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superpig

Having trouble coming up with an idea?

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It looks like a fair number of people have got ideas for their competition entries, but doubtless some still don't. So, I figured I'd post a few tips - you're welcome to add your own to the end of the thread.
  • Remember that you only need two out of the four elements. Getting all four in might be nice, but a game that has all four crammed in will not necessarily do any better than a game which uses only two but uses them very well.
  • Look at how other games have treated the subject matter - get hold of games that have zombies/ninjas/pirates/robots in, or at least dig up reviews for them to try and get a quick idea of what's been tried before, what works, and what doesn't. Robot pirate fans might want to look at Rayman 2; Ninja fans at Ninja Gaiiden, Shinobi or even Prince of Persia. Plus, of course, don't forget to check out how they've been portrayed in other media - if you ever needed an excuse to go out and buy Romero's Living Dead trilogy, you've got one now...
  • Don't feel that you can only focus on the elements - you're welcome to pick out two elements and something unrelated, e.g. ninjas and robots teaming up against satanic/posessed cheese biscuits.
  • Keep a notepad and pen near you at all times, or some other way of recording ideas (personally, I use a small pocket dictaphone).
  • Don't worry too much about being supremely original upfront. One approach that can work quite well is to take an idea that's been done before, and incrementally change it until it's new and different.
  • Talk to other people about your ideas - not just other developers, but friends and family. Heck, complete strangers, if you can get them to listen. Listen to their comments, and be ready to throw ideas away if people are telling you you ought to. Take nothing personally, and don't let your ego get in the way. If you're not willing to change your ideas based on their feedback, there was no point asking for that feedback.
  • If you're a programmer, try not to constrain yourself to what you know to be technically possible. Allow yourself to design past that, and when you're done, then put on your programmer hat and cut it back down. Trying to squeeze a design into the constraints of the project can often lead to new ideas and compromises that you wouldn't have otherwise considered.
[Edited by - superpig on June 12, 2005 7:10:17 PM]

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Some good adice there piggy, ill take it into account :)

although i have an uber idea that will rox gdnets world.

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May I add:

* Stay calm. If you have to, put a poster up with big bold friendly letters "Don't Panic"

* Relax--you still have four months till the deadline. That allows for atleast one month of brainstorming... maybe two if you feel content is self writting. Three if you want a rush job.

* Take each element, and think... what does each of those remind me of? With me it was Ninja: Kobayashi--a character from a comic I like; Pirate: Guybrush Threepwood. That is what my idea will, hopefully be based on (though I won't actually be using Guybrush Threepwood... just a rip off of him).

* Don't force yourself to have an idea--sometimes if you don't think about it, you get an excellent idea.

Take these with a grain of salt :)

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I've pretty much been asking everyone I know if they can think of an interesting game idea involving pirates, ninjas, robots, and zombies. A good way to get some really interesting thoughts going.

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I have an idea, but I do not feel I could pull it off (in fact I now recounted to find I have 15000 ideas).

Remember the sword fights from Secret of Monkey Island? Well you start off, a Pirate wanting to defeat the Ninja Insult Master. However you need to train. So you go to a Robot Insult Trainer to learn the first few insults. Then you go around defeating (and losing) to other Pirates in an insult sword fight. Once you are confident, you can go after the Ninja Insult Master, and fight her to win the game (if you lose, you just have to fight the other pirates some more, or try her again).

Why don't I just make this game myself? I don't have the skills required to write lines for the game. So, as the mods as my witness, I am letting this idea go.

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Quote:
Original post by DakeDesu
Remember the sword fights from Secret of Monkey Island? Well you start off, a Pirate wanting to defeat the Ninja Insult Master. However you need to train. So you go to a Robot Insult Trainer to learn the first few insults. Then you go around defeating (and losing) to other Pirates in an insult sword fight. Once you are confident, you can go after the Ninja Insult Master, and fight her to win the game (if you lose, you just have to fight the other pirates some more, or try her again).

Now you mention it, Monkey Island 2 had zombies too (Well, one zombie, anyway), and 4 had a robot. :D
Can't recall any ninja, but 3 out of 4 isn't bad... ;)

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One of my classmates had a funny idea (which I probably won't be using). It is something along the lines of "Guess the Father". There would be a 'child' and a mother. Based on what the offspring look like, you would have to guess who the father was. Just imagine Jerry Springer with robots, pirates, zombies, and ninjas...

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Quote:
Original post by superpig
  • Talk to other people about your ideas - not just other developers, but friends and family. Heck, complete strangers, if you can get them to listen. Listen to their comments, and be ready to throw ideas away if people are telling you you ought to. Take nothing personally, and don't let your ego get in the way. If you're not willing to change your ideas based on their feedback, there was no point asking for that feedback.


  • I consider that somewhat of a bad idea.

    I mean asking complete stranger's is letting a person with probably no concept of game design or understanding of what your limitations are and coming out with something useless.

    If you are just asking what would be a better way to make a scene more atmospheric/what relation a robot and Ninja might share etc then I guess there is no harm done

    In any case-taking into consideration the highly unlikely contrast these different entities will have/share most if not all games will be comedy based.

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    Quote:
    Original post by JimmyShimmy
    In any case-taking into consideration the highly unlikely contrast these different entities will have/share most if not all games will be comedy based.


    most :)

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    Quote:
    Original post by JimmyShimmy
    Quote:
    Original post by superpig
  • Talk to other people about your ideas - not just other developers, but friends and family. Heck, complete strangers, if you can get them to listen. Listen to their comments, and be ready to throw ideas away if people are telling you you ought to. Take nothing personally, and don't let your ego get in the way. If you're not willing to change your ideas based on their feedback, there was no point asking for that feedback.


  • I consider that somewhat of a bad idea.

    I mean asking complete stranger's is letting a person with probably no concept of game design or understanding of what your limitations are and coming out with something useless.


    Sure, but I never meant to suggest that the feedback you'd get would be perfectly-formed nuggets of game design genious that you could just drop into your game. I mean, heck, if that /was/ what we'd get, game designers would be paid a lot less than they are. My point is more than you can take this feedback and scavenge it for ideas and additions which are actually useful - I talk to my mother about my game designs fairly often, and while I've never used a suggestion that she's given me directly, I have said "Hmm, not sure about that... but what if {suggestion with some modifications}." It's much like panning for gold - you need to pick out the nuggets from the mud, and even then you'll need to clean them a bit before they'll shine.

    Also, bear in mind that we don't make games for game designers - we make them for consumers. As such asking consumers what they do and do not find fun is probably sensible. [smile]

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