Creating a game II: Ideas

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Here is our second installment. Some great suggestions and feedback was provided from Facebook’s Indie Game Developers group. Thank you to all who commented!!

Creating a Game II: Ideas

Ideas and their origins

CB Colt - Ferret
As you are most likely a gamer trying to design a game… there are multiple things to keep in mind. If this is your first game, it is really easy to get excited about a vast set of ideas and options; that is a good thing! We will talk about scope and the reality of it later, but for now, here you have some guidelines that may help you for collecting more ideas!

  1. Look at the world with different eyes: Ever heard of beer goggles? Well, if you haven’t: basically the more beer you drink, the more attractive an unattractive person will look. The idea here is not to get drunk, but use your imagination in a similar way. But whatever floats your boat, go for it! Look all around and start questioning: “What if?”… By freeing your imagination, you will start seeing inanimate objects come to life and start creating fantasy worlds. Your experiences until today are very valuable starting points. For example, did you know that Shigeru Miyamoto, designer of Mario Bros., created the Chain Chop enemy in Super Mario Bros 3, based on a dog that was chained-up and tried to bite him when he was a kid? You never know what simple life experience will help you think of a new idea.
  2. Talk to people: Sometimes having a nice conversation with Friends, Family, Meet up groups, or strangers (ideally at a convention and not randomly in the street…but whatever floats your boat…), could lead to new ideas and make those creative juices start to flow.
  3. Travel: If you can, and it is inside of your budget, travel to exotic locations and different places. This will give you a deeper understanding of different cultures which will help you later when you design your game. Something as simple as a legend from one culture may become a really famous series. For example, Dragon Ball series (created by Akira Toriyama) was inspired by the Chinese novel Journey to the West (Monkey King).
  4. Read: I’m not referring to reading blogs or twitter comments… I’m talking about reading material that you like and that you do not like: books about mythology, history, about writing plots, technical writing books, and books about design. Also, do research in futuristic or antique weapons and trends, art and literature.
  5. Watch TV/Movies: Ok, if reading is not your thing, then watch multiple series from different countries and styles. Do not stick only to the Hollywood blockbusters, as you can learn a lot from foreign films. For example, foreign films do not necessarily keep the hero alive by the end of the movie… Normally, Hollywood would have given you a happy ending with a Hero that saved the world (maybe because they will want to make a franchise 🙂 ).
  6. Practice sports: You can open your horizons if you practice sports… it is also good for your health. For example, sky diving or scuba diving will take you to a completely different world. That could be inspirational.

Ok, I have all these millions of ideas thanks to all these sources… what do I do next?

Write down all your ideas

Yes, I guess you heard that before… but the truth is, sometimes you think of something (in the shower, on the way to work, etc) and then you think you will recall it. A little distraction…and the idea is *Poof* gone! You may try to recall it and it may work, but why not try writing it on the spot and save yourself from forgetting something great?!? Sometimes, as typing would be too long, I would personally record the idea with a voice memo on the phone or send it via chat to my team. All ideas are good! It may not match this game but it may match an upcoming one. Besides that, the best thing is to have plenty of ideas and then pick the ones you really like… so… keep collecting ideas! Or sell the idea to a publisher/studio!

Organize your ideas

It may sound silly, but it will really help. Add your ideas to a blog/notepad and organize or group them by categories that help you relate. The idea, pun intended, is that you not only collect them, but now you will have them at your fingertips and will be able to apply them to your game.