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Mr Sloper

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robinventa
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I know that anything mainstream is usually dismissed by serious students in any creative field – whether it be literature, music, fine art, film or theatre.

How do serious game designers regard Mr Sloper - http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson20.htm - I remember reading this stuff a year or two back – and found it useful and entertaining. Is my opinion shared by others on this forum?

Robin

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Mr Sloper

I barely went trough his site, but I did enjoy it pretty much!

robinventa
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Mr Sloper

I posted this link because I had been reminded about the site when somebody mentioned here that “ideas are a dime a dozen”. I believe that was the topic, in another place, the last time I crossed swords with Mr Soper.

It may be that we are talking about different things. Could anybody who feels that “ideas are a dime a dozen” please give me an example of such a game related idea?

Robin

FateTriarrii
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Joined: 01/04/2009
Mr Sloper

What they probably are referring to is the ability of anyone to come up with a game idea. It is implementing it that takes time. As an excersize, try thinking of all the ways monopoly could (and has) been modified? Then look through all your ideas and consider what percentage might actually work...

robinventa
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Mr Sloper

mmmm..... so we are talking about ideas that are unrealistic, irrational and silly?

FateTriarrii
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Joined: 01/04/2009
Mr Sloper

Actually, most ideas are probably workable. It is just that you can't just tell the players "you can nuke other people." In a game, you have to tell them how. And to achieve that, you need to think about the how alot.

IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Mr Sloper

I haven't seen this site before. Thanks for bringing it up!

I'm one of the people in the "ideas are a dime and dozen" category. Elsewhere on his site (in his first lesson), Sloper sums my view up very well...

Quote:
Pretend for a moment that you have a great idea for a novel, not a game. How would you go about getting it written and published? Would you go to a bulletin board and advertise looking for an author to write it for you? No, you would have to get off your butt and write it yourself. I have heard that a friend of Frank Herbert (author of Dune) asked Herbert to author the friend's idea and split the profits 50/50. Herbert refused, even though the guy was a good friend -- Herbert's reply was basically that ideas are easy; the writing is the hard part. Think about it for a minute -- would YOU want to have a friend come up to you, tell you a few sentences, then have you spend months hunched over a keyboard turning his few sentences into the Great American Novel? I doubt it. If you /did/ spend months writing that book, would you want to give half of the money to that guy? I don't think so.

I think a first-time game designer (myself included, a few years back) get too worked up about the idea of the game. People won't play your idea, they'll play your game.

It's an interesting article, but it's really about board game publishing instead of design. I think he's wrong when he dismisses design and playtesting as "the easy part." Too many games fail to make it out of this stage for it to be considered easy. It also promotes the idea that you just need a couple of months for your idea to grow itself into a fully playtested game. I can't help but see this as a fairly agonizing process taking much longer (for most of us, who pay our bills with a day job and can't devote a Knizia-esque amount of time to game design).

Of course, this isn't to imply that producing and selling a game is easy compared to design. One could make the arguement that it is indeed more difficult, relatively speaking. But that wouldn't make the design and development stage any less hard. I don't think it's a step that should be glossed over.

The publishing advice itself seems well-written, though I'm not so sure about the advice to get a patent. It is important to know your rights; however, I don't think patents are applicable to many designers on this forum. I couldn't read the article on the fellow whose design was apparently stolen as it has since been moved, but if the game in question was a casino game that doesn't involve any bits outside the standard cards and chips (and seems more like a poker variant than an original game design), and it's designed specifically for casino play (I assume), then it's a different animal than many of the games our members are working on.

Finally, Mr. Sloper writes from the point of view that if a game is designed, its next natural step is to get published. Personally, I'm an amateur designer. I do this as a hobby; I don't want to worry about meeting deadlines or running out of money, because I don't want this escape valve of mine to stop becoming fun. That means if I take a week off from game design in order to play a computer game, or sleep in, or something unrelated, I will not raise the ire of any investors or developers who need to see the game hit the stores. It also means that if I actually "finish" a game design (ha ha!), I don't have any concerns about keeping it on store shelves or unleashing a new marketing campaign for it. I can put it on my bookshelf, bring it out when friends ask for it, and continue with my life.

(Of course, if an existing company wishes to publish my game, that's a different story!)

So I'd advise any other new designers to not rush into publishing simply because it seems the next logical or natural thing to do. It may indeed be the right thing in the end, but you should reach that conclusion through thought and consideration, not assumption.

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