Thursday, July 28, 2011

Choosing your Games Name

I have already discuessed this topic a bit, but i wanted to revist it, mainly cos i find it really interesting and it has so many variables. What might be right for one person might be completely wrong for anothers taste etc.

As we all know why it is important to have the right name for your game, i won't be talking too much about that again (yeah right!). As i tend to write this stuff as i think it up (stream of concsiousness), i am sure i will visit everything as usual.

So below i will list several considerations when choosing your games name.
1. Does the name fit in the Amount of characters you are allowed per your platform submission. Personally i hate this one, i have come up with some great names that never fit into the 16 chararcter limitation before. Thankfully now name limits tend to be a lot larger.
2. Does it Describe your game in some aspect. Well if the name describes your gameplay in some fashion, that might be considered good. However there is also the fact that making your game more secretive and annonymous might be the way to go.
3. Does the name have a nice ring to it. Like Raucous Riot Racer.. yeah i made that one up. But people do love that kind of name (so do I shhh!). But smooth names are generally a big win, you do not see many games out there named seomthing Awkward, yet they must exist. Cuddly Slug is an awkward name, you could get away with Fast slug etc, but cuddly? hmm, nah! too much of a stretch. Interestingly a lot of japanese game names translated to English form awkward names.
4. Is the name going to infringe on someone elses property? Alrighty, this is where you Must always do research. It doesn't matter if you think your name is truly off the wall unique, you MUST ALWAYS research to see if it has been used before. You can also take time to make sure nothing too similar if possible is out as well. You really want to be able to make it so anyone searching for your game will be able to find it easily and it's reviews.
5. Is the name going to be able to jump on another games name bandwagon? Here is where naming your game Starrcraft or MiningCraft could help you out. There are a lot of people out there that will download your game not noticing it is not what they thought it was. Also i think there is a real curiosity from players about a game named similar to a huge success. So far all i can say is that does indeed seem to be a positive visibility strategy.
6. How good can the name look? This is one a lot of people do not think about. A good looking logo however is a very good thing to have. So you really want a logo that is the name of the game and done in an art style that complements the game itself. This is harder to do than you would suspect. You also do not want a logo with say the color Green in it (in words) while it is on a blue background, as this is a bad contrast generally and when shrunk for thumbnails etc it wil go badly. So ask your artist what he can do with your name and offer a few variations if possible.

Ok, time for a story...
Anecdote:- A Shooter i thought was an awesome name, it described the game so well in most every way. Yet i made several mistakes.Firstly i thought it was so cool that i never bothered to try and google the name. If i had, i would not have chosen this name, as every article ever written about shooters and now fps games has 'a shooter' in it. ARGH! what a plonker. also the name Shooter is now associated with FPS games and not side scrolling shooter games (like i was brought up on). so technically it was also misnamed. Now although i have coverage of my game on my web site and also i have several reviews of the game. You will not find them as they are buried on page 10 or later in googles search results. I thought of this name because of the success on the iphone of a game named iShooter. I thought i could do that, but in fact i should have named it AShooter or something like that.
Still i am learning, even after all these years.

Good luck out there,
Da Voodoochief

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