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Best Way To Sell a Game Concept?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the based-on-a-novel-by-a-man-named-lear dept.

Games 250

dunng808 writes "If a couple of young, game-crazy guys wanted to get started designing a game with the intention of selling the concept, how should they proceed? In the music industry they would make a demo MP3. In the film industry they would write a script (and I would recommend lyx with the hollywood document class). Should they develop some sample game play with a well-known engine? Is the one in Blender good enough? This somewhat dated list suggests it is. Or should they focus on textual descriptions and static scenes made with Blender and the GIMP? Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?"

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No way (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093906)

Too many ideas too few developers

Re:No way (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093982)

Getting ideas is the easy part.

Re:No way (2, Interesting)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094052)

Exactly, and the real challenge is to find an idea that can be developed with minimal cost and developers.

I've been 1 year in game development at the university i'm still studying in and on the 5 projects presented to be developed the next year, only 2 was possible to be done in the 1 year accorded for it and with a team of 5 (mostly bad) developers.

One had enough ideas to do a complete new World of Warcraft (nothing really original tho...) but he failed to realize how ideas are useless if you can't implement them.

Re:No way (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094142)

Not only that, but the gaming industry is one of the hardest gigs in Computer Science. People really do it for the love of it, not the love of millions, or they are very seriously misguided.

Think about it. Most business software costs a magnitude of millions to produce, test etc. But seriously look at the level of functionality that business software has compared to games.

Games have such wondrous things such as fully fledged physics engines, statistics systems, and a whole plethora of other goodies as standard,that business software stakeholders can only drool over, and definitely never want to/have to pay for. Finally, the most important thing for a successful game is a truly slick UI/UX. If it's not a pleasure to use, it kind of defeats the purpose for a game. In most business software the main driver is making money for the company, not enjoying use.

So what does that mean for everyone involved in producing? You're building a $500m project for a $100m budget, (if you're even getting that), so you have to product 5x as much value as your friend who's building a business system, whereas you will never get the return from it like in a business application of the same calibur.

So what do you think your boss will say to you in a games company when you want to be paid as much as your friend who produces the same value? Either ramp up your production to 5x your friends, or be happy to be paid 1/5 of his wage. If he gives it to you, he doesn't understand the business, and you're all probably going to be looking for work shortly.

It's grim, but reality. You really have to have games in your blood to survive in the industry, and do it for the love of it rather than making money.

Re:No way (3, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094470)

Your entire thesis is flawed. Business software is complex. Business UIs have to be precise. Game developers do not make 1/5 the amount of business software developers.

I have worked in both areas. Pay is pretty standard for qualifications. None of it is glamorous. It's a job.

If you want money and recognition you put in the extra hours, do a better job than the guy to your left, have actual intelligent insight, and have a plan for your career which includes your own personal motivation to achieve.

Baby Steps (2, Insightful)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094552)

I'd say tackle it the way you'd tackle anything that's difficult and complex - do it in baby steps.

Don't try to do that grand game on the first try. Do the smaller things first. Try to do a level, or a character, or a model, etc. Don't go for a 3D game first, try doing a 2D one, and mastering 2D physics first, etc.

Apprentice with people who are better than you are.

Re:No way (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094616)

thats EXcalibur to you, mister.

Re:No way (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094366)

Getting ideas is the easy part.

This is a common meme but it is in fact BS. Getting good, marketable ideas, that are developable into a commercial success is enormously difficult. Getting crap derivative ideas, or ridiculously expensive ideas with little chance of earning back development costs is really easy.

Unfortunately the plethora of crap means that noone is interested in looking at ideas in general unless they are developed to such a point that it takes minimum effort to turn them into a commercial game.

Agree. Concepts are a dime a doxen (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094002)

sorry to burst your bubble

Re:Agree. Concepts are a dime a doxen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094360)

Exactly. This reeks of just another average Midwestern hack with big Hollywood dreams.

Submitter - Wanna make a good game? First, slap an ESRB A 18+ on it and get plenty of bad press for your demo to drum up a little controversy. Then add ingredients to taste:
  • Sex. Think about Grand Theft Auto's hot coffee and God of War's sex minigames...but show fill-frontal nudity and butt-ass naked fucking with good, variable camera angles. Ensure that there are ample females in the game and make some of them struggle.
  • Drugs. A wide variety of known and unknown intoxicants that have variable visual, verbal, auditory, unpredictable effects on the gameplay and plot.
  • Psychedelia. We want eye-candy and unpredictable plot twists. Not like that lame hackneyed show Lost, but like Twin Peaks' plot fistfucking American McGhee's Alice's stage design.
  • Violence. Literally a no-brainer. If anything moves, it must be able to be beaten, raped, scalped, eaten, and everything in between.

Re:No way (3, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094048)

Too many ideas too few developers

Absolutely. If they find a developer willing to get on-board with the project, then they might be on to something.

Then they should work on the concept and developing material to demo with an artist and the developer.

A lot also depends on what kind of a game they want to develop and who they're targeting.

Basically, they need to ask themselves some tough questions about their game and what they're developing. Then move on to the next step.

Re:No way (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094130)

The problem is that they will not likely get a developer on board. Anyone that can sit down and write a game doesn't need help to do so. He is not likely to want to provide 100% of the work in exchange for a small amount if any profit.

Re:No way (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094186)

The problem is that they will not likely get a developer on board. Anyone that can sit down and write a game doesn't need help to do so. He is not likely to want to provide 100% of the work in exchange for a small amount if any profit.

It depends on what kind of a game they want to develop.

If the game doesn't really have a plot or strong characters, then you're spot on.

At the same time, if the game is heavy on plot and requires intricate dialogue trees, character design, setting concept and concepts for other in-game assets, then you're looking at a fair amount of work.

Re:No way (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094274)

Having written a few games I just cannot see a situation where I would take on a "idea" person to assist me. I worked with a artist on my last and it was still 10% time his part and 90% my time to actually get it to work and finish the project.

Re:No way (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094322)

Sure, but in the case of an artist his 10% may have been absolutely vital to the game's success. Certainly development takes up a huge amount of time and effort, but developers in general tend to be really crappy artists. The two skillsets (and mindsets) are very different from each other, and both are critical to a successful game. The art is what people see first, and if the game looks amateurish or poorly rendered, many people will simply not buy it or put it down almost immediately and tell all their friends what a piece of crap it is. On the other hand, if no one can play your game for more than 10 minutes without encountering a serious issue with the code, the game will be sunk just as bad.

Artists are important for modern games. So are developers. "Idea guys", not so much.

Re:No way (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094324)

Having written a few games I just cannot see a situation where I would take on a "idea" person to assist me. I worked with a artist on my last and it was still 10% time his part and 90% my time to actually get it to work and finish the project.

I don't think anybody is saying someone should just be an 'idea person,' but there are some cases where a lot of in-game dialogue and backstory need to be conveyed to the player.

If you're writing all the dialogue, doing all the character/story concept work, designing all the interior/exterior environments conceptually and then taking everything and bringing it over into the virtual environment, that's a lot of work for some games. If you're trying to do all the engineering and game mechanics as well, then that's certainly admirable, but I think it's understandable if other groups choose to break up the responsibilities a bit more.

Re:No way (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094220)

Harsh, but true - every gamedev forum I'm aware of is constantly flooded with "I've got this great idea, and need developers to help" posts.

Your best bet, IMHO, is to go indie. Develop the game as fully as you can, then sell it as shareware. You probably won't get rich, but you *certainly* won't get caught up in EA or Activision's shenanigans.

Re:No way (5, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094570)

Agreed. I'm in the industry, and everyone I've ever spoken to has agreed completely that we have all the ideas we will ever need, and that is not at all a thing the games industry is needing or wanting to spend money on. I'm sorry, but your geek dreams aren't worth gold. We get thousands of ridiculous fan emails a day with game ideas that are mostly laughable, but even the good ones, who cares? The "idea" boils down to a story/setting, and some gameplay. If the gameplay can be done, it probably already is, and otherwise if it can't be done, then the idea is worthless. And if you think you have the best story around, who cares? Write a book. The challenge in making good games is not finding good stories, its organizing development teams and trying to produce "fun" which is unquantifiable and subjective.

Re:No way (1)

mstrebe (451943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094706)

Concur. You can't--cannot--sell a game concept, so get "the intent to sell the concept" out of your head. There is no market for "concepts" in any endeavor (a screenplay is not an idea--it's a screenplay), only markets for working products.

1) Learn to program, write the game, then sell it.

2) Make a shitload of money doing something you're actually good at, hire developers, get the game written, then sell it.

3) Talk about how you had the idea for MachineGirlZombieGoldNakedPalaceAttack VII twenty years ago, but sadly lacked the skillz to get the billz.

Good luck

put my wiener in your mouth! (0, Troll)

upyourshomo (1803732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093912)

licka-my-sucka-my-stroka-my-cock!

Re:put my wiener in your mouth! (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094172)

The slashdot front page is like an omelet. A havana omelet, that is! On saturday morning after a long and hard Friday night. There's a pool of diarrhea, some solid chunks of turd, undigested remnants of a late night snack, blood, sperm, fragments of a rubber, and an oil slick from the crisco they used to lube up your ass. And the smell, oh god, it reeks of cheap beer, rotting flesh, sperm and lube.

I'm not sure what this has to with the slashdot front page but as long as CmdrTaco doesn't wave is gay ass in my direction, I don't really care.

Re:put my wiener in your mouth! (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094226)

I had to read that three times to get the full effect. Thank you! This has to be the best post I've read on this story!

SOL (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093924)

there's millions of patents granted every year.

The trick is knowing the people to help you get funding, or to help you get grant money, or whatever.

Re:SOL (4, Insightful)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094092)

Nobody is going to give you money though unless you have a tangible business plan or documented examples of your ideas. i.e. concept art, playable demo or mod of an existing engine, extensive design documents. Plenty of people can come up with good game ideas, the trick is to mold that into an actual workable idea and that that all down on paper or in a playable state. Having something that people can actually play, even just a simple demo, can go a long way in convincing people you can make a FUN game.

No. (5, Informative)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093932)

"Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?"

Having worked at two game companies in the past: No. I've never heard of such a thing happening. All the hundreds of people working at a game company are likely bursting with their own game ideas. Ideas are not in short supply.

At best, your analogy for a "demo mp3" is a playable "demo game".

Re:No. (0, Flamebait)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094244)

Not to contradict your experience, but this is exactly what happened [wikipedia.org] with Portal. My memory is some students at DigiPen Institute of Technology (which has a video game major) created a free, proof of concept game called Narbacular Drop, which they demoed to some Valve execs who had come to visit the university. Valve liked it enough that they hired the entire team and advanced the concept into Portal.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094308)

You're not contradicting his experience, you're validating it.

"At best, your analogy for a "demo mp3" is a playable "demo game"."

Which is exactly what Narbacular drop is. Read more better, k.

Re:No. (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094330)

I know that. You'll see in the GP where I distinguished what the OP is asking from a playable "demo game".

"game concept" (OP term) != "proof of concept game" (your term)

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094348)

Valve liked it enough that they hired the entire team and advanced the concept into Portal.

Hiring people to work on something is a lot different than buying a concept and working on it yourself.

Re:No. (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094558)

I too have worked at a game company or two and it can happen if you have a game that is already built, functioning and playable.

there are many game engines out there to make the work easier. Garage Games, Unity 3D are great, for example.

A demo tape isn't a song concept (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093940)

A demo tape provides a real example of your talent and ability. To be equivalent, this need to be a real example of the game.

Look at the Portal developers. They developed a Portal like predecssor game called "Narbacular Drop". It got Valve's attention, and them a job, and finally the finished product Portal.

Re:A demo tape isn't a song concept (3, Interesting)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094584)

Exactly. This is like somebody who has no idea how to compose music going "hey, i've got this idea for a really fast metal song with lots of guitars, and there would be a part that went like this, hey, do you think I can call up a band and sell them my idea for money? How do I go about doing that?" Sorry, but no band is ever going to care about your song concept. And similarly, no serious video game developer has the time to care about your video game concepts. And unfortunately, a single person (especially without the technical skills) cannot develop a modern videogame, even a demo. (note: there are exceptions but they're mostly 2d and it took the developer years and they were highly skilled, like Rollercoaster tycoon or braid)

It doesn't work like that (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093946)

In 15 years in the game business, I have never heard of any company being so hard up for ideas that they shell out money to buy one from the outside. Quite the opposite is true--there is always a glut of pet concepts developed internally by members of the full time staff, and very few of those will ever see the light of day. And ultimately, the "concept" itself has no value, only the implementation does.

Re:It doesn't work like that (1)

Diantre (1791892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094284)

Pardon me if I'm wrong, but isn't this done all the time? For example, Infinity Ward developped CoD 4 while the game is sold by Activision.

Re:It doesn't work like that (1)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094334)

Activision is acting as a publisher for a company that develops the game. Infinity Ward made and sold that game, not an idea (OK, they might not have had all of the game when they sold it, but they probably didn't just have a game concept, unless they were an existing company with many years of experience making games).

Re:It doesn't work like that (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094574)

Besides, Infinity Ward has already proven their ability to create highly profitable games. Activision might be more lenient towards them than some unknowns with an idea on paper.

Re:It doesn't work like that (1)

bmorton (170477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094352)

Infinity Ward didn't just hand off some cool game ideas to Activision. They developed CoD4 from an idea to an implementation. Activision simply publishes [wikipedia.org] the finished game.

My Game Idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093954)

I envisage this game where your in like this world of other REAL people who are also players and you have to complete quests, the aim of the game is to gain these things called 'Experience Points' and the more you attain the higher the 'Level' your on.

I also envisage this things called 'Guilds' and things called 'Instances' where your able to find rare armor and weapons.

I call it 'World of Losers with No Life'

game concept is not an issue (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093956)

It is my belief (back by the opinion of several indie game developper friend) that game concept is not the issue in the gaming industry. Companies have harddrives full of good game concept. The main problem is building the actual game. That takes forever and a lot of money.

Moreover, good game concept does not sell games in general. You are sure that Football Game, the 5rd this year, is going to sell. Funky FPS, the 7th this year, is going to sell. Interesting Concept, may not sell. Therefore, you fund Crappy Game That You Know You Will Sell.

If you really belive there is somethingto do with your concept. Pay for its development by yourself. But I think it is a long and difficult road.

Re:game concept is not an issue (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093994)

I'd say this is the best option for any app, game, whatever. Build a barebones version first and make sure it's enjoyable. There are plenty of concepts that look good on paper but have enormous flaws in reality.

Re:game concept is not an issue (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094508)

In the film business, all sorts of not-quite-mainstream films get made (and exhibited at major multiplexes alongside the big blockbusters). Many others are made and exhibited at art-house cinemas. Why can't the same be true for video games?

Getting game ideas (and even game concepts/demos) that aren't "mainstream" out there is a lot harder than getting a movie idea (or draft script or whatever) out there.

Some may argue the cost of video games vs films but there is no reason video games HAVE to cost a fortune to make (and no reason why video games NEED graphics so good you need a top of the line video card just to play the game)

Re:game concept is not an issue (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094588)

In the film business, all sorts of not-quite-mainstream films get made (and exhibited at major multiplexes alongside the big blockbusters). Many others are made and exhibited at art-house cinemas. Why can't the same be true for video games?

We already have; it's known as "indie games". Like art-house movies they are relatively low-budget and usually unconventional. Like art-house movies they are doing just fine, but not making anybody rich.

Don't even try... (3, Insightful)

Jerrith (6472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093960)

Like the AC first post says, Too many ideas, too few developers. In my experience, this is very true. If you truly want to create your game, I suggest working in the industry, and developing contacts, such that at some point down the road, you can bring together the funding and people you need to actually create it.

That's not to say there aren't also smaller scale projects that are successful as well - there are. However, most of them tend to either be of lower quality than many professional games, and/or have a number of people who have worked professionally in the industry.

Ideas (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093964)

Ideas are a dime a dozen, they rarely pay for ideas, they pay for prototypes and people who can make the ideas reality. It sounds like you're at least taking this into account in that you want to create a demo. The demo needs to be bang-up. It doesn't need to have every feature or quality graphics, but it needs to show the gameplay mechanic or idea that you want to sell - and it needs to sell it -HARD-. See Nabacular Drop...it became Portal. The idea for portal was there, but it wasn't until a solid implementation came along a game company got interested. So model it on that idea - You need to have something coherent.

Blender game engine probably is a no-no. Use something a bit more high-quality/powerful and customize it to do what you want.

And if you don't have a compelling gameplay mechanic or idea, then don't bother. You're just another nerd with a fantasy, no offense.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094288)

Here's a dime, gimme a dozen.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094436)

NFL 2010
NBA 2010
NHL 2010
PGA 2010
Louging 2010
Tony Hawk 2010
Rugby 2010
Cricket 2010
LaCrosse 2010
Field Hockey 2010

There you go.

Re:Really? (1)

Evelas (1531407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094478)

That was only 10, you ripped him off.

Those are not ideas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094754)

That's merely an incomplete list of products. Give the man a list of 12 game ideas.

Dime a dozen (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093966)

I hate to break this to you but the ideas are the easiest part of game development. My group has dozens of ideas on our wiki and we add great ideas all the time. But we've been working on our current project for YEARS now.

Taking a great idea and making a great game is hard and expensive. Taking a great game and making a mediocre game is also hard and expensive.

In this case, make a prototype. If it's good enough and your marketing skills are up to snuff, you might be able to get a publishing deal or self publish on the internet. Retail is still the most important part but some of the indie devs out there have proven you can at least survive if your games are decent.

You won't be able to sell an idea, but a working example of the game might.... even if it's only one level.

Just make the game yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093976)

Film is structured around production companies which match up scripts with actors and directors. There are not a lot of great scripts, and companies will fight over the best ones.

Game concepts, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. There at least as many good game ideas as there are studios trying to make games. If you're thinking, "Why are there so many shitty games?", it's not because of a lack of ideas. It's because getting a publisher to pay for a novel (eg, not-an-established-genre) game is damned near impossible, even if you are a development studio with a solid track record.

People with development expertise already struggle to turn good ideas into games. If you don't have the talent, and you don't work for a studio and don't want to start your own, then your ideas are useless.

Ideas.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32093978)

are a dime a dozen... set it on fire or build it in a good engine like unreal, unity, or crytek. Blender is POS.

Nope (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093980)

Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?

No. Since the '80s, an entire generation of programmers grew up with the initial idea of making their own games. Most of them never actually made a commercial game, but most of them now create other types of software. Those that did go into the industry either have way more ideas for games than their studio could ever implement, or they became slaves in the code mines of Activision.

You'll have to create and market it on your own.

Vertical slice (4, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093992)

It's called the "vertical slice".

You get 1 piece of the game prepared. Get all the core things working just for this single scenario, and show them what the final product looks like in this one scenario.

It's up to you how detailed you want it to be, but the idea is to get it as close as you can to the final product. It's hard to get everything in a working status so pick your scenario carefully to avoid complex problems in implementation (Don't generate tough pathing, excessively detailed environments, game-breaking dilemmas).

Get that working and the investor can imagine what the actual game might be like. The less he has to imagine, the easier it is to invest. Also, and /most importantly/ it shows that you are organized and disciplined enough to produce a working product top to bottom. One of the biggest risks for new games is developers who don't know how to finish something. They get caught up in the big fun ideas and forget about critical details like making it work and meeting a deadline.

Re:Vertical slice (4, Informative)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094024)

FYI, this is exactly how Dead Space came to exist. They made 1 level, pitched it, and they came back and told them to make the rest of the game.

Force Unleashed developers did something similar, they animated conceptual scenes for Lucas to look at that demonstrated how the resulting game should feel. It wasn't interactive, but the idea is the same, try to get them to see what the final game will look like by using one complete picture.

Re:Vertical slice (2, Insightful)

cybereal (621599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094146)

This is probably good advice... for someone. I don't think it's what the OP is wondering about. I don't think they want to make the game, they just want to write it, so to speak.

There is no market for this because there is no market for well-vetted game ideas. There's no need. People will be whatever garbage rolls off the truck that day as long as it vaguely resembles something familiar. There are maybe 10 visionaries in terms of overall game design in the industry at any one time and that's enough to consume all available major investments that are based on an idea, rather than an iteration.

That said, if someone really wants to make their game idea come to fruition, a solid business plan and the intention that you will make it yourself, or at least, hire people and produce the game, is probably the best bet. This is especially true if your idea can target the booming iPad audience as multiple VC firms have capital just waiting to be spent specifically on iPad development. Any similar market situation would do as well.

What you won't see is a company like Valve or EA taking nothing more than a mockup and making a game. Even in the case of Portal, the game existed, playably, before Valve got involved.

Re:Vertical slice (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094228)

Deadlines? Who uses deadlines? That's such an antiquated notion for mediocre programmers from the old 20th century economy.

Take Duke Nukem Forever, they didn't use deadlines at all, but EVERYBODY knows that game.

It's so successful that everyone who hasn't bought their own copy already probably keeps a special $100 bill in their wallet, permanently, just in case they find a copy in the store. I know I do!

That game is a real killer.

Re:Vertical slice (1)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094346)

Good luck buying a new game for $100 by the time DNF comes out.

Make it yourself, or don't bother (4, Informative)

SaXisT4LiF (120908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32093996)

Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?

Nope. Quite frankly, the only way its going to get made is if you do it yourself. I'd suggest using an established engine to cut development time/cost to a minimum and going with a digital distribution service like Steam [valvesoftware.com] to bring the product to market.

Re:Make it yourself, or don't bother (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094076)

Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?

Nope. Quite frankly, the only way its going to get made is if you do it yourself. I'd suggest using an established engine to cut development time/cost to a minimum and going with a digital distribution service like Steam [valvesoftware.com] to bring the product to market.

Possible engines include the Blender one mentioned, and http://www.ogre3d.org/ [ogre3d.org] since they are both free and open source

Re:Make it yourself, or don't bother (1)

empty_other (1116615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094528)

A ready to use game-engine based on the ogre3d engine: http://www.neoaxisgroup.com/ [neoaxisgroup.com] Gametype FPS/3PS and RTS have been premade as an example, but other gametypes can be created. Do some C# coding, add a few models and you got yourself a nearly done game with multiplayer. :)

Prototype it. (1)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094004)

Lots of concepts that are interesting end up beaten into submission by ones that are tired, boring and easy to reproduce. Big companies are pansies that just want to be safe and boring and comfortable, they have lots of money but they aren't ever actually going to do anything interesting with it other than get their yachts and hair surgery. I would say everyone on the planet who owns a computer has had a brilliant idea or flash of inspiration for a computer game, because they make it so easy when everything is the same.

So what I am saying is, the hard part would be actually making the thing. If you can get a prototype working, thats a million times better than a bunch of figments and ideas on a piece of paper, because then you and they know that it works in practice. So make the rough, backyard welded version of what you have in mind, and then at least you get some fun out of it before sending it to the wolves.

Just Self Publish (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094014)

It's $100 for a dev license for the iPhone.

If you want to make money at it, develop the game and sell it yourself. If you can't recoup $100, you'll at least learn a lot in the process.

-Dan

Re:Just Self Publish (2, Informative)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094094)

It's $100 for a dev license for the iPhone.

If you want to make money at it, develop the game and sell it yourself. If you can't recoup $100, you'll at least learn a lot in the process.

-Dan

Your assuming they also have a Mac since one is needed to program for the iPhone. A better option would be to use Steam [steampowered.com] since it's free (if I remember right they charge a percentage of the sales, but no other fee's) and can be for both WIndows or Mac.

Re:Just Self Publish (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094314)

Not only Steam is free, but also opens up the possibility of using a LOT of game programming engines (such as the ones the OP mentioned from Blender).

Regarding "selling" your idea, I have to agree with everyone else, supply of ideas is vast. You can see that by the huge amount of "game" projects in sourceforge (these were from guys who thought of doing some cool game FOR FREE!).

Regardging game dev engines it depends on the kind of game you want to make. Blender engine is mostly used for 3D game development. But in that case I would suggest going through Illricht or Ogre3D. For 2D game there is LOVE (http://love2d.org/ ) and there is also Microsoft Direct X of course (containing audio, graphics, input and all other stuff together in one nice package); SDL may also be a good choice.

Re:Just Self Publish (2, Informative)

zaffir (546764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094424)

Steam is NOT an open platform. In fact, it is more closed than Apple's app store. You need to be approved by the powers that be to be placed on Steam, and getting their attention alone is not as easy as submitting your app to Apple's app store. Plus, unlike the app store, there's also a pretty high bar for quality.

Everyone has Ideas, make an Indie game (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094028)

Anyone can come up with an idea. There have probably been people with the same idea you came up with, there are probably already games out there using your idea. There is no way you are going to be able to sell the concept to anyone. You can develop it into a game and sell it to a publisher or on the market yourself. You aren't going to be sell a game concept alone. The idea of it is quite humorous.

ob Why Your Game Idea Sucks link (4, Informative)

amaupin (721551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094064)

The Escapist: Why Your Game Idea Sucks [escapistmagazine.com]

Every game developer has thousands of ideas of their own. They could not care less about yours.

Unless your game concept is a one in a million idea that only comes around once a decade (to change the face of the gaming industry and inspire a thousand and one clones), there is no market for it.

Sorry there isn't a market for conepts (4, Informative)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094072)

Hi 2.49b the game engine of Blender is fairly reasonable. Definitely good enough to prove whether the idea works and to develop the core logic and game play.

You might want to look at Blender after 2.6 which due to the generosity of googles summer of code, will have advanced path finding tools by default and other useful AI related libraries which will make your life a lot easier.

Blender has a good path to some external engines particularly Unity which is now ported to all of the major platforms.

These days no one is interested in a concept though. They want a game basically developed to the point it appears ready to sell - at least one fully polished level that shows all of the things that a publishing house wants to see in a game. They also want a team ready to develop it a complete game.

Depending on the game type you might want to consider just doing smaller versions of it for a cheap to develop platform such as the iphone.

Clueless (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094082)

Anybody who thinks it matters what document editor is used for writing a screenplay has no clue.

Re:Clueless (1)

notanother1 (1791938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094120)

How do I make this post the 1st one? it ALL comes down to this!!!

Re:Clueless (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094164)

Anybody who thinks it matters what document editor is used for writing a screenplay has no clue.

He is asking about the game engine of Blender, not the content creation tools. Blender has a game engine that works fairly well for rapid prototyping of games. The author is interested if they are robust enough for doing a game demo. To which the answer is yes, but also 'wrong question'.

Something I forgot in my earlier response - gamekit, a project lead by the developer of the Bullet Physics engine - is meant to allow Blender games to run almost unchanged on various platforms using a BSD licensed engine. So you will be able to port to the iPhone, etc. easily once your prototype within Blender is done.

Re:Clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094430)

The GP is commenting on the post's mention of preferably using lyx to write a shoppable screenplay, and extrapolating this to the overall judgement abilities of the poster. While this is probably not a sound logical argument backed by much conclusive evidence, it definitely sounds about right.

Re:Clueless (2, Insightful)

Cryptimus (243846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094828)

No, I think you're clueless on this particular issue.

    Screenplays are absolutely required to follow a strict set of conventions in order to even get a hope in hell of being glanced at, let alone read. If you spend so much time learning and implementing those conventions manually in Word or another naive editor instead of spending your time honing your craft then you're an idiot. Automatic assistance to format your intent into following these conventions is invaluable. Which is why custom software which assists you in doing this is a damn good idea.

Re:Clueless (1)

entertainment (749138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094852)

Haha, whats even funnier is comments like this only get a score of 2 and are sooooo true.

You just need to tell the game publisher (1)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094084)

Just tell them it's like Halo, but in space... oh wait... it's like Halo, but with swords!

speaking for myself (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094090)

I cannot tell you how many people approach me with new game ideas every year. Most if not all want to share their fantastic idea for a cut of course. The only problem is non of these people have any game programming and or graphics, sound experience etc. Why on earth would I want a portion of the profits when I can have all of it since I am the one doing all of the work anyhow?

Ideas are a dime a dozzen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094106)

Is there even a market for selling game concepts?

No. Game ideas are a dime a dozzen.

hi (1)

fareskaram (1804442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094122)

Your assuming they also have a Mac since one is needed to program for the iPhone. Split Accommodation [welcome-to-croatia.com]

Not sell, but pay (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094134)

The title should really be. What is the best way to *pay* someone to implement your own game concept? And even then, it should really be the person who thought of the idea who should implement it, because he'll be the most motivated to get it done the way he originally thought of it.

Not only, ideas are everywhere, and everyone has ideas, but where it comes to one's creative ego, everyone believes that their own idea is the best in the World (and yes, I do include myself in that category of delusional people).

Game Dev Advice (2, Interesting)

ProfM (91314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094154)

http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html [sloperama.com]

From the site:

Welcome to the GAME BIZ ADVICE zone of Sloperama.com.

My intent here is to help game biz aspirants learn what it takes to get in and move up in the game business. I write occasional articles to answer Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs") about designing and making games - computer games, video games, even board games.

Re:Game Dev Advice (1)

mrspecialhead (211339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094728)

Mod parent up for beating me to it. This is the standard link I give to every person who tells me "You are in the industry? Help me get rich from my awesome idea!"

Specifically, article 1: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/idea.htm [sloperama.com]

Changes in technology = Changes in expectations (1)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094162)

Professional quality productions are possible, and to a certain degree, easy, to make on a home computer now. This means people in whatever media industry expect that grade of quality when they review demo cds, independant films, etc.

I would imagine the same goes for games, but from my observations, it seems like most people start there own company and just get on with it and find a publisher, rather that being scooped up by a larger development house.

Think mobile, Facebook, etc. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094180)

The console and PC gaming market is at the point where it takes $20 million and up to do an "A" title. There's smaller scale stuff being done successfully on Facebook and on phones, though.

Who would have thought Farmville would be a success? Farmville?

Fundamentally different. (5, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094198)

When you send a demo tape to a record label, you're not selling a song - you're selling your talent as a musician. Wouldn't make much sense for the label to sign you and only release a single.

Similarly, when you send around a screenplay, you're selling an idea. It will be reworked, changed around, modified - not too seriously, hopefully - but the studio, director, actors, and physical constraints will all modify the script. You're trying to sell a compelling plot and set of characters, not an implementation.

But who ever heard of a videogame selling based on individual talent? Or character development? A truly great video game will have a good plot, but that's not the central point of the game.

A videogame is 'worth' something because it's fun to play. Everything else is secondary. Who cared about the plot of Super Mario Brothers? Who complained about the artwork in Tetris? Why does Asteroids need a catchy score?

The upshot of all of this is that nobody cares about your videogame unless you have something you can play. And it really needs to be quite close to the intended final product, since otherwise a lot of work remains to be done on the gameplay - the core idea - and you have nothing to sell.

Now, let's say you do a lot of work finishing one level of a videogame, with character sketches and plot for the rest of it. You may be able to sell that, but by that point you've done most of the work of putting together the game. If you needed to write a new engine for your awesome and new gameplay, you're done with that. If you were reusing another engine, you've already got it set up the way you want it and can basically start plugging in models, textures, and maps.

So if you've done the work required to get to a marketable object, why not just self-publish? Stick it on Steam, they're very friendly to indie guys and pay quite nicely (ask 2D Boy). If it's any good, it'll do quite well.

Good luck, whatever you end up doing.

Re:Fundamentally different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094404)

Uh, no songwriters use demo tapes to sell songs. Often singles.

Labels find talent by scoping out the most maladjusted child stars they can find.

Re:Fundamentally different. (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094596)

but its a completed song, that people can listen to and enjoy, fully composed and performed and recorded. Its not a song IDEA. Its not just a piece of paper with some concept of what a song could sound like. Nobody would ever buy that. If you can get your game idea to a playable demo, then you can sell it. But then you're a professional game developer already. Just an idea isn't worth anything. Sorry.

No (1)

carcosa30 (235579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094234)

The idea of a couple of guys having an idea and selling it to game companies is almost quaint. It doesn't happen.

1) Great ideas (far better than yours) are a dime a dozen.

2) Game companies employ professionals to design games. They are called game designers.

3) The more original your idea is, the less likely it is to sell or get anywhere. Companies don't want original games. They want games that will sell to the lowest common denominator. Free idea that they might have a snowflake's chance in hell of wanting: Marine finds his way onto base infested with alien demons. Now there is a concept with actual legs.

Suggestion: Learn how to program (not easy) and you and your friend program up the game yourself and begin either shopping it to distributors when totally finished, or sell it as an indie demo/game when mostly finished. To do well in the indie market, make it emo. Think "badly drawn boy."

Design, Demo, Team (2, Insightful)

Runesabre (732910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094240)

The key ingredients that get a game design funded and developed are:

1. A succinct, energizing demonstration of the core concept that can be comprehended within 30 seconds by a group of non-gamers (typically Investors, Directors and Executives). This can be a storyboard, a working demo or a mock demo with cobbled pieces from other games for illustration.

2. Assembling a team that is ready and capable of executing the concept.

Ultimately, what investors and companies invest in are teams of people that can develop a killer concept into reality.

I bid $0.001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094266)

One tenth of a cent bidden. Any higher bids?

Seriously though, why don't you start by deciding what resources (time and money) you are willing to spend on the game and then make a list of game concepts that you think you can make using 20% of those resources. That way you have a very realistic chance at finishing the project.

If you manage to sell the game in some shape or form, then all the better. But consider it a hobby for now.

Good article that explains this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094270)

> Is there even a market, let alone a convention, for selling game concepts?

Nope.

Read this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_221/6582-Why-Your-Game-Idea-Sucks

I work for a game company and have had no luck... (1)

The Slowest Zombie (1591627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094276)

I work in the video game industry, in the IT department (thus no real game creation skills, but I do support the artists) and came up with what I thought was a stellar game concept. I spent a huge amount of time writing out the gameplay mechanics, describing the art style, outlining things that will make this game valuable in the eyes of executives, estimating production costs, etc. I have a speech/pitch ready and everything. I found the right people to talk to but never made enough of a connection to actually pitch the idea. It was disappointing but in the end I think I understand that people with money to spend on a game concept don't have the time to hear out people who day dream and not take action to achieve their ambition. It's like saying you want to be an astronaut as a kid but never doing what it would take to achieve that - it's not like a lottery where some random guy is picked. In time I hope to have a better chance at pitching my own idea, but I expect that's still years away.

Make Something. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094280)

There's a lot of naysayers in here. They are in a sense correct. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Anyone can come up with a game idea.

So, you just do what hardly anyone does, actually follow through and make the game. That will really make you stand out. Now, maybe you won't get your game published, but at least you will have a better portfolio than most people.

Luckily there are so many great tools at your disposal. Unity, XNA, Blender, GIMP, Audacity can all help you make a kickass game. A word of caution though. Your first attempt will be crap. Making games is an art. Don't get discouraged. Keep trying and all that stuff.

I always hear the story, but never get the details (1)

jrhawk42 (1028964) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094364)

I've heard a couple stories about guys that have made video game pitches, but I never hear about the games that actually get made. Two stories that I vaguely remember hearing are 1 of an old man who made a war card game of some sort (like WWII battleships, or planes). Apparently he started crying about 1/2 way through the presentation. The other was a couple of businessmen well dressed, and smooth talkers. They started throwing up profit expectations, market research, and a ton of great stuff that really impressed the developer. As the developer digs deeper it turns out they didn't actually have a game design at all it was just a hypothetical situation on how much money a game could make. I know I've heard more stories, but never actually hear about a game getting made through an external pitch meeting. Honestly I don't even think it happens like this for film anymore.

Today's game industry isn't lacking for ideas so if you're selling an idea then you're out of luck. If you have marketing experience, and can persuade a publisher that this type of game would make them money it's not a bad path, but I'm sure publishers hear the "I've got a game idea that will make you millions" pitch so often they just ignore it. If you really want to pursue it I suggest visiting GDC, and talking with people. Publishers, developers, gamers, press, indie developers will all give you a perspective of what direction to head w/ your idea. You'll probably get farther asking for advice than you would trying to make a pitch at this point.

Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094402)

Start your own game company...

Short answer, no. Long answer, self-finance. (3, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094456)

As a game designer in this industry... There isn't a market for game concepts. Every member of every creative team out there will have 1-5 designs they really, really want to get off the ground. At any given company, that means the founders alone are kicking around 5 - 50 "must do" projects, of which they can do one every 4 years or so.

Publishers, on the other hand, are interested in funding game companies with concepts. If you can build a great concept, and a great demo, and prove that you have the chops to build a company around it, they might finance you. But as I said, that involves proving your ability to build a game and a company.

Good luck!

No way (1)

aeoo (568706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094466)

You simply cannot sell game concepts. In fact, you cannot sell any concepts.

I am somewhat familiar with a movie industry, and while in theory you could pitch a concept, and there are even conventions designed for pitching concepts, in reality chances are you won't be able to. People who have the money to implement concepts usually have plenty of their own pet concepts to worry about. For better or for worse, they don't want your concept. 99.99% of all concepts are old hat in the movie industry, and a very hard sell.

With games, your best bet is to write the whole game, and market it yourself. There is no easy money. You want to avoid doing the heavy lifting and just get rewarded upfront. Ain't gonna happen. Stop being lazy and develop your game.

Go Indie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32094576)

Don't try to sell it to a company, sell it to other young, game-crazy guys who know how to program and make it yourselves. We need more indie games out there.

Do you even know if your concept is good? (1)

zaffir (546764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094578)

With the exception of embarrassingly awful game concepts, it's actually pretty hard to tell just how worthwhile one is until you've played it. You don't know whether your idea will work or not until you've seen it in action.

I guarantee you that all recently released games that could be considered to be both good and original are noticeably different from the concept that spawned them. That is a fact of the medium- it takes lots and lots of iteration to find the good stuff, get rid of the bad, and polish the hell out of it all so that people will play it (it's even harder to get them to pay for it).

Make your game. I highly recommend the Unity3d engine. Extremely easy to use, powerful, well documented, etc. etc. Plus the indie version is completely free!

Oh and like everyone else said, nobody buys just a concept. A concept and a demo, maybe.

VERY IMPORTANT: READ THIS! (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094618)

First of all: I know this seems normal to you, but actually it is a completely absurd concept to sell a software game.
Why? Because that software is information. And in the bitspace that information exists in, there is no concept of ownership. Asking who owns information, is like asking what happened before time. We being able to ask it, does not mean it makes any sense. :)
In bitspace, you can pass information on. But when you do that, you also give up any control over it. If you want to keep control, you can only do that by not passing it on. But then how do you even prove it exists at all? (You can’t.)

Which makes it clear that if you want something in return for information, you have to demand it at the first time you pass it on. Because later, it’s already way too late.
Yes, you can demand money for the physical container for that information. Because everyone else would also have to, since producing a equivalent copy is not cheaper to him.
But you can also see it like this:
The information is just the product of a service. And that service is what you can demand money for. Since reproducing it is not going to be available for free elsewhere. In your case you even got a monopoly on your exact game. Which is great!

Now being a game designer myself, working on my first independent project, I did not want to live in the same delusional imaginary world as the old media reproduction and artist extortion industries. (EA would have offered me 10-15 million, but I would have lost everything else. [It would definitely not have been art, or made with love, or given me any respect from players.] Which is not what I do all this for!!)
So I decided to accept the actual physical reality, and build a business model, that acknowledges it.

And what came out, is that you have to see your clients as your investor (which before was the distributor / business angel / venture capitalist). You pitch your ideas to the investor, get him all wooed up. Your investor pays you, IF you deliver what is written in the deal. And if you are done, and you get paid, the game belongs to your investor. Which means: You clients!!
But this rule is KEY: They (the ones who paid) are only ones who will get the game.

And now for the insanely great part of that concept:
You do not need ANY DRM or copy protection. You do not need ANY laws or law changes. Your customers can legally pass your game on, and even demand money for it (since everyone else who has the information, also has paid good money, and will have lost money if he passes it on for free). You can do it in parallel with the current situation. And hence, you can start doing it that way right now.

Of course you can later still offer it for money. But so can everyone else. You all kinda “own” in now. And nobody does.
The market will then decide, what price people are willing to pay to get it from the first buyers (including you), or who of those first buyers will give it away for free anyway (thereby destroying the market, just as much as giving away free great hamburgers may destroy McDonalds).

The only thing that is any problem or hard in this whole concept, and I acknowledge that, is to make people sign that they will pay when what you promised is going to be delivered. But how is that different from a pre-order? And those are not a problem, as far as I know. from your clients’ perspective, it could just as well be the case that they only see the following change:
“If you pre-order the game, you will get the right, to resell it yourself!!”

Now tell me that’s not great!

Ideas are a penny a dozen. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32094742)

Ideas worth less than implementations.

Implementations worth less than clients.

A bad implementation, of a bad idea with 100.000 users, worth 40.000 than the best idea ever. Ideas are multiplicators, not additives. A good idea multiply the value of a good implementation and a big userbase.

value = QualityOfIdea * (CoolStuffImplementation / ShitStuffImplementation) * userbase.

Example, a ferrari car:

value = 0.1 (everyone have the 'idea of luxury car', is nothing novel) * (1000 (ferraris are hella coool) / 0.1 (there are very few downsides on a ferrari)) * 60000 (that number is out of my hat, I don't know the userbase of ferraris)

Example, a ford fiesta:

value = 0.01 (a no-luxury car is a even more popular, hence cheap, idea) * ( 8 (the ford fiesta is not very cool) / 4 (the ford fiesta has a few downsides, like is small)) * 16.000.000 (another number from my hat)

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