Thursday, August 9, 2007

Game Idea Submission

I just wrote something in one of those typical IGDA forum entries where a passionate newbie asks how to get a game idea made and the veteran gives the typical "go away" response. I think I'll repeat it here...

The reason why the game industry is so devoid of original ideas is that even if you have gone to the trouble of getting a job in the industry and then working to build other peoples' games for awhile there still is no clear system for submitting a game idea. Also, the pace that you are moving at is the system's, not the passion's. In other words, someone on high has said that what is *really* significant isn't the idea or the passion, but your power-status within the system. That's a view that commoditizes creative output, and basically sucks the life out of it.

Say you did have an idea for a truly original game. By going through steps 1 and 2 whatever passion or originality you had will be long gone by the time you get around to submitting it.

The game industry needs a true submission process, with the ability to actually sell design documents outright. It needs a scouting process which says if you have a passionate idea we want to see it now, but we will realistically weed out all the chaff that is going to come through this channel.


Michel said...

I agree. This is one aspect of Hollywood that the game industry SHOULD try to emulate.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this is an amazing idea.
Why don't you start company around this? Clearly you could make a killing harvesting game ideas. There is a huge need waiting to be served by you, so do it!

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

That last comment might be sarcasm. However...

To make this happen, you can't harvest "game ideas" - you need to harvest full design documents. This sort of thing is done in the movie biz. They often will have a library of scripts, and scripts will frequently "float around" until somebody decides to make it. Some of the best movies originated like this (for example, Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven").

As for me: I'm a designer, so I can't really do this. I post this because I hope that people other than myself will try this.

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

To clarify, I hope people other than myself will do it so that when I do it I won't draw a blank stare from some publishing exec who says "We don't do that... Never even heard of that as a matter of fact."

torncanvas said...

This is a great idea, though I don't think design documents in and of themselves are quite enough. I'd say what you'd want to have are pitches, complete with prototypes.

Movies are linear, and because of that they take a more literary form. That means, fundamentally, it's more about the story. However, games are interactive - it's more about a compelling interactive experience. That is quite a bit more complex than a linear story. Unless you have 20 years of experience designing games, you won't be able to think of all the loopholes and problems that could result to ruin the game design. Even then, you probably couldn't.

I know you can work on that stuff during development, but it's quickly going to get to the point where there will be designs with prototypes that offer less risk for the publishers, and they'll end up taking those over documents by themselves. Therefore, you might as well add that into the system from the get-go.

This is a good idea, though. I've had the same idea and would love to see someone try to set up a system like this, which would support a more individual creative source for game design.

Anonymous said...

Companies do harvest game ideas.
I'm sure you can think of the 100 reasons a company would rather do that.

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

To anonymous, who just said that companies harvest game ideas "internally"... You just said that what you are more concerned about is the position of a person within the corporate structure of the company, rather than scouting for refreshing, quality ideas.

Translation: You are a fucking bureaucrat. What the fuck do you know about creativity?

Anonymous said...

Wow, clearly I touched a nerve. I never said any such thing, and that is not the reason ideas are harvested internally.
I recommend you read and learn about how the game industry works and why.
If your only goal is to get your creative idea made into a game, you should get crankin and make it yourself.
That is how such things get made.
Unless you want to put your money where your mouth is and start a company and demonstrate success via a different path, of course.

Grassroots Gamemaster said...

Anonymous, I work in the game industry and I know that it has a top-down, groupthink command structure. You even go immediately to the idea of "making a company" as the automatic step that game designers do. Since when is game design about "making companies"?

In the film industry, companies get made, but it isn't at all the focus. People don't sit around talking about "making film companies"; they talk about shooting movies. Somewhere in that discussion, they do the formality of making the company that will be the movie - but the point is they focus on making the product, not building the vehicle that will own the product (which is a mcguffin).

Until a game designer can just pitch a des-doc alone - without having to think he is really a business-person making some production company beforehand - there won't be creative maturity in the industry. Until a decision-maker says "I don't care that you don't have a company, programmers, artists, a licensed engine, a working demo (whatever) - I just want to hear a bare form of your idea first so we can talk it out" we won't be able to realize our highest potential.

latest pc games said...

hi ,I'm sure you can think of the 100 reasons a company would rather do that.

Anonymous said...

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