Nobody Wants To Steal Your Game Idea
Today, I want to tell you guys kind of a little bit about my journey through game development and how it evolved over time with me kind of sharing my stuff. Ever since I was a little kid I would always work on projects. I would build things, I would always create things. I always had these concepts for ideas and things that I wanted to create; from building stuff in the backyard to writing and creating these fiction and fantasy novels about weird little worlds and stuff. And I had a lot of ideas in my head. I had a lot of different stuff that I was doing. When I got into game development, I started working on this one specific idea. And I was I was so sure that this idea is going to make a million dollars, and I was just working on it every night. I refused to tell anyone about the idea. I refused to share the idea with anyone. I refused to show my game to anyone because I was so terrified they’re going steal it from me.
This fear gripped me for a lot of stuff. For example, when I would share my time, or when I would share stuff on forums and I help people out by commenting on their stuff, they’d be like, “Tim, what are you working on? Show us your stuff”, and I’d be like, “No, no.” I couldn’t show my stuff for the longest time because I was scared of people stealing my shit.
It’s funny to think about this now. When I moved on in the real world, I started doing freelance web development to pay the bills. From web development, I went into software development and from software development to app development.
I did freelance for a while, and I started noticing that when I would tell somebody that I’m an app, software, or game developer, everybody seemed to have their own idea of what their stuff should look like, or what their latest million-dollar idea of whatever the app, software, or game idea was. And I started to realize that I don’t care at all about their idea. I personally felt that a lot of their ideas were stupid. I was like this even with the good ideas. This was because I knew how much work it is to build out the shit and I was focusing on my own stuff. I really couldn’t care less about other people’s ideas.
When I went back to game development years later, I really wanted to make games, even though I had all this software experience and stuff. I had no interest at all in making any of these apps or any of these software that people brought up. I just wanted to make my own games and didn’t care about what everyone else had to say. I started reading through my journal and I remembered that I used to be terrified of people stealing my ideas! It was so weird to me to read that because that was such a different person from what I am now. I seriously like every idea I come up with and I just share them with everyone. My brain is a never-ending source of ideas because I’m constantly inspired by lots of people and that’s how creativity works.
The second you hold on to something, your brain stops producing ideas because you’re holding on to this one. I realized then for the first time consciously, how little value ideas actually have. New ideas are valuable. The right idea at the right time is AWESOME. But the right idea with the wrong execution doesn’t mean anything. NO ONE CARES.
What many people, who are scared to share their ideas, don’t realize is the amount of work that it would take execution-wise to get that idea off the ground is ridiculous! And people, especially developers, would rather work on their own ideas than yours.
And so as I started Game Dev Underground. I now have an email list, a blog, and videos. I started down this path of concentrating on helping out game developers. I noticed a lot of people would email me, tweet me, or whatever, and they would say things that would hint at or they would talk directly about how they were scared to share their ideas. It just gave me a flashback to how I used to be. I used to be terrified of this. But no one has ever stolen any of my ideas, EVER.
I came up with an exercise for anybody that told me that they were scared of sharing their ideas. I told them to take the next week and spend it trying to convince everyone that they can to steal their idea.
Everyone you meet, everyone you know, just try your hardest to get them to steal your idea. Tell them about it and tell them where to go to get tutorials on how to build it. Go the distance and try and get them to steal your idea. And what you’ll find is that no one cares. Nobody cares about your idea. Nobody wants to put in the effort and all that work and all that time to get your idea off the ground.
This is because ideas are EASY. Ideas are the easy part of the entire project. It’s not to say they aren’t valuable, they are. But they are the tiniest part of the whole project. And I just want you to know from personal experience that I was held back a lot by not sharing my ideas and not sharing my projects. I was so terrified someone was going to steal from me or rip me off. I’m telling you that if you try this exercise, you will be surprised that literally, no one cares about your ideas. It is legitimately hard to get someone to steal your idea, even if it’s one of the best ideas in the world! And it’s just something that you have to realize as you grow up.
As you interact with a lot more people, you mature in this industry or any creative industry. You learn to value the execution, the way it’s done, the team behind it, the timing, and all that stuff, a lot more than you value the individual idea. There are so many games that end up so differently from when they started. And if the idea was important and everybody stuck to it, then they wouldn’t have ended with the project that they ended up with.
That’s why the execution is more important than the idea. I also think that that’s why it doesn’t make sense for someone to steal your idea because it isn’t worth anything to them—or to anyone, except you, and you over value that sometimes.
So that’s my message for today. I hope that I helped you out and if you have anything to say on the subject, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.