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Open Source Games

Afraid Someone Will Steal Your Game Design Idea? 140

Lemeowski writes "Game studios go to great lengths to protect their IP. But board game designer Daniel Solis doesn't subscribe to that philosophy. He has spent the past ten years blogging his game design process, posting all of his concepts and prototypes on his blog. Daniel shares four things he's learned after designing games in public, saying paranoia about your ideas being stolen "is just an excuse not to do the work." His article provides a solid gut check for game designers and other creatives who may let pride give them weird expectations."
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Afraid Someone Will Steal Your Game Design Idea?

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  • by Gman2725 ( 2947573 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:14PM (#44687105)
    He's creating a public record of his ideas and innovations by blogging in this way. It seems like it would encourage people to steal them, but could also be used in court to prove he had the ideas first. It may or may not hold up in court in the end, but at least it gives him the opportunity to get the credit he deserves publicly for his innovations.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:16PM (#44687145)

    Ideas are a dime a dozen ... what matters is execution. That's not just for games but pretty much everything in life.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:22PM (#44687219) Homepage Journal

    Which is pretty much the point of TFA (and in the case F really does stand for fine) but it's worth repeating, over and over, until people get it through their heads that "stealing ideas" is a meaningless concept. Good for this guy for having the guts to say it.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:30PM (#44687353)

    As Todd Howard pointed out during a keynote "Your ideas are not as important as your execution." The games that are loved and that endure are not the ones that had some amazing idea that nobody could have every thought of before. Heck, they often draw heavily on literature, film, myth, and popular culture. Rather they are the ones that execute their vision well, that are fun to play, that are a good ride.

    I can't think of a single game that I've seen succeed just because the idea was so good and so unique. Always, always, always, it was accompanied with good execution. In fact many of my all time favourites are not particularly original ideas.

    Good example? Civ 4. One of the all time greats in my opinion. I still play it from time to time. However an amazing original idea it is not. As the number implies, it is the 4th game in the series, they've done the same thing 3 times before. Also it wasn't an original concept to begin with, Civilization was a board game before it was a computer game. That aside, the idea of "a game where you conquer the world" is not that original of an idea.

    The reason it is a great game (and its successor not quite as good in my opinion) is the execution. It is well put together, fun to play, well tested, well balanced, has good visuals and music, it is stable, and so on and so forth.

    If you think the only thing that will make your game succeed is that its amazing idea be protected until it is released, well then it will fail. Good games are ones that would be good, even if someone had done something like them before, and does something like them after. They stand on their own.

  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:00PM (#44687815)

    "Ideas are a dime a dozen ... "

    People SAY this but they don't know what it means. MEDIOCRE ideas are a dime a dozen, GOOD IDEAS are hard to come by. There are tonnes of small things game developers could do when they are endlessly rehashing some first person/third person shooter and they NEVER do it. One can only conclude: They've never had the idea. Because many fantastic and quality ideas are cheap and easy to implement. I look over a game like Rage and I can only shake my head at the level of idiocy and lack of scope control on that project. They put way too much emphasis on graphics so most of their budget was sucked up by stuff that really didn't matter. Knowing what ideas/aspects of the game to put emphasis on is absolutely CRITICAL and that requires knowing WHAT IDEAS HAVE VALUE. Idea's are the schematic for a game, so saying 'ideas are a dime a dozen' sounds wise in principle but HAVING THE WRONG ideas (schematic) for a game means you'll be developing it in the wrong direction. So ideas are in fact critical at every point else you can't make decisions concerning quality.

    Someone out there has some killer ideas that no one can understand the value of, because if you're good at game design and coming up with ideas for gameplay. You need someone at your skill level or higher to understand their value.

    The real issue is dunning krueger.

    "The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes."

    "Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding." []

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake