Hi, my first post here so please be kind!!
Basically, I’ve been playing MMOs for a long time. One thing I’ve always
done is taken notes on design features I liked and thought of ways to
improve them. I have pages of ideas I’ve refined over the years which
I’m 100% certain would make an absolutely stellar MMO.
My feeling though, is that what I could accomplish personally would be
so poor an attempt that it wouldn’t be a fair reflection on the kind of
game I’d like to create.
I’m not looking to make tens of millions (though it would be nice!!) I
just really want to get the game I have in my head made as its something
I’d very much like to play/make!
It’s not that what I want to do is so groundbreaking, its quite the
opposite, its just the compendium of stuff I’ve seen working/almost
working in other games put together thoughtfully.
To be frank, the game I’d like to make is beyond the scope of the Indie
dev. What are my options realistically speaking?
To qualify my own position, I’m a recent CS graduate, fluent in
Java,C#, PHP and with a fairly decent uptake on almost anything that’s
put in front of me language wise. I’d work for poisonous money if I
could get a job in the ideas room of a games company!
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You have to prove yourself in order for anyone to take interest in you.
There’s no way anyone would take you on for a major development project.
A compendium of ideas is really no idea. With your experience, your very
best chance to get noticed is to develop an indie game. If you can’t do
that, there’s no way you can develop a large team project. You’re a
programmer so that’s a good start.
Ideas are not useless, but ideas are just a multiplier on
execution. Alternatively, an idea is like
picking a mountain to
which might or might not have a pot of gold at the top, but to find out
you have to actually climb it. :)
See also So You Want To Be A Game
from Penny Arcade. What it comes down to is: there is no such position
as the “ideas guy” at a game studio. Game designers need more skills
than just playing games and critiquing them (although that is certainly
important). They have to actually be able to execute, i.e. get stuff
done, and they need experience in actually designing games, not just
thinking about designing games.
Since you have programming skills already, you’re in a good place. You
can start making games today. No, you can’t make an MMO by yourself, but
if you can show a game company that you’ve designed and built a few
small games on your own and have an understanding of how to prototype
new gameplay mechanics, playtest, cull what isn’t working, and tune your
game to its best possible, then you’ll be well on your way to getting a
job as a gameplay programmer or junior designer at a company that makes
On the other hand, if you’re programmer and you’re good, you can find
some buddy to help you with development (graphics guy, or such).
Don’t say MMOs are impossible as one man projects, they’re possible, but
it won’t be next WoW. Smaller MMO are possible (especially Flash ones),
where there is most likely just a single programmer.
Get a bank loan, hire/contract workers, develop said game before your
budget runs out. High risk, high reward.
Get any job to pay the bills and slowly work on your project as a
hobby. In time, you’ll learn more about developing the subsystems of a
video game and become a more experienced developer.
Get a job in the game industry by whatever means necessary and you’ll
be to busy working on that game to care about anything personal.
9/10 devs take option C. The other guy takes Option B, often with a
greater salary, work-life balance, pension, and all those other
comfortable amenities :) The hardest part for you is putting down that
controller and stepping away from playing games. If you spend your free
time playing games rather than making them, well, those actions speak
for themselves. Same goes for contemplating designs. You need to get
your hands dirty and start producing something. It doesn’t even have to
be a game. Make a highly scalable server for instance. That’s the key
component in any MMO and in a lot of other industries, so the skills you
gain will not go wasted. Plus you won’t need to waste time learning
about rendering graphics, streaming audio, presentation, etc.
Making a full game from start to finish however can be ambitious. It’s
not just the features you have to think about, it’s the whole package.
Graphics, sounds, presentation, cameras, file formats, client/server,
network prediction, load balancing, clustering, databases, user
accounts, security/encryption, forgotten passwords, AI, animations,
dialog/story, etc. I haven’t even scratched the surface. Take every noun
in your game and that equates to work. Even if you knew everything about
all those fields, the amount of effort involved to incorporate them is
tedious. It’s not hard, just tedious.
keep in mind once you have made a game. you will have learned a great
deal. if the quality is too poor, it wont matter. you will know the game
inside out. improving it will be a simple matter. as everything else
game making is a step by step process. but making it is the most
important step. making it pretty and exactly the game you want. comes
after you make a game or games
Nutty, you missed Option D:
Start a company (or being a freelancer) and earn money that way, along
with that work on your game. But you will definitely finish other games
before you can even get to finish yours. Basically this is the option
I’m doing right now.
But I bet Option A (sorry for saying this here - but the wysiwyg
text editor is bugged :( ***) has never been successfully done. Or
***- when you press CTRL+B or switch bold (to turn it OFF) (or
also italic, underline, just tried it) at the end of post, sometimes the
cursor jumps to beginning of the post.
Write up your idea on kickstarter, get idiots to give you loads of
money. Move to the far east and post a picture of yourself on a beach
with a cocktail in your hand.
Joking aside, kickstarter and the others are one of the best options now
days for getting an indie title financed. A lot of the games coming out
are pretty exciting and legitimate.