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Pitching an idea to a developer/publisher...?

11-10-2012, 07:36 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Pitching an idea to a developer/publisher...?

So here's where I am. I started writing a design document for a game several months ago based on what I feel is a very original idea (but we all think our ideas are like that...). I now have completed said design document including a stunning logo and character concept art. Here's the but... BUT I don't know how to write code or have the money to employ a developer. I did originally have a few grand that I was going to pay a developer with but decided the final result wouldn't be what I wanted due to lack of polish the person rushing it because its not their game.

I now want to sell all the work I've done to either a random person or work with or sell it to a dev/pub company, the latter being preferable. So my questions are: Would a dev/pub company pick up something to developer themselves? I've only ever heard of them picking up games that are basically done...

I realise that they probably won't be interested in my idea but 💩💩💩💩 it, I want to try anyway. So how would I go about this? Get a list of companies and email them? What about intellectual property issues? Do I need a non disclosure agreement? Is it more likely I would get noticed if I put my work up on say this website? I feel like they would get a lot of emails and I don't want to get covered.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
11-10-2012, 08:16 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 356
Publishers have many completed games to choose from, so are unlikely to look at just an idea, even if backed by a design document.

Developers have enough ideas of their own to work on. If your idea is really good, then it may help in getting a job as a game designer, but you will probably have to demonstrate your technical abilities as well, such as in level building.

You don't know how to code, but learning will probably be a quicker route to getting your game made than pitching the document. Try the free version of Unity. You can do an awful lot with that.

11-10-2012, 08:54 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Wellington
Posts: 938
Originally Posted by Mooflet View Post
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Selling a game idea is borderline impossible. Read this, and it will explain why

11-10-2012, 09:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Porto, Portugal
Posts: 118
My personal opinion?
Don't try to sell your idea. The publisher will most definitely turn it down and there's nothing you can do if, years from now, they decide to create a game based on your idea.

I take it you are more of a designer/artist, seeing as you already have concept art for your game. What I advise you to do is to pick up GameMaker, put your art in there and create a prototype that you can show/send to a publisher. And be sure to polish it as if you were developing the actual game. GameMaker requires no coding whatsoever and it's a great tool for prototyping (or even for building full games, if you have no idea how to code).

If your idea is really good and if you implement it well enough in your prototype, you'll have a better chance of getting some kind of positive response from a publisher. Be aware that, even with a prototype, it's a "one in a million" situation. If you end up getting a negative response from them, you'll at least have a working prototype that you can improve and send to other publishers (or you can even self-publish it).

An idea is basically worthless if you have no means of prototyping it and proving that it actually works. Some games are amazing on paper, but sometimes the finished product ends up being horrible. You have to show them concrete proof that your idea is actually feasible and marketable.

Last edited by henr1kk; 11-10-2012 at 09:46 AM.
11-10-2012, 01:56 PM
All I can say is, get over your fears that someone would steal your idea. It's just an idea right now that may end up being worthless.
Get out there and communicate it, try to get some interest and team up.

Have somebody check technical feasibility too. I see many nontechnical ppl dream about their game ideas w/o any reality check w.r.t. feasibility and effort.

I strongly advise against doing the coding on your own before some professional assessment.
11-11-2012, 03:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 97
Send a message via Skype™ to gambitph
As with the others, I don't think an idea and some artwork would just cut it.

You'd be better off with just making a very basic prototype of the game first (hire someone or do it yourself). Then let others play it to check if the idea translates well to a good game. If all is good, make it into a playable game. Only THEN can you try pitching it to publishers or even make a KickStarter campaign.
11-12-2012, 03:33 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 308
Let me introduce you to reality. Reality, this is Mooflet. Mooflet, this is reality. Now that you are introduced some things to know:

1) your idea is worthless
2) producing your game is going to cost well over $1000, think 5 to 6 figures
3) most likely you will have to convince others your idea is great, not beat them away with a stick like you are thinking

I know, reality can be shocking!

You made a design doc, that is something! I would suggest rather than selling it to partner with someone who might want to make it, knowing that the design doc and idea are about 1% of the work involved in making a game, I wouldn't expect a royalty any higher than that. Maybe you think this sounds cheap but you could protect against missing out of having the next "Tetris" by simply structuring the licensing. For example most likely your idea is run of the mill worthless, you get 1%, but if you do have a hit, then you want something like 5% over 100k, 10% over 1M, etc, that would protect you from losing out if the game is a smash hit, and would give the developer most of the revenue under 100k which are close to development and marketing costs.

Developer of RTS Machines at War 3 for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
RTS Land Air Sea Warfare for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
11-12-2012, 10:28 PM
If you are really keen to make your idea (and have limited funds) maybe you could research if there are any government grants available to game devs in your country. I know that Screen Australia offer grants to people who have developed their ideas and have gave development documents, etc. ready. Maybe that way you could find the funding to pay a developer to make your idea with you. Just a thought

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