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It's more about the execution of the idea...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Torsh, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. Torsh

    Torsh

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    Why is it more about the execution of the idea than the idea itself?
     
  2. xxxDjdogxxx

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    Ideas are the first step to paying bills, but they don't make the money themselves.
     
  3. n0mad

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    Because between thinking being able to execute an idea under a certain time, and actually executing an idea, there can be up to a 3 years long delta. ;)
     
  4. npsf3000

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    John Carter.
     
  5. Torsh

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    You can have the idea for a balloon game and 20 people could come up with 20 different games. But the basic idea is still the same, and if the idea is boring, the game will probably be boring.

    The movie that got low sales?
     
  6. n0mad

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    Your mistake here is to assume that there were only 20 people having a balloon game idea.
     
  7. _Petroz

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    Ideas are easy, everyone has ideas. If you can't make it happen - the idea alone has no value as a product.

    An impractical idea is not much use to anyone. You need to have a good understanding of the processes and technology before you can form a practical idea.
     
  8. _Petroz

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    Ideas are easy, everyone has ideas. If you can't make it happen - the idea alone has no value as a product.

    An impractical idea is not much use to anyone. You need to have a good understanding of the processes and technology before you can form a practical idea.
     
  9. Torsh

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    Some of us spend a lot of time on those ideas though.
     
  10. n0mad

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    Which is another reason why it's more important to know how much time it takes to realize them, hence to be able to execute them ;-)
    (Or when it's time to realize, there's just not enough realistic time left)
     
  11. stimarco

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    A lot of time doing what? Sitting and thinking about the idea? Daydreaming about the idea?

    If you're writing down your ideas, gluing them into a design specification and working out how the ideas can be implemented, that's NOT just "having an idea". That's "designing a game". A design specification document is very much part of the implementation process, not the "having an idea" process.

    And this is why I get so pedantic about clarity in writing: if you're talking about just having an idea and letting it flutter about inside your head like a very pretty butterfly, that's one thing. But if you're talking about implementing the idea, that's quite another. You need to tell us which it is. We can't read your mind.
     
  12. khanstruct

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    To quote Batman, "Its not what's underneath that matters, but what we do that defines us."

    Put frankly, no one cares about your idea. They have an idea too, and they most likely think yours sucks and theirs is awesome (and vice versa).

    Look around any game development forum and try counting the number of "ideas" people have. Now understand that 99% of those will never be more than the forum post itself. The rare few that get beyond that point typically die after a few mediocre screenshots.

    All of that aside, consider that we aren't the only people aware of this. Players, publishers, investors, etc., all know the same thing. They know that there is a 99% chance you will never do more than talk about your awesome idea.

    Now, if you have a game finished (even a crappy game), that will give them pause. You have shown that you have the ability to follow through. You can be trusted to do what you say you will do. And now, the next time you post an idea, they (and we) might actually read it. Maybe even consider paying you for it. Why? Because we know that there is a very real chance that this game will come into being.
     
  13. _Petroz

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    There is a lot of good advice in this thread. I hope you take it all on board, without being discouraged. Game development is a lot of hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding.

    That is good, you need to be dedicated. Now you just have to spend some time getting familiar with the processes involved in game development. It gets said often because it's good advice: "start off with something simple like Pong". Even if your first project isn't overly creative, just making something from start to finish will give you a lot of insight into what is needed to make a game.
     
  14. angrypenguin

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    Nailed it. An idea alone is worth nothing. An idea has zero value whatsoever until it is executed. The problem with self-proclaimed "Ideas Men" is that they can rarely execute, often expect someone else to do it, and then attempt to take the credit for any resulting success.

    Yeah, but how much time are you thinking about ideas that you will never realise, and how many of your ideas could you realise if you stopped thinking and started doing?

    I don't mean to devalue ideas or the people who come up with them, or to say that time spent thinking rather than doing is useless. But all things need some kind of balance, and if you're 100% on the ideas side you're not actually doing anything useful. For starters you'll never implement an idea, and for seconds you'll never be able to mature your ideas with experience.

    The best game ever made is worth nothing if nobody ever gets to play it. And nobody ever played a game that hadn't been made.
     
  15. Starsman Games

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    Not really.

    See, there are many things that lead to actual entertainment. You know how many platformers came out in the 80s that were identical to Super Mario Bros in concept and mechanics? Many failed, some did OK, but all but Sonic just got forgotten.

    Why? It's all about the execution.

    Games are an audio-visual experience. This has to be exploited.

    Dynamic and entertaining music that is not repetitive (repetitive music will bore and annoy) with proper audio feedback for actions (tunks when you hit the ceiling, poofs at landing, etc.) Take any great game and turn off the audio. You likely had your first impression with audio on, so the experience wont be perfect, but you may be able to notice that it just loses a lot by not having any audio attached to the experience.

    Polished visuals also influence a lot. If you are looking at something that is not visually appealing, you’re feeling of immersion is drastically diminished. This does not mean you need epic realistic graphics, just attractive visuals. This can be cartoony, sketchy, black and white, anything as long as it actually looks good.

    Controls can be easy to mess up. Getting them to "just work" is not good. You have to tweak controls, you have to make sure they are smooth. Character should not accelerate from zero to 100 in a second, a smooth acceleration adds a lot to a game. Tiny things like attempting to turn back and have your character slide a bit before he can break if he was running at high speed, those things all make things feel polished and fun.

    I have seen people spend hours just jumping and running, turning and basically dancing in Mario games.

    This is why anyone that knows what they are talking about says it's about the execution. At the end of the day almost every idea you come up with is going to be just a remix of things that have happened. But the polishing, the execution, that's what will set the game apart from other failed attempts at that idea.
     
  16. Torsh

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    @angrypenguin - I see what you mean about realizing a game but do we really want to play poor ideas games?
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  17. Starsman Games

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    Can you point to real published examples of games that you consider to be based on bad ideas?

    For the most part, if the idea is bad and boring, it won’t make it past prototype stage.

    Most bad games that get published are bad mainly due to bad execution (bad graphics, bad controls, broken mechanics, etc.)
     
  18. SirGive

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    Even if you have a truly amazing and unique idea, if it is not fully developed and brought into existence in the correct way to convey that idea then it is a failure. There are quite a few games that had a really cool concept, but they didn't play out very well due to the end result.
     
  19. superpig

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    Thing is, if you're good at execution, then you'll change the idea as you implement it. Even the worst idea can be turned into a great game if you have the right execution process - if you playtest, change the bits that don't work, etc. More importantly, those changes will be guided by real-world data - technical constraints, playtest feedback, budget concerns, etc - rather than just your guesses at what's required.
     
  20. Torsh

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    Zelda CD-i.
     
  21. Starsman Games

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    Hmmm the idea there was just Zelda. That's a perfect example of horrible execution.

    Not to mention you still had to go darn far to get that one. If your concern is real, there should be plenty of titles going out every year you consider to be based around horrible ideas..
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  22. Torsh

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    The idea to put cheesy FMVs with Zelda...
     
  23. PrimeDerektive

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    Cheesy was a quality of the execution, not the idea.
     
  24. TylerPerry

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    Well excuse me princess. (i really liked that show :p the cheesyness made it good)
     
  25. Integria

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    People don't buy a concept or an idea; they buy a finished product. Actually executing an idea is vital to reaching that.
    Also, do we really need another of these ideas-type thread?
     
  26. Torsh

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    The reason why most commercial games have good ideas is because the ideas are thought through. They have professionals working on them. But indie games can be more prone to poor ideas. The concept can sometimes be something like "balloons" or "pong". These games are great to make but just how many of them do you want to play?
     
  27. Starsman Games

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    As Legend said:

    The idea was not to make things cheesy. That Zelda game was not even an FMV game. It was a horribly executed platformer game with heavy cartoon cinematics used in between levels and certain portions. The execution was horrible, but no one wakes up one day and says "hey, know what would be cool? A zelda game that had cartoon cinematics that appear to be drawn by a 5 year old!"

    The actual idea, Platformer with heavy use of cinematics, was used for Mega Man X 4 extensively, in my opinion one of the best games in that series.

    Do you have any other examples?
     
  28. Starsman Games

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    Note I did not limit your choices of examples to professional games. If you have an indie example, go for it.

    However, what you describe now is not "bad ideas" but over-saturation. The fact that Minesweeper is fun and cloned is evidence that it's a great idea. The fact that the market is flooded with clones that are garbage just shows that few people can do a proper execution.

    There are few ideas that cant be made into a fun game with enough execution and polish. As the Myth Busters have shown, you can even polish a turd.

    BTW, you keep saying "balloons". What balloon game got in your bad side? :p


    Editing the post to elaborate on this a bit more:

    There are a lot of "simple" games out there. Plenty of pong clones and the like. The reason is not a lack of ideas. The reason is they are simple to execute. A learning developer can create a pong clone on his first few weeks of learning the ropes. He may also think he may be able to get away with charging for such a simplistic game.

    He is not doing that game because the idea was easy to come up with, he is doing that game because he think it's within his reach to make such a simple game with his level of skill. And to be fair, I wish more devs in these forums were capable of sticking to realistic goals (although if all you can do is a boring pong clone you may as well not publish anything until your skills improve past that point.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  29. Torsh

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    "Balloons" is just an example. But a balloon game is not something I'm looking forward to playing any more than a clone.
     
  30. jc_lvngstn

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    To me, the exception to this rule is when you have a novel idea. If you -do- have a novel idea, if you keep your mouth shut you at least have TIME to get the execution, bells and whistles in place.

    If you blab it all over the forums...don't be surprised if a very talented group or studio rolls out an awesome game using your idea...a year or so before you do.

    And, can you really compete with the resources of an entire team, or studio? Go check out Crush the Castle, and compare its success to Angry Birds.
    Once the idea is out you can't take it back. But if you keep it to yourself, at least you will have TIME to give it your best shot, before it's out.
     
  31. welby

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    omg a Zelda CDI reference! the idea was good, but like mentioned,.they cheezed out the execution,..


    How's this for a terrible idea that got made into a game,..



    :p
     
  32. welby

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    You already heard the responses about 'ideas' so I won't repeat it.


    What I will say that the term "Sounds good on Paper" comes to mind and a good game designer will evolve with it AFTER it has been executed/demonstrated in some way,...

    I'm not gonna tell you to grab a C# book and hit the ground running ( though I, and many others here, did) so here is an alternative for you:

    Paper prototyping: Game design

    Paper Prototyping Blog





    /cheers

    -Welby
     
  33. Starsman Games

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    Darn, Journey Escape was my first owned cassete tape ever (stolen from older brother :p.) Loved that cover and always imagined am amazing R-Type shooter inspired on it.

    Didn't know there was an Atari game. Few Atari games were worth the time, though. So I bet that sucked big time.
     
  34. dogzerx2

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    The idea is like "how you'd describe the game in one sentence".

    For example... if someone tells me, lets make a game after some movie. In the core, that's a great idea, if you ask me.
    You can describe a game as "robocop game" or "superman game" and it's already appealing, at least it was when I was a kid, and truly wanted to play those games based on the mere idea.

    But it is known that usually games based on movies aren't great! But why?

    This is because of the execution! those kind of games are rushed out to meet premiere dates, and cash in on the hype, at the price of quality.

    Now, if someone ever told me "hey, lets make a game about an italian plumber that jumps on top of turtles", I'd say it's a stupid idea, but hey... mario is a great game anyway, right?
    If you think about it, at the time mario was released, it was great quality gameplay (the controls, sounds, music, color pallete and aesthetics) all that is how you execute the idea!
     
  35. superpig

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    Not just 'thought through' - professionals are not any better at coming up with ideas than anyone else - but 'worked through,' in that the professional have been immersed in them for the duration of the execution and have tweaked and tuned them to get rid of the bad bits. Believe me when I say that the details of a commercial game usually do not end up resembling what the designer laid out at the beginning - this is why established designers usually don't bother writing hundreds of pages of fine detail during preproduction, and also why game designers are required for the duration of a project (they don't just write down the idea in immense detail and then go off on holiday until the game is done).

    Because most indies - of the ones you're talking about, anyway - don't know very much about how to make good games. They don't playtest, they don't research what other games do, and they generally don't approach their projects in a professional manner. Most indies don't care about making good games - they just care about making something, and having a bit of fun while doing it. The poor quality of an indie title is actually becoming a bit of a badge-of-honor (which could be dangerous for games as an artform).
     
  36. imaginaryhuman

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    You certainly can come up with great ideas. It's better though if those ideas are created with the limitations of the medium in mind. So long as you have some sense of mastery over the tools you're using, ie you understand what programs can/can't do, you understand what graphics are capable of, you have a grasp of how much time things will take, etc. then you can work `with` that to use it in whatever artistic way you can dream up. You can even be totally unconvential in your use of the tools, so long as it's actually possible to pull off what the idea needs. But then just as much as a great idea is important, so too is that you plan out and implement the idea very well, and test it, and prove that it achieves what you fantasized it would. Often ideas that you have in your mind in a fantasy daydream seem to have an allure and magic that you just can't seem to translate into images and activities on a screen, or at least it loses a lot of its `feel`. Execution without a great idea is crap. A great idea without execution is crap. You need both.
     
  37. Haledire

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    Looks like a simple vertical scrolling dodging game.

    http://youtu.be/Z9Xto3nPEYE

    Obviously, like many olden day Atari games, "the fun never ends" ... until you lose. The concept does seem a little silly, but the mechanic is nothing surprising really.

    If you think about it, dodging is half the implementation of every Vertical / Horizontal Shooting game in existence (I mean, if you don't dodge, you lose really). This implementation is fairly simple, but think about what the idea evolves into over time - like Bullet Hell games (granted, those types of games are more of a touch and die concept rather than a form of "HP Based" damage).

    http://www.giantbomb.com/bullet-hell/92-321/

    ----------------------

    A Balloon themed game that is basically Joust (and if people don't know what that is, I'll be depressed about feeling my age):
    http://youtu.be/1zpQo0llLV8

    A Balloon themed game that is just a Side Scrolling Platformer:
    http://youtu.be/-MgtV7Uwwuk

    What other games can you make that involves "Balloons":
    - Shooter (Target Shooting / Carnival Water Filling game)
    - Puzzle (Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move is essentially a "Balloon" game if you consider a balloon is just the same as a bubble of air with a different surface)
    - Action Game (Dig Dug - You essentially inflate enemies and pop them like Balloons)

    The point here: If you consider a "Game Idea" to be nothing more than the subject and a feature, you're thinking about it too narrowly. Games are about execution. A Balloon Game with cutscenes doesn't tell you anything about what you are playing, much like Zelda CD-i and FMV isn't a complaint about the game execution but a feature quality complaint (I've watched videos of the gameplay, so yes I know it plays horridly, but I'm trying to focus on the subject of "Feature" vs "Mechanics" here). You really can't call all balloon games "bad" for the sole reason that they include "Balloons". You can certainly complain that the features aren't executed well and detract from the gameplay.
     
  38. PrimeDerektive

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    "Balloons" is not an idea for a game, any more than "swords" is. Your using super-simplified strawmen for your arguments.

    If anything, the ideas behind most AAA games are far more simple than indie games, because they can afford to spend a humongous budget on making the mechanics and gameplay of the game so good that people will buy it regardless of how derivative it is.

    Most indie games live and die by being unique and unusual, intelligent concepts, with comparatively lower production values.
     
  39. Gigiwoo

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    Want to hear a bad idea? Game actions: take out the trash, check the mail, do homework, go to the bathroom, go to bed. As you skill up, you'll get a trash compactor, have bigger bills, do homework faster, get an improved toilet, and sleep faster.

    This game was the most successful series of all time and its creator, Will Wright, is a legend. The moral? Game ideas aren't good or bad. The execution is.

    Gigi.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  40. Starsman Games

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    Yea, Grand Theft Auto 5 sounds epic! :p
     
  41. kamisama

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    Ideas are worth more, I make millions selling my ideas.
     
  42. khanstruct

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    Was this sarcasm? Because I doubt that very much.
     
  43. Creslin321

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    I really think the old Thomas Edison maxim that Genius is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration, holds true for game development just like almost any other art form :).
     
  44. rab236

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    It's too bad that his ideas were 90% inspiration (from Tesla). That is a very good quote to describe the ideas vs engineering argument, though.
     
  45. stimarco

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    You forgot Pooyan (playable!)

    And, of course, the EU release of Hudsonsoft's very first iteration of their Bomberman franchise. Dating to the early '80s and released on the ZX Spectrum and MSX, it was sold under the name "Eric and the Floaters" in the EU for obscure licensing reasons. (There were some other games with names like "Bombo" and "Bomb Jack", so they may have simply changed the name to make it stand out.)

    Both games involve balloons, yet both games are also completely different.

    Haledire is correct: a simple idea is not enough. You have to create a complete game and that means drilling right down into the details.

    "Balloons!" is insufficient as an 'idea'. I wouldn't even call it an 'idea': it's more like just a random thought pinging about one's brain.

    If someone came up to me and told me about their awesome idea for a novel—"It's a story about balloons!"—what would I say to them?

    Assuming I could resist the temptation to tell them to go away and leave me in peace, I'd ask them for more detail: For more information about what role the balloons play in the story; what the story is really about; who the characters are, and so on, and on, and on. A few paragraphs on coloured balloons rising majestically into the skies of Pratt's Bottom will not fill a 120000-word book.

    Game design and development is all about having thousands of ideas, writing them down and seeing how well they work together. Some will gel. Some won't, and will need to be ruthlessly expunged. That's why we make prototypes and testbeds. A gameplay mechanic comes from ideas about how the game will be played. A character comes from ideas about what kind of character would fit the game's environment.

    So, yes, ideas are where it all comes from, but the ideas alone are of little value. Being able to provide ideas is not a skill of any great value. Anybody can provide the sand of ideas. It's only when the sand is combined properly, and in the right proportions, that you get concrete. Game developers aren't in the business of selling sand. They're in the business of selling concrete. Games. The end result of combining all those grains of thought.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  46. n0mad

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    Balloons ? :D

     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  47. stimarco

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    Good god, I forgot all about "Pang"! (The image isn't showing up, incidentally; I have to right-click and open it in a new tab. [Update: But, bizarrely, it appears just fine in my quote of your post!)

    Bloody difficult too.

    Honestly, kids these days. You tell 'em about games about collecting trash, or cleaning up after a particularly wild party, and they don't believe you!

    Harrumph!
     
  48. fogman

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    Actually, this is a misapprehension. You can sell your concept to publishers when you´ve worked succesfully with them in the past.
    It all comes down to confidence. But you´ll need a track record and you must know the habits and preferences of your publisher.

    The idea is used to get the attention, the concept is used to nail down the contract.
    For me ideas are the first reason to get started, so they are really valuable to me.
     
  49. Starsman Games

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    My understanding is not exactly that way.

    I would rephrase that to:

    You can convince your publishers to let you work on what you want when you´ve worked successfully with them in the past.
    It all comes down to stubbornness and how much money you made them earn in the past . But you´ll need a track record and you must know the habits and preferences of your publisher, and be very very lucky.
     
  50. fogman

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    Of course your idea has to fit into their portfolio. They won´t let you work on what you want while they throw money at you.
    Normally it used to be like that: Phone rings, I pick up and they ask me if I have something for them. Then I tell them about my rough ideas and if something sounds good to them, they ask me to write a concept. This concept is the base for the contract.