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Old 08-13-2008, 01:55 AM   #1
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hello everyone, i want to ask if anyone here knows where to send a game idea? storyline, dialogs, puzzle ideas, all text format.. i don't have the knowledge to build a game myself, and i was thinking that maybe someone would be interested in my game scenario. but i have no idea to whom should i send the files, or maybe part of them (somehow i don't want anyone to steal it)
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:28 AM   #2
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Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that anyone will want to make your game for you unless you can demonstrate that it's something wonderful.

The only real way to progress your ideas is to write a proper proposal document and create a prototype demo. If you can't build it yourself, then you need to team up with others (programmers and artists) who are willing to work with you.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:10 AM   #3
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Adrian,

In addition to the good advice Steve has given you, I'll point out that any legitimate mainstream publisher or developer is specifically prevented, legally, from reading any unsolicited submissions. This is to protect them from possible lawsuits.

If you happen to live near an educational institution that offers a degree in creating games, you might contact them. There might be students there who have to create art or programming for games, but aren't interested in developing concepts. This way, you might find a team that can execute a demo or prototype for you.

Also, whoever you team up with, make sure you write up a decent contract BEFORE revealing your concept, spelling out who owns the rights to what.

--Josh
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:05 AM   #4
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thank you for the answers

still, they raised one more question for me. i presume it doesn't matter in what programming environment the demo is built. never thought about this to be honest, but i could build it myself in flash say one scene with the speech and interactions. should be a bit of a challenge but i think i can do it.

now for the question: say i finish the demo, cook a nice proposal document and get an interview with whatever company. they reject it. 2 years later my idea comes out, built by the ones that rejected it. is this possible? and if it is, is there a way to avoid this?

L.E.: maybe if i post the progress here, to be public, then i'll have proof that it is my work.. is it a legally viable proof?

also, i could try AGS

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Old 08-14-2008, 05:30 AM   #5
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now for the question: say i finish the demo, cook a nice proposal document and get an interview with whatever company. they reject it. 2 years later my idea comes out, built by the ones that rejected it. is this possible? and if it is, is there a way to avoid this?
This is a common fear among novice screenwriters, too, apparently.

Unless it is exactly the same game with exactly the same characters, puzzles, plot twists, it would be very difficult to prove, but even then you'd have had to register your design with a notary/lawyer/copyright agency to do so. The games industry is a funny business and if people want to copy they tend to do so with existing games that they know are successful. Look at how people are trying to copy GTA or Bejewelled (to take two very different examples).

One way to discourage a potential publisher from considering stealing your idea is to put in force an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) where both you and the publisher representative sign. You can get your own made up, but publishers will always have their own that they are happier with, but you need to make sure that it's a mutual NDA so that it protects both of you.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:51 AM   #6
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Hi, Adrian,

A one-scene demo will probably not be sufficient these days...although I suppose if it were so incredibly awesome that nobody had ever seen anything like it, it might work.

Second, before any company will look at anything you have to show them, you would both be signing some documents -- non-disclosure agreements, waivers, and so on, that supposedly protect both parties against just the sort of thing you're concerned about. Unfortunately, the truth is that the typical contract will protect the company more than it will protect you. There's a leap of faith involved any time you show your work to anyone else, no matter how ironclad the contract seems to be. Your best bet is to only show it to people you trust.

Third, one thing you have to keep in mind is...well, you know the old saying about how opinions are like ***holes, because everybody's got one? Well, the same goes for game ideas. If you go to a videogame company, you can rest assured that everybody from the Chief Financial Officer down to the guy who refills the vending machines has at least one idea, and probably a folder full of ideas, that he or she thinks will revolutionize gaming. So you're up against a lot of competition from people who are already in a better position than you to have their ideas considered.

BTW, most decision-makers in this industry: A. are visually-oriented, and B. have very short attention spans. So while a fantastic demo is a must, so is a description of your idea that sums up what makes it great -- and that description should be no longer than a couple of paragraphs at MOST. If it takes longer than that to describe the conceptual brilliance of an idea, people will glaze over. Nobody has the time to read a beautifully-illustrated, exhaustive 20-page document in which a prospective designer describes the characters, settings, and features; decision-makers want to know the germ of the idea that will outsell MYST, and it had better knock them flat in the first fifteen seconds.

Truly, you are best off forming a team of your own and bringing the game to near-completion before showing it to publishers in the industry...especially if you want to retain creative control of its execution.

--Josh
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:15 AM   #7
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you've been most helpful. thank you very much!

i guess i'll start the whole thing on my own, i don't have the greens to pay anyone to work on something that may seem a good idea. maybe i smoke too much and for a reason i think it's good. anywho, i have 2 weeks off from work, so hopefully between the rollercoasters, coffee, guitar chords and morning laziness, i'll have time to wipe the dust in my head and think it all over again. maybe i can improve it further
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:17 AM   #8
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adrianp, I don't know what country you're from, but on the unlikely chance you're in the UK, you can register your ideas using this site.

At the moment I too am looking into getting a game project off the ground. I'm trying to look on the bright side. If Jonathan Boakes can achieve the success he has had with 3 adventures pretty much on his own, there's plenty of others to follow in his footsteps.

Good luck adrianp.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Josho View Post
In addition to the good advice Steve has given you, I'll point out that any legitimate mainstream publisher or developer is specifically prevented, legally, from reading any unsolicited submissions. This is to protect them from possible lawsuits.
Does this actually work this way? Until now it appeared to me that at least in the movie bussiness there are a lot of people trying to start off their careers precisely by running around and pitching their scripts and movie ideas to just about anybody they'll get in touch with. Some (of course, very few) are eventualy successful, which means they're (sometimes) listened to.
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Old 08-14-2008, 01:15 PM   #10
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Ascovel,

I can't speak for the film business, but I've worked for quite a few of the major game publishers (and quite a number of smaller developers), and their legal departments all require that unsolicited manuscripts, game ideas, demos, etc. be sent back unopened. This is to ensure that if the company puts out a game that seems similar to something that was submitted, the company has the legal defense that the submission was never even opened.

That's not to say that individuals within the company never break with their company's rules and look at submissions that their friends, acquaintances, etc. put in front of them.

Publishers look at submissions all the time IF the proper paperwork is all in place first, but the publisher has to have a good reason to spend the time and money to arrange that. Somebody coming in off the street with an idea is not liable to generate that kind of interest for them. A development house with credentials, however, can generally get their ideas considered. (If that sounds to you like a Catch-22, you're right.)

--Josh
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
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If that sounds to you like a Catch-22, you're right
Yes it does a bit. Those rules leave only the option of doing something on your own first and most importantly achieving some sort of recognition through it (which sets the bar quite high).

Anyway, thanks a lot for this interesting and valuable piece of information. I'm one of those people starting out with an AGS game. Nevertheless, later on maybe I'll also want to pitch an idea to some company, so I should think about possible strategies of doing it.

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Old 08-14-2008, 02:43 PM   #12
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Tom Sloper has a rather comprehensive site about several approaches to this topic here.
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Old 08-15-2008, 02:41 AM   #13
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Tom Sloper has a rather comprehensive site about several approaches to this topic here.
Yet this site is more about making a long, successful career in the gaming industry. Not necessarily what Adrian is looking for.

Contrary to what Tom Sloper seems to suggest ideas can be very valuable things and it's better to take care of them personally instead of trying to give them out. If you can't do it alone, you have to find someone you can directly collaborate with, but still start small.

I'm impressed how Strong Bad has become commercial adventure game material out of simple flash animation shorts.

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Old 08-15-2008, 03:18 AM   #14
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Squinky thank you for that link. I'll print it out to have reading material for the road. I am at the office right now and between squeezing them pixels I've read a bit (first 10 lessons).

Right now I work as a junior graphics designer to a web development company. That meaning i design logos (+CI), websites, print material.. that kind of stuff. But years ago, when I went to highschool, I've chosen informatics because I had a dream. To create games. Later on, programming turned out to be a hassle and when I got to college I turned to Industrial Design.

Funny how life makes twists and turns, but later on I rediscovered adventure games (first i started with broken sword 2, waaaay back) and, as I had started to write a novel a few years ago (not in english) a thought ran through my mind that maybe I should try to take the idea further. English is a bit of a problem, because it's not my native language, but with lots of exercises and a dictionary, in a year or two I think I can rewrite the whole thing.

boss calls, i'll write later
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:50 AM   #15
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Contrary to what Tom Sloper seems to suggest ideas can be very valuable things
I agree.

I must admit that I get a little annoyed when I read or hear, "ideas are ten a penny". If that were really so, everyone would be making Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Knights of the Old Republic, Gabriel Knight, Etc... Or superbly original games like them, at least.

Yes, everyone has ideas, but not everyone has good ideas. The real trick comes in learning how to tell the good from the bad and knowing how to make the good ideas great by the way that you develop them. Lego Star Wars, anyone?
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:41 AM   #16
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I must admit that I get a little annoyed when I read or hear, "ideas are ten a penny". If that were really so, everyone would be making Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Knights of the Old Republic, Gabriel Knight, Etc... Or superbly original games like them, at least.

Yes, everyone has ideas, but not everyone has good ideas.
Steve,

There's a difference between "ideas are ten a penny" and "great ideas are ten a penny."

*Workable* ideas are another story. Even with some of the examples you gave, the ideas behind them were not especially groundbeaking or original. It was the writing and design that lifted them into the realm of the memorable.

Sadly, the quality of an underlying idea, even under the most advantageous circumstances (i.e., the design is championed by an experienced and well-regarded designer or creative director, at a company with the money and capabilities to produce it) doesn't dependably have much bearing on whether it actually gets funded and produced. Top decision-makers are rarely as visionary as their corporate profiles make them sound, and decisions are frequently made on less ethereal criteria than the strength of the underlying concept.

--Josh
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:09 AM   #17
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There's a difference between "ideas are ten a penny" and "great ideas are ten a penny."
That's the point I was trying to make.

Quote:
*Workable* ideas are another story. Even with some of the examples you gave, the ideas behind them were not especially groundbeaking or original. It was the writing and design that lifted them into the realm of the memorable.
That's where I see ideas in a different way. An idea isn't just "We'll make an adventure game called Day of the Tentacle", it's "We'll make an adventure with wacky characters, art and dialogue, involving time travel, the founding fathers of the USA, a tentacle with plans to rule the world..." etc. etc. Which, in my mind is very original. To me, the quality of the design and the writing are part of the idea.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:28 AM   #18
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An idea isn't just "We'll make an adventure game called Day of the Tentacle", it's "We'll make an adventure with wacky characters, art and dialogue, involving time travel, the founding fathers of the USA, a tentacle with plans to rule the world..." etc. etc. Which, in my mind is very original. To me, the quality of the design and the writing are part of the idea.
I think, then, that you're operating under a wholly different definition of "idea" than I am (or than Tom is).

To me, the idea is that nugget, that concept that convinces the company to LET you do the design and the writing. You execute to the idea, and the design and writing are part of the execution, they extend from the idea but are not the idea themselves.

(And yes, I don't know of anyone who believes the *title* constitutes the idea -- unless it's so on-the-nose that the title succinctly sums up the general plot, theme, and style of the game.)

--Josh
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:33 AM   #19
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BTW, for any interested parties out there still reading this thread: in the entire history of Sierra On-Line, there was one -- one, and only one -- game that was developed on the basis of a concept submitted by somebody outside of the company.

The people that submitted it, BTW, had turned it into a complete, fully-functional game before they submitted it. Sierra redesigned it graphically from the bottom up, rewrote pretty much all the text, but kept the gameplay almost identical to the submitted version.

Can anyone name that game?

--Josh
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:29 AM   #20
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Top decision-makers are rarely as visionary as their corporate profiles make them sound, and decisions are frequently made on less ethereal criteria than the strength of the underlying concept.
I think you may underestimate the ambitions of the top decision-makers. I have a feeling many base their decisions not so much on money-making schemes, but on whatever tickles their ego. For example they just prefer to be recognized as the "makers" of a single big, flashy game which participates in some currently hip trend than build a profitable niche and put forward several lower-budget titles. That's just a theory though.

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BTW, for any interested parties out there still reading this thread: in the entire history of Sierra On-Line, there was one -- one, and only one -- game that was developed on the basis of a concept submitted by somebody outside of the company.
Was it an adventure game?
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