Making games is a dream for many people, ranging from kids to the very old; it doesn’t know age at all. People love the idea for many reasons, some people think they can present interesting plots, others believe that their programming skills could get them better gameplay than many games and the majority of the rest believe that they have an idea worth realizing, and guess what? This is where my problem lies; it lies in “idea guys”.
Why it won’t work
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally not against experimenting with new game ideas that could result a fun gameplay or a wonderful experience, it is the “barely idea” part is what I’m against, ideas are not skills, you need skills to make ideas a reality, and skills are worthless without good ideas, so it’s a mutual dependency. Now when you just have an idea you’re not really valuable to anyone, even yourself, because ideas are free and they’re not hard to acquire, unlike decent skills. Making games is much more than just an idea that you can brainstorm, yes ideas are the main meat of games but ideas don’t build games by themselves, you need a group of skills in order to take an idea from a concept to a reality.
That’s why a lot of people prefer to be “idea men”, just brainstorming what they think is fun and worth making, either because learning the other required skills to make a game is difficult to them, or maybe this is what they do best, coming up with ideas. As this may work in so many scenarios, it doesn’t in the game development field.. at all, why? Because to create a games you either have to get paid to take games from a concept to a reality or you’ll have to be so passionate that you’ll create games even if takes you a long time and you may end up paying out of your pockets, so when you come to those people who actually get the work done and you tell them that you have an idea that is going to change the world, you’re not really contributing, in fact if you think about it, you’re giving up everything you have which is so bad.
There is a fantastic common saying that explains it all: “ideas on paper are worthless”, unless you really “show” me that this is really a potential success, you have nothing, and this takes me to the next part of telling you “idea men” what to do in order to support your ideas.
What to do then?
It’s simple, by making yourself valuable you’re protecting yourself as a stakeholder in the game of making games, because honestly nobody would ever work with you if you’re a liability and not an asset, and so it’s time to pick up a skill if you really want to be involved in creating games.
Game development is a different culture
The game industry is different.. in all of its aspects, from the way people get hired to the way you develop a product. It’s just disappointing to see people’s naive assumption of how the game industry works, they believe that the game industry is another market that you can easily participate in and make profit really fast. One thing that I keep hearing all over again is: “we can build 5 games a month and we’ll make a fortune”, guess what? It doesn’t work that way, because it’s not about quantity, it’s about the quality and the details you put into your intellectual work.
The game industry is a very different industry and its customers have a very sophisticated taste, gamers are willing to spend sixty straight bucks on a retail game if they think that it will make them happy, gamers care – and most importantly – about details.. big time. Whatever you plan to create and develop, make sure it’s good enough for them otherwise it’s just another bad product out there. To make sure that you work is good enough, it’s important to choose good people to make good progress, and that is where “idea men” have no value.