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Here goes nothing ...

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by RavenLord, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. RavenLord

    RavenLord Dreamer

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    Well, here I go ... God bless Nebraska ...
    I would like to tell you I am a person who quite often comes up with various ideas and stories. I mostly tell them in my head and barely finish any of those. I thought to myself its just my silly imagination. Though about 2 years ago I decided to write down some of those ideas. My recent one is an idea for a new mmorpg game, and I think I am on the right track.
    The questions I would have is: What is the next step? What should I do about it? Should I share it with people? Should I let it rot and be gone in the sands of time? I really have no idea. I am not really a bold person when it comes to sharing my writing. But managed to gather enough courage and well ... I messaged some people on twitter about it, some writers and content creators, but apparently I was one of many folks who may come up with such stuff on a daily basis. So that was left without any response, and truth be told it hit my motivation to do anything about it pretty hard.
    Perhaps in here people may share their thoughts on this, for I am running out of ideas in the matter, or if I should actually do anything about it.
     
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    What you do is about what you want. Everyone has ideas. Sometimes, they're pretty awesome ideas. But regardless, no one is obligated to use those ideas for anything more than what they want. If all you want is to amuse yourself with them and play with them in your thoughts, that's cool. If you want to turn them into full blown stories, games, or whatnot, that's cool, too.

    As with a lot of things, it's really not about ideas and talent, though those things do play a factor in things, but IMHO, it's about desire. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to do? If you figure that out, then you have your path. Just realize, as with anything worth doing, it's probably going to involve work. Sometimes that work will be fun, and you can whistle to it. Other times, it might not be so much fun, and you'll be gritting your teeth all the way through.

    If you want to do something, do it. Don't let anyone tell you that shouldn't. Writing is just like any other skill out there. When starting out, there's lots to learn and lots of mistakes to make. And frankly, everyone, and I mean everyone, stinks at it when they start. But if you keep at it, keep trying, you get better. No one picks up a baseball and is throwing 100mph strikes on the first try.

    If you accept and expect that your writing will have flaws, sometimes big ones, the better off you'll be. If you expect perfection from yourself, especially right away, you're setting yourself up for a big disappointment. It can be like those people who go on those TV talent shows, having heard from family and friends all their lives how awesome and flawless they are, only to have reality punch them in the face.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  3. RavenLord

    RavenLord Dreamer

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    My issue is I do not know what the response is. I asked some of my friends and some say its not too bad. I would love to share the ideas, and for once make them real. However will the audience like it, will it be praised or booed. That is my concern, although trying to be more confident in what i do and write.
     
  4. ladyander

    ladyander Dreamer

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    As a writer, you have to learn to create something with an audience in mind, but have no expectation for said audience.

    You can't go into wanting to create something and looking for validation for reasons to create it. It'll be the end of your motivation, you will start questioning yourself and flounder around until you've lost your original vision.

    Over the years, one of the more common things I've heard from aspiring writers say, is that they don't want to waste time doing something no one is interested in or they want to know what the response of people when they have nothing but ideas. And really, "what do you think of my idea," is a hard question for anyone to answer. And the more vague an idea is, the harder it is. And to be honest, the best answers alway is, well it has potential. Because honestly, what makes an idea good or not is the execution.

    So with that in mind, you to take the risk and work on something without the guarantee of an audience saying anything. You will not get someone telling you if something is okay or not. Perhaps when you have something more detailed to show and become more knowledgeable in what you are doing, as well as learning how to pitch an idea, maybe. However, if you are just starting out, expect nothing.

    And honestly, the next step you should be doing is doing research in what it takes to make an actual mmorpg. It's difficult. It cost more money than you think and it's a team effort. In fact, I'm going to repeat advice some general advice I've seen given to game developers, if you want to make a mmo, don't do it for your first project. There are a lot of things you need to learn first before jumping in trying to create something complex like a mmorpg. Learn about what game writing is really like. It's much different from what people think it is. I've found writers think story is king and that a game will follow whatever story they have written to the last detail. From what I've seen from writers who have worked on game project, game design comes first, story is secondary. Games are a visual storytelling medium with added game mechanic. What you create will be at the mercy of those two things.
     
  5. In the beginning, with any idea or project, concerns like this should be as far from your mind as you can manage to push them! They only serve to hinder your ability to create freely, and to grow through the awkward beginnings found along any creative path.

    Meaningful critique will always make you better, assuming that's the goal in the first place. The praise of friends and family, in most cases, will not. BUT these too have their place. We all need encouragement and we all need honest feedback. It's a balance. And it's our responsibility to understand what is needed and when.

    Years ago, I knew a retired English professor who had agreed to read the manuscript of a first time local, small town writer. The writer had given seven years of his time to his book. I was the first person the professor ran into after he had begun reading the book. In his words, it was unreadable. The writer had no understanding of basic grammar, spelling, punctuation or sentence structure. (this was dial-up era internet so the access to things like spellcheck etc etc was still in it's infancy) There were run on sentences half a page or more in length. POV changed at a whim and tenses were tossed to and fro like the characters were caught in a runaway TARDIS.

    I suggested the professor should take the easy way out and tell the writer it wasn't bad, but just not his thing. His response has stayed with me to this day. "When you give someone your word that you will critique their work, you OWE it to them to do it with complete honesty, even if it's the hardest thing for you to do."

    His empathy was evident, rooted in the fact the writer took seven years to get to where he felt comfortable in seeking any critique at all. The writer was such a sweet guy. Everyone in town knew he was working on the book in his free time. He was the definition of an eccentric and he'd always wanted to write a sequel to Beowolf. Obviously, he had no clue how to go about it and not showing anyone a word of it in seven years was HIS biggest mistake. Had he sought genuine critique sooner, he could have been directed as to what he needed to improve upon before he'd gotten too far in. He may not have taken the advice, but the choice would have at least been his to make.

    So my suggestion to you RavenLord, is to sit with your ideas. With any discomfort you feel about showing them to the world. Any insecurity about what's good or not good enough, and then figure out the only thing you need to in moving forward at this point.

    Do you want to improve your skills and can you accept that doing so may take a lot of work and require hard truths and the opinions of others be faced? If improvement and polish are the goal, then you have nothing to fear. Good critique, and a large enough pool of it, will allow you to improve more than any praise or support could.

    If you write because you simply enjoy telling stories, then you have already done what you set out to do and outside opinion shouldn't matter. However, If you desire to be better, perhaps see your ideas in print or included in game content, you'll need to take the risk and accept some people will like it and some won't. And as the story above should illustrate, the longer one waits to discover where they stand, the less time you have to improve! :)

    It will be your responsibility to seek out truly good critique over lip-service and fluff! The writer above had no idea how fortunate he was to have chosen someone who would not hold back and who, if it were desired, would have sat down and taken the time to explain most all of it to him.

    Penpilot hit it on the head. No one masters as complex a skill as writing right off, and the only way to improve is to practice and to keep creating and learning as you go. Don't fear the work and don't fear feedback. It's a wonderful path to travel and one, I promise, you will never regret the time spent upon!

    Best of luck RavenLord! :)
     
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Ideas are a dime a dozen. You have to create something with them to make them catch attention. You should create. Worst that happens is you waste some time and get skills for the next one.

    In any endeavor there is a question about whether this is worthy of my efforts or not. It sucks to spend a year writing and rewriting only to have it go no where and into the never used bin, but...without that nothing ever comes. If you want an opinion....My opinion is yes, its worthwhile, execution will matter. If you like, you can pitch the idea to me, and I can tell you if it got my wheels turning or not. I am hard to please.
     
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I would guess, if you are just starting out, any decent quality criticism will be negative in many ways. That's a good thing if you are serious about improving your storytelling capabilities. Instead of taking the criticism to heart as a personal insult or attack, just view it as a good way to learn the areas needing improvement. Use the criticism to your benefit.

    That said...If you run into criticism that is nothing more than a "boo!" it's probably not good criticism. At least, it's not useful criticism. The same goes for any criticism that is directed at you personally. It's like the Internet in general. When strangers attack you, you can be sure they know almost nothing about you. Just ignore those sorts of attacks.

    Ultimately you need to decide your writing goals. What do you want to accomplish? There's nothing wrong with writing purely for yourself, in which case there's no need to share it. But if you want to entertain others—this is a key question!—then you might as well start by putting your work in front of an audience, even if it's unpolished and new. There are various sites that have areas where you can do this and get feedback.
     
  8. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    Not to be a jerk...what you're pursuing is impossible. The college I went to had a great game design program, both graduate and undergraduate, and a huge chunk of people who joined it did it because "oh I have an idea for an mmorpg! I'm going to get this degree and then make it!" or "I have all these ideas for League of Legends champions! I'm going to get this degree and get a job at Riot!" And literally none of them did that. One person with a grad degree got a job at Blizzard to work on network programming. And these are people with industry internships, industry connections, a degree in making video games from one of the best universities in the country. So being a writer with an idea for an MMO isn't going to turn into an MMO unless you manage to do a Kickstarter and raise, literally, millions of dollars and hire people who know way, way more than you do to 95% of the work for you. Plenty of game studios try, and fail, to launch/run MMOs. It's probably one of the hardest type of games to make.

    I had an idea for a visual novel that I started to develop but I had to shelve it. One of my game design friends showed me an engine that would only require very simple Python programming for me, but it's a visual novel, I need illustrations, character sprites, sounds, things that I can't make and would cost money to get someone else to do, and I don't have that. I have another idea for a "game" that is more like a text adventure...but it still requires some Javascript programming that I can't do, but it's intriguing enough that I have some friends that are willing to work on it (and also we've been friends for almost a decade now) and still that project is on pause because of the amount of work I have to do to build a design document/structure the game in such a way that I can communicate what it is I want in a way that a programmer can implement it. Prose is squishy and there's subtleties and vagueness which adds to that experience; all of those things are the bane of programmers, who need absolutes to have things work the way they should work.

    There are so, so many things you need to think about when making a game. Or a novel. Or a serial. Anything large enough is very complex, there's a lot of moving pieces, a lot of places that need your attention. You need to do some laps in a 4' deep pool before swimming form California to Hawai'i. Have you written any short stories? What about being a game master for a tabletop game? Have you played a video game and sat down and thought critically about what makes it fun, what doesn't? What're the things that make you feel good or make you keep coming back? Scale your scope back, by a lot, to something that you are confident that you can make solely by yourself. Learn from everything you make, even the failures, and keep moving forward. And be realistic with what it is you can or can't do.
     
  9. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    I cannot possibly advise on what story ideas make for a good online rpg game, or whether the people who actually make such games EVER look for "outside writers' ideas" - my guess is they do it all inhouse. You'd need to get a job with them first, rather than sending them submitted ideas? At the very least, you'd need to check whether they had a request up, inviting such submissions.

    Graphic novels/ comic books - whetever "submissions" guidelines they have are probably hard to break into. The ones I looked at years ago said "do NOT send unsolicited submissions, we will not look at them." They DID have occasional submissions invites, but it was ONLY for people with experience in the industry.

    You could try to create a new RPG system...but you'll be selfpublishing and starting small to begin with...and cool names/maps/backhistory of the Farmarmidon Empire won't be enough. You'd need a cool GAME and you would ALSO have to be willing to publish, advertise and sell it.

    I'd say getting someone interested in your ideas would come AFTER you had done something with it that grabbed attention - if you could write a successful book / graphic novel, THEN people MIGHT be interested in the rights to it - but it would want to be one hell of a successful book, I'd guess. EG, Games Workship have lots of fantasy/dark sci fi books set in their own Warhammer universe. They are not interested in new ideas for a new universe, but in writers with good CVs who can write to order on schedule.

    You'd have to put some work in. If you wanted to self-publish a graphic novel, step one would have to be to learn to draw OR find an artist who believed in your idea and was willing to be your partner. If you want to publish books / selfpublish, START by writing a finished product. Before you do that, you have to write an early draft, and before that, you have to learn to write - how to turn ideas into prose text people WANT to read ALL THE WAY TO THE END. IT sounds easy, but it isn't. IF you DO want to learn to write, be prepared to write and rewrite and slap something up in critiques. Look at Youtube vids - "25 mistakes first time writers make" and take it from there. A short story first, OR an opening chapter - slap it up on a site like this. At least writing on your own laptop costs NOTHING. You do NOT need a degree in literature or to take a creative writing course for money. Write, get critique, then rewrite. rinse and repeat.

    Unless you are an eccentric millionaire, or a celebrity with a contract from a publisher, do not just write an outline and expect a ghostwriter to finish for you "for a share of the profits". Sorry, but ideas are too commonplace for that to be worthwhile. Ideas are cheap, execution is hard.
    The big bucks in writing go to people like Prince Harry, dictating his "ideas/memoirs" to a ghost writer. Prince Harry already has a contract, and money for a ghostwriter is not a problem for HIM. IT's not fair, it is the way it is.

    How much work are you willing to put into all this? If it is a vague daydream, a passing fancy, you will not get far.

    If you have an idea for a story that WILL. NOT. LET. YOU. SLEEP. AT. NIGHT --> then you are on the right path....

    Start small and build. Write a few pages of a chapter 1 or a short story set in your world, and slap it up?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  10. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Inkling

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    Your rpg game idea is a creative spark. Maybe it starts with a vision of a nicely designed video game that you can market, but that's only one of several things it could potentially grow into.

    Would you be satisfied with having people play your game, even if it's not in video game form? We've got boards on this site where verbal rpg games are played.

    Would you be satisfied with a story based on the game? Perhaps you could take your game idea and make it a story from a playable character's point of view. Or, for that matter, from a non-playable character's point of view. Or it could be a story in which some clueless person gets sucked into the world of the game, not realizing it's supposed to be a game, and is befuddled by what the game characters ask them to do.
     
  11. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    If I told you I've never played baseball in my life, how good do you think I'll be the first time I pick up the bat and glove?

    To be blunt, unless you're some sort of genius, chances are your first attempt at anything will be quite stinky. That's the first step to becoming better, accept that you're not going to be all that good at something when you start and constantly search for ways to improve.

    With my first novel, I fiddled with the idea of it for probably 15 years, writing and rewriting the first chapter or two, before I realized if I wanted to get it done, I needed to simply sit down and power through. Three years, 275k words, and 4 drafts later, I had an epic story that was pretty garbage. At the end, I realized the story had too many issues that were beyond my skill at that time to fix, so I abandoned it. BUT, I took what I'd learned writing the story and put that knowledge into my second book. The results were way better, and I'm proud of the end result. I stumbled again on my third book, but I brushed myself off and started a fourth book. And so it goes.

    I've gotten positive responses to my writing. I've gotten negative responses. I wrote something once that I thought was clever, but my college writing teacher pointed out it was quite offensive, and in hindsight, it was. But I keep writing, no guarantees of praise or reward. I write because I want to write. I enjoy writing. I want to make a living at writing one day, but if that doesn't work out, at least I can say I took a good honest swing at it,

    Again, it's like any thing else in life, do it because you want to do it. Do it because it's fun, not because there's a guarantee of some specific reward. And finally, regardless of how "good" or "bad" something is, if you put it out into the word, you will inevitably get both praise and boos. So, put your humble hat on and make sure you're wearing a cup, because as one person is pumping your head up with praise, another is putting their cleats on and getting ready to punt your privates to the moon.
     
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  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There aren't any game developers who consider core concepts from outside the company. You have two options. Join one of those companies and rise far enough up the ladder to be heard, or publish something drawn from your idea that's so popular that you attract their attention. Both paths are immensely difficult.
     
  13. RavenLord

    RavenLord Dreamer

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    I appreciate all the feedback here :) I find those answers quite intriguing and I have something to think about.
    I wouldn't mind to share some of what I have written with you all, but I believe you would need some form of a background for it. So here comes this:
    a) Is it fine to post some of the links to the videos for the sheer reference?
    b) Is there a way to post a PDF onto the post itself, or should I just copy/paste from PDF or Word and just post it regardless of word limit?
     
  14. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    It's your thread, post what you like. Me, I only comment on "chapter 1" of a possible book, so I don't bother looking at synopses. Maybe someone else would give it a go?
     
  15. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    Ideas are cheap. I've got enough to last me a life-time already, and I'm guessing the same goes for many creative people, including those working for large video-game corporations. The reason you got no reply to your idea is probably that they get hundreds of these mailed to them and they have no interest in any of them.

    And there are very, very few good original ideas out there. Almost everything has already been done in some form somewhere. The idea doesn't matter, only the execution does. That is where all the effort lies. I can probably come up with a hundred ideas for books or video games in an hour, some of which are bound to be good. Creating one however takes time and effort, often by many people. And what's more, weird or bad ideas can still work amazingly if executed well (and at the right time). After all, shooting weird birds at buildings to attack pigs who stole their eggs sounds like a pretty bad idea. And yet, Angry Birds did pretty well as a game.

    Lastly, they have no reason to pick your idea. I follow Brandon Sanderson a bit. He's probably one of the most succesful living, modern fantasy authors out there. Most of what he releases makes it to the top of bestseller lists, and he's pretty sticky in the top 100 lists of amazon. He did a kickstarter last year for a special edition (of a book which was out 10 years already) and collected something like $5 million. He's got a top of the line agent, has a company with a dozen or so people working directly for him, has worked with a video game company on a novel for a game, and probably has connections all over the place. He would love to get a video game made for one of his world or series, his worlds lead themselves to being made into a game. And with his established fan-base it would be a sure-seller. And he just can't manage to get a deal for one. Why? Because it takes a huge investment to create a game, the video game companies have more then enough ideas and they prefer building on what they have then to take up something new.

    Now, if he can't get a deal, then the chances of you getting one are minimal. Of course it's possible, and it has probably happened at some point in history somewhere to someone. But I wouldn't count on it.

    I'm not saying this to discourage you, but to help you answer your question what you want to do with it. Only you can answer that question, and it depends on what you want. If you want to see it become a video game, then you will have to build it yourself. Indie-games exist, and some become very succesful, so this is a possible approach. Just know it's not easy and takes a lot of work and skill. If you want to see it become a novel (or equivalent), then you will have to write it. There's no reason why another writer would agree to take your idea, do all the hard work to turn it into a story and then share some profits with you. That writer will have plenty of ideas already and won't need yours.

    So, whatever you chose, you will need to be the person to put in the effort to make it a reality. Good luck with your idea.
     
    ButlerianHeretic likes this.
  16. S J Lee

    S J Lee Sage

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    again, if you a celebrity / have connections such things might pan out

    eg

    Sarah Ferguson sells off intellectual rights to her children's books as she faces £600,000 debts | Daily Mail Online

    not sure if anything was done with those rights....

    and here she is again. SF is only a second rate royal, but she is still a "celebrity"...talent has very little to do with these things. Life is thus.

    Sarah Ferguson to turn debut novel into 'Bridgerton-style' series | Daily Mail Online

    No, I have not read "Her Heart For a Compass"... for all I know, it might be brilliant. Not my genre, so I won't be reading it. Still, at least she wrote ONE novel (plus the children's books) first. Did she write it herself, or get a ghostwriter? I cannot say, but a ghostwriter would need to see some sort of real signed contract / potential. The moral of your tale, OP - be a celebrity FIRST. That is where the money is. Kim Kardashian or Conor McGregor could probably pull off what you are thinking of, and get a ghost writer to actually do the hard slog - but the GW would be fairly sure of some sort of payday, dealing with a celeb.
     
  17. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    My eldest son went to university after he'd done his national service. He chose to do a degree in games design, and quickly discovered that it isn't about ideas or programming. It's about applied psychology: what makes a game playable, what attracts players and what keep them interested. Developing a basic concept for a game is in may ways the easy bit. Making theb game attactive and playable is quite another. My son ended up researching artificial intelligence for his thesis, and then got a job developing a computerised photographic archive. Not exactly games design but, as he puts it, doing a degree is about learning to think critically and analytically. All you have to do afterwards is apply these skills and you'll get a job. Does he design games? Yes, in his spare time - he and a group of friends are working on a mmorpg, but they're doing it for fun, because they enjoy the challenge. If it makes them money great, if not well it was fun creating the game.
     
  18. ButlerianHeretic

    ButlerianHeretic Minstrel

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    I'm not going to say it is impossible, but you have to have a good understanding of the logistics. Once upon a time, the folks who made WoW were nobodies too. such a game can be built by someone who isn't already in control of a large and financially successful game company. However, when the Warcraft franchise was founded in 1994, they were market leaders in a new space, whereas now the game market is saturated so there is less opportunity to do what they did.

    First, understand that building a game is an insanely huge amount of work - even if it is just something simple. And it is virtually impossible to create a game of any significant scale as a solo developer. Maybe months of work 40 hour weeks to create an hour of gameplay by yourself if you are using an established engine and have good skills already. Or multiply that out if you don't have that much time, energy, or discipline to devote to it. And an MMORPG is the most complicated class of game. And creating a game that is financially successful in the market is basically luck unless you have a big enough marketing budget to sell whatever you have created to lots of people no matter what. Average earnings by indie developers in the US, many of whom have industry experience already is in the low $40K range. Professionals of all sorts range from IIRC averages of about $35-$100K with experienced graphics and game AI programmers being on the upper end and everyone else being paid less depending on how specialized their skills are. No triple-A game gets made by a staff of fewer than 100 developers, most significantly more. No triple-A game takes less than a year to develop, most 1.5 years or more. Non-multiplayer RPGs always take multiple years. And again, an MMORPG is significantly more complex than any other type of game.

    So how can someone off the street possibly do this? Create an IP. In the world of MMOs (at least in the western market) nobody comes close to WoW. But, look at how WoW was built. First they started their IP as a tiny, quite simple by modern standards RTS. Then they developed it through successive stages to create characters and a world that people loved, making it a valuable IP. Then they built far and away the most financially successful MMO, and probably still the most financially successful game of any sort (nobody knows how much they made, but in excess of $12 billion in its heyday, and it is still making money though at a lesser rate today). That's the power of IP. An IP can be built in many ways though. It could be started as a small game that gets people invested in the world. It could be started as a streaming show, but again getting one of those created is almost as hard as getting a game made. It could be started through something more niche like a web series or comic and be grown from that. It could be started as a book series as with The Witcher. Of course, the average first-time author makes a few $K on their first book, so realistically unless you strike the jackpot (and it is probably comparable to the odds of winning the lottery) one is going to be in for the long haul writing a series and slowly building a fan-base, until their IP represents enough fans that developers in other media want to develop other works based on it.

    The plus side, even if you don't create the MMORPG, the work you do creating an IP will be valuable if you succeed, no matter what you end up doing with it.

    There is a ton of information out there on game design. What makes a good game and what makes a good book, show, movie, etc. are very different. Unlike every other form of media, the audience has direct agency in a game. Movies made from games almost always suck, and games made from movies are almost always equally bad - and that difference in how agency works is a huge part of that. Also, take as an example that in D&D, where leveling up one's character is a huge part of the game, but even books based on D&D settings never deal with those game mechanics. The metagame of how you build your character is a lot of fun, independently of what is going on in a game, but that isn't fun in a book, movie, show, etc. If you create a book hoping to make a game, it probably won't be a very good book, and if it isn't successful as a book then it won't be a valuable IP, so you won't make a game. Focus on making good books first. Where you can start planning to create a game is worldbuilding and characters, and especially the conflicts within the world and between important characters and factions. Not so much what stories happen in the books themselves.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  19. RavenLord

    RavenLord Dreamer

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    And what about fan-fiction stories in already developed universe? Is that an issue as well?
     
  20. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Inkling

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    What kind of issue do you mean?

    There's plenty of fan fiction all over the internet. It's obviously doable And legal.
     
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