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The Idea of a Sacred Game Idea

September 12, 2010

Following on from the post about people who tell me their game ideas… by contrast there are people who don’t – without wanting a contract in place.  So here’s the story so far; When I tell people that I work as a games designer, I get a variety of replies but one of the most common is people then telling me that they have a great idea for a game. Fine… Some will then try to negotiate they if they tell me how we split the billions profit from the idea.  I know this well because I did it myself to somebody who worked in the industry before I did.  I thought (doh!) that I could write a few paragraphs of ideas out and they would be taken up by a developer and fame and fortune beckoned.  Reality, sadly, was different.

The reality is that ideas are cheap – it’s the making of it that really counts…

I have heard that a friend of Frank Herbert (author of Dune) asked Herbert to author the friend’s idea and split the profits 50/50. Herbert refused, even though the guy was a good friend — Herbert’s reply was basically that ideas are easy; the writing is the hard part. Think about it for a minute — would YOU want to have a friend come up to you, tell you a few sentences, then have you spend months hunched over a keyboard turning his few sentences into the Great American Novel? I doubt it. If you did spend months writing that book, would you want to give half of the money to that guy? I don’t think so.

This is totally accurate.  Even the initial concept idea will morph from it’s inception into something else during the development process.   That is not to say the idea does not count – but it’s the seed – and lots of tending and time are needed to make it grow – assuming it ever will.  The key thing is that if you’ve had one good idea – to make sure you train your brain to have more…. ideas are cheap and during the friction of development you’ll need to oil the wheels of the process of lots and lots of them…

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