishers, like Matrix for wargames etc.

Just don't go to EA or Vivendi or something. Go to some small publisher. People will still find out about the game if it's good and then "promote" it for free.

But of course for that you need a ready game.

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Well, my point wasn't to discourage the idea. I'm saying that you should really work on something that you believe in. That will pay off somehow, even if it's only your own learning.

It's just not realistic to break into the industry as a designer. Yes, the game idea may be fantastic, yes, you may love to work on it. Great! Keep at it.

Just don't expect the industry to agree with you, or for a company to buy things from you... unless it's proven to be profitable, and to get there, you need to do the work.

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