Getting your idea in games developed.

Getting your idea in games developed.

In one of the many forums I keep up with someone asked the following:

If you have a video game idea and wish for it to be developed, what are the best routes to take?

One of the best responses pointed out this article:

Check out Robert Madsen’s Feb.2012 article “So You Want to Make a Game” (pg. 46) in WGE:Mag:
He does a good job of demystifying the process.

Other response ranged from funding ideas, to finding people like yourself and get them passionate about the idea, build a prototype or make something to help demo the idea, learn programming yourself (or at least scripting), etc…

I agreed with most all of the suggestions, but then I thought of one that is easy to overlook, so I wrote the following. (included here in it’s entirety).


Lot’s and lots of good ideas here. I’d like to add one non-obvious suggestion.

Read, read, read! In the last month…I’ve read through “Gamers at Work”, “Coders at Work” and “Founders at Work” and I’m now reading “Venture Capitalists at Work”. Each book is just a collection of interviews with people that have done great things in the Tech. Industry (and Gamers at Work is exactly what you think it is). I was just a business programmer until I read “Software Engineering in C”…then I became a Software Engineer. After I read some Drucker…I realized I was also a “Knowledge Worker” (which is someone who knows how to do his own job…better than the bosses know…and if you can convince your boss…that that is true, and that’s why your opinion should be listened to…then it makes your job that much easier and fun). Along with Reading….there is Thinking, Searching (for Ideas), Choosing (the idea that gives you the most passion), and be Honest (about your strengths and weaknesses) and then Act on it. In 1989, I was a Cobol programmer and I decided to learn C (and create a shareware game in my spare time because that was the best way to learn C) because C was the wave of the future. That shareware game made me less than $200 dollars (and took up my spare time for about 2 years)…but having a completed game to show people…led to 3 job offers…one at an entertainment/game company….which started me on the path to where I am now.

I just released the sequel to my entry in the Casual Download space. My first game Clutter, did well enough to warrant the sequel. The sequel took 6 man-months of my time (I keep a day job 3-days a week…programming (game-related) mainly for health care..and I find the job interesting and it gives me a safety net)….and since it was done in half the time as the original…it will be well worth it (if it does as well…and there’s very little reason to suspect that it won’t do as well).

I constantly think about switching from the PC Casual Download space to either Mobile or Social (or both)…but in my current distribution model…I know I can get at least 200,000 eyeballs (downloads) and if I can get the same 6.5% or better conversion rate…it will be worth it. For me, it’s too much of a marketing problem to try to get noticed (as an indie…with no marketing dollars (nor real expertise in that area)) in the Mobile/Social space (although the potential upside is HUGE…if you can get noticed…and you can do smaller games in that space).

But…I’ve been successful enough in the PC Casual Download space…to possibly interest both investors and/or collaborators…so I can shoot for even a bigger project, with more potential upside.

But…I still READ…and if you made it this far…that was my point. If I read 30 pages in a book…but get even one true nugget of wisdom that I didn’t have before…then it was worth it.

I have a book arriving from Amazon today – “Breaking Into the Game Industry: Advice for a Successful Career from Those Who Have Done It” – that I can’t wait to read.

Yes, I’m already in the games industry…and most of it will be “common sense” that I know at this point…but I still expect to find nuggets of wisdom and new ways to think about things.

Read, Think, Search, Choose, Be Honest (accessing what you can and can’t do)…and then Act…

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