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Kavik Kang

Does anyone have any advice for my unique situation?

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Hi everybody, and thanks to the moderators for letting me back in:-)

 

I don't want to revive the thread about Rube that I had started, because that clearly was not going well. But I still really would like to get advice about what I might do to actually get to make my games, the first 4 of which have been worked on for over 20 years now. Together, all 12 games are a “Big Three-like” gaming universe the likes of which has not been seen since the 1980's. They tell a single story, through a “timeline”, what you know as “JMS of B5's famous Bible”, which was actually just a Star Fleet Universe inspired timeline just like the one than encompasses my game universe. I have been designing games for about exactly 40 years now (obsessively, non-stop, since I was 7!!!!!!), with half of that time spent on these games. I've had quite a bit of time to work on them... and make them better, and better over the years. A pretty big advantage on most, or even all others. Right?

 

In the other thread Tom Sloper had said that it is not actually impossible for me to find an existing game company that would consider something like this, as I had believed for many years. He also suggested finding a partner to handle the business aspects of this... If I could do that I would do it in a heartbeat. I am really bad at this, I just make games and simulations. Really, that is pretty much the ONLY thing I do. So, since I am apparently not inherently incompatible with the modern game industry, and the possibility of someone actually having the capacity to make my games if they wanted to does exist... How do I go about even doing that? I've been trying to do that for over 20 years without ever having any hint of success, and probably only 2 or 3 actual responses in a lifetime of doing that. That's what I tried for over a decade and gradually determined, through what they were saying too me, that such a thing does not exist and the only way to make my games is to fund it all myself. If I have been wrong about this, that is great, but what do I even do about it? I already have 20 years of experience with exactly that which tells me if I could get so much as a single response saying “No thank you” in under a decade I'd be doing great! I am 48, I don't have a decade to get a first answer back from someone.

 

So, is it really possible for a designer to make their games through an existing company? Or do they already know the games they are making, and the only way to do it is if I can find millions of dollars on my own... which isn't going to happen? This has been my entire life. I either find a way to make my games or literally my entire life has been a waste of time. So I'd really like to find out how I should even be trying to go about this before I even begin to try this time around, and only the people in the industry can tell me that. I KNOW that my ways don't work.

 

I would think that 20 years of work on the first 4 ought to be a hint to at least somebody that this might be worth looking into. How many computer games spent 20 years being designed and refined before they were made? Does this actually happen regularly to where it is an uninteresting regular kind of thing? I'd think somebody would at least be interested in such a thing. Especially space ship games... a lifetime of work on space ship games... coming from a former member of the SFB Staff!!! I would think that somebody might be at least interested in taking a look at it...

 

My games are completely and totally unique, because of Rube. That's what Rube is. It's how I have always made games that was so different and unique that I could never get anyone to understand. Now I have Rube which is simply, in the end, my finally being able to articulate exactly what it is about my games that are so different than everyone else. Exactly how they work that makes them so different. Instead of getting into Rube, I'll just give an example of those differences. I pretty much specialize in space ship games and strategy war games. 7 of the 12 games of my universe are strategy war games. So now you are thinking.... “So there must not be much of a story to this universe.” Yes, there is. That's one of the differences between my games and everyone else that is easy to point to. As a byproduct of how Rube (or simply my games) functions, my strategy war games tell stories almost as well as an adventure game or RPG, but in a very different way. They really do. Maybe even in a better way... you read about it little-by-little, and then it unfolds around you in the near future little-by-little. Constantly, all the time, over the course of the entire game. My games don't work anything remotely like any game you have ever played before. They really, really don't. My games are “alive”, because that is what I do and have always done. I make games that play themselves around you as you play them.

 

So, what should I even do? Who should I even be trying to contact? What options do I really have from the perspective of you people who are inside the industry, and therefore understand it? What I thought I had learned the first time around was that the only way this can be done is to fund it myself, but now that is apparently not the case. But how do you even go about finding anyone who might be interested? I don't see how I would do that, or even know who to contact other that just sending something to random game companies like I used too... and that never came close to working. How do even I do this? This is my problem, this is probably the one thing I am worst at. I am worse than bad at this, and over a decade ago ran out of ideas for even trying anymore.

 

In our industry the phrase "Design by Committee" was known by anyone involved with it.  One of the most often heard phrases in our industry.  It translates as "the worst possible way to make a game".  This is the method that the modern game industry has institutionalized.  "Too many cooks spoil the pot".  This is not an insult, it is an observation I would hope those in your industry would at least contemplate.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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If you made a really, really thorough GDD a dev team might be able to make your game I suppose. It would need to include everything they could possibly want to know though, and that just isn't possible. Plus actually convincing a team to pick up and make your games in itself is a nearly impossible task. After all they all probably have 5 or more game ideas of their own that they'd rather make.

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Well, the game design document is easy.  The modern game industry believes it is not possible, because they don't use them so they have no experience writing them.  I have seen many pre-production game design documents from your industry, so I know what they are.  They are perfectly adequate for the process being used, but by the standards of my industry could only be described as "20-60 pages of vague notes".  Only one of the design documents is totally complete like that, but 3 others only aren't that complete because they have intentionally "left open" so those games can continue to freely evolve with the rest.  I am 4 or 5 games ahead of the process if I ever found a way to make them.  The computer game industry has no need to write complete design docs, so they don't, so they don't know how to make them only because they haven't ever needed them.  This does result in a "trial-and-error" process on your part, and adds a great deal of that risk you are always so concerned with... so it is actually better to fully design the game before you make it.  Writing a complete design document is definitely a lost art.  As I said in the last thread, I have publicly put that completed design doc in the internet before.  It's not a big secret for me, and is the only game of the 12 that does not have Rube in it anywhere because it was intentionally designed to be far more simple than my other games because that's what I kept getting told everyone wanted from me back in 1998 when it was written.  I could post that same 2005 revision I had posted before, not the current one:-), if people wanted to see an example of what I am talking about.  That "frozen in time" version is 197 pages.  It's actually Pirate Dawn itself, the MMO "Flagship Game" of the entire Pirate Dawn Universe.

 

As me simply being incompatible with you industry because they don't make a designers games, they make their own.  That is what I had been led to believe and the primary thing that made me finally give up 8 years ago.  But now people are saying that's not true, and it can happen... so I'd really like to know how you make something like that happen.  I have absolutely no interest in making someone elses game.  I tried that before.  That only winds up making me look bad over a game I was telling everyone from the beginning wouldn't be all that great.  "There is no such thing as a first person shooter in space." - Me, 1998:-)

 

So I'd really like to know, if there is any way for someone like me to find a way to make their games... how do you do that?

Edited by Kavik Kang

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That's not really what I am talking about, Tom.  I don't want to license it to anyone.  They couldn't possibly be made without me.  The strategy games are Rube, the space ship games are based on 40 years of SFB knowledge that less than 20 people on the planet possess.  Only I can make them, nobody else has the knowledge required to do that.  The Pirate Dawn Universe is essentially the "3rd Generation" of the hobbyist game industry that got created after the industry died.  Avalon Hill/ASL, Task Force Games/SFB, and then Lost Art Studios/PDU.  It's not like someone else can just make these games like they are Civ or FPS clones or something, here in 2016 nobody else has a frame of referance from which to understand them either because of Rube or the vast SFB knowledge underlying the space ship games.  I'm not being arrogant when I say only I can make them, it's just a "fact of knowledge base".  For example, do you fully understand the Kaufman Retrograde?  If not, you can't make any of the space games on that one issue alone.  There are 10,000 or so others just like it...

 

So I am looking for a way for me to make my games, because that is the whole point of them and because nobody else could make them anyway.  If there is no way to do that, then that is what I had determined 8 years ago.  Either fund it myself or it can't be done.  Which actually seems logical to me, existing game companies already know what games they are making.  If that is the case, then I am still looking for some way for a whole new company to be created around me as the only way of making it happen.  And that is really what I am trying to determine right now.  Should I be trying to make the games through your industry?  Or trying to create Lost Art Studios to make them, in which case Rube is by far my best chance of making that happen.  Is there a way into your industry to make my games, or do I have to create my own company to do it.  That is step one of what I am trying to figure out in my final effort at this here.

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That's not really what I am talking about, Tom.  I don't want to license it to anyone.


Well, that's what there is. You want money to make your game. That's how to get it, unless you
go for crowdfunding (like Kickstarter or Indiegogo) or FFF (Friends, Family, and Fools). It's
not a given that if you got a publisher to fund your game that they wouldn't let you be involved.

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Ok.  So it still is the same situation as I had learned the last time around.  The only way is to find my own funding for it in some way, and there aren't going to be any existing game companies that would ever be interested.  By that I mean that there is no such thing as "being hired as a game designer to make your own games".  "Licencing" it to someone in the hopes they will let me be involved in some way is just not an option, they can't possibly make the games.  It really is that simple.  Only I can make these games and I would never leave the possibility open to be embarrassed by having my name on the disasters these games would be if anyone else tried to make them.  I don't even get how anyone could think that anyone else could possibly make anyone elses games at all, let alone mine considering the circumstances of what they are and where they come from.  Only Sid Meier can make Sid Meier's games, only Steve Cole can make Steve Cole's games... and on to infinity.

 

So, I think that probably answers that question.  The only way this can happen is for Lost Art Studios to be made real.  So, now... how do I even try to do that?  VC doesn't pay attention to "one person with an idea" no matter what the story is.  I alone can never make this happen... Nothing has changed.  I really do find it amazing that it seems impossible to interest anyone in this, that really is very hard to believe.  Especially considering what it is, where it comes from, and who I was in that world.  I really don't get it...  I am just stuck again.  The only hope seems to be Rube... the games just don't matter at all, but Rube might be able to make it happen.  So I wind up right back to what brought me back out of retirement to begin with, Rube.  That's the only thing I've got to work with because the games really don't matter at all, nobody cares about the games.  And I have no idea how to do anything with Rube, either.

 

You know, this was a lot easier in the old hobbyist game industry where they just hired game designers to design their own games for them.  That sure did make it easy for the talented game designers to be the ones actually working in the business.  So I am back to Rube, which is definitely not looking good so far in ever getting anyone to so much as even look at that, either.  This attempt might wind up being a lot shorter than I have been thinking, it appears that nothing is any different at all now than it ever has been in the past.  Even with Rube... Wow...  I bet I could invent both a phaser and a warp drive and still wouldn't be able to find a single person on the planet who cared, hahahaha...  I am soooooo bad at this!

 

EDIT: I thought I'd throw this out there, just in case it happens to catch someone's interest.  Pirate Dawn is actually the second game of the Pirate Dawn Universe.  The Pirate Dawn Universe, which is entirely a sci-fi universe focused on the ships, fleets, and primary characters, has a "Broken Time Loop" as a "next generation timeline".  The PDU begins with a Cold War game (Game#1)... and ends with a WWII game called "Armageddon" (Game#12).  The "gap" in the broken time loop that this creates, 1945-1989, is an "Era" of the timeline called "The Eternally Unstuck Reflection of The Dark Side".  I just thought some people might find that interesting.  I really have no ideas at this point, but I'm thinking...

Edited by Kavik Kang

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I think there are professional teams that were offering to prototype a game for  2-4 k $ here.

Knights of Unity is one that I remember.

 

So your path may be. Think out a game that utilizes your (physics+GM) approach at the best for current market, make a prototype, reiterate, give it a breath (some arts, story) and run a kickstarter campain. Maybe I should try it myself :D.

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There are actually two games I could potentially try something like that with.  One is one of 5 "side games", I actually have 17 of my own games for the PDU, but at my age the core 12 would be the most I would probably live long enough to make now.  One of those side games was designed specifically to be an Indie project, but because of that is very simple and does not demonstrate my unique style of game design and the "Rube" that creates.  The Cold War game, however, is entirely Rube and could actually exist as a board game...so is not actually that complicated even though it has Rube at it's foundation.  It's the game Rube comes from, and is an easy to work with "crippled" Rube.  So that does seem to be an option I could try to get Lost Art Studios going, and maybe that will be what I wind up trying to do here in the end.

 

Thank you for reminding me of that, things were starting to seem hopeless again.  At least I have that to think about if I can't find a more direct path to giving that Cold War game the "AAA" production it actually deserves.  I mean... It's "The Civilization Killer", at least that is what I have called it since coming up with it while playing Civilization 1 in 1991 during the first few months of it's release and taking it as a challenge that I had to be able to outdo if I was really the game designer I was supposed to be at that time.  That was when I was actually working at TFG and on the SFB Staff.  Civ was a tough nut to crack... it took me almost three months to come up with something better.  There is a reason it comes first, to get everyone's attention!  I'd really rather do the CivKiller right if I could, but using it to get started instead would be worth it if it worked.  I could always break my own law and do a "CivKiller II" game later to fix it.  Normally a direct sequel is something I would never want to do:-)

Edited by Kavik Kang

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and the possibility of someone actually having the capacity to make my games if they wanted to does exist... How do I go about even doing that?

So I'd really like to know, if there is any way for someone like me to find a way to make their games... how do you do that?

 

You can make the game yourself, if the design is as good as you say people will see it even if it has bad art. Once people can see how it plays they will be interested, just taking your word for it won't work.

Dwarf fortress is a good example, a great game with bad graphics and controls.

 

You first need to prove there is oil before people will dig for it.

 

A persons word and design document means almost noting. I only do freelance work for people who can show me they made a game or have a design document, even then only one out of eight ever get to the point where the game is lunched.

 

You know, this was a lot easier in the old hobbyist game industry where they just hired game designers to design their own games for them.

 

The hobbyist game industry moved, it's now stationed in the Indie market, where a single mistake doesn't cost millions and people can be more open with ideas.

 

 

But how do you even go about finding anyone who might be interested?

 

Only I can make them, nobody else has the knowledge required to do that.

 

The only way is to find my own funding for it in some way, and there aren't going to be any existing game companies that would ever be interested.  By that I mean that there is no such thing as "being hired as a game designer to make your own games".

 

So, now... how do I even try to do that?  VC doesn't pay attention to "one person with an idea" no matter what the story is.

 

So I am back to Rube, which is definitely not looking good so far in ever getting anyone to so much as even look at that, either. 

At least I have that to think about if I can't find a more direct path to giving that Cold War game the "AAA" production it actually deserves

 

Making "AAA" games is expensive and a single mistake from any one of the staff can cost millions, a mistake from the game developer could ruin lives.

The "AAA" industry can't effort to gamble on a idea that has no prove of working, you can't blame them for not working on every idea proposed to them.

 

The problem is that every person in the world has a good game idea, every one of them.

If you ever want your idea made, then you will either have to prove to those who can make it that it's better than their ideas, or make it yourself.

 

Have you ever considered that their ideas is better than yours?

If that upsets you, then just remember that every time you ask them to work on your game idea, instead of there own, you are saying that your idea is better than theirs. It's up to you to convince people you already insulted that your ideas is worth making.

 

If that is the case, then I am still looking for some way for a whole new company to be created around me as the only way of making it happen.

The only way this can happen is for Lost Art Studios to be made real.  So, now... how do I even try to do that?

 

Making a company before you made a game is like putting cart before the horse, make a game that can fund a company first. A company that can't pay for it's own running cost can't pay for a game.

 

 

 One of those side games was designed specifically to be an Indie project, but because of that is very simple and does not demonstrate my unique style of game design and the "Rube" that creates.

 

A good design doesn't need bells and whistles to be good.

 

Only Sid Meier can make Sid Meier's games, only Steve Cole can make Steve Cole's games... and on to infinity.

 

I knew it! Ubisoft is practicing dark magic, how else did they make "Tom clancy's the division"  :o

The fact is a game is made by a team, just because your name is on the box doesn't mean it's yours.

 

In the end unless a developer makes every thing by themself, their name doesn't deserve to be in the Title. When ever some one else makes any thing for your game, they will influence it and change it from your original idea.

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