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Works to get inspiration from?

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What books/movies/games/whatever do you think are good to read/watch/play/whatever to get inspiration from? This would not (necessarily) mean good things. But things that just had something uniqe to them as far as story, style, gameplay.. well anything.. Let''s make a list together I''l start, and then you guys can add your things too. And maybe we could have a discussion about it. Okay here goes: Books: Wheel of Time series Film: A Beutiful Mind Bladerunner City of Lost Children Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Equilibrium Spirited Away Games: Final Fantasy 7 Final Fantasy 8 Metal Gear Solid 1

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Oh man, I don''t think I could possibly make a list of books that inspire me, there''s TOO many and that wouldn''t count fanfic where a lot of my inspiration has come from... Anyway, I don''t re-read books right before I design something, not fiction books anyway - I''m much more likely to flip through a visual reference book of some sort, like a dictionary of symbols or illustrated encyclopedia of animals, or all about armor.

And movies, they''re too much information all at once for me - I like them, but I don''t design movies, I don''t think in terms of movies, so I don''t use them for inspiration. Although I suppose the exception to that would be anime, I''m often inspired by anime because as the product of a different culture it often has ideas I haven''t seen before.

What I do use for inspiration while I''m writing is music. Poe, Garbage, Live, Tori Amos, Leonard Cohen and Depeche Mode/Erasure are my favorites.

Games? Hmm. I''m currently hooked on neopets, of all silly things - if you haven''t heard of it this is a graphical mmorpg geared toward 15 yr. olds and housewives, etc. You get up to four pets and you can feed them and groom them, and you earn money by playing card games and little flash games. So I suppose this inspires me just because I''m playing it so darn much, and because I named my pets after the characters I''m trying to write a novel about. But I wouldn''t call it a seriously inspiring game. The games that have inspired me in the past are probably about the same as the ones on my favorites'' list: Vagrant Story, FF7, Obsidian, Sanitarium, Woodruff and the Schnibble, Lighthouse, Myst, Tender Loving Care, Warcraft and Starcraft, Yoshi''s Island, etc.

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I find that its best to draw inspiration from topics, that your interested. If you for instance your interested in the far east. Read literture from there, watch movies and play games from there it will give you lots of ideas. Also try and find some of the more obscure games you''d be surprised how many interesting ideas are out there for you to draw inspiration from.
For instance an rather obscure rts game out several years ago which is very similar to warcraft III. In fact its almost as if warcraft 3 was a rip off of that game.

Or take the rpg Persona 2 a great psx rpg that almost no one has heard of it. It deals with the interesting idea that rumors are becoming reality. For instance normaly a clothing store don''t sell armor but you can spread a rumor and all of sudden they do.

Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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I always get good ideas from cross-genre stuff like Shadowrun and the book Angry Lead Skies. They have weird combinations of ideas, which get me thinking about weird ideas, which can sometimes become good ideas.

-"The enemy is in front of us...the enemy is behind us... the enemy is to the right and the left of us...they can''''t get away this time!"-
-General Douglas Macarthur

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Guest Anonymous Poster
read anything and everything by neil gaimen and/or alan moore and there you go

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Guest Anonymous Poster
These Japanese mangas are really good, highly recommended if you want to see how the masters write good stories.

- Yuu Yuu Hakusho

- Level E (This is a very creative work with amazing plot twist)

- Hunter X Hunter

- Rurouni Kenshin

- Slam Dunk

- City Hunter

- Let''s Go! Inachu Ping Pong Club (Perverted, sick, gross, tasteless comedy)

- Kindaichi Shonen Case Files

- Detective Conan

These are very popular japanese mangas, but I haven''t read Hikaru no Go and One Piece, so I don''t know if they are really good. And I think Naruto, Dragon Ball are not as good as the mangas that I listed above, even though they are popular.

- Hikaru No Go

- One Piece

- Naruto

- Dragon Ball

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Hmm, If I was going to recommend manga/anime specifically for its good _writing_, I would recommend:
Paradise Kiss
Crest of the Stars and Banner/Battleflag of the Stars

and the American series Gloom Cookie

[edited by - sunandshadow on October 19, 2003 11:53:23 PM]

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i get my inspiration from a certain herb, not everyones cuppa tea though

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

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*pants after outburst*
Its just an underdone and bland ripoff of 1984 and bits of Fahrenheit 451. >=(

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The never ending story.

or listen to some songs like "Scarborough Fair." I have written notebooks full of stories listening to that song.

[edited by - chokki on October 21, 2003 3:25:57 PM]

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The Wheel of Time series is great. Ender''s game is also a good book. Both could be used as inspiration. Xenosaga could be an inspiring game. But only for it''s story, because it''s story is pretty much all that it has. Hey! Why not use the Bible for inspiration! Whether you beleive in it or not, it still has some good stories. I can''t think of a single TV show that I have ever watched for the story; I don''t think one exists. Wait a second! Maybe you could say 24...

Now for movies. I know it sounds geeky to say it, but: Star Wars. It influenced alot of movies that came after it and the story was kind of original. Any movie by Guy Ritchie. Alot of Stephen Spielberg movies for that matter. I am also very tempted to say Soylent Green as an inspirational movie...

I am the master of stories.....
If only I could just write them down...

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Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud really inspired me. Its a book (in comic form!) that examines as well as demonstrates the methods of that medium. In defining what a "comic" is, he really inspired me to ponder deeply about the nature of games and virtual worlds.

The book has a great deal of other great points as well; the sections on the ways shape and color can help induce moods and atmosphere was particularly brilliant.

The book on amazon...

Author's webpage

[edited by - SteevR on October 22, 2003 4:27:59 AM]

[edited by - SteevR on October 22, 2003 6:15:06 AM]

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Hmm there are so many books that I have been inspired by. Steinbeck''s books have been a major source of inspiration for me mainly to see how he writes but also that you can write about something in everyday life and still make it very interesting..

Another source for inspiration is of course Dune, some Tolkien books and well you got the classics of course like Robinson Crusoe and so on

As for movies hmm I don''t really know, there are a lot of good movies but few that actually have inspired me. Wall Street inspired me but not in a writing way though..

As for games I would say Command&Conquer from 1995. When it came out it really really inspired me. I drawed C&C, wrote C&C everything But I was just a kid then but anyway

Games that have inspired me recently is mainly those were you can do whatevery you like(be free if you will), I''m talking Operation Flashpoint, Sim City 4, The Sims, Grand Theft Auto 3 and a few others.

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Don't you think it's a serious problem that ninety-five percent of the crowd around here (or within the game development community) take their inspiration from largely the same material?

I do.

The Wheel of Time? Tolkien? Ender's Game? Sun Tzu? The Matrix? If they haven't been mentioned yet, they will be.

I would suggest to pursue random and different things until you settle into a set of possibly disparate niches that you really can explore with depth. Some of those random and different things might be similar to:
  • The forensic medicine depicted in Patricia Cornwell's mysteries.
  • The creepy and quirky plots conjured up by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
  • The excellent characterizations of homicide detectives in John Sandford's Prey series.
  • The wonderful and slightly paranormal situations that Repairman Jack finds himself in in F. Paul Wilson's series.
  • The well respected bibliographical works by Ramon Adams entitled The Rampaging Herd and Six-Guns and Saddle Leather .
  • The fantastically researched work by the classic historian J. Frank Dobie, including The Mustangs .
  • Secretariat.
  • Cunninghame Grahams now classic Horses of the Conquest , detailing how the horses of the Spanish Conquistadors gave them their victories.
  • Try walking at 14,000 feet above timberline.
  • Most of Galen Rowell's earlier works, including:
    • High and Wild
    • In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods
    • Mountains of the Middle Kingdom
    • Mountain Light

  • Beryl Markham's memoir: West With the Night .
  • Smoke Blanchard's memoir Walking Up and Down in the World .
  • Antoine De Saint Exupery's memoir Wind, Sand and Stars .
  • Thomas McGuane's two works full of essays: Some Horses and The Longest Silence . Also, read his An Outside Chance .
  • William Nack's My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life . Where else are you going to learn about the sick notion of there being hitmen who take out horses? Also, read his short essay Pure Heart .
  • Dennis Lehane's gritty series featuring the PI duo beginning with A Drink Before the War . Before he wrote Mystic River (yes, the movie), he wrote that series.
  • John Darnton's two or three good books.
  • Paul Garrison's riveting maritime thrillers.
  • Mark Sullivan's excellent The Purification Ceremony .
  • Are you good at riding a horse? It usually takes about 500 hours in the saddle to begin to get the feel, that True Unity so to speak, as professed by Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. You should be able to feel and be in rhythem with each footstep of the horse. Read Ray Hunt's Think Harmony With Horses .
  • Read In the Heart of the Sea and learn about the awful but true story which inspired Melville's whale.
  • Learn about Coronado and his Cities of Gold. You can read Dobie's Coronado's Children , or you could read Douglas Preston's Cities of Gold or you could read William's The Mysterious West , a Six-Guns book. This book also discusses the sinking of the Mollie Stevens and her load of eighty tons of silver into the Owens Lake, now dry. Speaking of Owens Lake, go to Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills. You've already seen the Alabama Hills countless times in movies.
  • Go to an aviation museum.
  • Go skin diving or snorkeling.
  • Read Clive Cussler.
  • Read Tess Gerritsen's medical thrillers.
  • Absolutely and most definitely read Robert McCammon's epic tale of a witch hunt in the Carolinas called Speaks the Nightbird .
  • While most of you have read Dan Simmons' science fiction, have you read his horror and general fiction? Do so now.
  • Study the Cowboy Artists of America.
  • Learn about the Lisp program called AARON. Also, learn about the Lisp program called SWALE. Certainly interesting. Roger Schank has a book called Tell me a Story and it discusses how our knowledge of stories is what really contributes to our knowledge, period.
  • Pick up a book on Gilcrease Museum.
  • Become a collector - of old things, not new.
  • Learn about Manzanar. It's just up the road from the Alabama Hills.
  • I'm turning around and looking at my library some more...
  • Read Jeff Long: Descent and Year Zero
  • Ever read Jack Vance?

[edited by - bishop_pass on October 26, 2003 12:56:36 AM]

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  • Study the works in the Anshutz Collection, and read the book Painters and the American West .
  • Look at the sketches by Tom Lea and read his classic The Hands of Cantu .
  • Look at N. C. Wyeth's art, and the work of his contemporary, Frank Schoonover.
  • You may know of Jimmy Buffet as a musician, but did you know he's done some interesting writing about something else that he does a lot: flying sea planes and flying boats around the Carribean, namely a Grumman Albatross custom fitted with all the necessities.
  • What would it take to fly a Consolidated PBY across the North Pole? It's got a 3,000 mile range, those big radial Pratt and Whitney engines guzzling the aviation fuel and burning the oil like crazy...
  • Have you read David Brin's Glory Road ? How about his Earth ?
  • Concordia, Pakistan. Unbelievable.
  • The mountain cirque which sits at 12,000 feet below Third Needle, Day Needle, Keeler Needle, and Mount Whintey. Nothing but stark white granite rising vertically to the crest: totally silent, not a stir in the air, nobody for miles, no vegetation, a deep high altitude blue sky, kind of scary, lonely, isolated, a room with 2,000 foot walls, God's own throne room, and then an August afternoon thunderstorm rolls in, like Armageddon it is, crescendo upon crescendo, the explosive Fist of God hammering down on you, no mercy from the huge mountain world all around you, no escape, high and wild...
  • Watch a cutting competition. Quarter horses will charm and enchant you.
  • Talk to people.

[edited by - bishop_pass on October 27, 2003 1:30:42 AM]

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  • And of course, Fred Hirschmann''s wonderful photo book entitled Bush Pilots of Alaska.
  • He also did a large format photography book entitled Rock Art of the American Southwest featuring petroglyphs, some rather beautiful and extravagent ones, not to mention somewhat hidden. The ancient ones in the Coso region near China Lake (just south of Owens Lake where the Mollie Stevens is) depict deer.

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If i repeat something someone else said sorry, but im in a rush. I usually read all posts but I didn''t this time sorry. I''ll do it tomorrow.

Here is a list of stuff that inspires me, in brackets is the particular stuff.

Wheel of time (wolf deely, luck deely)
The nights dawn trilogy (all the technology, especially neuralnanics and star flight)

Equilibrium (Gun kata, but can''t see it being implemented, although it could work in a fighting game)

Ghost in the shell (again the technology is awesome)

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Mmmmh. I was typing a very long list of the latest things I picked but I couldnt be arsed again. Stupid Internet Exploder !

Anyway, the best way to discover new things is to go out of the normal paths. So for instance why not stop reading novels and try starting to read non fictional books.

Say, _The Selfish Gene_ by Richard Dawkins. I discovered this book because I was browsing in the zoology section of my library, looking for something on animals and their behaviours, and I discovered instead this brilliant book on genetics. (I subsequently discovered how influential this man has become since he wrote this first book)

What about _The grammar of architecture_, by Emily Cole.
A superbly illustrated book on architecture across the ages and the world. It describes, well, more styles than I could ever think of, with full page illustrations each of a quality I have rarely seen. And I am not talking little drawings or photos, but engravings like you would see on a bank note.
A perfect inspiration for the level maker

I also read a few novelized biography lately, to discover a bit more about some characters I vaguely knew about and wanted to use in some RPG scenarios.
For instance the story of Lady Erzsebet Bathory, _La comtesse de sang_ by Maurice Perisset, who killed several hundreds young girls in her dark transylvanian castle in order to bath in their blood...
I think there is an English book on the subject by Valentine Penrose called _The countess of Blood_

Another I read was about the life of Nostradamus was written by Valerio Evangelisti, an italian author who usually writes great novels that combine sci fi elements and historical adventures in a unique blend.

May I also recommend the latest book by Umberto Eco, _Baudelino_, a brilliant historical novel. The story follows the adventures of the eponymous hero throughout various historical events such as the sack of Byzance, the conquest of the italian city states by the emperor Frederic I Barbarossa and his subsequent death during his morning swim. The book is brilliant in that it plays on a lot of documented facts and events, but it also develops know myths of the time, such as the Hashishim and the Man under the Mountain (the famous Assassins), or the various monsters of the time (no, no dragons, but the things that you will find in good books on fantastic beasts in medieval times, such as the "cameleopard", who was thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard, but who just happened to be a giraffe).

Gee, there are so many books out there. All you need is a good library and a bit more curiosity !

Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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  • Vernor Vinge''s A Fire Upon the Deep. Mind expanding.
  • Farmer''s To Your Scattered Bodies Go and the classic followups, such as The Fabulous Riverboat.
  • Speaking of riverboats, have you read Jack Vance''s Showboat World. Great fun.

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