Your game idea is not big enough!

While I can appreciate there are a lot of people in the world who have ideas that will never be realized, one thing that simply needs to stop happening in the Game Development field is this. Stop telling people why they can’t do something. Instead, start telling them how they can. If you are doing something in the game development space, congratulations! That’s awesome. However:

Stop using dollar signs, man hours, and what’s been done in the past as a bat to exclude people. It’s counter productive, and it diminishes us all by making us look like assholes. Like what we do is ultra exclusive, and you need the right “key” to gain entry.

This is the single biggest problem I see in the game development space. I realize that Clint Bellanger’s little calculator is somewhat tongue in cheek. But it does more harm than good, in my opinion. It creates a dividing wall that makes people want to walk away, when what we all should be doing is working to bring more ideas, and people with ideas into the fold.

For the record, we’ve been developing Emerald Kingdom for a couple years now. Money spent so far? Under 20K. I think it’s even under 15K. Over two years. Recently, we have begun spending more, because we now have more funding. But we started with $300.00. That’s it. Our development process has been slow, but it’s been careful and considered. It’s not going to cost us 18 Million Dollars. It’s certainly not going to bankrupt us. By proceeding and doing things the way we have, we have created something bigger than we are.

Can everyone replicate what we have done? No. But anybody can. If you don’t want to be a positive influence in what is, at the core a creative industry…an industry where making the first step is often the most important, you should maybe consider finding someplace else or some other industry to spread this “wisdom”. We may fall on our face, we might very well fail in our endeavors. But the people in this company will never spend a day wondering about “what if we had tried that”, sometimes the journey is worth it, no matter the outcome. When we look at the daunting tasks we face each and every day, we remember that Bungie started with two guys. We remember that Three Rings started with one mans idea. We remember that one person created Choplifter. We remember that 4 college kids created Tibia, as a student project. Every time someone posts an article about “Why you can’t create an MMORPG” we sit back and laugh our silly heads off.

Push past the naysayers, ignore the people who tell you something cannot be done. Doing so puts you in the company of people who have gone on to do awesome things. Game Development is not an exclusive club. Anyone can get into it. Anyone. When someone tells you your idea is too big, or won’t work, engage them! Show why it can. I will admit: passion alone is not enough. But passion and belief in your idea will carry your idea far: it will allow you to convince others you’re serious.

The naysayers will tell you they’re just helping you. Help is when someone says: here’s a problem, and try to give you options to try and fix it, making the idea better. But this industry is chock full of people who will do what they can to turn you away. We know, we have met quite a few. We didn’t let it stop us.

Don’t let it stop you: Get up, make, create, share ideas, and be awesome!

  • Clint Bellanger
    #1 written by Clint Bellanger 2 years ago
    1

    Creator of said website here.

    I’m about 2.5 years into my own project. Total actual money spent? About 4k. I don’t even want to know the total number of hours.

    You’re right though. Actually, I think we have more power than ever to create amazing games with no budget at all. With current tech I can, nearly alone, create a game comparable to a AAA title from the 90′s.

    I added an advice page to the website. I still think new devs should start small and grow incrementally, and I made sure to explain that properly.

  • Azrael
    #2 written by Azrael 2 years ago

    Yeah, understand…I personally took your calculator as a joke. The issue is, I was starting to see it being used to exclude, rather than include.

    I think ideas are important, and I think they should be properly tested. It’s always the nomenclature that bugs me. I see a great many people trying to elevate idea talk into high wizardry, and ideas cannot grow unless you talk to people, instead of at them. =)

  • Ron Pieket
    #3 written by Ron Pieket 2 years ago
    1

    I read Clint’s calculator as coming from a frustration with leadership that keeps expanding the scope of a project without adding appropriate resources. Have you ever worked on a single player project where your boss tells you, three months before ship, that it really should be multi-player? Just cancel your vacation…

  • Azrael
    #4 written by Azrael 2 years ago


    Ron Pieket:

    I read Clint’s calculator as coming from a frustration with leadership that keeps expanding the scope of a project without adding appropriate resources. Have you ever worked on a single player project where your boss tells you, three months before ship, that it really should be multi-player? Just cancel your vacation…

    I’ve heard similar many times, having worked in IT, and under the thumb of accounting departments. “Why hire contractors to string cat 5, you can just do it yourself over the weekend!” =)

  • Kent Quirk
    #5 written by Kent Quirk 2 years ago
    1

    I have often counseled students who have a Truly Awesome Idea For The Next Big Game (usually an MMO that’s a blend of two existing MMOs only with Even More Coolness!) and want to know how to build it.

    The right answer is “get some expertise, build a prototype, show that you know how to execute, get someone to give you a lot of money, and then go do that if you still remember what you thought would be so cool.” That’s not usually the answer they want to hear.

    Or you encounter the people on an IRC channel who are demanding to know what 2 lines of C# will give them an MMO backend.

    Sometimes, the answer really is “for where you are today, that’s too expensive, try a cheaper idea.”

    Yes, slapping people down as a method of exclusion is bad. But when someone is hopelessly clueless, I don’t think it does them any favors to say “you can do it!”

  • Azrael
    #6 written by Azrael 2 years ago


    Kent Quirk:

    … demanding to know what 2 lines of C# will give them an MMO backend.
    Sometimes, the answer really is “for where you are today, that’s too expensive, try a cheaper idea.”
    Yes, slapping people down as a method of exclusion is bad. But when someone is hopelessly clueless, I don’t think it does them any favors to say “you can do it!”

    I wanted to address this here, because I actually addressed this in a few other places. (another blog/twitter/etc) But it’s just as valid here:

    There are people who, yes, are indeed in a place where their ideas will be unrealized because they don’t, or cannot understand the depth of what it is they want to do. Certainly, someone shouting, figuratively, or in some cases, (like IRC) I WANT TO MAKE AN MMO!!! is not ever going to hear what they want to hear from anyone.

    And let me be even more frank: there are very limited ways of dealing with such people. /mode +b *!*@host.ip is usually the preferred method on IRC.

    The trouble is one of becoming jaded, and having that leak into dealing with *everyone* with an idea. Before you tell me it can’t happen, or it’s the exception and not the rule, I’ll be the first to step up and say not only does it happen, it happens to people who are serious, have a clue, and are trying to network with like minded folks. As I said above: it’s happened to us. On many an occasion. We’re not a bunch of kids in a basement trying to build new maps on a Ragnarok shard. We’re a registered corporation. We have an EIN, we have a bank account. We have staff and board meetings. We have interns, and our people range in age from 20 to 40 years of age. None of that matters, we get a lot of shit flipped out way. People are too busy trying pigeonhole us, they forget the beauty of this industry: trying dangerous and innovative stuff.

    It’s more of the same idiotic wide range stuff in the tech/games press. For someone else to succeed, X has to fail, or die. For some people to be right, you have to be wrong, or a failure. It’s bullshit. It does not, and will never have a place in our eyes, or in #gamedev. =)

    Let me go even further: I think this attitude, and the behavior that goes with it is not becoming less prevalent, but more so. My opinion when it comes to that will be, always this: not acceptable. If you cannot remain open minded, if you’re going to let your complete perspective be colored by a few 14-20 year olds on IRC, then you need to step back, and find something else to do.

    I fully accept some will always be lost. My original point stands: we need to be open. We need to have attitudes consistent with: Why not? Instead of: you can’t.

    I am really happy this has provoked discussion. That’s always a good thing. This needs to be spoken about. More. Much more.

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