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How do you create/find game ideas?

Published on 2013-04-26, by in Game Design.

A really simple, fun and interesting question I enjoyed answering on Reddit

How do you create/find game ideas? (self.gamedev)
submitted 9 hours ago by madskillsmonk



My reply: As a game designer the worst place to start for me would be a blank piece of paper or the dreaded interview question “If you had all the resources you would need, money, art, techology and time what game would you make”.

The reality is I want to know my restrictions. How big is my team, how much money do we have, how much time do we have, etc. If it’s a fresh team or if there are any team members in training I want a very short development schedule. This means reducing systems and features to a minimum.

To answer your question another way I find that most of my muses start from one place:

  • Mechanical – I want to explore a feature or gameplay concept and see what I can do with it.
  • Theme – art, sound or story I have something and I want to make a game out of it
  • Demographic – I have a core audience in mind and I want to make a game for them
  • Blender – I want to make a (X) genre game, but to make it different I want to combine it with features from (Y) genre.
  • Teammate – I don’t work alone and I want others to be motivated. So this is my new favorite place to start. I ask them what kind of game they want to make.

After I have that first muse I tease with it and then start to create a world around. Then as I’m writing the GDD I close my eyes (literally) and imagine playing the game. I imagine each scene and all the moving pieces. What information does the player see, what doesn’t he see, what direction does it come from, how much space does it take up on the screen, is there a better place to put it, what can the player do, what happens when he clicks each button.

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