Full description of the idea of ​​the game. Part 1: Concept

    Having entered some time ago on a slippery path called “I want to write my game”, I came to the conclusion that this process, despite a long history and a large number of successful examples, is very mysterious for beginner developers and gives a little bit of shamanism. In no case do I claim that the network does not have information on this topic, but it is divided into two broad categories:
    1. Global philosophical reasoning from the category of "10 reasons why you do not need to become an indie game developer";
    2. Narrowly specialized tutorials that solve a specific problem: “Rotate the image in% framework_name% to an arbitrary angle using% tool_name%”

    The link between these two categories is very blurry, but, meanwhile, these are infinitely important stages of the choice of an idea, formalization, its translation into the plan. It is on this component that I want to stop today.
    It should be remembered that a formal description of the project is necessary for negotiations with investors of any type: whether it’s a friend whom you ask for a loan, or Kickstarter, you will in any case need a clear presentation.
    So, if a decision has already been made that game development is yours, there is an approximate understanding of what a future masterpiece should look like, but you cannot even tell your friend in a coherent way, not to mention a potential team, then welcome to , there is a lot of text. I hope this article will be useful to both young developers and venerable developers who create great code, but are not friends with marketing.

    Denial of responsibility
    According to the results of the article, it may turn out that your idea is “not very” or not an idea at all. I just suggest a packaging form, and if your super_future_future_game_% game_name% does not fit into this form, then you have two options:
    1. Find the description format that suits you. The main thing is to formalize your thoughts in an understandable form.
    2. Accept that in the current state your idea is weak and is not suitable for anything other than term paper or personal practice, and begin to think it over.

    For emotional experiences, disappointments and sleepless nights, I do not bear responsibility.

    0.0. General principles

    First of all, I propose to agree on the tasks and principles of formalization.
    Key task: Create a document that can fully reflect and convey the essence of the idea without additional comments.
    In other words, anyone who reads the final description must unambiguously understand what is being discussed and, in future dialogue with the bearer of the idea, to possess a full body of knowledge.
    Here it should be noted that we restrict ourselves to top-level business logic, without diving into the tools and subtleties of implementation - this is the next stage.

    During work, we will follow the following principles, which will help us structure the flow of thoughts and make it smoother:
    1. The reader of the future document is not a specialist in the fields of programming or game development.
    2. At the same time, the reader is not an idiot and has access to Google.
    3. The document should be as unambiguous and concise as possible. In order to transfer it to the PowerPoint presentation format, just copy the text to the slides and add pictures to your liking.
    4. The final document is the basic version of the full description, which can be freely supplemented and expanded without the need to rewrite individual parts or change the structure. In other words, we make a blank, which in the future will be overgrown with technical details and refinements. It is very likely that you will not want to show all of them to the general public before the release.
    5. The compiler of the document is already familiar with the articles below, and the reader can review it at any time.

    Material from Wikipedia: Computer game
    Material from Wikipedia: Classification of computer games

    0.1. Document structure

    Further along the text we will go through the main components of the formal description of the idea. In each block I will give a short description of it, links to additional materials and an example based on my personal project. The general structure will look like this:
    1. Concept
      1. Title
      2. Genre
      3. Key difference
      4. Platform (s)
      5. The target audience

    2. The form
      1. Picture (Setting)
      2. Gameplay
      3. Sound

    3. Analogs
      1. Sources of Ideas
      2. Competitors

    4. Money
      1. Monetization Methods
      2. Implementation examples

    5. Project Status
      1. Current state
      2. General implementation plan
      3. Coming action
      4. Required resources

    If the community offers to add something, I will gladly consider this in the comments.

    1. The concept

    The first section is like the first page of a commercial offer, like the first three slides of a presentation, like a profile photo on Facebook. The importance of this section cannot be overestimated. If you could not interest a person here, then he will not read further. If you had the thought “Now I’ll fill it up quickly so that it is, and I’ll tell you all the most interesting in the middle!”, Then urgently drive it away or do nothing at all: a bad start == senseless work in the future.

    1.1. Title

    As my experience shows, only 1 out of 10 people think about it before development. In principle, this is understandable, since at the initial stage the only use of the name is the name of the project in the development environment. But if we take our idea seriously, the name will play a very important role. The most obvious: presenting the project to an investor or team.
    A very useful article on the choice of name can be read here and here . The following is fundamentally important for us:
    0. The name should reflect one of the components of the game : setting, gameplay, or other features.
    Here you can give examples that in absolute terms realize this idea: “SpacePuzzle”, “DragonRace”, “Merry Farm”, etc. By one name, the future player can guess what he will have to deal with.

    1. What is displayed on Google by this name? Next to what we will be in the future, and what are the chances we have to take with that name the first line in the search results?
    Simple names like “Ants,” “WarLand,” etc. - a pledge of huge costs for promotion in the search and advertising of other projects.

    2. Is the domain matching the name available? If not, is it acceptable to use the -game suffix?
    Using the unsuccessful examples from the previous paragraph, we have the following logic: ants.ru -> ants-game.ru, warland.ru -> warland-game.ru
    If with ants it still did not go, then with warland the situation is sadder.

    3. How easy is the name to pronounce? What will users call the game in an abbreviated form?
    Here the logic is simple: if the name is simple, then it will be used easily and with pleasure, if it is too complicated, then users will come up with a replacement: CounterStrike -> Contra, WorldOfWarcraft -> WoW, etc.

    I chose the name " The AndLand " for my project . Google does not give anything unambiguous, domains are free, can be shortly called TAL or “Anda”.

    1.2 Genre

    The most common problem here is trying to mix genres and promote this as a key difference. Several times I heard “Now we’ll stir up a mixture of StarCraft, MineCraft, some other * Craft and take over the world!” Do not scoff at the player, forcing him to waste his energy trying to understand what this is about him. Be that as it may, the genre of the game should be ONE. Of course, you can knead gameplay elements from neighboring genres, but the key motive should be monotonous. If we return to the idea of ​​presentation, then on this slide there should be one word (RTS, RPG, FPS, etc.) and one sentence that can clarify or clarify this word. In the links to Wikipedia, which I cited at the very beginning, you can find a description of all genres and a lot of information to clarify.
    In my case, the genre is: RTS.
    Clarification: real-time multi-player economic strategy.

    1.3. Key difference

    As a rule, at this point many give up. Speak clearly what your idea is better than everyone else - this is not an easy test. Moreover, even if at the moment you have managed to form something intelligible, then the “Analogs” block is still waiting ahead, which will criticize your idea again.
    In principle, everything is simple: “How will your game stand out from everyone else in the genre?” In marketing it is called “Positioning is a simple, clear, unequivocal, advantageous difference from competitors”. Materiel on the issue can be found here or in the books of J. Trout. Here are a few examples:
    MineCraft - a large open, completely changeable world;
    StarCraft - classic RTS with perfect balance;
    Catch-ups - simple mobile gameplay that does not require additional equipment.
    A tree of technological development in a game is created by a community.
    There is no classic tree in the game “Build Building A to Access X, Y, Z Technologies and Building B”, the game community itself constructs the technologies and the direction of their development.

    1.4. Platform

    This section is currently purely formal, but in the future it will be crucial for the team and investors. For potential team members, this is important, because it is necessary to evaluate my skills and development vector: do I want to participate in a project for the web when I wrote code for mobile devices all my life? And for investors, this item is important, because you can quickly assess trends in the development of the platform, see simple risks.
    Now it’s popular to create projects for almost all platforms at once. If yours is just that, then in any case you should remember that there is one, at most - two launch platforms, from which everything starts, and for the rest - it is later ported.
    Now the list of platforms varies from the classic PC / Mac to game consoles and mobile phones, and do not forget about browser games that can run anywhere in general, and only on certain systems. Several important points depend on the choice of the platform:
    1. The general circle of implementation technologies;
    2. Method of distribution;
    3. The speed of obsolescence of the game;
    4. The number of potential players.
    Example: The
    initial launch of the game is planned on a PC Win / Linux / Mac with registration and management of the player’s profile through the web platform. In the future, the release of a mobile application with full or limited gameplay is possible.

    1.5. The target audience

    Another section that puts into a stupor the vast majority of future igrodelov. And the question here is very simple: “For whom is your game? Who will be the core of the community? ”The most common answer is“ for everyone! ”And it is the most incorrect. Marketers know that advertising aimed at everyone does not fall for anyone, the same story is with the products. Of course, there are "consumer goods", but their list is very small and not significant in total. Everything else that does not fall into this list is created for a specific group. Mercedes - for successful, Rollex - for show, StarCraft - for advanced, Farm Frenzy - for housewives, MineCraft - for schoolchildren.

    Again, we don’t have to take a formalized audience literally, we do not limit our players ONLY to this portrait, but we will focus on them in promotion and in gameplay. I think you will not argue that the game for a housewife and an excellent student of matfak is different games in general? Although, the student sometimes wants to play something casual. Enough capacity for this reason, the person unsubscribed here .

    A good example in this sense is MineCraft. The developer didn’t clearly single out his players anywhere, but it’s obvious that the core of the target audience is an advanced student. This fact does not cancel cases of MineCraft creation in MineCraft, a simulation of Manhattan, and other serious things. But ask yourself: would a serious scientist start creating a city in a game if most PC school gamers hadn’t played it at this point?
    The target audience of the project: office workers, high school students and students with an understanding of the basics of economic theory, regardless of gender.

    Results of the first section

    As I promised, despite the abundance of text, the final result is very modest and can easily fit on 3-4 presentation slides. The basic concepts that I have mentioned here may seem obvious and unnecessary to many, but this only means one thing: you have not tried to apply them. Those who have everything ready, look, maybe I forgot something or lied where. And for testing the form for describing the idea, I propose to answer in the survey.


    For the appearance of this post, I would like to say thanks to the user tac . The need to answer his question forced me to put all my thoughts in order.
    In the comments, S_A gave a link to a book on the topic: “Game Marketing” - a book by Sergei Galenkin . I’ll read it to the next part and give feedback.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Is the concept of the example game clear?

    • 73.5% Yes, I see. 125
    • 24.7% No, it is not clear. 42
    • 1.7% I will write in the comments. 3

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