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tabest

Game Design with no Money

19 posts in this topic

My name is Trent, I'm new to posting on this site, bue been enjoying this site for upwards of 10 years or so... Anyway, I want to discuss how we as designers can create our dream game, without all the B.S. that comes with money, corporations, and the American way! A great example is blizzard, and how they refuse to release a game until it meets their standards. Big corporate companies (E.A., and others) don't quite get this, and they don't understand that this is an ART, not a business.

I have a game that I've been designing for a long time, mostly just imagining it in my head, but recently, I've taken an actual stab at beginning the game design. I want to build this game, I want to play it. So I turn here, to one of my favorite programming resources to call out to fellow dreamers for help. I'm not smart enough to do this on my own, and I need lots of help. If anyone is intersted, there will be money eventually... But until then everything is voluntary. If you are at all interested, and think you might be able to help, let me know!

As of now, my working title is "Free Agency", implying free will, which sort of states a generalization of the entire game and its concepts there. This isn't a little design, we aren't talking simple like Starcraft, or Diablo, and I'm hoping to create a better more addicting and more enjoyable game than we currently see in the market, and I hope to accomplish this because the design and creation of this game will 100% be by any of us that join.

Once again, if you are interested, and think that you can help in anyway (accounting, HR, etc.) please contact me.

Thank you all,

Trent
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Uhm. Hate to break it to you, but if your definition of "simple" is Starcraft/Diablo then you probably are building in the stratosphere. Also, how well thought out is your GDD? Because anyone willing to join that can actually help you accomplish your goals is going to ask what qualifies you as the lead designer and/or producer of this game. From your post, this doesn't sound like a commercial venture, which is fine but also restricts what you can hope to accomplish within any reasonable time frame.

Also, the design for a game like Starcraft or similar "simple" games number in somewhere around a few hundred pages or so when all is said and done. SC especially is complex (more so in many ways than Diablo) since it supposed to be a balanced three-race game, which is just prone to error.

And, finally, why would you need help with accounting/HR if this is not a professional, commercial, endeavor? HR is usually required for large corporations like Blizzard Entertainment (or Blizzard-Activision as it is now) but small studios or independent teams have no real need for that kind of layered management.

Anyhow, good luck with your game!
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[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297279136' post='4772000']
Once again, if you are interested, and think that you can help in anyway (accounting, HR, etc.) please contact me.[/quote]
Do not post Help Wanted requests outside of the Help Wanted forum, please.

Because this is not a Game Design topic, this thread is moved to the Lounge.
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[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297279136' post='4772000']
Big corporate companies (E.A., and others) don't quite get this, and they don't understand that this is an ART, not a business.
[/quote]

Art is a business.
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[quote]
Big corporate companies (E.A., and others) don't quite get this, and they don't understand that this is an ART, not a business.
[/quote]

So when they run out of cash and can't pay their developers, do you think they will work for free? "But it's ART!" is not going to keep professionals working for no money.

Anytime you have to pay people, it's a business, I think it's you who doesn't quite get this. No offense to you personally, but you're in no place to be explaining how game development should be done.
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[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1297279897' post='4772012']
Uhm. Hate to break it to you, but if your definition of "simple" is Starcraft/Diablo then you probably are building in the stratosphere. Also, how well thought out is your GDD? Because anyone willing to join that can actually help you accomplish your goals is going to ask what qualifies you as the lead designer and/or producer of this game. From your post, this doesn't sound like a commercial venture, which is fine but also restricts what you can hope to accomplish within any reasonable time frame.

Also, the design for a game like Starcraft or similar "simple" games number in somewhere around a few hundred pages or so when all is said and done. SC especially is complex (more so in many ways than Diablo) since it supposed to be a balanced three-race game, which is just prone to error.

And, finally, why would you need help with accounting/HR if this is not a professional, commercial, endeavor? HR is usually required for large corporations like Blizzard Entertainment (or Blizzard-Activision as it is now) but small studios or independent teams have no real need for that kind of layered management.

Anyhow, good luck with your game!
[/quote]


Good points DarklyDreaming. First the HR, etc. I'm no expert there, but eventually down the road, one has to have it.
Now as to Starcraft, one of my favorite games, very well designed, and I always aspire towards Blizzard as an industry standard. What I want to create is beyond Starcraft, it may well just be a pipe dream, but I feel compelled to create it. I don't think I'm qualified as the lead designer/producer, that is why I need help. I've never done this rodeo before, but I absolutely refuse to allow any corporation to get their hands on this. A company couldn't design this game, because it is too "Risky". I am a gamer, I love playing games, and ever since Warcraft I, when I beat that game for the first time, and read the credits (thanks to ray the soda man), I knew that I wanted to be in this business. Life however has kept me as far from the industry as possible. Thus I'm reaching out to anyone else, anyone who could help me make this game. This isn't about me, this isn't a quest for greed, this is to create what I know would be an amazing game, one that would be fun to play.

All I have are the beginnings, rough beginnings of a design document, and my vision, which has been fleshed out and designed in my head for over 10 years. I'm looking for any kind of help, support, activity, I'll do this all by myself if I have to, but I know that will take me decades! As to returns, eventually the game will make money if we are able to succeed, and I'm sure it will make a decent profit, which then will be shared amongst those of us who built up this dream of mine.

I'm open to changes, and I'll help wherever and however I can, but I'm one person, without all the answers, that is why I'm turning to my favorite developer's site, if anyone is interested, this is a voluntary colaborative project, the likes of which have never been seen before, but also with that, we have a high chance of not succeeding.

The more of you out there, who can provide help in whatever ways you can, then the better this project will be.

Now to the purpose of this topic also, is to discuss how this works, and how we can create a game with no money! Lets face it, everyone has an idea, ideas are cheap, a dime a dozen. Most of us have good ideas, but those are still very common. Anyway, I am of the belief that even a game which is from a good idea is worth creating, it may not be a multimillion dollar game, but it is a work of ART. What I've noticed is that the more money we through at a promblem, the worse the problem becomes. Hollywood for example, how many BILLIONS of dollars get thrown around there, and we for the most part get crappy movies. Games used to be really awesome, some still are, but as we have corporations getting their hands on our industry, we see the same thing, CRAP coming out of the pipeline.

So how can we bust this, and restore the art to our games? I want to play great games, amazing games, but too many games today are about the bottom line, and are 100% profit driven. Complex designs are scourned because they take too long, and thus have a horrible ROI. So I appeal to those of you who are interested, help me, help us, create something fun and exciting to play. Please keep this debate open and going, because we all truly want to design our "dream" game, this isn't something that is unique to me, I'm just willing to ask for help, for directions, vs driving around lost!
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[quote name='karwosts' timestamp='1297287597' post='4772073']
[quote]
Big corporate companies (E.A., and others) don't quite get this, and they don't understand that this is an ART, not a business.
[/quote]

So when they run out of cash and can't pay their developers, do you think they will work for free? "But it's ART!" is not going to keep professionals working for no money.

Anytime you have to pay people, it's a business, I think it's you who doesn't quite get this. No offense to you personally, but you're in no place to be explaining how game development should be done.
[/quote]


Once again, I'll say this, I'm not qualified, and am not presuming to be the know all. I did some time at E.A., and respect them immensley, but they are a business, they may get an awesome game idea, but if it is too risky, and the ROI isn't short enough, they won't take up designing the game. Thus, all of our game designs to date, stem from a short design cycle, and with the purpose of maximizing proffit. Maximizing proffit is a goal for every single person, so I'm not saying this is wrong, I'm just saying that when money becomes involved, corruption follows. Products might be amazing, until money gets involved, then packages get reduced, inferior parts are used, etc. just to save some money.

Also, just a side note, there are no professional licenses in this industry, thus there are no professionals. You can't go get a programmer's license, like an Architect, right? Thus we are loosley classified as professionals. I'm not here to pass on what I know, I only have an idea, I'm turning to you, "Professionals" and asking for help. How can we do this cheaper? Can it be done? Is there anyone out there willing to spend some free time working on a game? Or are we now a greedy industry? Any ambulance chasers out there? :)

Just once more, for clarification, I'm not here to exhort the little bit I know, so stop trying to prove your superiority to me, I understand you may have grown up and been made fun of due to certain size... issues, but lets put all the past aside, I will announce, right here, that I'm the dumbest person in this forum. Now, anyone willing to help? Feel free to bash the idea, it brings about good conversation, but please, don't attack myself or others for their lack, or assumption of knowledge. It would be nice if at least one discussion amongst professionals, could be maintained as professional...
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[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Also, just a side note, there are no professional licenses in this industry, thus there are no professionals. You can't go get a programmer's license, like an Architect, right? Thus we are loosley classified as professionals. I'm not here to pass on what I know, I only have an idea, I'm turning to you, "Professionals" and asking for help.
[/quote]
Not a license, no, but a degree: yes! You can get a computer science degree, or a software engineering degree, or an art degree, or more: whatever floats your boat. Plenty of options!

[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Is there anyone out there willing to spend some free time working on a game? Or are we now a greedy industry? Any ambulance chasers out there? :)
[/quote]
Don't get us all wrong here, it's not about greed at all. We all have our great ideas, you're not the only one. I have my idea I'm working on, and so is everyone else on this board probably! So we are already working on games sort of speak. So yes, we're willing to spend our free times working on a game. That's not the problem here. Are [b]you[/b] willing to spend free time working on a game? If yes, then go ahead and start. You don't need any money for this - you also don't need any team members in the beginning. Create a design using OpenOffice, create a prototype using Unity. It's all free and ready for you to use. No money involved.

[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Feel free to bash the idea, it brings about good conversation, but please, don't attack myself or others for their lack, or assumption of knowledge. It would be nice if at least one discussion amongst professionals, could be maintained as professional...
[/quote]
The idea? You mean your game idea? We can't talk about it, because I don't think you've shared your idea yet!
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[quote name='btower' timestamp='1297290016' post='4772097']
[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Also, just a side note, there are no professional licenses in this industry, thus there are no professionals. You can't go get a programmer's license, like an Architect, right? Thus we are loosley classified as professionals. I'm not here to pass on what I know, I only have an idea, I'm turning to you, "Professionals" and asking for help.
[/quote]
Not a license, no, but a degree: yes! You can get a computer science degree, or a software engineering degree, or an art degree, or more: whatever floats your boat. Plenty of options!

[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Is there anyone out there willing to spend some free time working on a game? Or are we now a greedy industry? Any ambulance chasers out there? :)
[/quote]
Don't get us all wrong here, it's not about greed at all. We all have our great ideas, you're not the only one. I have my idea I'm working on, and so is everyone else on this board probably! So we are already working on games sort of speak. So yes, we're willing to spend our free times working on a game. That's not the problem here. Are [b]you[/b] willing to spend free time working on a game? If yes, then go ahead and start. You don't need any money for this - you also don't need any team members in the beginning. Create a design using OpenOffice, create a prototype using Unity. It's all free and ready for you to use. No money involved.

[quote name='tabest' timestamp='1297288884' post='4772088']
Feel free to bash the idea, it brings about good conversation, but please, don't attack myself or others for their lack, or assumption of knowledge. It would be nice if at least one discussion amongst professionals, could be maintained as professional...
[/quote]
The idea? You mean your game idea? We can't talk about it, because I don't think you've shared your idea yet!
[/quote]


Lol, btower, I know everything isn't about greed, and the world wouldn't move without money, but from this infusion of money, seems to come a proficient amount of garbage. I'm not going to share my idea here, as that isn't what this is about. This is about how can we do it for less? How can we design a game without money?

You already answered this a little bit, working on it in your spare time, and creating a design doc, then a prototype, etc. But how far can you go without funding? Could we go further?

So to start with, we get the usual:

1.)Design Doc
2.)Prototype - Story Board?
3.)Secure Funding?

So please discuss, how in theory could we develop a cheap game? Every book that I've read, every article all says the same things, and in every one of those, they assume that you have to get money. I'm wondering when we truly need that money? What hoops do we need to jump through in order to get it, and how do we protect our design from the imminent pressure of whoever funded the project to release ASAP? I'm trying to give all of you, who know way more than me, a chance to explain how game design could be done for very little money. If you don't want to discuss this, then let this post get old and rot away, but if anyone out there has ideas or theories, please share the wealth of wisdom.
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Craigslist would be a good place to start looking. Here's a [url="http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cpg/2194238301.html"]suggested template[/url].

MIT [url="http://i.imgur.com/1qUlZ.png"]might also work[/url].

[quote] You insult everyone who is a professional by telling them aren't professionals and indirectly accuse them of producing poor work due to money being involed[/quote]
Like a former boss of mine said: Unlike programmers, the cleaning crew earns money by doing useful work by keeping the place from stinking up.
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The "games are art" mentality isn't really the right way to be thinking of games. Consider a table. There are tables that are churned out of factories, essentially pressed from a cookie cutter and sold en mass at places like IKEA. Such places make money because even though their product isn't too imaginitive it basically satisfies the customers that are in the market for a table. You also have craftsmen. People that can take materials and build something exqusite that is unique in the world, beautiful, but probably will only be seen by a reletively small number of people. This board is full of craftsmen, of varying degrees of mastery, each with their own project to build. Some are better at the business end of things than others. It's probably safe to say that all have spent a lot of time learning their craft.

I can make games for no money because I can code. My artwork might be (ok, it is) crap but if I don't obsess about my graphics (which I do), and if I give consideration to what would be fun to play despite crappy graphics, I can make a game. So learn to code and you're all set. I believe there's an FAQ in the For Beginners section that covers where to start on that. I think it suggests picking up a couple books on your language of choice, maybe getting a copy of Visual Studio Express (which is free), and take the first steps on the very long journey of learning to write programs. It's either that, or you're going to need to provide an incentive to get someone to do the work for you. The obvious incentive is money.
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[quote name='kseh' timestamp='1297297070' post='4772149']
The "games are art" mentality isn't really the right way to be thinking of games. Consider a table. There are tables that are churned out of factories, essentially pressed from a cookie cutter and sold en mass at places like IKEA. Such places make money because even though their product isn't too imaginitive it basically satisfies the customers that are in the market for a table. You also have craftsmen. People that can take materials and build something exqusite that is unique in the world, beautiful, but probably will only be seen by a reletively small number of people. This board is full of craftsmen, of varying degrees of mastery, each with their own project to build. Some are better at the business end of things than others. It's probably safe to say that all have spent a lot of time learning their craft.

I can make games for no money because I can code. My artwork might be (ok, it is) crap but if I don't obsess about my graphics (which I do), and if I give consideration to what would be fun to play despite crappy graphics, I can make a game. So learn to code and you're all set. I believe there's an FAQ in the For Beginners section that covers where to start on that. I think it suggests picking up a couple books on your language of choice, maybe getting a copy of Visual Studio Express (which is free), and take the first steps on the very long journey of learning to write programs. It's either that, or you're going to need to provide an incentive to get someone to do the work for you. The obvious incentive is money.
[/quote]

Thanks kseh, good points. So I guess then it remains down to how we decide to create our product. I'm not saying corporations don't work, they do, but it is like Ikea, they are basic but functional. Whereas a craftsman might take a little bit more risk to make a beautiful table. I don't mean to insult or offend, I'm just that way by nature people.

So to point: If you have a game design, you have 2 options, do it all yourself, or use a company (sell it to them I guess). We've established that we need a good game design doc, which is common sense, but very necessary to state. Then we have to program the game, by ourselves, or as a company. So it sounds to me, like what I was afraid of is true, there isn't any way to realisticly create a game for very little money. Since we've established that money is necessary, when then do you get the money, and how? How much do you need? I guess I'm wondering how other's have made games and sold them while not being employed to do so by a company...

And Phantom, good riddance, be gone with you. One of the difficulties I've noticed with these types of forum's are the people who feel that they NEED to say something, anything. If you don't have anything of value to add to the conversation, then keep your mouth shut and move on. As to professionals, we may act like professionals, but as btower noted, we do get our degrees! But we don't have a professional licensing program like Architects, Engineers, even real estate and loan officers, etc. I'm not insulting anyone, just pointing out that we aren't technically professionals at our trade, because we have nothing set up to establish a minimum.

Back to kseh, I guess what I'm trying to get discussed here is how other's have maintained the "ART" of designing a game, but for low cost, and without all the resources available to a large company. I would think that due to a smaller size, less rigid structure, and less politics of the office place, a small team should be able to out develop a larger company. Any thoughts?
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[quote name='Koobazaur' timestamp='1297301309' post='4772172']
Oh hey, another idea guy...

[color="red"][i]Anyway, I want to discuss how we as designers can create our dream game, without all the B.S. that comes with money, corporations, and the American way! [/i][/color]

So you want to talk how to design a game without actually organizing team to design a game?

[color="red"][i]A great example is blizzard, and how they refuse to release a game until it meets their standards.[/i][/color]

You know why?

Because games that do not meet their standards do not make any money.

[color="red"][i]I have a game that I've been designing for a long time, mostly just imagining it in my head[/i][/color]

Wait, so you have a game you have been "designing" for a long game, but you only "imagined" it? So you haven't actually done any design then?

(and no, pondering what kind of an Axe the goblins should use while you shower is not designing).

[color="red"][i]call out to fellow dreamers for help[/i][/color]

We're not dreamers. We're achievers. There is a difference you have yet to learn.


[color="red"][i]If you are at all interested, and think you might be able to help, let me know![/i][/color]

Considering you refuse to state your "idea" none of us even know what we are helping you with.

[color="red"][i]we aren't talking simple like Starcraft, or Diablo,[/i][/color]

Hahaha. You could probably fund the project from stand up comedy itself.

[color="red"][i]and I'm hoping to create a better more addicting and more enjoyable game than we currently see in the market[/i][/color]

So does every single gaming developer ever.

(except for the guys who made Barbie Horse Adventures. They're the ones who already achieved that).

[color="red"][i]the design and creation of this game will 100% be by any of us that join. [/i][/color]

Wait, so current games aren't made 100% by the people who work on them? I want to get my hands on all those magical invisible monkeys that create games!

[color="red"][i](accounting, HR, etc.) [/i][/color]

It's been stated, but why do you need HR and accounting for a non-profit non-corporation? I don't think you understand what a corporation or a game company actually is.

[color="red"][i]I don't think I'm qualified as the lead designer/producer[/i][/color]

Wait, so you have an idea, but you are not the idea guy. What exactly are YOU going to do in this project?

[color="red"][i]A company couldn't design this game, because it is too "Risky".[/i][/color]

So you basically admit this is a waste of everyone's time. Ok.

[color="red"][i] I am a gamer, I love playing games, and ever since Warcraft I, when I beat that game for the first time, and read the credits (thanks to ray the soda man), I knew that I wanted to be in this business. [/i][/color]

Wait, I thought games were ART and you didn't want any "Corporations" laying hands on your precious games cause they are too business-oriented?

[color="red"][i]Thus I'm reaching out to anyone else, anyone who could help me make this game. [/i][/color]

Again, you refuse to tell us what the game actually is, so how can we help you? Or are you afraid people will - gasp - steal your precious and unique idea?

[color="red"][i]All I have are the beginnings, rough beginnings of a design document, and my vision, [/i][/color]

Hey, I have a vision too. And you know what? My vision is better than your vision. Now what?

[color="red"][i]...my vision, which has been fleshed out and designed in my head for over 10 years. [/i][/color]

cool, hit us up when they invent mind-readers.

[color="red"][i]As to returns, eventually the game will make money if we are able to succeed, and I'm sure it will make a decent profit[/i][/color]

Well damn, your hatred and refusal to acknowledge any business-related ideas regarding designing a game sure convince me this will make profit! Where do I sign up?

[color="red"][i]which then will be shared amongst those of us who built up this dream of mine.[/i][/color]

Yes, we're all just drones who are DYING to build your dreams for you!

[color="red"][i]The more of you out there, who can provide help in whatever ways you can, then the better this project will be.[/i][/color]

Actually, too many people on a project (especially in the "idea man" category) is a great path for utter chaos, inconsistency and eventual failure. But then again, it's not like you would know anything about getting a working team together, now would you, Mr. "Corporations are Evil" ?

[color="red"][i]how we can create a game with no money! [/i][/color]

The same way you would create it with money. The actual process of game design doesn't change* with the money. But what money does is motivate people to actually stay on board, and it also - you know - feeds them so they dont starve to death while working. Art wont fulfill my daily carbohydrates requirement.

(* ok so that's a lie, money has big impact on design choices, but for the sake of the argument we can dismiss that in just this particular sentence)

[color="red"][i]Lets face it, everyone has an idea, ideas are cheap, a dime a dozen. Most of us have good ideas, but those are still very common. ... but it is a work of ART. [/i][/color]

SO all ideas are cheap and common... except yours?

[color="red"][i]I understand you may have grown up and been made fun of due to certain size... issues[/i][/color]

Way to respect your prospective coworkers. Pure class. If you want to work with people who have "certain size... issues," are you sure it's not YOU who is compensating for something?

[color="red"][i]I'm the dumbest person in this forum. Now, anyone willing to help?[/i][/color]

Why would we want to help a dumb person who wants to order us around while disrespecting us along the way?

[color="red"][i]please, don't attack myself or others for their lack, or assumption of knowledge. [/i][/color]

But it's ok for you to attack us?

[color="red"][i]I'm wondering when we truly need that money?[/i][/color]

Do you need food to survive? Yes / No / Retry ?

[color="red"][i]So I appeal to those of you who are interested, help me, help us, create something fun and exciting to play. [/i][/color]

See the thing is... I don't need to help you to create something fun. I (and many others here) are more than capable of creating something fun on our own. I'm very happy you have an idea and dreams - but so do we. And unlike you, many of us here have spent years in college learning about computer programming, many summers interning for "evil corporations" learning how to create 3D models, and countless evenings custom-mapping Quake levels to understand what it is that makes them flow. We didn't sit on the couch and "think" about this stuff. We went out and did it. We can go and do it any time we want.

And we really don't need the "help" of someone who has no understanding of the gaming industry, frowns upon organized game development, while simultaneously trying to organize a team (the hell?), considers all game "professionals" unprofessional, and openly admits he has nothing to contribute to the team besides his "cheap" and "common" idea.

No thank you.
[/quote]


Wow, feel better? Someone heard you. As to sitting on the couch and not doing anything, well... You know what they say about assumptions... I'm not hear to peddle my idea. People don't hear this though. I purposefully didn't, because I was hoping for some insight from those of you who have been in this industry. I unfortunately have been in a completely different industry experience success, but have always wanted to return to this industry? Anyway, I'm feeling rather sad, because my earnest attempt to start what I thought would be an intersting conversation, has turned into a contest to see who's ego is bigger. I'm not sure whats sadder, me who wasted my time with this post today, or you who wasted all your time finding faults in someone else, and not really even bothering to add anything productive to the table.

So Koozie, how would YOU, or the other enlightened geniuses who have stated how much more than me they know, go about creating a game without any funding? Or at what point would you expect to need funding? And once again, thanks to everyone who added to this conversation instead of blowing smoke up our ....
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Your earnest attempt? Ego fights? What? You're the one who started insulting people who replied in this thread. I (and many others here) did bring a lot of productive things to the table - we might have been blunt or sarcastic in our answers, but they are answers nonetheless. Just because they aren't the kind of answers you wanted to hear doesn't mean they aren't valid.

And as for my enlightened genius, I wont waste words trying to explain the process of game development to you - THAT would be a waste of time. There is plenty of books, websites and threads on [b]this very forum[/b] which have already done that a million times, which you would find if you took the 5 seconds to do a simple search. But we already know initiative isn't an often seen word in your vocabulary. And I could spend this time on much better things - such as finishing coding up serialization code for my game I have been actually working on for the past two months and now reaching early functional prototypes.

Anyway, I am done replying to your posts; this has degraded into a flamewar and GameDev doesnt need that. Good luck with your ideas.

p.s. my name isn't koozie
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Edit: ok, no sarcasm, I'm trying to get rid of that.

I'm seriously wondering though, if this is a parody post, akin to what Antheus linked.

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Wow...

Of course, I always wonder about all the idea people. I remember being a kid and thinking up all these cool ideas for games. It wasn't until I started programming I realized how much work was involved for one guy.

Everybody should learn basic or python to make their games :P

...but we know that won't happen...would be cool though, it would help the idea people on what is need in a game design. (How things are processed, how images are used, how, how, how. Well you get the idea)
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Game development is a craft which "contains both artistic and functional elements: It must be aesthetically pleasing, but it also must work well and be enjoyable to play."
-Andrew Rollings, author of [i]Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design[/i].
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