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How does someone pitch an idea to a development company?

radiofreebc
Level 2
I come into this fully understanding that ideas are a dime a dozen and, unless someone has put in the time/effort, there's no point in developers wasting time on mediocre ideas from below-average people.  That being said...I am someone with a clear idea of a VR project that I would love to pitch to a developer/development team...so I'll put it out there, expecting criticism for what is usually a pretty useless topic in any professional forum.   

How does someone with a VR project that he understands will take significant talent/resources/innovation to accomplish go about FORMATTING A PROPOSAL to present to developers/development companies capable of handling a project of that scale? 

I know ideas are cheap (and everywhere), I know companies already have a lot on their plates, and I know something has to be pretty good to take people off other work.  But are there examples, or is there advice here (or anywhere), on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL to developers/development companies?  I can't imagine that every successful video game in the history of video games came from a coder/programmer/designer...and I'm sure users do sometimes have good ideas, but just need professionals to help their dreams become reality...and I know there are pros out there that would love to work on a truly cutting edge project.  I'm hoping that I can find advice on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL that helps me express my idea in a way that's understood, and taken seriously...especially knowing that many (if not most) ideas aren't taken seriously. 

Please again note that I am NOT asking for development help right now, or any critique of my idea (or ideas in general)...or criticism for not just developing this myself.  I am simply asking if there is any help/examples/advice on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL to present to a development company, so they would actually legitimately consider it.  Are there guidelines/standards/examples to follow?  Is there anyone lurking who knows what makes a good or bad proposal?  Is there anyone with an example of a good or bad proposal?  Any differences between pitching to investors and pitching to developers?  Any insights into the process?

Again, I understand companies have a lot on their plates, that this is usually a low-quality question, and that ideas are cheap.  I also know that, not in a million years, would I ever have the technical skill to even begin to develop this on my own.  I would need to jack myself into the Matrix and download coding tutorials for decades before I'd be able to make all the elements of my idea work, even in a way I'd be able to demo to developers/investors.  Because of that fact, I would be willing to hand over complete ownership of the idea.  This project would be extremely sophisticated and challenging to produce/maintain, by even industry/professional standards. This is something I've never seen before, and I know that even if I became a programming genius, I'd still never be able to pull off what I want to accomplish.  I'd still love to be a part of the team developing it, because my professional experience would be useful, and I have a clearly defined and focused concept. 

It's a cool idea, even if talk is cheap.  I just need help formatting it in a way professionals would respond positively to.

11 REPLIES 11

AntDX3162
Level 7
Probably the only way is to go to Oculus in person w/ some sort of good prototype.  I was thinking of the way to use AR in a CGI real environment w/ realistic programming.  I have many ideas as well.  I use RC, FPV, vehicle mechanic, and many other things.

I know to the simplest form of what would help everything that is always overlooked.  I just do not have the connections to back such immense simplistic inventions.

I'm sure many other people have as well.  The people who have the talent, the vision, and the capability are usually the ones that end up like the inventors of Facebook and Google.  The one's who don't end up like us but it's not too late.  : )

hughJ
Level 4
I think it's probably fair to say that existing devs already have dozens of ideas of their own that they'll never manage to get to.  The shortage in VR right now is not ideas, but man hours and funding.

This is pure speculation, but: I'd wonder if submitting a GDD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document ) to a studio or publisher would even be accepted as it might represent a risk of litigation in the future if you felt they used your design and it could be proven that they had accepted it.

AntDX3162
Level 7

hughJ said:

I think it's probably fair to say that existing devs already have dozens of ideas of their own that they'll never manage to get to.  The shortage in VR right now is not ideas, but man hours and funding.

This is pure speculation, but: I'd wonder if submitting a GDD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document ) to a studio or publisher would even be accepted as it might represent a risk of litigation in the future if you felt they used your design and it could be proven that they had accepted it.


I think many small companies are scared to make great concepts because their ideas will be taken by bigger companies.

It's probably like when people try to make small business that Walmart can do more for less profits.  I think with all business they require a return unless they are doing it for charity.  The return takes a long time so if a big company shows up in their market before they can make a return they basically wasted everything they've done, money wise, but God will wise I'm not sure.

Dreamwriter
Level 8
Wha you need todo is get some friends together and make it yourself. There is no other way

NobleRobot
Level 2
The fact that you peppered your post with multiple (insufferably cloy) attempts to assure everyone that you already know what we're going to tell you should be all the answer you need.

I guess you *could* prepare a detailed design document or a pitch, but there is no perfect format, and even if there were, a CORRECTLY FORMATTED PROPOSAL is actually not worth that much to developers and game designers, and it won't convince anyone to back your idea if they weren't going to otherwise.

So, what you should do instead is post your idea in developer forums, in as much detail as you currently have (don't worry about the FORMATTING), and ask for honest feedback. Yes, you said you didn't want that, but you're wrong. You absolutely want that. You can also ask if anyone is interested in making it with you. And I don't mean for you, I mean with you.

You may not be a programmer or artist, but there's nothing stopping you
from learning those skills, and frankly, these days there's no excuse not to. I'm sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but that's the truth.

Bottom line: if you don't want to make it yourself, you
don't really want to make it.


whyroc
Level 2
It seems like you have it mixed up a little,  maybe you should be preparing an RFP or 'request for proposal'? This is if you plan on offering to pay someone to build it for you, I assume you are wanting to hold on to the intellectual property and any returns or gains from the project. Any developers who were interested would submit a proposal to you as the client.  The contents of the RFP could be under NDA so you could keep ownership of the idea

If you are just throwing out ideas, there seems to be very little reason for a developer to pick it up and run with it, and less that you personally would get any benefit from it, no more than spilling your idea in the forum for example.


'Because of that fact, I would be willing to hand over complete ownership of the idea' just saw this part .. if that's the case then just spill it .. nothing holding you back!

-w

rickyvuckovic
Level 2
You're in a tricky position, because as you have already said, ideas are a dime a dozen, and developers are often working on their own awesome ideas already. This isn't just for VR games, but games and apps in general... but there are definitely studios out there who take on this sort of work if you've got the ability to fund it.

I have a client at the moment who approached me with a fairly broad, "I want to make a game.. I have a really interesting life story and ideas that would make an awesome game that people haven't seen before. What would it take to make this into a game?". The problem is that it was about as broad as that, and it's hard to quote on development if we don't know if we're making Candy Crush or we're making Call of Duty.. so to start with we have made a project to work together (this is a paid service that I offer) to bounce ideas around, figure out what we're going to make, and then create a detailed "Game Design Document" that lists out everything the game is and does and dreams to be.. from the emotion the players should feel, down to exactly which button on a controller gets pressed on a particular screen. These documents do change a bit over time during development, but it's a solid thought out document that you should be able to give to any studio to read and they will understand exactly what your idea is.

Once we've got the Game Design Document done, my client will probably move onto wanting to make a playable prototype where we choose a couple of scenarios that best represent the aims and feeling of the game this guy wants to make.. and from there he can look for investors or put something towards Steam Greenlight and get feedback from the local game players and development community around here.. and hopefully raise the cash to make the full game (either through me or use the prototype and game design document we made to entice a bigger studio).

It's hard to get any decent interest from investors or established teams to help out without a prototype, and it's hard to talk with any confidence or even design an appropriate prototype without a very clear full plan of your game.

So, the "format a proposal" question you're asking is probably best answered by writing up a really solid "Game Design Document", and then finding people that can build a prototype for you.

If you don't have any connections, check out sites like Meetup.com and Facebook to see if there are any game developer communities in your area that will introduce you to people. I had no idea that the quiet city I lived in had such a vibrant design community hidden away until I saw on Meetup that they met up once a month nearby.

One thing to know up front is that if you're looking to get a prototype made, especially something as "extremely sophisticated and challenging to produce/maintain" as you say... then you need to have thousands.. tens of thousands of dollars to get a decent prototype built. Reliable commissioned cash for a specific and well-defined project is one of the only ways to get a development studio working on your idea instead of their own.

Hope that helps, and if that hasn't put you off the idea, good luck on your game design document! 🙂


piggy1
Level 2
a) get the skills to make it yourself.
b) get some money, and give it to people who have those skills, to make it.
c) some mix of a+b.

p.s. anyone interested in options b/c feel free to message me directly, and we can see about making some mutually beneficial arrangements 😉

danisnotaninja
Level 2
lol having read this and being in a similar position as the OP to say you guys aren't salespeople for your own services is.  Telling people to go do it themselves... Or if you don't have the desire to do it yourself you really don't want to do it.

I can tell you that there are number of people who have an already functioning business and are looking at VR as possible ways to enhance it, add to it, or expand into new markets and have no idea how to proceed forward.  They're looking for guidance, and some are willing to pay for it.  This is a new industry (outside of gaming) and capabilities are not known to people outside the current programmers.

That said, I have a client that I'm working with who wants to explore possibly developing a VR application.  If Oculus makes sense, then there is funding to move forward if it is in the range that we can sell to our customers.  We have sales and distribution capability.  Differing from the OP, we're not in a position to hand off rights, and would like to sign a standard NDA at time of discussions - nothing fancy.  

If someone would like to take an hour and speak to us about this, please let me know.  We'd be willing to pay reasonable hourly rate to speak to the right person/people for an hour (or more if we can gather follow up questions).

Please PM if this makes sense to someone.

Thanks,

Dan