Sports & Gaming, Design & Style

Pitching Ideas

Will Wright

Lesson time 16:44 min

When it comes to pitching ideas, one size does not fit all. Will shares tips for structuring your initial pitch and modifying your message to connect with diverse audiences.

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Topics include: Pitch the Feeling • Pitch Early, Pitch Often • Communicate Your Vision as It Evolves • Adjust for Your Audience • Reference the Topic and the Player • Anticipate Questions • Pitching Tips • Common Mistakes


Whenever I get to the point where I decide, OK, I'm building a game about this, I start imagining how do I present this idea to other people. What am I kind of imagining the process to feel like, the activities, the agency I have in this? I'm starting to actually play that game in my own head at a more and more detailed level, while at the same time trying to imagine, OK, how do I offload or download that play experience into somebody else effectively? And that becomes kind of a part of the pitch. Whether you're trying to communicate your design vision to your team or to executives or to your audience, you need to kind of remember why you want to do it. What got you excited? What is the key thing that's really motivating you? And then you step back and say, OK, how can I recreate that process in that person's head? How can I make them see or understand or feel the way I feel about this design direction? And maybe it's not the explicit, overt description of what your game is going to be. Maybe it's more a getting into their head, into the emotional motivation that drives you. And maybe it's more about the creativity you'll have in this, or the expressiveness, or what it's going to feel like, this nostalgic-- go back to your childhood playing this thing that you used to play. There might be a lot of directions you kind of take that. But in some sense, like game design itself, you're hacking psychology. You're trying to imagine, what does it take to make that person feel the way I feel. It's almost like reverse empathy-- how do I push my feelings into that person? Interestingly, most of the hits I've had-- the really big hits, SimCity, The Sims-- were the ideas that I got amazing amount of pushback from with almost everybody I described it to initially. And at some point, I actually had to kind of reformulate the way I was thinking about it to then communicate it effectively. And I did. You know, I kind of thought, OK, what is it about the way I was talking about this thing that's not hitting the mark in their head the way it hits in my head? And eventually, I found ways to actually communicate what I was really thinking, which wasn't an explicit description of the game design, but more the feeling I was going to have playing this game. And if I could now figure out, OK, now how can I make them imagine that feeling? And what do I say to them to imagine that feeling that I would imagine feeling playing this game? So I took, like, one step deeper, really. [MUSIC PLAYING] Right off the bat, as soon as you think, oh, I have an idea for a game, tell your friends. See what they say. Tell other people. Tell people you meet. And you can just observe and learn from the result of what they-- the questions they ask you, what they seem interested in, or they want to know more about it, or they want to talk about something else. You learn very rapidly. And then when it comes to the point of now you're pitching the team members or ...

About the Instructor

Learn the art and science of game design with Will Wright, the mind behind SimCity and The Sims. In this game design class, Will teaches you how to create games that empower players and unleash their imagination. You’ll develop a tool set for understanding player psychology, as well as learn Will’s approach to generating and pitching ideas, prototyping, playtesting, and building a community.

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Will Wright

Collaboration, prototyping, playtesting. The Sims creator Will Wright breaks down his process for designing games that unleash player creativity.

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