So you have a great idea for a video game! What do you do now?
Maybe you have thought up a really neat and unique idea for a video game and you are thinking "If I can just get in touch with the right people I can sell it and make a lot of money. And I get to see my idea turned into a game that people will play".
Well, that may be true and it is possible to do but, to be honest, it is very unlikely. Developing a video game takes a lot of work. A typical game for todays mass market takes a team of people two years and thousands of hours of work to create.
Maybe all of that is a bit discouraging and if you really think you have an idea there are some things you can do and I will explain the steps and processes you can take to move your idea for a game out of the world of fantasy into the world of possibility.
The big obstacle to getting your idea made into a game is the question of who is going to do all that work? It is an important question. A group of people have to believe in the idea and have to do the work to take it from idea to reality and generally you have to rely on yourself. If you believe in your idea you need to be the person that will spearhead the work and get it from idea to reality.
Three Possible Paths to Success
There are three possible ways to get a game made from your idea:
Protecting your Idea
You probably have questions about your idea and how to protect it from being stolen. Well, I guess this is a possibility and maybe it has happened but it is unlikely. It goes back to the fact that it takes thousands of hours to take a game from idea to actual game and the number of unique ideas is relatively unlimited but here are some things you can do to get started in protecting yourself.
The Problem of Copyrighting Ideas
Ideas cannot be copyrighted! Sounds funny but its true. Here is a link to the document on the official Copyright.gov website Copyright Circular So, just having an idea means you have very little. If you draw pictures of your game and hopefully develop your idea into a game you can get copyright for those things. In any case here is some help with protecting yourself.
Send yourself a letter!
Put together an exhaustive package of materials about your idea. Include a summary, pictures, drawings and anything else that will describe your idea then seal it in an envelope and mail it to yourself registered mail. When you receive it you sign for it but do not open it. Leave it sealed. This gives you an amount of legal protection that establishes a time line for your idea.
NDA's (Non Disclosure Agreements)
A Non disclosure agreement is a legal contract between two parties. In this case it is between you and the person you want to reveal your idea to. It can be a useful tool that will help you protect your rights. Generally it outlines the confidentiality of your idea and prohibits the other party from using the idea. If you are serious about your idea you should do some research on NDA's and even speak with a lawyer about them. Outside of the United States these agreements are often referred to as Confidentiality Agreements and sometimes they are referred to as Secrecy agreements or Confidential Disclosures (CD's).
Okay Let's get started with something solid you can do
No matter which of the three paths you want to travel down there are some things that you can do to get your idea rolling on its path toward becoming a real video game.
The Paragraph you might not want to read
Okie, After going through all of that I am glad to see you are still with me. But, if you are thinking all of this stuff about NDA's, sending letters, writing up summaries and putting together packages just seems like too much work then you can see my point about making a video game from your idea. It takes a lot of work and if you are not going to do the work why should somebody else? If you really think your idea is a great one then I recommend you find the time and the motivation to make it happen! Nothing worthwhile is ever easy and hey it is totally possible that your idea can some day be an actual game. Every game ever made first started out as just an idea.
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