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Art_Sempai

What NOT to do when starting as an indie game developer

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13. Do not hide those things.

 

 I would only recommend giving out early playtests only to friends and family. If you are making something generic, or something 'with a twist', then I guess its fine to provide it publicly, but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet, that would be very naïve and even stupid, depending on how good and 'new' the idea is. As added bonus, friends and family will provide more in-depth feedback, especially if you attend them 'live' and ask questions and feedback directly.

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but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet
Why? You mean someone would "steal" an idea?

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but anything innovative, new and unseen - never post *that* on internet, that would be very naïve and even stupid

I disagree -- I can't really explain why any better than Daniel Cook did so in his blog entry "why you should share your game designs".

 

I often hear from would-be developers that they're concerned about their ideas being stolen, but I never see any actual examples of it really happening in practice.  An idea is just a starting point, and even if it actually catches someone's attention to the point that they want to work on it rather than pursuing their own ideas, it's pretty unlikely that they'll produce exactly the same (or even a particularly similar) game.

 

It's also worth noting that feedback from friends and family isn't always honest -- even if they try their best to make it so -- because they have an emotional attachment to you.  It's also likely that you have surrounded yourself mostly with like-minded people, and feedback from the differently-minded can be invaluable.

 

Obviously different people are comfortable with different levels of sharing and you should stick with whatever you find comfortable, but many people find feedback to be invaluable, the stealing of ideas seems to be very rare, and I think everyone can agree that whatever your comfort level you need to stop short of "stupid paranoia" (link from Tom Sloper's list of "stupid wanna-be tricks").

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I work in an office building that houses over 10 different games companies inside it, probably working on about 20 different products. When I bump into staff from other studios at lunch or in the corridors, we always talk about our own projects and the new and innovative ideas that we're putting into them. Everyone's too busy with their own cool ideas to steal mine, and my own ideas have actually become more refined by the feedback I've gotten from these other devs. cool.png

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I often hear from would-be developers that they're concerned about their ideas being stolen, but I never see any actual examples of it really happening in practice.  An idea is just a starting point, and even if it actually catches someone's attention to the point that they want to work on it rather than pursuing their own ideas, it's pretty unlikely that they'll produce exactly the same (or even a particularly similar) game.

 

 

I'm genuinely inclined into sharing concepts and ideas quite openly, but I actually have had it happen to myself on just one occasion. I'll regularly discuss game concepts and mechanics in the various IRC chat rooms I attend, and on one of our regular 'bad design Tuesdays', myself and a couple of other people came up with something we realised we could build quite quickly with reasonable results. We were all pretty busy at that point in time, so we scheduled ourselves some dedicated time for about 6 weeks when we'd be less busy, and reckoned we'd be able to get something playable and fairly polished (as far as prototypes go) out within around 3 months. All of our discussions were pretty much in the open, so there was a fairly good template for any potential copycat to work from. The concept was by no means innovative anyway - it was in fact entirely derivative.

 

Around five weeks later, a game appeared for sale on iOS with a carbon copy of the game mechanics as described, built using the same tools we'd discussed using - but it wasn't particularly well built - I have serious doubts that was a coincidence. It's also been noted that a couple of long-time lurkers in that channel have since never returned.

 

We were never really intent on selling the thing in the first place, it was going to be a fun project, so we didn't really lose anything. We considered building the game anyway, but seeing it plonked out there kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit.

 

C'est la vie.

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I disagree with this "ideas are dime a dozen" , "its execution, not idea" thing.

 

Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not, so if you are after "yet another X with cool Y feature" , go ahead. But if it's an idea good enough that talking too publicly means competition by your own hands, it is wiser to keep to yourself until certain point.

 

I think that certain point for an indie is somewhere between post GDD and beta/prototyping part.

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Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not

That's another one I see pretty frequently but which doesn't seem to actually be backed up by much actual evidence.  There are loads of really good ideas out there presented by people with no ability to actually implement them, and many of the lesser ideas could easily be refined into good ideas in the hands of people with a good understanding of practical limitations.

 

Sure, you absolutely need an idea to produce a good product, and some ideas are better than others, but in the end there are a huge wealth of ideas -- most of them with plenty of potential -- floating around out there, and it's only those who are able to successfully execute them who bring quality products to market.

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Ideas may be dime a dozen but good ones are not

That's another one I see pretty frequently but which doesn't seem to actually be backed up by much actual evidence.


I agree with jbadams. Ideas are a dime a dozen, and twelve good ideas amount to a value of 10 cents.

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