Chris Avellone Blog Q&A, Part Four

Obsidian's Chris Avellone has returned to his blog to answer another question about game design and provide some tips on how to pitch a new video game.
Also, got a lot of questions concerning game pitches recently, and here's my first pass of thoughts on doing a game proposal pitch:

- Again, if you can't make your game idea sound cool to your friends in a single sentence, consider re-evaluating your idea.

- Make sure you specify all the target platforms in your pitch document.

- Any publisher is going to want to know how long the project is going to take, who's on this project, who your team is - so if you don't have a team, budget, or time table, it's time to assemble all of these.

- Whenever possible, having a prototype your target publisher or developer can play - or you can demo - is worth far more than just a written pitch.

- Having an idea for a game is worth far less than the strength to implement it. No game company is at a loss for game ideas, they're usually more interested in people who can make it happen.

- If this is your first game, don't put in every single cool feature you can think of (for example, I'd shy away from an adventure game with RTS elements and a full heroic RPG dungeon crawl mode). My suggestion is break down each of the systems of your game and do a smaller game based solely around that, polish the hell out of that game mechanic, then do a second game that proves the next mechanic out (possibly adding what you learned about the first system to that), and so on. A lot of successful games on the market have a number of systems that have been iterated on heavily until they're polished.

- Concept art is worth more than a text description. When in doubt, show visuals or screenshots of gameplay rather than describing it with words.