Game ideas, darn it

Everyone hates an armchair game designer, including me, but now I’m out of the games industry for a bit I find ideas dripping into my head. No matter how much I try and ignore the ideas, a good one will grow on its own and get up to mischief.

So, hence being here. Does anyone still in the industry actually ever get interested in seeing other people’s games ideas? If so, I’ll bother to write the idea up for someone. Otherwise I’ll safely ignore it.

…hmm, the same goes for an awesome usb gadget idea I’ve had. A ThinkGeek kind of toy ;)


I wouldn’t give any of my ideas to a games company. I mean , they probably get a dozen emails every day with ideas that they never use and even if they did use it who’s to say that they will
a) give you credit.
b) make your idea into what you want to see.

Personally I’d try find a mod team that is willing to work ‘for’ you (like Matt Perkins and Myself… we’ve got a great team now).

Even if you give the game away for free at least people are having fun playing your creation. ( Well, hopefully)

It’s kind of a touchy subject, because of the possibility (however unlikely) of legal shenanigans. Everyone in the industry operates under a policy of never laying an eye on unsolicited submissions, and, for the most part, refraining from public comment on designs that have not been released.

Yup, I’m aware having been there and done that. You know how it is tho…

Hmmm. If anyone wants a nice idea for a fun web game let me konw. I’m happy to help out by… erm… writing and community building hehe :)


They never formally accept game ideas. The big reason is this:

A game company comes up with an idea. An outside person comes up with an idea and emails the idea to the game company, who in turn rejects it. One year later, the game comes out with the game idea in it. The person who sent the email says the stole his idea and demands compensation. It is a nasty legal problem.

If they never accept idea submissions, they can claim they never saw it and hence did not rip you off.

Also companies like blizzard would get like 1000 emails a day about such things and they do not have the time to go through them all.

I don’t know if there’s a place like this but I’d love to hang out in a forum where folks, sure armchair designers and other self-indulgent types, just talked about cool ideas for games they’d like to see made. No profit motive, a disclaimer that ideas discussed in the public forums are fair game for anyone, and no promise of acknowledgement of any kind.

Just judging from the occasional “here’s a great idea for a game/setting/concept” posts I see here, and have in momentary lapses of good taste contributed to, there have to be alot of people who just want to be heard or to ramble on about design ideas. Somehow it just doesn’t seem that appropriate to go on about it at Q23 where you’re sucking up the oxygen from real discussions about real games with, sometimes, real designers. But I’ll be damned if I’m not tempted to do it every other day anyhow.

Caliphas, if you’ve been in the game biz before, you probably know this already, but anyways:

  1. Your chances of finding a team to work on your idea for you, assuming all you’re contributing is the idea (i.e. you’re not funding, programming, or doing art), are almost nil. People, even mod teams, with the skills and wherewithal to create games want to make their own ideas, not someone elses. At best (and even this is unlikely), you might get a mod team fired up, get them to start on a prototype, and then things would fizzle out a few weeks down the line.

  2. I haven’t heard of any game company buying an idea off an outsider (or even an insider). Supposedly this happens in the TV/movie biz (i.e. the story of the origins of CSI - a cab driver pitching the idea to an exec he was driving around), but I’ve never heard of it happening in games.

  3. For the reasons stated by others (i.e. legal risk), game companies officially will not even consider external game ideas.

  4. All that said, many (most?) game developers do read forums - either their in-house forums, or various other forums including QT3. As always, there is a high lurk-to-post ratio. (i.e. more developers may be reading a given forum than you’d guess just by who posts and how much). It’s unlikely that posting a grand design in a forum will cause a developer browsing it later to snap his fingers and say “That’s it!”… but certainly developers can be swayed by what they read on forums. This is probably more so in the case where a developer is creating a sequel, and the fan base can see the original and make direct suggestions on it, but still, even if a developer has only a general idea in mind (i.e. a brand new RTS concept), a clever idea expressed on a forum may help them.

Planetcrap used to be like that. Sigh. We had some good god damned discussions about armchair game design there.

I’ve been thinking of game ideas since I was in elementary school, it hasn’t been til high school that I started thinking about involved games, like RTSes. Right now I got 7 ideas I’ve written down in and a few more in my head I think would make excellent games.

My goal is to become a creative director, someone who oversees the game design and works with the team to get the game made. As I’m really bad with hands on stuff.

Then you’ll never reach your goal, because the only way there is to work your way up. Or alternately, have the money to self fund your own company.

Maybe Tom should make a QT3 game design forum. Then we can all go there and talk about how great our ideas are and act like pretentious pricks when others do not agree. Still, it would be fun.

Corpnews has a game design forum, it is hardly used though. I would like a forum like that here, I have some ideas for a FPS MMOG Id like to discuss and hear how totally unworkable it really is.

Everyone would have to know in advance that ideas posted are in the public domain and you have no rights if some comapny does infact use your idea. Id post my ideas simply because I want to play the suggested games. So if someone else makes them and doesn’t fuck them up, great. Also there is the super slim chance Ill get into a position someday where I could see my game realised.

Edge magazine (dammit, I wish I could get this for less than $8 an issue in the States) had a fun article a few issues ago about “The Perfect Game”. It combined aspects of a lot of popular games and blended them into the best. It even covered funding, the kind of team you’d need, etc. Good read.

Here’s my idea, and you can have it royalty free. Remake X-COM: UFO Defense with a tactical engine like Silent Storm.

There ya go. Admission is FREE!

Make an FPS with a detailed strategic campaign, like the ones in the Total War games. I actually have a half-finished detailed description of one possible such game. Maybe someday I’ll finish it up and post it here.

Of course for the reasons stated above these games have no chance of ever being made. The handful of people who are in positions that allow them to pitch game concepts mostly just want to make WW2 shooters. That’s why I confined any serious wishes for these games to a thread about Santa.

I’d be cool with a game design forum! Being a dev myself I always kick around the idea of getting together with some folks to build something, with the caveat being that I work on things other than programming ( production and sound design would be my first picks ).

As for ideas, pretty much everyone I know has their pet favorites, and numerous ones at that depending on what constraints your willing to put on them.

My current pie-in-the-sky flavor of the day: Dragonstrike + Black & White + Planetside. As a dragon rider you manage the growth and development of your dragon from hatchling to adult, and ride them in battle in a persistant world. But again, it depends on the day of the week and, to a large part, what I currently have a hankering to play.

omg, we actually agree on something. Also, after the holidays or so (mainly because of the holidays we won’t be getting much done), if you’re interested, we could use the help of another…

Also, this talk of game design, isn’t that what the Game Illuminati is supposed to be?

Maybe Tom could just start another forum here, Ideas or the like.

Game Illuminati is George Broussard’s secret lair where he plots the next delay for Duke Nukem Forever. has, or had, a game development forum. Dunno about the quality of discussions, though.

If people want, I can start a game design/idea forum on my personal site. If there’s enough demand for it, anyway.

Why do we need another forum? What’s wrong with this one? Would another forum protect people from being made fun of?