Pitching a Videogame
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    Pitching a Videogame

    Just wondering if anyone here has actually pitched a game concept to a major developer, was hoping to hear what your experience was like and what you might do differently given a second chance.

    Cheers,

    C

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    Don't think you're achieving anything by talking to publishers. They'll talk to anyone with a game idea. Pitch your idea, get it rejected and think of it as a relationship building exercise. Your next pitch will be better and you'll get it looked at seriously more easily. Repeat until you get really good and your proposals are awesome. Get on the indie team merry go round, cause no one will take you seriously if you're all mouth and no experience.

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    yikes, double post

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    Nice posts. I've actually got a game idea that I would love to do something with, but of course as a random guy with no job there's not much I can do about it but draw. When I get out of school (this is my last semester, woohoo!) I'll start looking into those indie developers... though I don't really have any idea where to start looking.

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    I think every person working in the game industry has an idea for a game

    Most companies won't take ANYTHING from outsiders (for legal reasons).

    So, best bet is to do it yourself. Become an indi developer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    I think every person working in the game industry has an idea for a game
    Amen to that.

    Game developers won't take anything, because that's not what they do. Game publishers on the other hand exist to take the ideas of developers and assess/fund/distribute them.

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    on a side note...


    If you work for a game developer, before doing and submitting any ideas or concepts
    DO CHECK YOUR CONTRACT
    Most contracts state that everything you create during the working hours (or in general while under employment) with your company is property of your company.
    They could take your idea and make a game and you would never see a penny, they can simply say that you created it during the office hours for example.

    Before you show anyone your Game design documents and concept art MAKE THEM SIGN a NDA!



    the are millions gazillions of people worldwide who have ideas and would love to make a movie or a game. Random submissions have as much chance as playing lottery.
    - No one wants to read em unless you are someone knows for having created some successful IP already. The chance that a large game developer would create a game based on your IP is rather unrealistic.
    - The impulse for the majority of games comes from the publisher, they often tell their dev studios to create certain games.
    - a lot of games are based on licensed content
    - establishing a new IP can be risky, most will rather make spin-offs of pupular existing titles.
    i could keep writing this list till tomorrow....

    If you work in a studio in a leading position, say art director, project manager, lead designer then you MIGHT sometimes have the chance to give a lot of impulse and influence to a upcoming title as you tend to work closely with the boss and you get payed for your creativity, other than that your emplyer will likely has no interest to hear the weekly game ideas from random level designers and betatester...

    In a game studio, almost daily someone will walk up to the boss and suggest some new IP: Hey lets make that kind of game, that would be awesome!

    and so on and so on....

    tryst me, there are already milliards of ideas...





    Now if you truly want to produce a game then you need to make the pitch right...
    It is a shit load of work and i would never do it while employed in some company... why would i? You may get to work on it but you will never see the cash and your employer sure as hell will see no reason to give you some %.

    If you want to produce a game by yourself you need a team, you need a business plan, a comprehensive design document, concept art, a game demo. With thsi pitch you need to convince the potential investor or publisher that your game will generate profit and that he should give you all the cash you need to develop the title.

    Unless you already have experience with this and developed some other games your chance will be rather slim.

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    I vaguely remember there are contracts that if you invent something or discover something, usually in technology driven companies. the company you worked for has the rights to whatever you invented.

    You want to make a video game then learn some programming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R a n d i s View Post
    If you want to produce a game by yourself you need a team, you need a business plan, a comprehensive design document, concept art, a game demo. With thsi pitch you need to convince the potential investor or publisher that your game will generate profit and that he should give you all the cash you need to develop the title.

    Unless you already have experience with this and developed some other games your chance will be rather slim.
    ...And you WILL need an investor or some other major funding unless you're sitting on a few million bucks. I worked for a small company once that tried to get into developing their own console games, but the up-front investment costs were ridiculously prohibitive, and attempts to get funding didn't work out. So that plan was dropped. (And that was a company that already had a team of artists, programmers, management and marketing in place. For an individual it'll be a lot more difficult to get funding.)

    Unless of course you want to do simple low-end games. It's totally possible for individuals to develop simple games for websites, smartphones, iPad, Facebook, etc. Some people even make a decent bit of money off this. Though obviously things like that are nowhere near the same scale as a full-fledged video game in either gameplay experience or profit...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chariot View Post
    Just wondering if anyone here has actually pitched a game concept to a major developer, was hoping to hear what your experience was like and what you might do differently given a second chance.

    Cheers,

    C
    I assume you mean publishers when you say major developers. Developers just make the games, they don't decide what gets made.

    Publishers are not interested in game concepts. They are interested in working demos of games. Once they see a working demo, they can decide if the game fits into their portfolio.

    Pitching random demos to publishers can sometimes work but a better way is to make a game that fills a hole in a publishers portfolio. For example, if they don't have any football (soccer) games in their portfolio, make a demo of a football game. Do some research.

    The key to getting a good deal is making a killer demo. I worked on a demo that got bumped to triple-A status which meant a huge increase in the budget and a tv advertising campaign. It's the first impression of what your team can do so make it kick ass. Turn it up to 11.

    In short: make a demo of a game that fits into the publisher's portfolio and make it kick ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Unless of course you want to do simple low-end games. It's totally possible for individuals to develop simple games for websites, smartphones, iPad, Facebook, etc. Some people even make a decent bit of money off this. Though obviously things like that are nowhere near the same scale as a full-fledged video game in either gameplay experience or profit...
    Although in the future, who knows? Remember, the entire Mario franchise started with Donkey Kong. Maybe in twenty years everybody will spend all their time immersed in World Of Angry Birds.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Although in the future, who knows? Remember, the entire Mario franchise started with Donkey Kong. Maybe in twenty years everybody will spend all their time immersed in World Of Angry Birds.
    And Minecraft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Although in the future, who knows? Remember, the entire Mario franchise started with Donkey Kong. Maybe in twenty years everybody will spend all their time immersed in World Of Angry Birds.
    This is true. And now is a great time to get into that field, seeing as it's still early days...

    In some ways it's rather exciting, there's more opportunities now for small/independent developers to start something, it could open up a lot of new directions for gaming.

    As long as it doesn't all flop, like some small-game trends in the past...

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    I've been in the game industry for 11 years, and I can verify that no game developer will entertain the idea of looking at your game concept. I mean, there is actually a 0% chance, even if it's the best idea on the planet.

    The reason is because, as someone said, legal reasons...but also because those game developers have to make games that they think will sell. Sometimes the best idea isn't always the idea that will sell the best. Case in point, I used to work at Monolith Productions and they made a very well-received game called "No One Lives Forever". Everyone loved that game. High scores everywhere and it even won some awards. But you know what, it sold like crap. No one bought it! So that's why the company has never (and likely will never, especially now that WB owns them) make another NOLF game again. Sad, but true.

    So when the decisions are going down to make the next project, usually money is the #1 thing they are thinking of. And that isn't a bad thing, this is a business and games cost a lot of money to make today with the current tech. It takes VERY large teams to make those fancy, next gen graphics. While this doesn't mean that they aren't considering original IP, they are definitely not considering YOUR original, unsolicited IP. They have so many ideas internally and those people want to have their idea made! They are creative people and they are paid to be creative. They have to spend months trying to figure out the balance between creativity and something that will sell.

    So, you see, everyone has "a great idea". I have hundreds of great ideas for games (imo), and sometimes the REALLY open companies do have a "submission from employees" to send their synopses to the lead Game Designer, but even then he will usually use those ideas as jump-off points or inspiration. And even THEN, that is usually going to be a game that is unproven in the marketplace and he or she will have to do a lot of finagling with the idea before it's ready to present to a publisher and it would be NOTHING like was originally submitted. So even if you did end up working at a developer and you did get your idea heard, it wouldn't be the same idea if it got made into a game.

    So...that was a really long way of explaining what everyone else has already told you. Stick to the indie game and learn how to program and do the art yourself. It's not impossible at all and if you believe in your idea enough, that should be reason enough to kick yourself in the pants to do so.

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    less popular then the ones said:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_%28video_game%29

    I LOVED NOLF!

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    Thumbs up

    If you want to make your own games, I think the best think you can do is make your own company, what you need besides ideas is skills, in programming, art, design, sounds, knowing your market, etc.

    You can get the skills yourself or get people to help you (you'll get more help if for example you not only supply the game design, but also the art, or programming, but it's hard that people will come to you just by your ideas, everyone has ideas, and great ones by the way), and for example make flash games (like I do , I am not a millionaire but I am making money), it's not that hard, and you have lots of freedom to try different things. The good thing is that there is a good market for flash games and its easier to finish a game (and make money from it from sponsorships, ads, if the game is good enough).

    So my advice is, get into the flash game industry, at least as a start, then you can make your own big AAA company when you get funding and enough experience

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    Just a quick "maybe" here - do you have any programming experience or something? I'm currently the audio guy for Serverus Games, and (although we don't need anyone to join the team) I'd like to help you out with whatever it is you're trying to accomplish.

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    A few people have recommended learning some programming in this thread. Where should one begin doing that? What language/programs (i'm sure i've made it abundantly clear how ignorant i am towards the subject by now ;P)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    A few people have recommended learning some programming in this thread. Where should one begin doing that? What language/programs (i'm sure i've made it abundantly clear how ignorant i am towards the subject by now ;P)?
    Depends what you're making. For Flash, ActionScript3, obviously.

    For other things... depends on the platform. But learning C++ never hurts.

    Anyway, in my experience if you learn one programming language it becomes a lot easier to learn more programming languages. And the more you know, the easier it gets. The basic principles are pretty much the same in most languages, after you've wrapped your head around those the rest of it is (comparatively) less difficult. (In some cases it'll mostly be about learning different semantics.)

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    Thanks. I'll start reading up on C++ as a side thing. No intention of become proficient, but it would probably be a good idea to have least a passable familiarity with it.

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    Higher...higher....every person in the "industry" has 20 ideas for a game ...but that may be a low figure.

    Last edited by Randis; January 26th, 2011 at 01:32 AM.
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    Higher...higher....every person in the "industry" has 20 ideas for a game every 15 minutes ...but that may be a low figure.

    fixed

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    Thanks Randis! I didn't want to scare anyone away...

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    Sure, there may be 10 bazillion game ideas out there, but that didn't stop the people who have ended up succeeding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    Sure, there may be 10 bazillion game ideas out there, but that didn't stop the people who have ended up succeeding.
    Of course not - but those success stories (not sure which ones you want to pick) didn't begin with an outside pitch - certainly not in today's world especially.

    There are a few ways to make it happen...

    1) Get inside - develop your skills as a designer, writer, artist, programmer or producer - work your way up - make connections - develop a successful track record - pitch.

    2) Write/develop a hit IP in another medium - comics, children's books, etc. - maintain control of your IP and pitch.

    3) Learn enough engineering, art and design to develop your own indie project on whatever platform you want - or work with a small team doing same - pitch.

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    Also do not believe all success stories...

    "I was a bodubuilder back then, some agent spotted me at a party and asked if i want to play in a movie, i said YES!

    May in reality be:

    "after blackmailing some agent with photos of us doing cocain and sucking each others c*** at some party i finally got my first role in a film. Even tho i suck as an actor it pays off to know rich friends daddies.

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    With motivation, determination, and action you can become very successful. If something doesn't work out don't think of it as a failure think of it as a learning experience. Anyone can be successful. Go for it man! *goes back to corner hiding from everyone*

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Of course not - but those success stories (not sure which ones you want to pick) didn't begin with an outside pitch - certainly not in today's world especially.

    There are a few ways to make it happen...

    1) Get inside - develop your skills as a designer, writer, artist, programmer or producer - work your way up - make connections - develop a successful track record - pitch.

    2) Write/develop a hit IP in another medium - comics, children's books, etc. - maintain control of your IP and pitch.

    3) Learn enough engineering, art and design to develop your own indie project on whatever platform you want - or work with a small team doing same - pitch.
    I'm glad you brought these up. When I started fleshing out my own game idea I was thinking, damn, I really like this. I really wish I could make it happen (same thing I'm sure everyone has thought). Obviously option 1 would be the ideal method, because all the while you're getting paychecks and making connections. While I'll certainly be attempting that, in the meantime it would be prudent to work on one of the other two options.

    I happen to be going with option 2 (would love to go with 3 but of course that requires a trusty team and financial resources, neither of which I have). As I was working on my idea I quickly realized it would go no where on its own, so I began adapting it as a graphic novel, which is of course a beast of a project itself. I like how it's turning out and it will be an enriching experience whether it's successful or not, which is reason enough to try. Of course, the chances of a graphic novel becoming significantly popular are rather minuscule... and the chance that a publisher would want to use your story divides your chances even further still. It's better than the %0 success rate of the outsider pitch, and at least I'm doing something beneficial for myself that hopefully at least a few other people will enjoy as well.

    I'm not really sure what my point in saying all this is other than even though odds are overwhelmingly against you, someone who is interested in creating their game design shouldn't be deterred. It's a positive, enriching experience to devote yourself to building an idea, even when it doesn't pan out in the end. The process alone makes it worth it.

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    "Good ideas" in the sense we are discussing here, are the most worthless and over-rated things - not that we haven't established that already. A good designer and skilled craftsman and take any "idea", regardless of its initial sensation, and turn it into something wonderful. Likewise, a bad designer and unskilled craftsman can't bring anything to fruition properly, even if starting with a "good idea".

    So forget about "ideas" for now and become a skilled designer of whatever medium you so choose. That way, you will be more prepared to understand truly what it is that makes your inspiration so compelling, which will enable you to emphasize that quality to great effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    A few people have recommended learning some programming in this thread. Where should one begin doing that? What language/programs (i'm sure i've made it abundantly clear how ignorant i am towards the subject by now ;P)?

    C or C++ (Compilers) are the most used. few people say
    it's one of the hardest languages to learn. I didn't find it hard at all.
    The hardest thing is actual problem solving. not learning syntax.

    http://www.bloodshed.net/devcpp.html
    http://www.codeblocks.org/

    Python (interpreter) Easy to learn! (useful in scripting):

    http://www.python.org/

    Java (Java virtual machine, very useful), similar to C or C++ (useful in scripting):

    http://www.java.com/en/


    Programming help and stuff:

    http://www.cprogramming.com/tutorial.html (online tutorials)
    http://www.dreamincode.net/ (programming community, similar to here, they help to make work your code and suggest better solutions, without actually coding it for you)

    Stanford U Lectures:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Stanford.../0/KkMDCCdjyW8

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Stanford.../0/kMzH3tfP6f8

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Stanford.../0/Ps8jOj7diA0

    Books:
    There are cheaper books, but these were from college courses:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Pyth...6054481&sr=1-5

    http://www.amazon.com/Big-Java-Compa...6054435&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Out-O...6054385&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Programming-La...6054643&sr=1-3

    Last edited by Flashback; January 26th, 2011 at 10:25 AM.
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