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To All Non-Programmer Idea Peddlers


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#1 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:23 PM

I'm going to try to definitively answer this type of post once and for all (yeah, right):

(Ahem)

To All Non-Programmer Idea Peddlers:

Programmers already have more ideas than they know what do do with; without any of yours. They don't need your ideas. Probably most of them don't want your ideas. Most game programmers have more ideas already than they have time to begin, let alone complete.

That said, a good, well-thought out, well-presented idea is worth looking at, always.

So if you want a programmer to even consider your idea for 30 seconds, here's what you need to do:

1. Present a concrete, good idea with lots of visual aids. Writing a game takes hours and hours of work. If you want a coder to even consider, for a minute, dedicating that kind of time, you had better put in some serious time of your own preparing your idea. Time measured in hours. Make mock screenshots. Design some sprites. Learn the capabilities of the machine you want the game written for and fit your idea to them. It isn't easy to understand the Stella guide if you aren't a coder, but if you want somebody to even glance sideways at your idea you better be willing to put in the time to at least understand a little of it. Do some legwork and demonstrate it. Spend some time working out your idea on paper; playtesting it to make sure it works.

2. Present a compelling reason why a coder should take on the project *other* than the fact that you think it would be really cool. Does your idea fill an underserved niche in the 2600's library? Is it a completely unique concept? Are lots of people clamoring for a game of this type? Does it present a unique, fun challenge?

3. Be humble. You are asking for far, far, far more than you are giving or will ever contribute. Coders already work for pennies/hour working on their own ideas, if that. You want the programmer to do something for you, essentially for free? Don't make demands.

4. Be flexible. Be willing to put in yet more time reworking screenshots, rethinking game mechanics, designing different sprites.

The gold standard here is Adam Tierney (salstadt here at AA). Find some of the threads he started to publicize his own ideas and see what he did. See especially the Prince of Persia thread, and see how much work he put into that, over a period of weeks. You don't have to be the artist he is, but you better be willing to make up the difference in sweat.

What's a good idea? Can't give an exact definition, but here are some starters:

1. It is unique. Either absolutely unique or unique to the platform.
2. It has a tested, proven game mechanic. Which is fun.
3. It uses the capabilities of the machine it is designed for well.
4. It is fun to more people than just you.

The most important thing is to DO SOME WORK. If your idea doesn't have some mock screenshots, then it is worthless. Period.

#2 TMR ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 28, 2006 4:36 AM

Oooh... this is very useful, could i borrow and rewrite it a little for a few other sites i'm on please?

Edited by TMR, Sat Jan 28, 2006 4:37 AM.


#3 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:46 AM

Be my guest.

#4 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2006 1:34 PM

well written... and well said... could be as well not only for homebrews... ;) same for gamaustra.com or any big publisher...

#5 dark willow OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:14 AM

As soemone who looked at coding for the 2600 once and had the life scared out of me, I admire anyone who does so. Well said.

#6 bcprs1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:08 PM

Nice!!! and about time someone wrote this down.

We all have great ideas floating in our heads, but we shouldn't get everyone else excited about them if they won't be a reality.
I can't find the thread, but I remember a while back that someone was trying to "start a business" of giving people ideas for games. Anyways, the only people who should post about game in development are the ones who have something already working or someone who have done a game in the past.

#7 Cybergoth ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:15 AM

Could you possibly mean "Idea Revolutions". Their posts were almost an annual event here and I bet they also started the Knight Rider thread. Pretty funny guys ;)

Here's one of their first posts, of course they improved over the years:
http://www.atariage....?showtopic=8355

#8 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:06 AM

I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I am not aware of any ideas by non-programmers that have been turned into actual homebrew games? Each game that I have written so far has been done to further my own understanding of the 2600 hardware, and has been based on a game that I remember fondly playing back in the day. I have a large list of games that I many consider porting to the 2600 in the future, but most of these will probably not happen as they are either too challenging or not interesting enough. The only place where I am struggling for ideas is for interesting 1K minigames, but these require a very detailed understanding of the 2600 limitations.

Chris

#9 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:09 AM

I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I am not aware of any ideas by non-programmers that have been turned into actual homebrew games?


Fade Out was close, but never completed.

#10 doug0909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 13, 2006 8:40 PM

I just read this after putting up a post with a game idea.... I do see your point... Why not solve the problem in one swoop by creating a permanent thread for homebrew ideas by non-programmers? That will put all the ideas in one place for perusal by time-crunched programmers, and it would be a great place for arguments about which ideas are best....

Edited by doug0909, Sat May 13, 2006 8:40 PM.


#11 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 13, 2006 9:50 PM

I certainly do not disagree with the basic goal of this thread, but I would like to point out that the description of the Homebrew Discussion forum (at http://www.atariage.com/forums/) says exactly the opposite:

Homebrew Discussion
Here you can talk about homebrew games that don't have their own forums allocated (which will be most of them). Have an idea for a game that you'd like to see someone program? Are you programming a game and want some feedback? Discuss it here!

If there is to be any real consensus of policy about idea peddlers, such a consensus should be endorsed by the AtariAge webmasters, which means the description of the Homebrew Discussion forum should be updated accordingly. Otherwise, this thread should not be a sticky thread.

Just my two cents on this issue.

#12 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 13, 2006 11:16 PM

I certainly do not disagree with the basic goal of this thread, but I would like to point out that the description of the Homebrew Discussion forum (at http://www.atariage.com/forums/) says exactly the opposite:


Homebrew Discussion
Here you can talk about homebrew games that don't have their own forums allocated (which will be most of them). Have an idea for a game that you'd like to see someone program? Are you programming a game and want some feedback? Discuss it here!

If there is to be any real consensus of policy about idea peddlers, such a consensus should be endorsed by the AtariAge webmasters, which means the description of the Homebrew Discussion forum should be updated accordingly. Otherwise, this thread should not be a sticky thread.

Just my two cents on this issue.

I think that programmers do like to hear ideas for games. Even preliminary graphical designs, or mockups are welcome.

What is NOT welcome is "I have a great idea for a game, but I want someone to program it for me for free, and I get the profit from cart sales but I will give a cut of profits to the programmer." That simply won't happen.

If you have an idea, post it. If you're lucky, someone will program it, but this will happen if and only if you don't expect to earn one cent - the programmer will reap 100% of the meager monetary rewards (which will amount to less than minimum wage, BTW.) The most you could expect is not money, but credit - such as having your name in the manual or on the title screen.

#13 Cybergoth ONLINE  

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Posted Sun May 14, 2006 2:46 AM

Actually the main message of this thread is not at all conflicting with the introductory message of this forum. It's more or less just giving the reader some clues what to expect in response to an idea (99% of times nothing will happen) and some advice on how to present an idea in order to get at least some small chance that a programmer may consider it.

Still we are interested in ideas and love discussing them here :)

#14 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 14, 2006 6:22 AM

Actually the main message of this thread is not at all conflicting with the introductory message of this forum. It's more or less just giving the reader some clues what to expect in response to an idea (99% of times nothing will happen) and some advice on how to present an idea in order to get at least some small chance that a programmer may consider it.

Still we are interested in ideas and love discussing them here :)

Okay, I get that. :) But as a pixel artist (specialized in ColecoVision and NES graphics), I'd be weary of posting my work because others might use it without giving credit where it's due. If that wasn't an issue, I'd be posting fake screenshots of possible CV games all the time! :D

#15 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 14, 2006 2:29 PM

Actually the main message of this thread is not at all conflicting with the introductory message of this forum. It's more or less just giving the reader some clues what to expect in response to an idea (99% of times nothing will happen) and some advice on how to present an idea in order to get at least some small chance that a programmer may consider it.

Still we are interested in ideas and love discussing them here :)

Okay, I get that. :) But as a pixel artist (specialized in ColecoVision and NES graphics), I'd be weary of posting my work because others might use it without giving credit where it's due. If that wasn't an issue, I'd be posting fake screenshots of possible CV games all the time! :D

Most pixel artists don't even expect formal credit. I think you should post your work. While there is a chance that it will be used without credit, the probability of your work being used at all is very low to begin with, and by not posting that probability goes down to zero :(

#16 rjchamp3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:19 PM

:) Most of the games being put out there with the exception of salem frost, are not creative at all


I cannot program but my ideas are out of this world :)


So no offense you programmers may have the technical side

But hollow ideas


Please somone catch up to Salem Frost His stuff is amazing

wheres the creativity Here is one

Atari 2600 Pigs in space 2 Hack River raid

Just send me a free copy

RJCHAMP FORMER PIGS IN SPACE WORLD CHAMPION

SOON TO REGAIN TITLE NOW OVER FOUR MILLION

#17 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:25 AM

:) Most of the games being put out there with the exception of salem frost, are not creative at all


I cannot program but my ideas are out of this world :)

So no offense you programmers may have the technical side

But hollow ideas

I suggest you sell your ideas to us. They are worth money I tell you! I'll make the first offer: $0.10 for 12 of them.

#18 Allan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:19 AM

:) Most of the games being put out there with the exception of salem frost, are not creative at all


I cannot program but my ideas are out of this world :)


So no offense you programmers may have the technical side

But hollow ideas


Please somone catch up to Salem Frost His stuff is amazing

wheres the creativity Here is one

Atari 2600 Pigs in space 2 Hack River raid

Just send me a free copy

RJCHAMP FORMER PIGS IN SPACE WORLD CHAMPION

SOON TO REGAIN TITLE NOW OVER FOUR MILLION


When trying to sell an idea to someone, presentation is very important.

Allan

#19 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:46 AM

:) Most of the games being put out there with the exception of salem frost, are not creative at all



Salem frost sells hacks of old games, not new homebrews.

#20 rjchamp3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:57 PM

:) All im saying is that these hombrews are not impressive to me ok

#21 Pac Munchkin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2006 2:56 AM

I believe you haven't seen a lot of homebrews to say that, I am just a graphics hacker, I hack graphics and colors in games, like my Et's Candy Bars game or my newest hack Tarzan, that is fun and fine but when I see what these guys that really know the Atari can do!!! I am amazed at their stuff it takes quite a lot more understanding to make a homebrew game from nothing. Have you seen Lady bug? Conquest of Mars? Stratogems Deluxe? Thrust? Go Fish? SeaWolf? As only a hacker talking and not even a seasoned hacker the guys that made these game deserve a lot of respect for their games.

Wade

#22 Allan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2006 5:44 AM

:) All im saying is that these hombrews are not impressive to me ok


Well, I guess you'll have to put your money where you're mouth is. We'll expect to see a new game any time now. :)

Allan

#23 kirin jensen OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2006 8:29 PM

I believe you haven't seen a lot of homebrews to say that, I am just a graphics hacker, I hack graphics and colors in games, like my Et's Candy Bars game or my newest hack Tarzan, that is fun and fine but when I see what these guys that really know the Atari can do!!! I am amazed at their stuff it takes quite a lot more understanding to make a homebrew game from nothing. Have you seen Lady bug? Conquest of Mars? Stratogems Deluxe? Thrust? Go Fish? SeaWolf? As only a hacker talking and not even a seasoned hacker the guys that made these game deserve a lot of respect for their games.

Wade

Having seen your swift learning curve in action, what you've said says a lot.


But you forgot Oystron!

#24 Pac Munchkin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2006 10:27 PM


I believe you haven't seen a lot of homebrews to say that, I am just a graphics hacker, I hack graphics and colors in games, like my Et's Candy Bars game or my newest hack Tarzan, that is fun and fine but when I see what these guys that really know the Atari can do!!! I am amazed at their stuff it takes quite a lot more understanding to make a homebrew game from nothing. Have you seen Lady bug? Conquest of Mars? Stratogems Deluxe? Thrust? Go Fish? SeaWolf? As only a hacker talking and not even a seasoned hacker the guys that made these games deserve a lot of respect for their games.

Wade

Having seen your swift learning curve in action, what you've said says a lot.


But you forgot Oystron!




Thank you very much I try to do the most with what I understand, you are right about Oystron, very good game!

Wade

#25 Atari-Jess OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2006 11:22 PM

With Batari BASIC there is no excuse now...

ITS FREAKING BASIC.




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