Author Topic: "Idea Guys"  (Read 1711 times)

Jubal

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"Idea Guys"
« on: November 16, 2015, 09:02:50 PM »
So I was discussing this on FB recently and wondered what you all thought.

There seems to be a prevailing view at least amongst a lot of the indie game design community that - and I quote a phrase I've often seen repeated - "ideas are worthless". The point or theory basically being that everyone is capable of having good ideas, and that therefore effective project work is really a question of implementation skills only. My sense is that this has developed in (understandable) annoyance at the people who always turn up on modding or gamedev sites being all "I have an idea but no skills please make my game".

I feel like I'm kind of reluctant to risk stigmatising blue-skies thinking in these areas by labelling such annoying kids "idea guys" though. I don't think good game concepts are actually that common, and lord knows I've seen an awful, awful lot of fail in things like plotline writing that a better ideas person might have had more chance at sorting out. Of course it's true that a pure idea person may have no future as a full time employee in a small scale setup, but I worry we're going too far with the annoyance at the "idea guy".

Thoughts?
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Clockwork

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Re: "Idea Guys"
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 02:47:12 PM »
Everyone has an idea on what kind of game they want but actual original ideas are getting increasingly rare. Only innovation in any one of gameplay or design or setting is needed. For example reskin skyrim with a dystopian wasteland and you get fallout4 but change it to a top down action/adventure and you get Jotun. Iterative games obviously have their place in the industry as well as reskins of games with a different theme. All assuming the game is made well btw, a bad game can't be wholly carried by a theme.

Just in case anyone isn't aware: The "idea guy" in big studios is a group of people that have worked in the industry for a while and generally they don't innovate all that much, just doing what has already worked for them so far. One example of a great dev who doesn't innovate all that much but is great at what he does is Josh Sawyer. He'd be an example of iterative games done really well.
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Jubal

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Re: "Idea Guys"
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 07:38:17 PM »
I think part of the issue with the term "idea guy" is that lots of organisations have them, but their function is actually really variable.

It's certainly an interesting question whether there's bound to be a big tail-off in game design innovation, or at least in innovations that actually click well with audiences. I guess the number of ideas and mechanics that enough gamers to form a reasonable market can get their head around may have fairly hard limits. Innovation is discouraged by the risk of overshoot as well, at least for big or commercial outfits - you could undoubtedly make a really innovative game but such that it didn't have a big enough niche to be commercially viable.
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Pentagathus

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Re: "Idea Guys"
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2015, 05:40:45 PM »
People who demand their ideas be implemented into your mod are annoying as portugal but easy to ignore, people who demand their ideas be implemented into a commercial game may well represent your customers, so even if they're annoying as portugal they can be pretty useful. In terms of ideas guys who work within the team, their usefulness rather depends on what you need. A mod or game which prides itself on interesting story and plot may have space in its team for people who's sole role is to be an ideas guy, otherwise probably not.
Personally I would like to have time to make an M&B mod, but I don't (and I don't even have a computer that can play m&b effectively) but I still sometimes think about ideas for it.

Jubal

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Re: "Idea Guys"
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2015, 08:51:10 PM »
Yeah, I think that's fair, though of course there may be a difference between the demographic of core gamers who are engaged enough to talk to you and the average user of your game.
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