Ideas are a dime a dozen

It’s fun to talk about games. It’s fun to talk about making games. In the end though, talk is cheap and “Ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is all that matters.”

Here’s an example from a different creative field (painting) to illustrate.

Let’s say you had the idea that the image of a woman would make a great painting. Being smart, you gather several of your favorite artists in a room and ask them to paint a woman.

Leonardo da Vinci paints the “Mona Lisa” and James McNeill Whistler’s painting of his mother becomes known as “Whistler’s Mother”.

Randall Munroe paints a stick figure and asks if he can caption it and put it up on his site XKCD.com.

Picasso paints a portrait of his lover “Dora Maar au Chat” (Dora Maar with Cat) which later sells at auction for $95 million in 2006.

Which was more valuable, the idea to create a painting of a woman or all of the brush strokes that actually created the painting?

Over 20 years of making games, I’ve heard more ideas than I can count and I know for a fact that the most value comes from great execution.

Sure, it was valuable to get Leonardo, Picasso and the others in the room and ask the to paint a woman. On the other hand, I don’t think there’s an argument that the resulting masterpieces were more valuable.

How does this relate to making games?

If you’ve been considering yourself the “idea guy” on a game team, you should figure out how to use a level editor to bring your ideas to life.

It will be more fun and the when you watch a player test your level, you’ll learn first hand that “Ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is all that matters”.

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