Game Ideas

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by roopie, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. roopie

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    I have a few questions:
    How do you get ideas for creating a game?
    Does it have to be totally original?
    I'm having a hard time coming up with a good game concept...
     
  2. ChrisLabombard

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    It doesnt have to be totally original... It just has to be a lot of fun to play.
     
  3. monco

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    Go to download.com and look at the arcade games. Try and spot something original.
     
  4. DanMarshall

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    I suggest you don't think about it too hard. Imagine what sort of game you'd like to play, and strip it down to its core idea. PLay about with that until you've got something fun.

    Worked for me...
     
  5. Christian

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    i first do a market research, and see what things are beign done now, so i set in my mind to do something that is not done or something better that what actually exists.
    Later i set my target audience.
    Then i set my objectives, what experiences i want the players to feel, the game design mechanics will reach this objectives.
    Then i set the subject of the game, wich is according to my objectives.
    And then i start with features that help me reach my objectives.
     
  6. ninjasamurai

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    For my game it was a slow process of comming up with ideas, mixing them, adding more new ideas, discard them...

    Just remember to tell your ideas to other people to make sure they arent too stupid, and let them evolve on your brain slowly until you are confident it would make a good game (it can take months before that happen).
     
  7. soniCron

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    First, I'll keep a pen and paper handy at all times -- you never know when you'll come up with a killer idea! Second, I have an interest in going back to gaming's roots, so I like to think small. I focus on an entirely abstract level, and don't worry about what characters or themes will bring the game to life. Those are secondary to the main goal: making the game fun; their job is to accent and reach out to the player from the solid foundation.

    I'm working on an essay right now titled, The Flour and Sugar of Game Design, in which I identify a few key moments of design. I'll come up with a very simple idea. The following items may come to me in a different order, but, with the exception of the "Style" element, it's largely a holistic process. The important thing is to keep it simple at all stages. Here's what the idea may look like:
    • First, I need to create a context in which everything happens: Playfield covered in dots, randomly dispersed. This is called the "Setup."
    • Next I'll have an external force interacting with the player, or playfield, in a negative way: Opponent characters walk the playfield trying to eat the dots. This is called the "Challenge."
    • Then, I'll come up with a goal: Player cannot let the opponent characters eat too many dots. This is called the "Objective."
    • After that, I'll add a method for the player to interact with the playfield: Player removes the dots by clicking on them. These are called the "Empowerment" (remove dots) and the "Control," (click mouse) respectively.
    • And finally, I'll create a familiar context for this game to take place: The opponent characters are mice and the dots are cheese. This is called the "Style."
    In summary, the playfield is covered in cheese. Mice populate the playfield, and their goal is to eat as much cheese as possible. My goal is to collect the cheese before the mice can eat it. If the mice eat too much cheese, they "win." (Perhaps they bloat up and explode.)

    The important thing is that I start with a very simple idea and flesh it out. Of course, this game wouldn't be worth much more than a little web Flash game. So it's our job to flesh it out further; to make it more fun. Add powerups, change dynamics, and generally make it more interesting.

    Once we've prototyped the game (this shouldn't take much longer than a day or two), it's important to identify any weak areas and fix them. In addition, it's important to create additional (and simple) gameplay elements that improve experience. Perhaps we could add varying sizes of cheese. The bigger the cheese, the more clicks it takes to remove it. (But the mice are able to eat it in one fell swoop.) And so on.

    Now, this type of game design isn't only important to small games. It can also be applied to large scale games, such as FPS's and RTS's. The elements may exist at larger scales and be highly refined, or may consist of many different elements at a smaller level, but the process is the same. If you look deep enough, you'll be able to see these simple gameplay mechanics in your favorite retail titles.
     
    #7 soniCron, Oct 6, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  8. Black Hydra

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    The best games tended to be made by thinking about games from a perspective that originated away from games themselves. Try to think about things in life that are fun, or at the very least tasks, and look at how some of those mechanics could be encorporated into games.

    I often catch myself looking at something that occurs in real life and trying to make a game of it. Anything from walking in the woods, household chores or even abstract things like how the seasons change. Most of them would be pretty crappy as game ideas, but it gets my creative side thinking....

    Miyamoto (creator of Zelda and Mario brands) said he gets a lot of the ideas he uses for vidiogames from thinking of when he used to play in caves as a kid.

    The creator of Katamari Damanci (tounge tied, forgot his name...) said he got the idea of rolling from watching kids at a field day having a competition to roll a ball to a finish line.

    Thinking about games from the perspective of real life is probably the best way to get original and fun ideas. Thinking about game ideas from looking at existing games makes ending up with an original idea harder.
     
  9. Kaos

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    I would like to see a remake of MS Gorillas (remember that game that was packed with qbasic on the old windows?)

    would be a great online play game!
     
  10. _6_

    _6_
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    As far as I'm aware, there isn't such a thing as an original idea. Every idea is the result of changing a previous idea in a small but unique way.

    Make a list of what games you like and why you like playing them. An idea should pop out when do you that.

    I have a book on my desk called "Kickstart your creativity" which gives you lots of ideas on how to think about things differently. Its a book written here in New Zealand so I'm not sure if you could find a copy in a library where ever you live.
     
  11. soniCron

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    Have you played Worms? The series is made by indie developer (if you wanna call them that) Team17. Great stuff.
     
  12. soniCron

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    Why split hairs? The idea of an "original" game isn't that it consists entirely of elements not found in other games, but rather, it combines elements, some familiar, some not, in such a manner that it stands apart from other titles. It's such a bad argument to say that nobody should try to create original titles because it's impossible to create a "truly" original title. Don't be pedantic.
     
  13. GBGames

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    Being creative isn't always about being original. It is usually about being unexpected.

    I agree with soniCron about the pen and paper. I keep a nice pocket notebook with me most of the time. Whenever I think of a game concept or mechanic, I write it down. Having the notebook with me at all times is good because I don't want to have an idea without it. I WILL forget it before I get a chance to record it.

    When I am in front of my computer, I add the ideas to a file. I have 136 items listed in this file, most of which have been added in the past month or so since I started trying to come up with five ideas every other day or so. At the end of July I had 31 entries, and I pretty much had just those entries for months before then.

    Are all of them useful? No. But if I didn't write down anything, I would have 0 useful ideas written down. It's a numbers game. Good ideas are worth a lot more than bad ideas, but you'll see more of the latter than the former. I have a bunch of ideas, some of which might work better when combined with others, and some that sound good on their own, and a bunch that don't seem promising at the moment but might surprise me.

    How do I get those ideas? They come from anywhere. I read more books these days. I watch movies. I play other games. I read about what other people think about games. I go for walks. I watch TV. I read the paper. I talk to people. I hang out with my cat. I tie my shoe. I eat. They come from literally anywhere.

    Example: I was eating breakfast and thinking about eggs, which got me to think about dropping an egg, which made me think about throwing an egg, which made me think about throwing an egg at a person. There's my game idea: what if you had a hen house and two farmers fighting each other. The farmers pull eggs out from the hens, throw them across the room, and try to hit each other? What if instead of the opposing farmer, they are trying to hit the hens instead? You need to use the farmer as a shield to protect your chickens while trying to hit your opponent's chickens? I label it "Egg Fight" and give a short description, and now it is in my idea list.

    Sometimes an idea spawns a related idea. I came up with an idea of a bee that needed to collect pollen. Maybe it had to avoid obstacles or fight its way through. Whatever. So I thought of another insect: the mosquito. Imagine trying to get blood while avoiding insecticides or swatters. Maybe you also have a goal of annoying a target the most by making him/her very itchy. Whatever. In any case, now I have two more game ideas.

    I later found out that there was a mosquito game for the Playstation. Still, it's an idea on my list.

    I saw a bunch of pigeons, seagulls, and some smaller birds fighting over bread on my way to work. "Bird War" became the label of my new idea.

    Seriously, don't try to come up with the good concept. Try to come up with ideas in general. You'll be able to pick the best out of a group rather than try to come up with the best, which is definitely a lot tougher.
     
  14. Anlino

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    You like RPGs? Play tons of those. Like puzzles? Play tons of those. After a while, you start think; "Hell, that and that should be like that and that", or "Those grpahics could be more like...". Get the idea? By playing games, you think of what you would like to change. Write down all of these ideas, and after repeating this, you will soon have an new idea.

    Actually, you don't need to think up a game all of the time. Think of Match 3 games. If you create a game like that, refine the graphics, sounds and everything elose, and pull the right threads, you've created a winner, getting a original game idea. Of course, you can always tweak the original game you are learning from.

    The easy way of expression: Create what YOU want to play.
     
  15. Kaos

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    so worms is Nibbles? (the OTHER game packed with qbasic)
     
  16. soniCron

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    How does that end up with an original game idea? That's a clone.
     
  17. Bmc

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    no worms is like gorillaz
     
  18. soniCron

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    Oh! You obviously haven't played it, so you are definitely missing out! Go check it out! If you don't love it, I'll eat my hat! :) (Enjoy!)
     
  19. Anlino

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    Nibbles, wasn't that a early version of Snake?
     
  20. paulhuxt

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    I search outside the domain of games: sports, nature, movies, etc..
    fortunately the "outside" is still richer than the inside ;-)
    Look at your background: want to you like, what do you know well? Try to bring something "new" to the "game industry".

    Original ideas are more valuable, I think, but harder - and longer - to elaborate and polish. The concept of originality depends on you culture of the video game industry: if you know almost no game, you will probably come up with an original concept - at least to your eyes. I believe such freshness is very interesting.
     

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