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I've got a game idea!03:30 PM -- Sun May 8, 2011

That's something you hear from people a lot. Even if I go to a party, when people find out I make games, about half the time (really!) they'll say "Oh, I have this great idea for a game about [whatever my particular field of work is]!" and depending on how entrepeneurial their spirit, they'll tell me how we could team up by me making their idea and them taking half the money.

I feel dirty posting a meme pic.
But if I didn't, somebody would just link it in the comments.

Of course, I also get these things sent via email. I thought I'd share my reply to the latest one here, because I think it's something that's good to get out there publicly. And I definitely don't mean this to belittle the latest person (of many) to email me about it. It's a misconception just about everybody seems to have until they actually try creating for themselves. I bet if you did an RSS feed of every indie game developer on earth, you'd see this exact same post crop up once a month at least. Well, now it's my turn to provide it, probably not for the first time, but it's at least been a long time. Here goes:

It's great to have game ideas, but the real challenge is implementing them! The reason I have my own game company instead of working for somebody else (for a whole lot more money) is that I want the freedom to create my own ideas instead of somebody else's. And all the other freedom I get by working for myself. That's why I'm not looking for ideas from anybody else. I have literally thousands of full game ideas that I desperately want to make, and there's just not enough time to make them all.

You should look into the Making Dumb Games forum on our site, where lots of forum members are working on games of their own. You could do the same. It's not at all easy (most threads in there are abandoned projects), and there's years of learning involved, but if you want to see your ideas come to life, that's the only path to make it happen!

You might also find people there or on game development sites who would team up with you on making your game, but I can tell you that if all you all you want to do is provide ideas, they won't want to. Making up ideas is the fun part, turning them into a game is the work! So if you want to see your game become real, you have to learn some part of how to do that - art, code, sound, etc. And to be honest, code is by far the hardest*, and it's the coders who usually get to decide what the game is. In a large corporation, there are actual "game designers" who do that part, but getting that job, once again, requires you to learn code, art, etc. And you aren't going to be making your own ideas until you run the company - you'll be expanding on somebody else's, or just making levels, or quests. And even the work that game designers do isn't just coming up with ideas and sharing them, it's much more complex, like scripting levels (simplified code) and writing up complex technical designs.

Making games is extremely hard work, but it's obviously a lot of fun. If it's what you want to do in your life, then learn! It can be done, and it's far easier today than it ever was in the past. Not to mention, free. In my day, you had to buy books to learn things, and programs to compile or edit things. Now there are incredibly powerful free versions of anything you could need on the internet.

Books, by the way, are these things like web pages, but on a bunch of pieces of paper all stuck in a row. Like a paper Kindle?

* Sorry, artists, but your pictures don't CRASH.
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