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What is a game designer?

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adversitygames
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radioactivemouse wrote:So no,

radioactivemouse wrote:
So no, I don't imply that I know more based on the fact I published a game. I give my advice based on the fact I have a lot of experience working in the business. Period.

Did I mention I started in the game industry in 2003? Don't you think that in 13 years I've have a little confidence in myself about the game industry?

This is the problem. You keep referencing your education and your experience gaming. You *do* imply that you know more because of these things.

Neither of these things are a guarantee that you have good ideas. They don't add explanatory content. They're a claim of authority and status, not quality ideas. This is why you might seem big-headed, it makes you seem like you want people to "respect" you for all your "experience" rather than just talking about your ideas.

X3M
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A humble oppinion.

@ questccg

I know about who we where talking about. And that 1000 was a joke. Because I did hear that he bought the game himself one time. Just to have it bought at least 1 time. There was this being sold counter, saying 1.

A misunderstood guy that lost his path in life. But not a bad guy from what I have seen.

Did not know that he published a Star Trek game though.

***

@ all

Maybe, it is better to stop with this topic.
I mean, the discussion was to give some sort of title or ranking to forum members. But clearly, when being pointed towards a direction like being a designer or not or something in between. Some people start disagreeing with how they are seen by others. And others reconfirm again. Which is a vicious cycle that has to be broken by simply stopping.

---

From personal experience, I know that every person is how they are seen by others. Others know you better than yourself. (note the "personal")

If you disagree, perhaps showing work etc. would help. Give links, to whatever has been made. And simply leave it at that. No matter what opinion is thrown at you.

But simply claiming with words, does not help/work at all.
It leaves a nasty after taste for all who where part of the discussion. Because it has become a YES!/NO! game. I don't like these kind of discussions. They are bad for forums.

I guess,.. in the end, it is all about acceptance, then grow into what you want to be SEEN by others. Or at least try to, in a civilised matter.

I am convinced now, that a ranking or whatever. Will NOT work.
As a frequent poster, you (and me too) have given others an image. And you don't know that image until it is told to you. It can be positive, and than it is ok. It can be negative, than it should be accepted to a certain extend? Sure you can ask, but accept the "reason".

We all got our personal page here. With information about ourselves. We can put links there too. And if you feel that newcomers should know with who they are talking with. They should view those personal pages first. The welcome page should attend them on that?? It would certainly give a little win-win situation to all of us.

As been said before, it would be their own responsibility.

This is how I feel about it.

djayshaggy
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I agree about the profile

I agree about the profile info and making people aware of that. I generally give weight to people's options based on the frequency and quality of their posts throughout the site. I wouldn't be opposed, though, to a "Verified Published" and "Verified Self-Published" badge, which could give weight to some opinions and potentially encourage people to look further into those people (such as which games they've had published and by whom).

radioactivemouse
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iamseph

iamseph wrote:
radioactivemouse wrote:
So no, I don't imply that I know more based on the fact I published a game. I give my advice based on the fact I have a lot of experience working in the business. Period.

Did I mention I started in the game industry in 2003? Don't you think that in 13 years I've have a little confidence in myself about the game industry?

This is the problem. You keep referencing your education and your experience gaming. You *do* imply that you know more because of these things.

Neither of these things are a guarantee that you have good ideas. They don't add explanatory content. They're a claim of authority and status, not quality ideas. This is why you might seem big-headed, it makes you seem like you want people to "respect" you for all your "experience" rather than just talking about your ideas.

Ok, that's fair.

I'd like to think I have recommended good ideas in the past, but I suppose that's subjective. I apologize.

ElKobold
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radioactivemouse wrote:I'd

radioactivemouse wrote:

I'd like to think I have recommended good ideas in the past, but I suppose that's subjective. I apologize.

No need for sarcasm.

I`m pretty sure that your contribution and sharing the experience is welcomed by everyone.

But hinting that someone is "worthy" to be called a game-designer, while someone else isn't, because he is yet to prove himself, won't score you much points, I think.

We're all here to share ideas and experience. If you have more experience to share - great!

smitc240
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Newbie here. You're a game

Newbie here. You're a game designer if you've designed a game. Period. You are a movie maker if you've made a movie. Period. take away ego and it all seems kinda obvious. Being good at your craft is another story.

questccg
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I think you are making the EXACT opposite point

smitc240 wrote:
Newbie here. You're a game designer if you've designed a game. Period. You are a movie maker if you've made a movie. Period. take away ego and it all seems kinda obvious. Being good at your craft is another story.

I've already explained to another "newbie" that to qualify oneself as a "Musician" is NOT CORRECT simply because you play a musical instrument.

For sake of simplicity, I will not rehash the entire reason for this.

I'll make it simpler (for you and all the other newbies).

DEFINITION "Musician": "a person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented."

It says nothing about someone who "dabbles" in music at some point in time or as a hobby. Using the designation of a "Musician" has a MEANING. And if you are NOT a true "Musician" you are misappropriating the term.

The fact that you "imply" that a "Game Designer" is somebody with an "unpublished", "untested", "unverified" piece of work means very little with the people who have "published", "tested" and "verified" designs.

Like @radioactivemouse explained, just because you know how to use "Adobe Photoshop" does not make you a "Graphic Artists". People go to school to study how to become "Graphic Artists" ... what makes you think that all they learned was how to use "Photoshop"???

This has nothing to do with EGO either. It's got something to do with "accreditation" and the proper use of the term "Game Designer". The argument is that just because you designed a "Game" does not mean that you are a "Game Designer"... otherwise everybody who is "NEW" to the hobby will entitle themselves under false pretexts that they TOO are "Game Designer"... Even the ones that claim to be "Fist Time Game Designers".

The argument I make is that all newbies are "Students" of "Game Design". And until their designs are tested and verified, they are NOT "Game Designers". They "dabble" and simply have made a design.

Now what we are "unsure" about is WHO rightfully deserves the title of "Game Designer". First Time or other. And the point is that not everyone who posts a message on this forum should call themselves "Game Designers".

Personally I use the term "Hobbyist", others have suggested "Amateur"... But to come to this website, post a message that a design you have made is up on Kickstarter and then disappear (Poof!) 30 days later - doesn't qualify you as a "Game Designer"...

Do you understand the argument???

djayshaggy
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questccg wrote:...to qualify

questccg wrote:
...to qualify oneself as a "Musician" is NOT CORRECT simply because you play a musical instrument.
...
DEFINITION "Musician": "a person who plays a musical instrument...

A little off topic, but I just wanted to point this out. And, by the way, I do not "dabble" in music. I play music - multiple instruments, have a home studio for recording, have played professionally, but now prefer to play for free. And, believe it or not, just because I don't get paid and you will probably never hear any of my music doesn't mean I'm not a musician. Just because my wife has never been paid to play doesn't mean she's not. Not that I need any validation from you, but I just wanted to point out the contradiction in your statement.

Also, you seriously need to chill. I can feel the self-righteous rage emanating from your comments, and this is starting to feel more like an IGN comments board than a legitimate forum for people to get quality input from other designers. You have an opinion which most people don't seem to share. You have a right to that opinion, but that doesn't make it gospel.

questccg
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Not from me...

There is no "rage" or "ego" talking. I'm just discussing @radioactivemouse initial OP.

I did not mean to "disrespect" your musical talents either.

But @radioactivemouse is making a valid point.

Note: And congrats on the musical talent.

And I am qualified with some experience also since I have been a member of this Forum for more than 5 years. And some people signed up 5 years ago - and have never posted any messages or contributed to this community.

I'm just echoing @radioactivemouse argument about the term "Game Designer" much like "Graphic Artist", etc.

Note #2: And like I said "everyone" seems to be like "who cares" about the term "Game Designer", "we're all Game Designers" seems to be the response of most people. I am certain that that was @radioactivemouse initial intention with the OP.

Q: "Why is it IMPORTANT to all 'First Time Game Designers' to call themselves 'Game Designers' at all???"

Note #3: Another example because I BAKE a CAKE - does that mean I am a "BAKER"? To produce cakes like "Cake Boss" takes a LOT of know how - especially with commercial grade equipment, techniques for making the dough, etc. It should be the same for both "Game Designers" and "Graphic Artists"...

Update: To me "personally" I think you need to have a "proven" design to call yourself a "Game Designer". This mean either you have "Self-Published" the game (if you have - my kudos to you - because WE know this is a tough route...) or have one of your designs "Published" by a Publisher... (an equally hard road to travel for all kinds of other reasons).

smitc240
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You're flat wrong Quest.

DEFINITION "Musician": "a person who PLAYS a musical instrument, ESPECIALLY as a profession, OR is musically talented."

Read it again. This time put on your thinking cap. And again, put your ego aside.

I'm a professional photographer because I get paid by a major TV network (yes, even if it were a dollar, it would count). ANYONE who takes pictures is a photographer. Get it? Me screaming about how people taking pictures with their phones AREN'T photographers, hell that's just my ego. Some are better photographers than I am, not being able to admit it is someone who is not very confident in their craft. And most likely not any good. The cream rises to the top. Always, you can't stop it.

Good luck fellow newbies (In any endeavor), don't let dinosaur egos get in your way! They're going extinct.

questccg
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smitc240 wrote:...Me

smitc240 wrote:
...Me screaming about how people taking pictures with their phones AREN'T photographers, hell that's just my ego.

That's the point I am making. And it has nothing to do with ego.

I go by the term "Hobbyist".

Perhaps things being so accessible - makes it seem like everybody can do everything. But that's not true.

I'm sure you being a professional photographer can relate to the "Good Old Days" where you needed to process your own film instead of digital photography.

So what if somebody may take a "nice" or better picture than you. They are still "Amateurs" and you are a "Professional".

That's all that I am saying...

Note: Just because it's easier to take a picture nowadays - doesn't mean that everyone carrying their iPhone is a Photographer... Or even worst a "Journalist". Ego aside - it takes years of learning a profession, and it also takes time to realize and overcome challenges of your trade or profession.

This melting pot attitude has to stop.

For every GOOD YouTube channel, there are HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of BAD ones.

smitc240
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Trying to follow the logic...

If someone took a better pic why would it matter if *I* thought they were 'unprofessional'??? It wouldn't. It wouldn't matter to anyone, they're the photographer of the picture. They took a better picture. Saying I'm more 'professional' at that point is making myself out to be somewhat of a joke no?

What if an amateur made a better game than you? Are they still amateurs? Are you still a professional?

Anyone who takes a picture is the photographer of that picture. Anyone who designs a game is the designer of that game.

Good luck newbies!

questccg
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smitc240 wrote:...What if

smitc240 wrote:
...What if someone made a better game than you? Are they still amateurs? Are you still a professional?

I am not a professional "Game Designer". I am a "hobbyist". I don't design games as a way of living.

I'm pretty certain that people have designed much better games than I.

But this "I can do everything - anyone else can do" just because you are given the means, has absolutely no bearing on their background is illogical (to me).

Why is it "important" to distinguish between being a "Professional" or not? Well there are social ramifications to earning Boy Scout Badges, no?

And I know a couple hobbyist photographers, they have spent thousands of dollars in terms of equipment, lighting, etc... They also invest a lot of time in their off-hours to "hone their craft". The INVEST their time and effort to go out there and search for the right exposure, light, etc. All the while trying to find the right "shot".

That's probably what you spend most of your own time on.

But you probably are much more knowledgeable in the art of photography than someone who is snapping pictures with a iPhone. Why do people hire a Photographer for Weddings? Why not just ask someone to use their iPhone?

We NEED professionals and we need to make the distinction between those who are and are not. IMHO.

smitc240
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Because their 'background'

Because their 'background' may have no bearing on their ability to produce professional results.

Are there ramifications to winning boy scout badges? I doubt it. Are they even a thing anymore?

questccg
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As an example

Went to a friend's wedding a while back. He had TWO (2) Photographers:

1. A professional photographer that was also a video producer.

2. A amateur photographer to take pictures of the guests.

The Amateur photographer did a really nice job in capturing people. But why do you think they chose to also hire a professional photographer? Because they want to make sure all the *important* pictures were handled by a "professional".

The ad-hoc - extra picture were nice - but not the main focus of the event.

If people think like that, there must be a reason for it, no?

questccg
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smitc240 wrote:Because their

smitc240 wrote:
Because their 'background' may have no bearing on their ability to produce professional results...

Oh and personally, I have created a lot of "sh!tty" attempts with my collectible card game efforts (I've been trying my hand at a CCG for a while) and have been encountering all kinds of difficulties with the mechanics.

I know CCGs/TCGs are things nobody will make money on - except for the few Elitists such a Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) or Wizards Of The Coast (WOTC).

But I have created a very GOOD "Deck-Building" game. Have seen some good reviews and have scored a 94% for the artwork (anonymous poll/test). But I am the one who has "invested" in the game: I've paid for all kinds of stuff from Creative Writing to Illustrations to prototypes and shipping.

As I have told @djayshaggy my issue is with the limitation of today's designs. Contributors want to be paid for their efforts. Nobody is interested in working for a percentage of the profit. "Game Designers" need to "flip the bill" so to speak. Ask around and you'll have difficulty in finding an Illustrator to work based on a percentage of the profit.

It seems like in this industry people are building walls. Putting the onus on "Designers" as the content creators and the source of production. But far from seeing any return in terms of profit from said games.

People are trying to find collaborators without success.

This is "sad" and I find it discouraging. If you want to be a part of something, the best way is to contribute and not expect anything in return. If a game becomes popular the argument is that everyone should share in the profit.

But this is not the thinking of other "creatives". Unfortunately.

That's my real beef about this whole "Game Designer"-bit...

Again no "rage"/"ego"/"attacks"/"insults", just some honest truths to the state of the industry - as per my own experience (and echos from other "Designers").

adversitygames
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questccg wrote:As I have told

questccg wrote:
As I have told @djayshaggy my issue is with the limitation of today's designs. Contributors want to be paid for their efforts. Nobody is interested in working for a percentage of the profit. "Game Designers" need to "flip the bill" so to speak. Ask around and you'll have difficulty in finding an Illustrator to work based on a percentage of the profit.

It seems like in this industry people are building walls. Putting the onus on "Designers" as the content creators and the source of production. But far from seeing any return in terms of profit from said games.

People are trying to find collaborators without success.

This is "sad" and I find it discouraging. If you want to be a part of something, the best way is to contribute and not expect anything in return. If a game becomes popular the argument is that everyone should share in the profit.

But this is not the thinking of other "creatives". Unfortunately.

Everyone wants to make the work worth their time. It's hard to predict if a game will do well or not, so people generally don't want to invest work in something when they can't tell if it will pay off.

It certainly makes producing a game *harder*, it would be easier to do if people just spent their time for free to help out. But I don't have a problem with their choice. There is nothing wrong with them wanting to get paid for work so they can pay their bills and get the things they want.

polyobsessive
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Worth my time?

iamseph wrote:
Everyone wants to make the work worth their time. It's hard to predict if a game will do well or not, so people generally don't want to invest work in something when they can't tell if it will pay off.

Hmm, I dunno about that. Or possibly this is true if you don't mean "financially" when you say "pay off".

I am an amateur/hobbyist game designer. I am happy to describe myself as a game designer these days, not because I have been published (I haven't) but because I can't stop myself creating games. I can't not do it, if you see what I mean.

While I would love to have some of my games published, I very much doubt that I will ever earn enough off them to make the whole process worth my while from a financial perspective. It's possible I get lucky one day and get a hit or two, but the competition is so great that even if I do make a worthy contender I might still not get lucky.

That said, I feel that the exercise of designing games has paid off already in other ways. It is a fun and engrossing hobby that allows me to both learn skills and express my creativity; it has allowed me to meet and get to know a great community of game designers, both online and in real life; and there is an amazing buzz to be had from seeing people enjoying something I have created. Plus some of the skills I have been developing are useful in other parts of my life.

I'm more than happy to keep designing games, even with no significant prospect of even earning enough to pay me back for my development materials and costs, let alone actually earning money to live on.

adversitygames
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I was responding to questccg

I was responding to questccg about eg. illustrators not being willing to collaborate on a game for a cut of profits.

I similarly design games as a hobby in my free times. I don't get paid and don't know if I will ever get paid.

I think it's easier to find a designer who designs games as a hobby than an illustrator that does commercial-quality illustration for games as a hobby. There might be exceptions, but then I said "generally" not "universally".

polyobsessive
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Oops!

iamseph wrote:
I was responding to questccg about eg. illustrators not being willing to collaborate on a game for a cut of profits.

Ah, sorry, I didn't read the context of your comments thoroughly enough.

I guess I've contributed my position on this now though. :)

And, as for paying illustrators, it looks like we're pretty much all on the same page. If you want someone to contribute to your project then unless they share your passion for the project (and why should they?) then they should be compensated properly.

I think that, in the unlikely event that someone wanted to commission me to design a game for them, I would want to be paid for the job, not just offered a percentage.

questccg
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iamseph wrote:I was

iamseph wrote:
I was responding to questccg about eg. illustrators not being willing to collaborate on a game for a cut of profits.

I understand - it's just a little unfortunate. Maybe it forces us to focus on the designs we know are GOOD as opposed to those that are only mediocre.

iamseph wrote:
I similarly design games as a hobby in my free times. I don't get paid and don't know if I will ever get paid.

I think a lot of designers on this website are "hobbyists". Which is nothing bad - all it really takes is one good game to propel you into the spotlight.

But I wish collaborations could be possible - with writers and graphic artists and illustrators. My current game's budget is $7,000 for everything that has gone into making it. But I have not collected a dime, nor do I expect to ... I'm being a little pessimistic - but people seem to like the game, but have not filled out our little survey.

I guess it would be possible to TRIM it down to $5,000 without any writers and lowering the cost for a Graphic Artist. It's still an EXPENSIVE hobby. But it fills me with more joy than a holiday on some beach somewhere... It also occupies more time than just a week or two.

Anyhow ... I doubt any of this changes anytime soon.

fgeo
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A different perspective

That's an interesting topic; so interesting that it motivated me to write my first post in bgdf... ;-)

As the responses so far also prove, it seems unlikely that all of us will agree on any given definition. This is normal, I guess; this is not a mathematical essay or a court of law, so precise definitions are not easy, or necessary, to agree upon.

I think the problem should be viewed from a different perspective. I am what I am. And I see myself in a certain way. I may want to call myself a game designer just because I have a game concept that I like; or because I have playtested my first game; or because I have published a game; or because I like designing games; or because I think the title is cool. It doesn't matter. It's my right to call myself whatever.

However, calling myself a game designer and being one is a different thing. Other people also have their opinions. Other people may think that I'm a game designer or that I'm not; they may think that I'm a "fake", or "talented", an "amateur", or a "hobbyist", a "good", or a "bad" game designer. It's OK. It's their right. I don't expect them all to agree on how I should call myself or on what I am.

But what I *am* is somehow the "median" of what people think about me. That's the power of communities, and that's how the meaning of terms comes about. Not by an imposed definition, which we are unlikely to agree upon anyway. The system will spit the "fake" ones, embrace the "talented" ones etc. But it will happen on its own, given enough time and interactions.

I don't see this as the definite answer to the question, just my two cents to help the idea pots stirring.

Soulfinger
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The defining question is,

The defining question is, have you made any money at it? That is what distinguishes the professional from the amateur. Not just generating content but profiting from it, because if designing a game is the hard part for you then perhaps you are in the wrong line of work. The hard part, the work part, is the process of selling your concept. I know that the OP brought up the example of selling $1 adventures to friends, but we all hopefully know what a genuine paycheck looks like.

People have already mentioned parallels in photography and music, and the same principle applies there. If people pay you money to take photographs then you can in good conscience put "Professional Photographer" on your business card. Are you any good at it? Not necessarily, because most of the world is run by people who are at best semi-competent at their jobs. A significant section of the workforce should be fired, because it is quite possible to be experienced at being incompetent. Being a professional doesn't mean that you are necessarily talented or experienced. It is just the badge of honor for those who have passed that initial hurdle of earning money for their work.

Yes, there are talented amateurs who are better than any paid professional. Kind of like how struggling fine artists sneer at the illustrators and graphic designers who are "pimping" their talent for a salary. Some of those fine artists go on to make a profit within their lifetimes, which then qualifies them as professional artists (and leads to the art-world debate of whether they've "sold out" same as the illustrators). There are going to be first-time game designers here who are more technologically savvy, more aware of recent innovations in production processes, and so forth than industry veterans perhaps wary of the digital revolution. There are also people here with work experience outside of "game design" that generates valuable insights.

Things get blurry these days because of print-on-demand and self-publishing. I've met plenty of "published" authors who have written multiple novels but haven't turned an actual profit from a single one. What it means to have your game "published" can become fuzzy. When someone asks me what qualifies a person as a writer though, I point them to something like the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/

That's what it takes to join a professional organization for that industry. That is what qualifies one as a professional science fiction or fantasy author. Maybe someday GAMA will have a "Designer" level membership. Until then, Game Designer is rather like being a pastor. Some people are called to the latter vocation, so they go to college for eight years, do their internship, learn Hebrew and Latin, and become active academics and counselors. Other people get paid just the same with a high school degree and the best of intentions -- essentially djayshaggy's notion that commitment is enough to earn the title, except that these guys also do, in fact, get paid.

I don't think that there's any need for anyone to qualify themselves or offer up credentials here. That's what the real world is for, that place where we shake hands, look each other in the eyes, and realize that we TOTALLY wore the same shirt that day -- whereas most of us are writing these posts while we poop. Caveat emptor is a given online, and learning to differentiate the good from the bad here is a genuine skill worthy of developing, much the same as reading people when face-to-face.

Regardless of what field, I expect that all of the professionals here know the exhilarating feeling of getting that first check. There's also the qualified versus unqualified answer to "Oh, you are X? Where might I have seen your work?" Professionals rarely feel intimidated by that question. If your answer involves how The Man and The System are keeping you down, and if only, and if people would just accept your complicated alternative scheme for the way that the industry should work then you are probably at the other end of the spectrum. The more professional you are at something, the more that endeavor creeps to the front of the list when someone asks what you do for a living. I've made substantially more money at other work than writing, but I still say that I am a writer by trade.

I've probably posted this somewhere in the past, but I have not had a game published. I'd be more likely to list "Alcoholic" on a business card. I have been paid professional rates for numerous RPG articles (and this is outside of other paid writing and editing work). I successfully pitched an RPG product and signed a contract but this was shortly before my daughter was born with severe medical problems. Between that and my wife's failing health, I won't be finishing any projects like that in my immediate future. Most of the advice that I've ever given here stems from professional and amateur experience in other fields (whether it be self-publishing a print magazine or the much less applicable stint as a Wild West Town cowboy). Mostly, I enjoy business as a hobby thanks to the influence of my father who was an accomplished executive. I'd like to see more aspiring game designers take an interest in things like marketing, consumer psychology, and business management.

let-off studios
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Coffee's for closers.

Soulfinger wrote:
The defining question is, have you made any money at it? That is what distinguishes the professional from the amateur.
I actually agree with this, and realize I was kind of coming at this debate with the wrong approach. Here's another awesome example of this perspective (though NSFW). It's from Glengarry Glen Ross, a stunning play that was turned into an equally stunning film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elrnAl6ygeM

I was wrong. Coming from a business perspective, game design is an industry like any other.

I'm strictly a hobbyist at this point, though I don't want to stay that way for the rest of my days.

questccg
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Coffee's for closers (2x)

let-off studios wrote:
...I was wrong. Coming from a business perspective, game design is an industry like any other.

I'm strictly a hobbyist at this point, though I don't want to stay that way for the rest of my days.

From my perspective, I have more ideas I would like to "explore". That's fancy talk for I want to design MORE for my game. "Tradewars - Homeworld" was designed with EXPANSION in mind.

Right off the bat, I already have an expansion that will be sold separately because *newbies* felt that the game had "too many options". To me "it's a GAME people - you don't have to win it everytime!" Sheesh!

And then I would like to create two (2) additional races which I currently have some developed material for.

BUT I NEED to re-coup some money IF I want to make an expansion. My coffers are running low and the only way to produce more - is SALES.

So I agree "Coffee's for closers". Wish I knew something about sales. It takes being shrewd and not for honest people (from what people are telling me...) IMHO I don't care what people around me have. They could be millionaires for all I know. What matters to me - is what happens to MY game. How well is it perceived - do people like it, etc. It's not like I am self-centered or an ego maniac - it's just because I feel like my options are running out...

Which means I may need to "quit" this pursuit - because I won't be able to afford making anything (since the investment costs are too high)...

Note: As far as the "designation" of "Game Designer" ... to me this hinges on how well my 2nd game does. Those who know me and my background, know that my first game was the product of pure inexperience that led to nowhere. I got feedback from other designer who introduced me more into the hobby... and told me what kind of game I should make.

So thanks to their input - I designed "Tradewars - Homeworld" (TWHW). You can't even compare "Quest AC" to TWHW... Quest AC was when I had no clue and TWHW is when I actually LEARNED about the Game Design industry and what to orient myself towards (the game's goal).

But anyway you look at it, it still is an "EXPENSIVE" Hobby.

ElKobold
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Quest, buddy, do you really

Quest, buddy, do you really HAVE TO mention Tradewars - Homeworld, which is designed with EXPANSION in mind every TIME you POST?

;)

questccg
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ElKobold wrote:Quest, buddy,

ElKobold wrote:
Quest, buddy, do you really HAVE TO mention Tradewars - Homeworld, which is designed with EXPANSION in mind every TIME you POST?

;)

Sorry! I also had the "eXpandable Tabletop Game" (XTG3) Organization I was hoping to bring to life... But pretty useless if I can't even make my OWN expansion!

But I'll try not to mention it in my future posts... Sometimes I should EDIT my own posts - because frankly they get too personal and too in detail.

My BAD! Just being honest...

Edit: Could be the Sangria talking too! ;)

Note: Good news on the XTG3 front - I met a Lawyer/Game Designer recently. I am hoping to have a fruitful conversation with him to see if he can guide me with the XTG3 project!

Soulfinger
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questccg][quote=let-off

questccg][quote=let-off studios wrote:
It takes being shrewd and not for honest people (from what people are telling me...)

You are essentially saying "I could succeed at this if I weren't morally superior to all of the successful people." That's not a valid excuse. In fact, in that one sentence you demonstrate your alienation from your own customer base.

Dishonesty is not integral to good salesmanship. Yes, sales is one of the fields that attracts sociopaths, and a bad sales manager can quickly institutionalize a system of disingenuous values that will poison an entire department, but the end result in either case rarely equates to good salesmanship. Good marketing frames the debate in your favor, but earnest salesmanship is just the assertive hand-holding that guides your customer toward what is a demonstrably good product.

I've read a lot of your posts Quest, so I will be frank about why I think you are actually struggling. I don't see you as adaptable, and I get the impression that your business decisions are uncoordinated and not part of a well-structured plan. Optimism is vital to any sales endeavor, and what I've repeatedly seen in your posts is an attitude of, "I tried X, it didn't work out, so that venue won't work for me." I remember how dispirited you were after being turned away by one or two game shops for play-testing sessions, but you need thicker skin and a willingness to revise your approach. When I coach writers, I tell them to expect DOZENS of rejections per submission. Stephen King, the perfect example of success with only modest talent, wallpapered his room in rejection letters.

Your posts tend to emphasize problems over problem solving, and again, I think that is because there is no context for your struggles. When you have a good business plan, a problem is like a hiccup in an otherwise healthy organism. Nothing grinds to a halt or makes you question your self worth because one aspect of the project floundered. Having infrastructure in place allows you to micromanage that troublesome issue while leaving the greater whole unattended for a while. Without a solid plan, you are just leaping from fire to fire, trying to tamp them out without realizing that the whole project is being reduced to ashes. For example, you complain that this is an expensive hobby, but I recall several instances of you resisting the notion of reducing your costs. Product development is not expensive for people who have structured their efforts to minimize expenses.

Nothing in your posts suggests the empathy that is a prerequisite of good salesmanship. You tend to realign other people's comments into your personal narrative. And if the way you write your posts reflects how you write work emails or communicate in real life then sales is going to be an uphill battle. I've seen a few posters severely misinterpret your tone from the way that you write, and it is easy to do.

All-in-all, if you are self publishing your own game then you may as well stop thinking of yourself as a game designer. That is the term for the guy who writes his game and sees his involvement end when it is accepted by an established publisher. You, on the other hand, have an entire box full of hats to wear, each with its own unique subset of skills to master. That's probably the greatest obstacle here in defining what it is to be a "Game Designer." You, Quest, like many of the other posters just flat out aren't. Or rather, that is just one subset of you being an "Entrepreneur" who is managing all aspects of a full-fledged business. If you think of yourself as just a game designer then you are neglecting 90% of what you need to learn to succeed at what you are doing. These are skills that people struggle to learn at a college level, so it takes more than guesswork and good intentions to answer that question of "My game is done, now what?"

Mulling this over makes me realize that professionalism doesn't just stem from profit but also one's willingness to "play ball." I once attended a lecture by a professional artist who works in collage. Knowing that his medium is the mainstay of children and housewives, typically more craft than art, he draws a very small illustration of an object as part of each piece to demonstrate that he understands the principles of traditional fine art. It is fine to be an outsider or indie designer and seek profit through unconventional channels, but every indie designer should have that one commercial project under his belt to demonstrate that he has chosen to work this way as a viable alternative and not because his work can't cut it in the established industry. It is a lousy calling card to start a Kickstarter with the implied message of "Nobody who knows what they are doing liked my work, and so I'm hoping you schlemiels won't know any better."

questccg
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Learning through experiences

@soulfinger: I'm NEW to this also...

I virtually knew nothing about mechanics and went from a very simple set collection game to a very sophisticated deck-builder.

Even if it's been 5 years that I have been working on designs - I still consider myself relatively NEW to the business.

As far as being "Entrepreneurial" and business-savy, I am not. I would rather work for a company than run my own. I used to dream about owning a company but having gone through the process of owning one - have figured out that I'd rather work for a charismatic leader than be one.

Perhaps it's because just like Jamey Stegmeir, I need to find my Allan Stone. Somebody to handle the sales/financial side of things; so that I can focus on the creative side of things...?

Again "Game Design" is a hobby - but one that I would like to evolve to add additional "accomplishments" such as having other successful designs.

Note: I know what it takes to be successful at sales - and I know I don't have that skill set. My day job which pays my bills forces me to use my creativity to resolve difficult problems.

As for "fire-fighting", I'm very good at that - I spent over 10 years doing exactly that before moving to a position that is more strategic in nature. "Fire-fighting" used to pay very good money also... you don't know how many people are in need of help. And out of time...

But that's the past, now I help bring other people's vision into reality. It's not as stressful even though it can be challenging at times.

Soulfinger
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questccg wrote:Perhaps it's

questccg wrote:
Perhaps it's because just like Jamey Stegmeir, I need to find my Allan Stone. Somebody to handle the sales/financial side of things; so that I can focus on the creative side of things...?

Just keep in mind that the role of the "idea guy" is more of a myth and a hilarious one at that. If all you need is someone else to do all of the work while you pound out these killer ideas then you should get busy submitting your work to the big game companies straightaway. Because your ideas are that good, right?

If you are so creative that someone would be willing to collaborate with you and take on all other aspects of production just to turn your idea into reality, rather than the idea of someone who also happens to have a degree in Business, then logically you have everything it takes to be the next Reiner Knizia . . . except maybe the doctorate in mathematics and his experience managing a two-billion-dollar financial company.

The fact is that if the "idea guy" isn't taking part in major operations then he is busy mopping floors, fetching coffee, and gradually losing controlling interest in the company. Everyone is an idea guy, but only people with complimentary skills and training have their ideas become publicly known.

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