You Have a Great Idea for a Video Game - What Should You Do?
Maybe you have thought up a really neat and unique idea for a video game and you are
thinking "If I can just get in touch with the right people I can sell it and make a lot of
money. And I get to see my idea turned into a game that people will play".
Well, that may be true, and it is possible to do but, to be honest, it is very unlikely.
Developing a video game takes a lot of work. A typical game for todayís mass market takes
a team of people two years and thousands of hours of work to create. There is a tremendous
amount of work involved and much of this work is very creative which can be expensive.
Maybe all of that is a bit discouraging and if you really think you have an idea that
is unique there are some things you can do and I will explain the steps and processes you
can take to move your idea for a game out of the world of fantasy into the world of possibility.
The big obstacle to getting your idea made into a game is the question of who is going
to do all that work? It is an important question. A group of people have to believe in the
idea and have to do the work to take it from idea to reality, and generally you have to
rely on yourself. If you believe in your idea you need to be the person that will
spearhead the work and get it from idea to reality. If you can do this, and if your game
is unique and different the rewards can be astonishing.
Three Possible Paths to Success
There are three possible ways to get a game made from your idea:
Get in touch with a heavy hitter in the game making industry and convince him or her
that your game is worthwhile. He or she will then set the wheels in motion for your idea
to be bought and developed. (This is highly unlikely although it has happened on rare
occasions) Companies will occasionally buy video game ideas and keep them for future
Get in touch with independent developers with game design skills and get them to come
on board with your idea. You have the ability to allow them to patch together their time
in developing your game. Gamedev.net is a good place to network and find people for this endeavor.
Spearhead the development yourself. Learn some basic game making skills and put
together a group of people willing to spend time (and money) on your game. You become the
evangelist for the game and the Project Manager. (This is the best option if you want to
succeed and it answers the question of who is going to do all the work - You!)
Protecting your Idea
You probably have questions about your idea and how to protect it from being stolen.
Well, I guess this is a possibility and maybe it has happened but it is unlikely. It goes
back to the fact that it takes thousands of hours to take a game from idea to actual game
and the number of unique ideas is relatively unlimited but here are some things you can do
to get started in protecting yourself.
The Problem of Copyrighting Ideas
Ideas cannot be copyrighted! It sounds funny but itís true. You can research this on
the official government copyright website. So, just having an idea means you have very
little. If you draw pictures of your game and hopefully develop your idea into a game you
can get copyright for those things. In any case here is some help with protecting yourself.
Send yourself a letter!
Put together an exhaustive package of materials about your idea. Include a summary,
pictures, drawings and anything else that will describe your idea then seal it in an
envelope and mail it to yourself registered mail. When you receive it you sign for it but
do not open it. Leave it sealed. This gives you an amount of legal protection that
establishes a time line for your idea.