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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by particleice, Jul 10, 2017.
Unsatisfying answer ... it depends on many factors.
Is it a revolutionary idea that you expect someone else will steal and beat you to it or do you want to learn from the project and don't mind that much since it's a copy of other projects anyways?
I think in an extreme case it might be a bad idea, but for the (overwhelmingly) most part it's not problematic.
This is because the "tangible" value of an idea is in the execution, not in the idea itself.
The kind of person too lazy to come up with their own ideas is most likely also too lazy to put in the work to make yours happen.
Of course, just going around posting ideas can make one seem like an idiot, like the guy who's "writing a book" but never actually writes a book.
I remember when I wrote a novel. I told a couple of my friends about it. They were all like, "cool, I want to write one too!" One talked to me a bit about a collaboration. Came up with a basic idea. Started spending most of his time one tangential nonsense, like capturing a topographical map of the region he wanted it to be in. Meanwhile, I kept writing.
A few years later he'd forgotten all about his idea, and I had finished a book.
So you're not likely to have issues with people copying it, but at the same time you can become that guy if that's all you do.
Edit: And what Picasso said is not really true. I suspect he was being facetious. An artist experiences, and then filters their experience through their own emotions, their own mind, their own spirit if you will, before expressing. Hence their work is inherently unique.
Frankly unless you've uncovered some kind of unique and magical solution to making an awesome game, there's nothing to gain from hiding it (and a lot to lose in visibility and interest/marketing).
The way I see it is like this. There are several things which each reduce by orders of magnitude the possibility that you will lose anything from someone cloning your game.
Chances of anyone cloning something you show off are pretty remote (/100);
Most people will never finish a game, period (/10);
Most people who have the skill and determination to make one, are not short of ideas or pride (/10);
Most people who can make a good game, can't market a game to save their life (/10);
It doesn't really matter if it's cloned anyway, there are clones of every kind of game doing quite well for themselves (/100000)
So just make a good game, market it well, don't send your GDD to a clone factory studio, and don't worry about it.
Nobody is going to steal your idea because everyone is too busy working on there own stuff.
But just to be safe - consider showing only when you have some quality stuff to show - that can't be duplicated in 2 weeks time.
If it's a simple mobile bouncy, flappy, simon says, dodgie runner, circle square game created for learning - don't even show it - just move on to the next idea.
One is a writer and the other is an author. There is a distinction.
Same as working on games - and releasing a game.
I've worked on several released games but have yet to release my own. (except for that demo that doesn't count)
Fair enough, though in my experience the ones who were talking about writing one were never even that far...
I think if the idea can easily be stolen, it was not a very good idea to begin with
Ideas can't be copyrighted, and are mostly worthless. Their implementation however, is valuable. There are also people who think that NDAs and attempts to keep the idea to yourself are in the long term harmful, and the best results arise during exchange of ideas. See, for example:
I worked with a writer that wanted to call herself an author - she wrote over 7 volumes but was afraid to pull the trigger on the first volume because she said all the lore/history needed to be written.
As far as I know she is still - only a writer.
Nowadays I think it is fairly normal to have a 'soft' release and a 'soft sell' and a much lower barrier to entry and early engagement etc. This is happening all over the place, internet, apps, payment models, etc. Instead of a black-and-white nobody knows about it and then suddenly it comes out of nowhere on release day with a high price tag, it's shifted a lot to a gradual introduction, a gradual raising of awareness, a gradual developing of engagement, a gradual developing of commitment, a gradual development of the willingness to pay less over time after you already had the thing for a while etc. It also works well in terms of social media because maybe then you are willing to be more of service to the community and ask for feedback and get people engaged and be a part of the development process, so that they grow with your project and then have some investment in it. These days being suddenly hit with a big price tag is considered jarring and like a slap in the face. So similarly with your precious 'ideas', it's not a 'bad idea' to expose it. Execution leaves a lot on the table. If the game is good enough at some point someone is going to be inspired by it and want to copy it anyway which is sort of a credit to you. In a way, you can't have it both ways - you can't have every adoring your product and wanting to lick it, and then at the same time tell them that they shouldn't try to mimick it or copy it or do something similar because they're inspired by it.
Why would you post game ideas anyway? If it's just an idea and you already know it's totally awesome then you don't really need the feedback until you make a prototype.
Show. Always show.
If you're afraid your idea is good, all the more reason.
Don't think of your idea as an idea ... think of it as a brand. And not just any brand, your brand. People must say "Hey, particle ice is doing some nice progress on his game idea, I like him, he pushes all the right buttons for me." ... "I'm even considering stalking him"
When you realize how difficult is to get anyone's attention as a small indie dev ... you'll see why you shouldn't even ask that question. Show your game from day 1.
I agree with everyone here, basically. The only incentives for not sharing I can think of:
Your idea really is good, and you've made some great progress you're showing off. But you haven't purchased appropriate domains, set up social media accounts, or registered the game with the marketplaces you plan to distribute on. You might get unlucky and a sleazebag could camp on a domain you wanted or something.
Sharing information fulfills that pleasure center in your brain that is otherwise triggered by making real progress in your development. This is what happens to me. Talking about my game and showing early progress is exciting, and it also distracts me from working on the actual project.
It's a great idea to show your game to the public as you're developing, how else is everyone supposed to hear about it?
If you're worried about ideas being stolen, don't worry, ideas are useless without good execution, and chances are someone out there has either already thought of your idea or there's a game out there similar. I would worry more about how you can build a good game than about others stealing your ideas.
Or if you are Bethesda and you love to watch the fans squirm trying to determine if that random website that recently appeared was an actual release message or simply a troll.
Ideas are a dime a dozen, if you're confident and enthusiastic in yours, you shouldn't feel afraid to share it with others. If you're worried about plagiarism, it's actually quite easy to defend against in the software world. Just document everything. If you're worried about people stealing your idea...don't be. What makes a product good is the person behind it, not the idea behind it. You are selling you, not your idea. In fact, keeping your super duper classified project top secret until you're ready to drop it on the world out of nowhere is actually not a great idea. You want to generate excitement and interest and you can't do that by keeping everything secret
Now, your methods, techniques, etc. Keep those closely guarded. A magician never reveals their secrets
I'd argue its better to keep quiet, most games you see young developers making seem to be games involving robots/zombies fighting humans in a post-apocalyptic open world survival thing.... with M4 rifles.
so if you have a genuine idea I'd say you should be quiet and find developers/arts and discuss it in private until you have some good screenshots/concept art etc to show off to the world.
Ideas are nothing. Its implementing them were the magic happens
exactly, but it depends if you are making a generic plug-n-play FPS or something more unique.
A FPS is not good if the mechanics are not. For example the feel of the first person controller is crucial.
of course, but thats the difference between two kids who think they can make a game by watching a couple of youtube videos and obtaining some Blender models of robots/aliens/zombies and an M4 rifle, and a group of people who want to make an interesting expereince in a game and are aware the mechanics and the physics and the other bits under the hood are the what make it special and therefore its the IP which should be kept secret.
No, it's the feel to the game that makes it special. And the feel of the game is 100 procent implementation detail.
It depends how original your idea is, if it's totally original you should treat it like a super secret project if it's a more common idea then show it off.
The hard part is knowing enough about the games industry to understand how original your idea is and how lucrative it could be with a good implementation.
Probably best not to show it off until you look for and find lots of games like it.
I think where most really unique ideas implementations are, are not in typical AAA games nor general money making commercial products, or their companies.
These use already tests and proved methods, with slight tweaking and some features mashups, to get most of $.
Now, if anyone really work on some unique idea, often I unproved and untested in the market. In other words, untrusted. And most often only those who are dedicated to such project, with vision and passion, will complete it.
Then weather result become successful or not, rest of world will follow the suit. See for example Minecraft clones. Or simply FPS clones.
Look at battle royal, no one copied it until it was implemented in PUBG and actually a successful game.
If everyone is only interested in making zombie shooters with m4 rifles, a specially unique idea should be quite safe hiding in plain sight.
I don't really believe in the idea of hiding game ideas. 99% of unique ideas are unique for a reason. Unique ideas that are good often don't sound all that exciting because no one has a reference point.
A game idea is actually a very superficial, quite empty thing, in my opinion. What is special is the ability of a developer to connect a player to a specific set of game mechanics, which is more about visual and auditory feedback, the intuitiveness of the input, the learning curve, timing and reward etc. It cannot really be described in the form of a 'game idea'. And it is difficult to create the symphony of a game without watching players play it.
It's like writing a story. The content of the story is not the important part. Where specifically the character goes, what they say, what they do, the events in the book are not actually all that important. What's important is how you experience the story as you read the book. Most great stories are ones that could have been (and usually have been) written in lower quality numerous times.
Reading through this thread again I wonder if this is always a smart move. If you just want to play the game behind an idea and don't care about the money, sending it to clone factory studio might be a great way as they will do all the work for you and you can just play it in a few months with no effort on your part other than writing it up.
i say don't let anybody know what you are up to, then surprise them with a shot through the heart.
The implementation of ideas is all that matters. The world is flooded with ideas. Nobody is going to steal your ideas, because everybody has a bunch of ideas of their own.
I would actually recommend making a short video trailer and some screenshots of the potential idea. Share the idea and get useful feedback as early as possible. Once you have shared the idea and gotten some feedback, then start building the game.
But that does not work for hardly any indie games. It would be fun if it worked that way, though.
I honestly feel that the best solution for indie developers is to release details as early as possible. You can use the feedback to decide IF an idea should be turned into a game. You can use the feedback to help refine the core fun of the game. For example, maybe gamer feedback highlights intense interest in one specific part of the game. Anyway, if you hide the game and try to surprise everybody when it is done, you miss out on all of that potentially useful feedback.
I think this more (but not exclusively) applies to game artworks. Textures, models and so forth. For which, art, or its ideas are easier to copy, replicate, steal etc, than game itself. And typical game artwork take significantly shorter period to make. So it may be more suitable to game artwork producer, to "hide" until is released / finished, rather game maker him/her self.
what i mean was, don't release an idea. Only release it once there is enough of something to get people excited. Like what you mentioned.
Or, if they were inclined to steal ideas, it's likely they will find a far better one elsewhere than from you. Because while you may love your own idea there is no guarantee anyone else will love it or even find it interesting.
well also, isn't a proper GDD like, a short novel? It takes a lot of words to describe the real nuance of an idea. In other words, the detail you need to do the implementation. If you just write like a few sentences or a paragraph, somebody could "steal" your idea but it's not gonna be the same as the vision in your head.
For instance, if I say, "hey guys, I got this idea for a game in which a dude whose ddaughter gets killed in a zombie apocalypse finds himself on a mission twenty years later to protect a young girl who reminds him of his daughter but also she may secretly be the cure for the zombie virus."
Now is somebody gonna go make TLOU from that?
This just gave me a thought, that stealing game idea, is like stealing game designer. Which is indeed more than just few words.
Or in other words, if I would say I make minecraft (before Mojang) where you can build world from blocks, this may not be appealing to anyone. Need lot of bunch thoughts behind scene and solutions. And would need steal them too. That even before starting coding.
Just about everything that has any value is bought and sold on a marketplace somewhere on the Internet. I haven't seen a marketplace for ideas, which leads me to believe that ideas they are not really worth anything.
Everybody I know that knows how to implement a game idea has a bunch of their own ideas they want to do, and not enough time to do them. Everyone I know in game dev wants to work on their own ideas.
Whenever I hear someone scared to tell their idea, or insisting on an NDA for just an idea, I don't even want to talk with them and would never work with them. OK if you spent 2 years working on something yes you should protect your source code. But an unimplemented idea. This is not something to protect. You can write it or keep it to yourself it doesn't matter. What you really should do is prototype it.
That's true, although I think that comment was made in the context of some real cases of these studios running off and cloning demos sent to them. Maybe not that big of a deal for bigger games but for small casual games it could rob someone of that initial branding association with a quirky new mechanic
I've not seen any evidence of people stealing game ideas before the game comes out being a problem. After? Sure, but never before.