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If you have a great idea for a game or app...

09-11-2009, 08:49 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
If you have a great idea for a game or app...

...you're better off learning to develop it yourself.

I don't want to discourage anyone by this post, and I certainly mean no offense, but there are loads of not-a-developers who have loads of ideas who feel that they want to share them in the hopes that either someone will pick up the gauntlet and run with it, or even team up with them even when the idea is all they have to contribute.

The problem with this though is twofold:

1. Ideas (and those who have them) are three cents a kilo, and almost none of them are new.
2. In general, developers already have more ideas than time to make them happen. Indeed, this is why most developers got into development in the first place, and even if they were so inclined, they're generally too busy developing those available ideas to have the time or resources to work on someone else's.

Note that freelancers are a different breed and do not apply to the general rule of thumb here. Also note that if you are good in a particular discipline (music, art, etc.) and can contribute, that's a bit different -- but even then, you're more likely to be hired for your ability to do what someone else wants rather than your ideas.

See, ideas are great! But ideas are like opinions, and you know what people say opinions are like and who's got 'em. If you've got a great idea for something that you think could be the iPhone's next killer app, the best thing in the world you could do for yourself is take matters into your own hands and either learn to develop it yourself, or hire a freelancer to help you get it done. This is to say nothing of the possibility that posting your idea publicly runs the risk of someone stealing your idea and taking all the credit for it. Yes, it does happen -- probably more often than you'd like to think.

Honestly, if you have ever had any inclination to see your ideas become a reality and you have any technical aptitude at all, think seriously about getting into development yourself. Yes, it takes a while, it's slow going, sometimes confusing, frequently frustrating, often tedious, and after you've developed it you get to have all sorts of fun winding your way through Apple's submission and review gauntlet, but one of the most rewarding feelings ever is finally completing a project and being able to take a step back and see it in all its glory -- your own creation. And then unleashing it on the world, for better or worse.

Just a thought.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko

Last edited by Mindfield; 09-11-2009 at 02:51 PM.
09-11-2009, 11:07 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
Wow for some reason I've been thinking the same thing lately. My thought is that most game developments involve two primary people. The coder and the artist.
and of course testers to provide feedback.
Only very large projects would need dedicated person just coming up with ideas .

But if you have an idea and really want to see it come to life
instead of trying to program it yourself I would submit it to developers. If someone decides to make a game out it that should be worth a 10% share or so just for coming up with the idea.

09-11-2009, 01:56 PM
#3
@mindfield

That's a very well thought out and put together opinion, and one I agree with.

For those not wanting to learn how to code, take a look at GameSalad - the basic creator will remain free, so you can try out a lot of your ideas using that. It's also very useful for prototyping.

Hope that helps,

QS
09-11-2009, 04:03 PM
#4
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by 99c_gamer View Post
But if you have an idea and really want to see it come to life instead of trying to program it yourself I would submit it to developers. If someone decides to make a game out it that should be worth a 10% share or so just for coming up with the idea.
Most devs have more ideas than they can ever hope to build (see Mindfield's second point). I've got 50+ ideas for iPhone games with several in the prototype stage, so it'd have to be a really good idea for me to even consider it, and even then there's little chance it'd be worth 10%. The implementation is about a kajillion times more work than coming up with the idea. If ideas were worth 10% I'd sell ideas all frigg'n day long instead of doing actual work

In short - If you have an idea and money; pay to get it done. If you have an idea and some artistic talent; make a bunch of art then look for a developer and split the work. Otherwise, yer pretty much SOL.

SHREDD GO FAST! FREE!
Nozoku Rush Kick Math's Ass!
Critter Panic Break yer brain! FREE!
Silverfish & Silverfish MAX Hardcore arcade insanity!
Nozoku A casual game of math & logic.
More: cbox.me Twitter YouTube
09-11-2009, 05:22 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,206
Quote:
Originally Posted by 99c_gamer View Post
Wow for some reason I've been thinking the same thing lately. My thought is that most game developments involve two primary people. The coder and the artist.
and of course testers to provide feedback.
Only very large projects would need dedicated person just coming up with ideas .

But if you have an idea and really want to see it come to life
instead of trying to program it yourself I would submit it to developers. If someone decides to make a game out it that should be worth a 10% share or so just for coming up with the idea.
As Frank pointed out, finding a developer who is interested, and who furthermore would pay for ideas (which would require that the developer him or herself have none, or none as good) is a pretty rare event. Like Frank, I have absolutely no shortage of ideas, and I have to pick the ones I think are best at the time. I already know what my first two projects are going to be and have a third in the outline stage out a pool of many. Ideas I don't need. Find me someone who can come up with a way to make more hours in a day and then we'll talk.

But even large corporations don't employ idea men -- at least, not people for whom this is their primary (or even tertiary) job. Larger companies get their top people together and have brainstorming sessions. Of course, larger companies usually make games based on proven formulas, so they just let everyone else do the thinking and then copy that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quantumsheep View Post
@mindfield

That's a very well thought out and put together opinion, and one I agree with.

For those not wanting to learn how to code, take a look at GameSalad - the basic creator will remain free, so you can try out a lot of your ideas using that. It's also very useful for prototyping.

Hope that helps,

QS
That's a great idea for newbies. It won't teach you much about programming, but it will give you a good playground to learn general game design concepts and theories. Even if you don't use GameSalad to actually publish anything, it's great for just messing around and learning. When I first started to write music I used a fairly simple but effective digital audio program on the Atari ST. It lacked any good features, but what it did have was the simplicity to just let me slap any old thing together quickly and see if it sounded good, and then manipulate it and tweak it (within the capabilities of the program) if I didn't like the results. It really opened the doors for learning and well prepared me to move on to more robust music programs down the road as my skills improved both technically and creatively. I look at GameSalad a lot like that, only for game design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Condello View Post
In short - If you have an idea and money; pay to get it done. If you have an idea and some artistic talent; make a bunch of art then look for a developer and split the work. Otherwise, yer pretty much SOL.
Yep. Pay to get it done, pair up with someone if you have skills to contribute, or take the time to learn how to do it yourself. If you're going to pay a freelancer though, really research the people you get offers from to see what they've done in the past to see if they're worth the money and if they're easy to work with and respond quickly to requested changes and provide periodic ad-hoc builds so you can monitor their progress and request in-situ changes.

[Relax with Galactic Chill] [Let me tell you a story.]
Currently working on: Music for Spirit Hunter Mineko

Last edited by Mindfield; 09-11-2009 at 05:39 PM.
09-11-2009, 05:30 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 6,509
So true. I have so many games I jump from that if I keep it up I'll finish them all in 5+ years. Takes even longer for me since I have to come up with the artwork, too.

Also, I'm pretty sure I speak for a lot of people, but I'd rather work on a project alone, experimenting with my own ideas and whatnot, then take ideas and concepts from some random person I hardly know. I want the game to be my own, and not feel like I ripped someone off. I know what I want to do. It just feels better doing that.
09-11-2009, 07:06 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
Well I dont have a ton of original ideas so I'm open to suggestions.
So you guys with too many ideas start sending them my way

I agree that it would have to be something brilliant.
You should be able to describe the idea in one sentence (or less )
I'd want to hear something like "you know what would be cool? A game where you wrap up blocks of wood with rope until you cover a certain amount".
If I heard that I would probably run with it
If you have to write a full manual to describe why your idea is good it's probably not that good of an idea
09-11-2009, 10:36 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by 99c_gamer View Post
You should be able to describe the idea in one sentence (or less )
I was thinking of giving away a game idea a week on twitter (was inspired by this Wolfire blog post which is also relevant to this thread). Unfortunately I don't have enough followers to care

SHREDD GO FAST! FREE!
Nozoku Rush Kick Math's Ass!
Critter Panic Break yer brain! FREE!
Silverfish & Silverfish MAX Hardcore arcade insanity!
Nozoku A casual game of math & logic.
More: cbox.me Twitter YouTube
09-11-2009, 11:18 PM
#9
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
The ones he described on his blog are more like background stories than ideas for new types of games.

I agree those would not be very valuable.
09-11-2009, 11:45 PM
#10
Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

All I know is I was hot on this and knew it would be the next gold rush when apple announced it March of 08. I wanted to get a game out before the July event/opening of the app store. I remember thinking that, "Dam, 500 apps at launch! I should of had one out in that mix. Thats ok, as long as its within the first 1,000", Then "as long as it's within the first 5,000". Then "10,000".
The bar was set low at the beginning, you know, like Pappi Jump.

Now, Need for Speed and Gameloft rule the roost.

I couldn't get the Cocoa down.

Guess I missed the boat. Altho, of course, a year from now there will be 200,000 apps, and 500,000 the following year, heh.

Shoulda made a app support biz, like Fient instead. Always do that, you're more attractive to VC that way.