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How to name a game?


Nate
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Hey!

Ive been working on the concept for my game for about 7 years, I've started, stopped and recoded 3 times, and now since June 2015 I've been properly working on developing it, and I think I'm going to be happy to release it later this year. 

My current 2 drawbacks are the Art (I'm going to need to find someone) and the Name. I've spent hours trying to decide a name for my game, but so far I'm not finding anything that really sparks for me. 

i was wondering if anyone knows any good resources for this type of thing that might help me, or future owners who are researching this subject?

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That's a long time to be concepting!

It would help to know the underlying story/theme/premise of your concept is? These are generally good starting points for naming things but would also help narrow down what sources to recommend, etymology and exploring other languages  is also a fun way to come up with something interesting. 

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I think I concepted my own game for about 3 years, but even after that, I don't think the job is ever done. There's always new and different things you end up coming up along the way. I did the concept, artwork, and writing for my own game and had to hire a coder. It's still a work in progress but we're getting somewhere, little by little.

As for naming, I find it easiest to start with something that is related to your game. Maybe it takes place in the wilderness or the city, or is futuristic. Maybe there's a hero in it or maybe it focuses on the villain. I think the best thing for games is to create a name where once someone reads it, they can get a slight feel as to what its about. I tend to aim for titles that sound interesting and different but also don't sound like they are another shooter or horror game. 

I don't really have any references to help you out with. I know when I did my title, I had a list of a few, narrowed it down to the ones I liked best, and then asked an audience as to what appealed to them in regards towards the type of game it was associated with.

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4 hours ago, Elm said:

That's a long time to be concepting!

It would help to know the underlying story/theme/premise of your concept is? These are generally good starting points for naming things but would also help narrow down what sources to recommend, etymology and exploring other languages  is also a fun way to come up with something interesting. 

Haha yep! It's been an on-and-off thing where sometimes I might not do anything at all for a month or 2, and then I'll spend like an entire week working on the details of it, then another month of not even thinking about it, then 3 days of changing my original specs etc. It was the cycle for a long time lol. I just never committed to actually coding it until 2015.

Game Concept

Firstly, assume ALL the "standard" virtual pet site features (inbox, explore, boards, trading, shops etc).

The following are some of the differences to the "norm":

- "Pets" are referred to as "Beasts" and can be captured via Minigames (Think 'Viva Pinata' Romance Dance)
- Every beast has 2 elements of the 5 available (Fire, Water, Earth, Mech and Undead). Each beast's primary element cannot change, however it's secondary one can be changed by the user (ie, you may capture a Fire/Water beast and change it to a Fire/Undead). The typing makes a major difference in battling with an obvious 5-way Rock->Paper->Scissors format. A beasts primary and secondary type make a dramatic difference to the appearance of the beast. (Essentially it is going to be a LARGE art cost haha!)
- Single-Page-Application - The virtual pet site loads all pages using Ajax.
- HTML5 Games are single and (real time) multiplayer - upto 8 players.
- Clans actually have a purpose -- level up and gain rewards together with clan-specific functionality (quests, games, wars)
- "Party Chat". Friends/Party are integrated into the sidebar, so you can create/join a group of friends and text-chat to each other while navigating round the site without leaving your page.
 

And the Core Unique Selling Point which I'm currently developing:
- Storyteller
There is an NPC the user can visit where they can hand her stories and she will "read them". What actually happens is that the stories are set in the past in particular times (10 years ago, 250 years ago, 1,000 years ago etc etc) and whenever a user activates one of the stories with her, they are essentially completing a plot/storyline. Their entire "Explore" area changes to reflect the current time period they are in. Almost like you have travelled back in time until you complete that story.

I've configured the explore area so that it will show the user all the features within the explore area, that are relevant to their particular story. I plan to also set it so that all the NPCs at each of the features are different depending on the time period too.. although it is going to be very costly for me once I find an Artist to do it.

The best example, would be.. in the world when you visit it today ("Present Day"), you will see that there is an island far off to the west of the world, scorched and covered in black and filth, and that is where the Undead Society live. You will also note that there is a Spire in the center of the world where the Dragon/Fire society live.
If you read a story that takes you back, say 1,000 years and visit it ("1,000 years ago"), you would see that the island is lush greenland and the dragons/fire society is based around the island. Initially the user would be confused, however after visiting more different time periods, they will visit "400 years ago" and participate in "The Great Fire War" which ravaged the island, and ultimately forced the dragons to find another place to live. The user plays an active part in defeating the bad guys and relocating the dragons to the spire.. and suddenly the present day world makes a little more sense to the user.
In addition to this, the user might visit that island "250 years ago", and there might be one or 2 Undead NPCs based there with no other functionality other than to declare the island looks like it might be a good place to setup camp.. Then "150 years ago", there is a small village of people with Undead beasts.. which then explains why in "Present Day" there is a full on Undead encampment.

The brilliance of this system, is that we can ultimately continue to add historical stories to the world. We can also then enable it so that only certain items are available in certain time periods to bring back to the present.

Ultimately I envisage some sort of "collectable" feature where you have to collect one of every portrait of all ruling Kings/Queens over the last 1,000 years or more, or perhaps Beasts that are only available to capture in certain time periods and other "give people a reason to go back in time" things like that.

I guess the keyword more than anything is Storytelling. 

Overall, my main caveats are:
- It must be as shorter if possible.. I dont like long names like "Stories of the Unwanted Kingdom of Delaware"
- It must be real words (and not include "-pets")
- It must have the .com available    (<< this is the hardest part for things i have liked previously).
 

1 hour ago, Digital said:

I am personally un-imaginative when it comes to naming stuff. So I use http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/video-game-names.php#.WP4bCInytMA

I generally choose one I like, or use it to grab ideas to play with or change.

Great suggestion thanks, I'll definitely check that out. Looks lik there could be some really good ideas here!

 

1 hour ago, Aminirus said:

I think I concepted my own game for about 3 years, but even after that, I don't think the job is ever done. There's always new and different things you end up coming up along the way. I did the concept, artwork, and writing for my own game and had to hire a coder. It's still a work in progress but we're getting somewhere, little by little.

As for naming, I find it easiest to start with something that is related to your game. Maybe it takes place in the wilderness or the city, or is futuristic. Maybe there's a hero in it or maybe it focuses on the villain. I think the best thing for games is to create a name where once someone reads it, they can get a slight feel as to what its about. I tend to aim for titles that sound interesting and different but also don't sound like they are another shooter or horror game. 

I don't really have any references to help you out with. I know when I did my title, I had a list of a few, narrowed it down to the ones I liked best, and then asked an audience as to what appealed to them in regards towards the type of game it was associated with.

Haha yeah, I'm constantly thinking of new things i would like to add to it, however im still currently focused on getting the core things coded. I'm happy to release without everything there as long as there is a base game to start with on release.
I agree with the name - you want something that someone can relate to or understand what the game is about without sounding to generic.
I'm hoping to build up a list of things i like and narrow it down from there, but at the moment im really not sure where to start haha.

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Sounds like an awesome and pretty fun concept.

You could go with a title as simple as Time Beasts 

Mainly because it seems the game's storyline focuses on traveling through and seeing how the island changes throughout those time periods. So I think a title that focuses around that would be interesting 

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1 hour ago, Aminirus said:

Sounds like an awesome and pretty fun concept.

You could go with a title as simple as Time Beasts 

Mainly because it seems the game's storyline focuses on traveling through and seeing how the island changes throughout those time periods. So I think a title that focuses around that would be interesting 

Good idea! Thanks for the suggestion, I've noted it down :)

I think i would like to try and get something in the name that implies "there is a story in this".

Ideas I've had before are things like "A Beast Story", "My Fable", "A Tale of Time", "Lifetime Stories" but one of 2 things happens: Either I'm not "OMG YES" about it, or the www.com is taken (EG, i really like "My Fable" but it is owned by a domain hosting company argh)

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Just now, Aminirus said:

Ah yeah, I can bet that's annoying. It's hard sometimes to come up with a title that is unique, but I know you'll figure it out. There has to be something out there :3

Haha thanks, I appreciate the support :)

 

I'm using @Digital's link to come up with random words haha :)

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Just now, Aminirus said:

I noticed that link. It's a super great idea :3 I occasionally use random generators for things like picking which creatures I want to mix, or if I need a name for a weapon of some kind, they have those too C: 

Haha yep! OR even if you try to join a super popular site and the first 5 usernames you think of is taken XD

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8 minutes ago, Nate said:

Haha yep! OR even if you try to join a super popular site and the first 5 usernames you think of is taken XD

Lol, that is so true! Usually I go with my name Aminirus, but it seems to getting popular because other sites I've tried to join with it have taken it already. I'm usually pretty good with coming up with random names, not always with titles C: 

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I don't know of any places to research this, but it would be an interesting subject to read up on if anyone knew of any scholary articles or other insightful info.

One good trick is to make the name unique so it won't have anything to compete against in search engines. I named my site Leporidae (knowing this) and it never comes up first in searches because leporidae is a real word rather than a unique name. So yeah I'd go with a unique name if you want to make it easy to find.

Making it easy to remember and spell is important too. Some casual players will just give up and go do something else if they can't remember how to spell the name of the site. 

I also look at Pokemon for naming ideas. Some Pokemon names are nothing special, but a lot of them actually have pretty creative etymology. Here's a page with a bunch of Pokemon name etymology: https://pokemondb.net/etymology

Using etymology, mythology, and other relatable things in a unique name is a good way to make it memorable to players. I like to think about the underlying themes and concepts, then write down all the words (nouns, adjectives etc.) or even stories, myths, or cultural things that 'feel' like they represent the concepts in the game, then look them up in the online etymology dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pair then find a way to combine maybe 2-4 words in a compact, attractive way that will be easy to recognize and remember. If you come up with something that makes people go 'oh, that's clever' you know you did something right. 

Aside from that, I'm not sure what else to say about names. They could be anything you want, really. These are just ways I like to name things (except for my actual site apparently lol).

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38 minutes ago, Aminirus said:

Fantastic! That sounds like a wonderful name!!

Thanks. It took aaaaaages to come up with it haha. Tables, excel sheets, whiteboards, trello and more to narrow it down to meet my criteria :)

 

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3 minutes ago, Nate said:

Thanks. It took aaaaaages to come up with it haha. Tables, excel sheets, whiteboards, trello and more to narrow it down to meet my criteria :)

 

That's still great though :3 I know it took me awhile just to come up with Wild Howlz and I had a huge list of all kinds of names. It is a good feeling once you find one though 

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1 minute ago, Aminirus said:

That's still great though :3 I know it took me awhile just to come up with Wild Howlz and I had a huge list of all kinds of names. It is a good feeling once you find one though 

Yep! And it makes you feel even MORE motivated to work on it! (Although I've been programming on it every day this week 5pm-2am every day.. so im letting myself have a wind-down day today haha)

 

Wild Howlz is a really good name!

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Just now, Nate said:

Yep! And it makes you feel even MORE motivated to work on it! (Although I've been programming on it every day this week 5pm-2am every day.. so im letting myself have a wind-down day today haha)

Wow, after that, a break is necessary to sorta "reset" yourself.

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Just now, Nate said:

Haha yep!

Kinda uber off topic, but nice avatar btw! Did you draw that yourself?

NP! and Yes, I did. I try and use a general avatar on all the sites I use so its an easy way for people to know its me if they see the same avatar elsewhere. The only place its different is on my Deviantart because I fancy the little animated avatar I did there and don't have a decent enough replacement for it yet.

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