Why we have no need for the Ideas Guy
In January this year, I got an email when shortly after I started marketing my game with an offer...this email is mostly in original format.
Hi Russell Davis,
My name is [Mr. Ideas guy, I like this name for a reason.] and I currently live in the Houston area. I read that you guys are a small indie game development team. I was going to ask you guys if you all have other games in development. I was going to develop a game in unity3d, but my job switch for 12-hour shifts every day. I don't have the time anymore. I was learning to program c# but couldn't learn the basics. My project ideas are there and I don't want them to go to waste. I was working with another person to develop my first game. We agree to go 50/50 on the earnings. He was from the [undisclosed name] website. We agreed to an NDA and to chat via skype three times a week. He signed and as soon as I sent him all the drawings and Ideas for the game he suddenly canceled his account. I decided not continue with the game and moved on with my second game instead. There are a lot of companies around the world that I can develop my game, but I can't trust anyone from another country or state. Now, I have to meet in person. It will give me a peace of mind. I have this game idea that may help your development company stand out. We can work together and build this game. We can put the project on Kickstarter once it's all organized. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message. I only answer to messages after 8:00 pm every day since I work 12-hour shifts every day.
And that's exactly when the brain aneurysm settled in. After a while, I awoke from a good ole fashioned stupidity coma. You know, a stupidity coma, when something so moronic is presented to you, that you go into a !@#$ing seizure. Am I being harsh? Well, my boot camp instructor presented that question to me once. I didn't answer back. First, it's not harsh to be truthful, and second, I was not going to answer back to a guy whose forearm tattoos are a mirror reflection of one another with flames and skulls all over them. Just.. no. I honestly didn't reply to this email and just thought: "whatever... it's just a lame proposal". But then I thought: "well what the hell was that about?" I mean this guy presented this as an actual business proposal. It's actually not the first time this has happened to us (or me). It doesn't take much thinking to realize he really had NOTHING to contribute other than ideas. He was overworked with another profession and just didn't come off as professional whatsoever.
I have run across these fiendish foes of the indie game development scene before. The massive weight threatening to bring your indie game crashing down: The Ideas Guy. No, I didn't coin the term myself, but it's a good name for it. Oh, I'm glad you asked. Well, an Ideas Guy is the person who will bring all the super duper ideas from his highly evolved brain to the table to make the best game ever. This article can help explain more and this one too. What he really needs is someone to do the hard part... You know, as in programming, testing [they will claim to absolutely needed at this part], composing music and sound effectetc ect. But you know what shit is going into your game, because you will be making it entirely alone [or everyone else, but him]. Once the game is done don't you worry, he will be there, right at the end... ready for all the glory as he waves to his audience while they scream in adulation. The entire development team with tears streaming down their cheeks, thinking "Oh great Ideas Guy, how could we ever make games without you?"
Well if we were in space, then Mr. Ideas Guy, into the airlock you go and quit pounding on the door, I just had it cleaned. What is a team suppose to do with a guy who will be sitting around for a half a year, at the very least, before a functioning demo is ready for him to judge with his scrutiny? Is this @#$hole going to walk up and down the room looking over shoulders, judging the works of people to fit his vision? I have spoken with so many other teams that had false starts, collapses midway through or even close to finishing their project which ended in chaos. Then, there's the one day someone on your team wants to be the ideas guy all of a sudden and give up on the actual work part of development (which is everything). To dictate absolute flow of game development will be his job, as if programmers, artists and musicians aren't talented enough to present their own ideas. Later on, some of these individuals become designers but they had to go (or should have gone) through the trenches to get there.
Here is an example: during college in the common area, I was just talking about game design. Not trying to make a game, mind you, just a conversation at the time with an associate. During the conversation another individual whom I knew of from another class injected himself into the conversation to talk about making a game together. At the time I sort of was on the fence with making games because game development is, no bullshit, hard as hell to do. It will require coordination, cooperation, and abilities to deal with various issues, ranging from technical to the righ management of manpower, etc. I asked what he had in mind, and he explained he could do some illustrations but he stated quickly and I @$%&, you're not "more of an ideas guy". I don't remember much after the thud of my head hit the floor... remember... stupidity coma.
I see that online all the time. Shit tons of ideas guys and not one of them are seemingly capable of filling a @#$%ng ice cube tray, let alone to produce and assemble together a cohesive game. It's great to have passion, that's no lie, but realism needs to settle in. So, go out and find your own way to make a game. There are tons of tools, knowledge bases, and it's never been easier (to a degree) to make a pretty decent indie game by yourself. I know it's possible and, in the end, the only limitation is oneself.
Extra: The only Ideas Guy in the world to listen to at all would be the one with the money. But even there, be careful what deal you make. Lawyer up is all I can say when or if that ever happens to you.