Foreword: I am posting this on answers.onstartups and gamedev.stackexchange because the expertise from each area will likely contribute useful information. Also, I saw similar questions to this, but I still want advice. So I'll change this question to: where should I go from here? What's the next step?

So this morning I'm taking a shower, when suddenly I have an epiphany! The greatest idea I ever had, and it's about a dynamic 3D persistent-world MMORPG that breaks from the classic MMO in all senses (for business reasons I will not share any details). So I ran out of the shower, grabbed the graph paper in my room, and started jotting everything down.

Then I got stuck on something. I realized I REALLY want to make this happen, but don't know where to start. I'm going to college as a freshman in the fall, and I think that by the time I get out, it will be too late. Someone else will already have done it or be making it (long development process). I thought, do I go to a big game company, take out a big loan, go to California and get workers?

So this brings us back, what does it REALLY take to make a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game? (considering, 3D, dynamic world, servers, sites, marketing, and everything else I'm missing). What's the next step?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe you can find your answers here gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/90/… \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is both the most typical and most concerning statement in your entire post: "So this morning I'm taking a shower, when suddenly I have an epiphany!" \$\endgroup\$
    – jhocking
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ +/- 1 both for not shareing your idea and expecting us to help! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ali1S232
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Chances are, if you state what your idea generally is, people here will just say, oh thats just a combination of idea X that this guy published on his blog, and idea Y that some other guy published in some forum. Game ideas are a dime a dozen. Discovering the good ones requires a great deal of time and effort (via prototyping and testing). \$\endgroup\$
    – Olhovsky
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Step 1: Win the lottery. Step 2: Hire people to make your game. Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit? \$\endgroup\$
    – thedaian
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


My sincere advice to you: Start a blog where you in detail describe every aspect of the game you want to make. If you are lucky you will be able to gain a following during the next couple of years, and might even be noticed by some of the people in the industry who can help you further.

The rationale here is that if you can come up with one good idea, you can also come up with another, and as such the idea itself is not really of value for you unless you are able to translate it into something more tangible like connections and reputation.

If you a uncomfortable sharing your idea, write the blog anyway and just keep the posts private. This will help you articulate the idea, and expose flaws and missing parts.

The thing is that in your position it is very unlikely that you will receive any serious help from the industry. They don't need new ideas, they need solid products that will generate revenue year after year.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you much sorenbs. It's a shame that the big game companies aren't branching out - fear of failure at that high of cost - there are so many branches of games left unexplored! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 27, 2011 at 19:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ My impression is they are branching out but there are technical/logistical barriers. If they successfully branch out they own the market and somehow it becomes normal. See the example of Valve and Portal. Or even something like World of Warcraft. As stated above the ideas are easy in comparison to the actual development. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fire
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 19:50

Ideas are worthless in the (narrow) capitalist sense of the term.

You can't sell an idea; there is no demand for them.

There have been many ideas for all different forms of MMOs. However, the enormous cost of building an MMO can bankrupt even fairly large companies. Deviating too far from the norm when tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line is hard to justify. There are thousands upon thousands of successful games. There are only a handful of successful MMOs.

That is why it's easy to think of radically different MMO concepts.

Your idea might be awesome, and it might be the concept for the greatest game ever, but that alone is perhaps 0.1% of what's needed to produce a successful game.

My best advice for you, is to go to college, get a job, learn to work with a team in a company, and then start working on a smaller version of your game that isolates the "toy" concept that makes your game fun and unique. At that point, you'll be in a better position to decide what's necessary to build your amazing game -- and I promise you, your idea of what constitutes an amazing game will be very different at that point.

I have a binder with over 100 pages of documentation for a game that I started writing years ago. It is very comprehensive -- from hundreds of possibilities for abilities, to the foundations of skill systems, to concept art for NPCs, to implementation level algorithms.


Two years later, I've sobered up about how hard it is to make a fun game concept. It requires iteration on design and testing -- lots of it. If you think that you know that your game is fun after a few minutes in the shower, then I'm sorry, but you don't know!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm building a facebook game (one man show) but I subscribed to your blog just to see what challenges you'll encounter. =) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ken
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a very nice blog. I was thinking about doing the same thing once when I was in a slump - to keep myself coding and motivated. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 27, 2011 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't finish the project on time. But it did keep me motivated, and I did put 500-900 hours into the project in 3 months (6-10 hours/day). \$\endgroup\$
    – Olhovsky
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maik: I'm glad you liked it :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Olhovsky
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 20:31

The best advice that I've ever seen is to SHARE your ideas. Game companies with the resources to steal your game idea are more unlikely to steal it the more original it is simply because your idea isn't proven.

The more you share it and keep people updated on the progress the more likely it is that you'll find people who are also interested and will help you build it, even if it's just by letting you bounce your ideas off them.

You can not work in a vacuum. Get your idea out as fast as possible and get feedback as early as possible.

If you're talking the 3D type WoW MMO that everybody seems to think they can improve then you'll need a team of 40+ people to start, including highly experienced game logic programmers/designers, graphic designers, network admins, testers, etc. It's far from a small or casual undertaking.

Start with a very light skinned down version of your game that you can make yourself and develop it from there. Use open source libraries and resources as much as possible so you're not reinventing the wheel at every turn. If you start to make it big then you'll be able to afford rebuilding your standin work, but if you spend 50 weeks making all the different kinds of plants you need, and that puts you only 20% of the way done with a beta launch, then you'll get nowhere in a hurry because you'll lose all your inertia.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well said Kort, +1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olhovsky
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 20:54

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