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Getting my Ideas Out There - Where to Start?

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Hello all. I hope I am posting in the right section of this website. I have a rather confusing problem, and I'm not really sure where to go with it. First off, a little about me: my skillset is varied but at the same time useless in many ways. I am a composer, but also an artist. I have experience with many industry standard programs but never got into 3D. I can't draw people or animals. Now, while this may seem like a dead end, I'm determined for it not to be. My art is all fine and everything. ;-) I can do publicity graphic design, or things like landscapes and stuff like that. My musical abilities are seemingly useful, and are high, but they don't fit with the writing side of me. I can write very well - but I'm not sure if people are actually recruited for the ideas and writing process? So, I'm asking for help. I have a really good idea for a video game (it fits well onto current gen consoles such as 360 etc). I don't want to publish it here - it is too good for that, and this is my first post. It's not really been done before - but it wouldn't be hard to develop (sadly I can't code). I don't know what to call it, but I can apply my interest in History to it, and I think with good environments it could become pretty immersive. I don't know where to go with my idea. Should I write a script, some kind of document? Do people in the business get paid for ideas? The problem is that I don't have the coding or art skills to start a small studio - being that I can't draw characters. I certainly can describe them, and can see it all in my head though. Sorry if this post is a bit scatty and all over the place. Thanks, Outlaw999

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Original post by Outlaw999
So, I'm asking for help. I have a really good idea for a video game (it fits well onto current gen consoles such as 360 etc). I don't want to publish it here - it is too good for that, and this is my first post. It's not really been done before - but it wouldn't be hard to develop (sadly I can't code). I don't know what to call it, but I can apply my interest in History to it, and I think with good environments it could become pretty immersive.


If you can't code, or do 3D, or draw concept art and are in most way "useless" (you said it) then I really don't think you have a place in the industry. If you can't code or do basically anything, then how do you know that it wouldn't be hard to develop? That's like saying, "I don't know how to pop my car's hood, but an engine swap wont be hard!"


Quote:
Original post by Outlaw999
I don't know where to go with my idea. Should I write a script, some kind of document? Do people in the business get paid for ideas? The problem is that I don't have the coding or art skills to start a small studio - being that I can't draw characters. I certainly can describe them, and can see it all in my head though.


You are going to want to do both, if you want. There is a specific document called a game design document. There are templates and tutorials on how to write one, but basically any way you write it is correct. There are several things you need to flesh out, that being everything from storyline to rendering techniques to character design and everything in between. If you get these things looking good enough then maybe you can find a small indie team that would want to help you, but as for selling your ideas to some company in the industry, forget it. It is not only frowned upon, but many places will simply refuse to listen to ideas. The reasoning behind this is, what if they were planning on releasing a game that is strikingly similar to the one you pitched them? Then you would potentially have legal grounds for them stealing your idea. Basically, Ideas are a dime a dozen and not worth anything.

That being said... If game development seriously interests you, then you must become motivated to become more skilled in some craft related to it. You mentioned you are good at music. Work on compositions that would work well with games. You said you never got into the 3D programs... Try to. Without some tangible skill to offer a team, you are not going to get one together, and as I said, ideas themselves are worthless.

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do whatever you do and make something interesting. then make a website, and announce it on "Your announcements". try to get it digged, etc.
everybody has a really good idea for a video game but writing an entire game is time consuming. you might want to focus on that, and pick up the skills you are missing along the way. whatever you do, do not try to make something equivalent to an AAA title

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Hi and welcome to the forums!

First off, you might want to check out Tom Sloper's website of Game Design FAQs. He answers a lot of your questions on how to get into the business. Most of the advice you'll get here will likely be already covered by Tom.

The problem with ideas is that they aren't worth that much without the capability to make them. Everyone even remotely connected with the game industry has a bunch of ideas they think could rock everyone's socks off - I've personally got about a dozen I think have potential. The problem is if everyone at a game company has a dozen or so of these ideas, why should they pay anyone for any more? They've already got enough to keep them well stocked for the life of the company.

There's really only two ways you can see your game come to fruition - gain the respect of a game company and then pitch it to them, or make it yourself. To gain a company's respect you need to make a name for yourself in the industry, so you'd need get a standard job and then work your way up to a position where they'll accept your idea as a good design.

The other way is to roll up your sleeves and make it yourself as an indie. The main problem there is that you've described your game as "fitting well on current gen consoles", so I'm thinking your game idea needs a lot of resources to become a reality. Indie games work best if they're small in scope. But if you could rework your idea so it could be achievable with a small team then that might a possibility.

If you're looking for an indie team to work with, you'll typically need something to barter with. If you've got a lot of cash you can just hire people, but typically indies barter with skills. You say you've got skills as a composer which is a start, but unfortunately music doesn't usually require a full time position as an indie. If your idea can work with your artistic talents you could always try and pitch yourself as an artist, even if you may need another artist for the characters.

Best of luck!

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neonic,

While your post is perhaps agressive in tone, it makes good points which I thank you for.

When I said it wouldn't be hard to develop what I meant was it's a fairly straightforward game from what I can see. We're not bending any rules, manipulating gravity and travelling in time - this guy walks around doing stuff if you boil it down a lot...

Still, even though it's hard to admit, I agree that my art skills are difficult to apply to the game industry. Unless EA wants an ad campaign done, I can forget it!

I didn't find templates of design documents particularly helpful, but it doesn't seem like the document itself would be particularly helpful - you said many companies "will simply refuse to listen to ideas". I understand completely.

As for becoming a composer - it does appeal to me. In my next stage of schooling I will be able to take my music further than it is already, and I'm considering taking it on to university.

Does anyone know of any ways I can get involved in sound design and composition for budding developers? I'm thinking something small, like a team who makes great flash games, or an indie team that makes Live Arcade titles?

I will ask around,
Outlaw999

P.S: If anyone *does* need an idea, PM me. [I know, wishful thinking]

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Trapper Zoid,

Thanks for your reply. Most of what I can say right now is above, but I see your point about going for consoles too fast - obviously I was hoping I could sell my idea.

I will definitely put this idea on hold, but I'm still interested in getting in.

Outlaw999

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Quote:
Original post by Outlaw999
Does anyone know of any ways I can get involved in sound design and composition for budding developers? I'm thinking something small, like a team who makes great flash games, or an indie team that makes Live Arcade titles?

I don't know this myself, but there are a number of experienced music composers who frequent the Music forum here. If you post a query there you should get some good advice.

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Original post by Outlaw999
P.S: If anyone *does* need an idea, PM me. [I know, wishful thinking]

If you're willing to let people use your idea anyway, why don't you post it here?

I'd suggest the following two things:
1: Learn some skills that can contribute to developing the game (whether programming, art or whatever you can think of. Even project management or learning to run a business, anything that can be helpful to a team working on your game)

2: Post your idea here. Seriously. First, no one are going to copy your idea, because good ideas are easy enough to come by, and even if someone *does* steal it, don't you think you'd still be able to do it *better* than them? And in the event that they make the game, and you don't, isn't that still better than that no one ever makes it?
And besides all that, you'll also get some valuable feedback and criticism for your idea, which just might make it better.

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Outcried:
>I don't know where to go with my idea.

That depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to get a job in the game industry, you should develop your idea as far as you can on your own (go as far as a GDD if you want), then get other ideas and develop those too, then make a portfolio.

>Should I write a script, some kind of document?

Absolutely. See FAQs 2 & 13 on my site:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html (somebody already suggested you check it out).

>Do people in the business get paid for ideas?

Soft of. But you're not in the business. Read FAQs 1 & 11 on my site.

>Sorry if this post is a bit scatty and all over the place.

That's going to be a problem for you. If you want to become a game designer, you need to be un-scatty, and just in one little place.

Lastly - it's interesting that in your subject line you say you want to get your idea "out there," but in the body of your first post you said, "I don't want to publish it here - it is too good for that." Just struck me as a little contradictory there. As for ideas that are too good, I wrote my article #31 about that.

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