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Homeer Samson

Is the design enough?

24 posts in this topic

Hello. I dont have any skills at game coding, not at all. Its just my head is full of ideas and I understand the game mechanics. My question is, if I make a very detailed game design, including math, geometry etc. is there a chance that someone will be actually interested in my design/concept - paying me for it?

Thanks
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This is a question that's asked quite a lot. In the Game Design forum, there's a box to the right-top of the list of threads. I suggest reading the first article there:

[url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/idea.htm"]"I have a game idea! ... What now?"[/url]

In short, the answer is no. People usually don't buy GDDs, even if they are very detailed. The problem is that making a game is hard work. The GDD isn't very valuable to developers, because there's so much more to making a game than the design: programming, art, music, sound effects, etc.

The article pretty much sums it up. I suggest you take a gander at some of the other articles on that site as well. It answers a lot of frequently asked questions.
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You think that even if the idea is unique (and I mean really unique) - nobody will want it only because "It is just an idea?"

I mean, isn't it all (games, novels, movies, etc.) just and only about the prime idea and the rest (the actual work - programming, art, music, sound effects, etc.) can only "boost" or "kill" the quality?

Additionally, Isn't a good GDD also the part of the overall work on the game? I spent hundreds of hours writing my GDD and its now more then 4000 pages.
Also, it contains the story script, art concept and notes for the music.
And of course, I can go with much less then 50% of the profits. Why it cant have at least a minimum chance to succeed?


(Excuse my editing, it is 3 AM here) Edited by paylot
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Okay, then. Now read [url="http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson11.htm"]this[/url] and [url="http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson21.htm"]this[/url] and [url="http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson49.htm"]this[/url].
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I completely understand your point, maybe I did not explained it adequately.

[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1346563483' post='4975636']
Nope. An idea is just a piece of the whole picture. Take the wildly successful Halflife game series: You're a scientist with a crowbar in a underground labratory overrun with aliens and soldiers trying to kill you. Many other games already had that "idea", but Halflife's gold was how it was executed.
Take World of Warcraft: You are in a fantasy world. With orcs and Elves. And you have swords and magic. And it's online. Sound like every other MMO out there? Yep, but they executed it way better then their competitors at the time of their launch.
Modern Warfare: Have guns, shoot other players. Billion dollar franchise. Because of quality, not idea.
Halo: Have guns, shoot other players. In SPACE! With aliens! Billion dollar franchise. Because of quality, not idea.

Mario: Consistently high level of quality = long term success. Billion dollar franchise.
Spyro the Dragon*: High level quality degraded over time = No longer much of a success.
Banjo Kazooie: High level quality, degraded over time = No longer much of a success.
Sonic the Hedgehog: High level quality, degraded over time = No longer much of a success.
[/quote]

I'am NOT placing only the basics of the game. Like I explain what the game is about and that more or less about it. In my GDD I do everything.
Lets take the World of Warcraft as an example: I write the story line, I make the races, the classes, the zones, the quests/tasks, the talent points, the skills - I make a name for the skill, I explain how it looks, what kind of sound the usage of the skill makes/what sound it does on impact, and I do complete maths.

Basically, if you take my GDD, you don't have to ask What kind of enemy is supposed to be here? What is his name? His attributes? How he will react? etc. etc. You just write the code.

I don't know... I just think this is the most important, the most valuable part in the game development. Yes, there is the hard work of coding, recording the music, creating meshes, textures etc. but someone have to bring the in "the game" in the first place, or not? You also cant make a good movie without a good script. You cant write a good book without a set of ideas.

If I come to a prestige novel writer and tell him: "Look, I have an idea which will yell another Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter success." (And I'am actually not lying and it really does have the potential). Even if its only an idea and HE is the one who have to write it, can and will he just send me to hell? I don't think so.
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[quote name='paylot' timestamp='1346570783' post='4975646']
Even if its only an idea and HE is the one who have to write it, can and will he just send me to hell? I don't think so.
[/quote]

why don't you try? You'll find their answer very similar to the ones you are getting here.

Look, there are some smart and experienced people trying to give you advices, did you even bother to read the links they have posted to you? They should clarify in your head that you are just one more "idea guy" in the sea of "idea guys" that appear weekly on this website and every other game development website in the world... nothing less, nothing more. You're so common that some guys that got fed up answering the same questions over and over wrote down a full coverage of the matter so they can link it... the problem is, idea guys don't seem to be able to read or research, I wonder how you can expect people to read your stuff in return?

You can either understand the situation that that your idea and GDD won't interest anybody unless you bring it one step forward (ie. prototype state)... or, you can live in denial and in the delusion that you can change the facts with your rants... it's up to you.

If you are serious about game programming, invest time to learn the tools that will allow you to get into this world and build the minimal credibility that might allow you get people's trust. Videogames are software.. you can't ignore this fact.

You don't design WoW as your first game just as you don't go play Federer at Wimbledon on your first tennis game. It's a step by step process that requires dedication, talent and patience...

Start with a small game that you can tackle yourself with Flash or some GameToyWhatever tool, get it done, go through the process of adapting your wonderful "idea" to something playable.. you'll find that so many things that looked So right on paper just don't translate well when you actually play it. Game design is an iterative process because software development is an iterative process.

if you understand that, you might get a chance at making games, if you don't understand that, you'll probably disappear just like the other weekly "idea guy" ... up to you.
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Just something to think about..

Having no knowledge of game development, its very likely that your GDD contains huge holes that you aren't even aware of, even with 4000 pages.
Even if you did have experience, its still very likely that it contains holes, and things that when actually implemented will turn out to suck.

My point is a GDD is typically nothing static, but a living document.
Its not a recipe that someone writes, gives to the studio, and they then implement.
Sure, there are studios that work kind of like that, (though YOU have to pay THEM) but the games they create tend to suck.

The whole notion of "I have a GDD and I want to sell it so someone can implement it" is a big misunderstanding of how game development actually works...
(and of how you create great products in general imo...) Edited by Olof Hedman
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The first mistake you have made: You came to these forums.

Opinions of all these people are irrelevant. You know why? Because its all about your nationality... Some nations values more the work-power, some the ideas. Evidently, the nation you live in is preferring the ideas over work-power. Where are you from? I guess its some communistic or post-communistic nation.

The question is: Are there some good game developing companies in your country?
If yes: Keep trying. Your GDD have THE value.
If not: Its a waste of time. The America/Eastern Europe will not buy it. These nations lacks the work-power, but they are full of ideas ... Edited by alison.brooks
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The problem is, there are already amazing, talented designers pitching their ideas to big companies like EA, but they've actually proven themselves as designers. They have games to backup their claim that they know what fun is. If you don't wanna make music, aren't an artist, can't write, can't do voice overs, and refuse to code, then there's one final option: Find a programmer, an artist, a musician, and a writer. Convince them to work on your project, and get started. If you can somehow pull this miracle off, and get the game(probably a very small game; definitely not your opus--yet) completed and up on the web for others to see, you'll be able to move on to more incrementally larger projects. You never have to know what the hell inheritance or polymorphism is, and you get to do what you want: Design. With those games under your belt, you'll have more clout and actually maybe might somehow get a chance to work with a huge publisher.

That's your absolute best bet.

But remember, there are a ton of people just like you who are also multitalented. I'm a writer, musician and programmer. If I've got a game idea, implementation for me only requires some placeholder art; I can do the rest on my own. I can show that to a true artist and get them onboard if they like my game. On the other hand, you have your design and your design only. It's a harder sell, right? You've got a tough, tough road ahead, but if this is what you want to do then you're going to have to start small.

[u][b]Edit::[/b][/u] Some of the replies here were probably very harsh and cynical. If so, I hope you don't take those comments as representative of the gamedev community as a whole, or even the general disposition of those who made the comments. It's just that topics like yours are brought up all the time, and people get frustrated having to repeat themselves and [i]still[/i] get the same defiant "No, I'm different! I [i]know[/i] I can be different!" Maybe you are different. Regardless, I just wanted to say something about the reaction you've been getting. Edited by Shaquil
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I hope I'm not beating the dead horse, but

1. You can't tell if something is professional unless it's peer reviewed by other professionals.
2. As one person (Extra Credits) once said, every budding game designer has at least 5 ideas. In other words, having an idea doesn't make you special.
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What a depressing thread... cynicism rains supreme, but it is not all the fault of some, but a corruption of the majority.

It is a shame our world shuns any attempt at creativity, whether or not it is not equitable. Hopefully you have put forth the effort required to create one heck of a GDD and that you can find a team to help create a proof of concept. Start small, the basics, and go from there.

I won't tell you what you can and cannot do, but do not expect words of kindness, unfortunately as already pointed out, everyone feels their ideas are greater than great. I pity those with the technical skill that cannot abide by taking in information and advice from others while I applaud those that do. Ideas alone can be worthless or even great, but the ideas must be presented in a way that lets them shine. Continue developing your GDD and do with it what you can. Try and present it to as many open minds/ears as possible and accept criticism and advice with humility. If you have the fortune to succeed you can look back at those that shunned you, but I hope you are more capable of tolerance and show the patience required to be hospitable in return.

Hrm, now where did I leave that beer? Edited by Caldenfor
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[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1346650353' post='4975938']I pity those with the technical skill that cannot abide by taking in information and advice from others [...][/quote]I wonder, where the myth that tech people are too inimaginative to design a game comes from. In my entire life I have not met even one coder that would be uncapable of designing a simple game. I mean, what kind of talent it takes to design a "fly the space ship to the top of the screen and shot at incoming enemy ships while watching your lives/energy go down and your score go up"? A lot of games are really, really trivial to design (not all, designing a strategy game require a true designer, also RPGs with their quests might benefit greatly from a pro designer).

The division for tech talented people and design talented people is artificial and untrue. Basicly ALL tech people (with so few exceptions it is not worth mentioning) are also quite decent designers. I mean, if they were not why would they learn how to code in the first place? :) All those tech people are tech people because they were designers first (wanted to make games) and they become tech people because it was helping in their design part.

So, a designer that never switched to a tech/art person and stayed "just a designer" forever is simply someone who was not excited enough about making games.
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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1346659451' post='4975967']
The division for tech talented people and design talented people is artificial and untrue. Basicly ALL tech people (with so few exceptions it is not worth mentioning) are also quite decent designers. I mean, if they were not why would they learn how to code in the first place? [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] All those tech people are tech people because they were designers first (wanted to make games) and they become tech people because it was helping in their design part.
[/quote]

I'm not so sure of "ALL", there's a lot of "code monkeys" out there, that seem perfectly happy to never personally develop or make any innovation at all for them selfs.
They just want to write code someone else tells them to from 8-5 and then cash out their check and forget about it.
It's of course partly the organisations fault, but not everyone are creative [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

I do though agree that there really is nothing mutually exclusive between the two, and most if not all that are involved in game development, specially in small teams, have a lot of creativity, and must have to do their job properly.
To create a great product, you need a lot of passion, and you need it from _all_ members of the team, and make all feel like they "own" it, and get their input considered.
Creating and maintaining such a team is not easy, and ability to do so is a big part of what makes "wannabes" become "successful".
Most that do have strong technical or art skill or both too, because that makes it a lot easier to lead-by-example, and competent people tend to respect competence. Edited by Olof Hedman
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[quote name='Olof Hedman' timestamp='1346663495' post='4975988']I'm not so sure of "ALL", there's a lot of "code monkeys" out there, that seem perfectly happy to never personally develop or make any innovation at all for them selfs. They just want to write code someone else tells them to from 8-5 and then cash out their check and forget about it.[/quote]Yes and no :) Yes, if we talk about the world's population as a whole there are many programmers that have aboslutely no design skills/talent, they make business software. But when it comes to the subset of programmers that work in the gaming industry they ALL have design skills of some sort, that's why they find making games more fun than making business software.

Note that being a programmer in the gaming industry basicly always means less income than if you were a programmer in business software industry. So, by evolution, only those programmers who have design skills (desire to make games) are in the gaming industry. This almost guarantee that any programmer making a game will have at least some basic design talent (if you don't care if you are making a game or a biz software you will go for the better paid task, which is not games for sure :D).
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[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1346650353' post='4975938']
What a depressing thread... cynicism rains supreme, but it is not all the fault of some, but a corruption of the majority.
[/quote]

I don't think people are all that negative really. Possibly just a bit fed up with the constant stream of "idea guys".

All that people in this thread are really saying is you need _more_ then "just a gdd" to get your game made.
And some excellent feedback on what is needed

It's just reality based on simple principles like supply and demand... Edited by Olof Hedman
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[quote name='Olof Hedman' timestamp='1346671097' post='4976020']
[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1346650353' post='4975938']
What a depressing thread... cynicism rains supreme, but it is not all the fault of some, but a corruption of the majority.
[/quote]

I don't think people are all that negative really. Possibly just a bit fed up with the constant stream of "idea guys".

All that people in this thread are really saying is you need _more_ then "just a gdd" to get your game made.
And some excellent feedback on what is needed

It's just reality based on simple principles like supply and demand...
[/quote]

Not to mention the way these "idea guys" usually try to trivialize every other part of game making, and imply that those who don't hold the title "designer" are like mere construction workers building according to the blueprint.
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I was not saying that all technically skilled people were incapable of design nor was I talking only about the simplest of games. Everyone is capable of having creativity, but why must those without a technical skill = sugar honey iced tea? One thing that I was trying to get across is that there is a large group of "technical" folks, enough to take notice of, that believe they have the creativety to create the best large game ever and well... they can't do it on their own.

Why is it impossible for groups to offer an olive branch to those wishing to contribute? They don't have to hand over all of their top-secret documents that the world would end if anyone saw, I am not the kind of person to believe in top secrecy for independent games anyway, as I believe that knowledge should be pooled together for the greater good. By sharing knowledge you may be missing out on "the next big thing"(chances are less than .1% that it would ever happen of course), but your knowledge and design quality may help bring about even greater things. Sign NDAs, keep information private from these outsiders if you wish, but why treat them as lepers just because they aren't technically inclined?

The corruption was that society, at least in American society, the individual is held far too high when compared to the collective. People want to help make games, why not let them try? Give them a small project to flesh out, see if it is quality, then go from there. There are those that lack the social support to effectively work alone and they may just need a "team" to work with, even if only in a minor manor.


All of this leads back to the following: Independent games don't generally make much, if any, money. Designers should not expect to be the first to get paid, more like the last, unless they are doing a job worthy of earning their fair share. Game design is generally not a money maker. Edited by Caldenfor
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The thing is that there are so many that both have great ideas, and can contribute to the production, if so only by having a large purse, or being a great organiser, for there to be much point in "taking a chance" on someone with "just an idea".

I'm not saying he should give up his dream, just that he can't expect to just sell a GDD, he needs to do some heavy lifting too, and possibly expand his area of expertise.

The question in the topic is after all "Is the design enough", and the general answer to that question is unfortunately "no".
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[quote name='Olof Hedman' timestamp='1346687767' post='4976093']
The question in the topic is after all "Is the design enough", and the general answer to that question is unfortunately "no".
[/quote]

Thank you. That is the perfect way of responding.

When I mentioned the "put them on a task", it doesn't necessarily have to be a task for the immediate game at hand. Treat it more as a design test/quiz, if they can do well, then perhaps they may be of use again in the future. Getting on a team can be truly difficult without technical experience, but I think that there are individuals out there still capable of contributing. While everyone does have ideas, technical and non-technical individuals alike, it would not be wise to ignore the capabilities of either type of individual if it could lead to a better end result. The non-technical may not be able to contribute any where near as much in the creation, but the inception and further development of the concept is a critical aspect of game design and to say technical people have all the answers is folly. Edited by Caldenfor
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I don't think design is just enough. At least not enough as you are describing it. For me ideas just have a maximum of $100 and the execution is the multiplier, read [url="http://sivers.org/multiply"]this[/url]. Yo won't go anywhere with just ideas, don't feel bad about this, just take it as advice from my personal experience. I had a lot of game ideas and web apps ideas, but since I was not a developer I couldn't make them reality.

Your design doc probably is really good and worth like $100, but without execution you will not have that multiplier. Also games are an iterative process, you just can't follow a manual or design doc till the end, you will change a lot of things in the way. I am starting to work as a level designer for a game, [url="https://www.facebook.com/stillaliveStudios"]Son of Nor[/url], and I understand that now. I am also learning to code, maybe I will not be the best programmer but at least I can execute my ideas so they become reality and be worth something.

I recommend you start learning how to make simple games, start making small prototypes, really simple games that could be done in a week. You will learn a lot of game design by actually making a game.

Good luck and don't give up.
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