Cameron's Pick - Tinykin Growing up on a farm in rural Australia, weekends would usually…
In part one, we discussed all the things a good pitch deck comprises. It seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But if you think about it in chunks, it’s really just seven sections of information, most of which you probably already have on hand or have been thinking about throughout development, so all you need to do now is organize it and make it presentation worthy. There’s no hard limit on decks, but aiming for around 15 slides is probably good. You’re welcome to link to demos or even other, more detailed documents within your deck if you’d like to give the publisher the opportunity to dig deeper, but your base deck need not be the next great American novel (and in fact, it very much shouldn’t be).
So in part one, we gathered a lot of information. Not every little minutiae of this information should necessarily be included in the deck, but it should inform what you do include, and much of it should likely be included by summary rather than in minute detail. You needed to lay all that information out in front of you so you could represent your project accurately (and answer any follow-ups the publisher may have), but as far as presenting goes, you’ll want to keep it simple.
How To Put It All Together
The overall look. First and foremost, you want your deck to look professional. Depending on how old you are, you may or may not remember playing with PowerPoint in school, making slides with multiple transitions, wavy block text in all sorts of fonts and colors, and clipart galore. Do not do that. A deck should generally be a collection of slides the publisher will scroll through at their own pace (no transitions). Keep fonts simple and easily readable (though feel free to use one that matches your game’s aesthetic). Backgrounds should be simple, though a still from your game or other in-game assets (if not distractingly busy) can be a nice touch to get viewers in the feel of the environment. Don’t put too many words on your slides, and rely on visuals rather than blocks of text where possible.
The supporting visuals. Definitely include screenshots, gifs, or even a trailer of your game if you can fit it them in there without making the document too heavy. (Several gifs on every page? Bad. A long gameplay video accompanying every slide? Bad. One video (likely your trailer) in the presentation and some still images or a single gif on each slide? That’s fine. (But I say mix it up between the two.)) You want to convey all the important information, but the look and feel of the game are important to communicate too! The publisher needs to see themselves playing and promoting your project, and reading a bunch of text isn’t going to get them there. This deck is a bit different from what we’re discussing here, but it’s a great example of how to give information while vividly expressing gameplay, mood, and style. This one is also not quite what we’re looking for, but shows how to combine text with images in a way that communicates important information while keeping your game style in the conversation at every point. Another fun example of how to integrate visuals into game explanations is this Bioshock pitch deck, though it’s also missing some of the important stuff we covered in the previous section. Finally, this deck template isn’t as flashy as those, and I highly recommend using your own assets and game images when possible, but it does a great job of showing how to include all the more nitty-gritty details into your deck like we talked about in part one. There’s no one right way to design a pitch deck, so some combination of these that appeals to you will be fine as long as all the important details are there and your game is well represented throughout.
The information. Of course, a pitch deck isn’t just nice looking graphics and an opportunity to brag about your game and all your hard work. What about your team, marketing plans, budget, development roadmap, and all that good stuff we covered before? You definitely need it in there! Budgets and timelines are especially important and not everyone has experience presenting that information clearly, so check out this budget template and general budgeting overview as well as this overview for project roadmaps (templates included!) if you need, and be sure to find a clear way to (succinctly) communicate this information in your pitch. (Same as the one linked before, this deck template shows a nice way to integrate this kind of information that isn’t too text-heavy or overwhelming.) Remember the publisher can come to you after for clarifications and expansion on what’s provided, so broad sweeps are fine, but there’s a fine line between cutting things down so you’re only including enough to make sure they have what they need and cutting things out in a way that might obfuscate something important. Remember, honesty is key, so remain conscious of that as you compile your information.
So now you know what you need to include and have a general idea of how to put it all together. There are more templates and examples out there, but I’m not a big fan of finding one to follow word-for-word (or slide-for-slide, I suppose), as a pitch deck is really something that will always be unique to you and your project, and that’s exactly how it should be! So long as you include the right information and can do so in a clear and approachable way, you should feel empowered to sell your project in your unique way that shows off your personal style and flair.
If you’re still a bit lost on how to talk about your game and communicate its core ideals and features, Gamedocs.org has some examples of how other folks have done it, but many of these are text-heavy documents that don’t quite fit the quick, pitch deck style of today. Looking over the way game concepts, mechanics, and development goals are communicated might give you some of your own ideas for a much more brief and straightforward initial presentation, though.
In the end, no one knows your game as well as you do, so you’re the utmost authority on what makes it great and where it needs help. Communicate that along with some of the other must-haves like project goals, budget, and team background, and you’re well on your way to an amazing pitch deck that shows off the hard work, care, and dedication you have for your project. When done correctly, the right publisher is going to see all that passion and potential and will love to support you on your way to a successful launch.
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