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Alduron

Organizing thoughts?

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Hey everyone, In my spare time (or whenever I'm doing something mundane) my mind immediately starts to imagine up new games, addons for current games, or new/mixed genres. It's gotten to the point where I have a hard time thinking about selective items because I have way too many ideas floating around in my head. I'm trying to get some of these ideas out of my head and on "paper", but I've found time and time again I get things mixed up if I just start jotting things down on a piece of paper or what have you. Does anyone know of anything like a MS Word template that I could use to lay out some of these game ideas in my head? I would also like to use it as a way to help get my idea across when I talk to someone about it. Something similar to a document someone would use to pitch an entire game idea to someone. I'm sure there is something like this floating around, I just can't seem to find one. Thanks!

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Personally I'm using a tool called Evernote 2 to store ideas, notes - and to keep a log of what I've been doing. However, I also have lots of sketches here, and a few Google docs and Word documents. At some time I experimented with a wiki too. So far, I like Evernote most. It's convenient for quick notes and small blocks of text, it's possible to add images and drawings to notes and to link to other notes and urls.

As for pitching, try talking about your ideas with some friends. See if you can get your points across, and if you can't, find out why - and what you can do to improve on that. Some people will already be familiar with certain things, so just throwing around a few references will do the job (you know, the combat system of game X), others will need more explanation (game X? never heard of it...). Basically, practice your skills. :)


Oh, just a tip for getting ideas across: large bodies of text are intimidating. Split them up, use paragraph headers, images, references to existing games/movies/whatever, anything to help making it more readable and easier to comprehend. You're trying to get something across, so make those words count.

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Quote:
Original post by Alduron
I get things mixed up if I just start jotting things down on a piece of paper...
Does anyone know of anything like a MS Word template

Al, you have to set down your thoughts in an organized manner. Categorize your thoughts. Thoughts about user controls should not be interspersed willy-nilly with thoughts about the menu system, the onscreen UI, and the AI.
Check out these. They might help:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/specs.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson13.htm

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I like to use mind maps ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map ) to help lay out and develop ideas.

They can be easily drawn on paper (my preferred initial method) and then either scanned into or reconstructed on computer.

I have a graphics tablet that doubles as a digitising note pad when not plugged into the computer. It digitises anything you draw on it and stores it in its memory (either internal or SD card). There is also a suite of companion programs on the computer that can do text recognition (its not great, but it is sufficient and you can easily edit the result to fix any errors). This has to be one of the best tools I have for designing and note taking. As it uses normal paper and the pen it has also writes on paper as well as acts as a digitising stylus, I get both an electronic copy and a paper copy of the notes.

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I totally agree with Edtharan about mind-maps. They are the best way that I know of to capture a random stream of linked ideas in an ordered manner. What they let you do is capture your creativity with a minimum of impediment, while still connecting things together in such a way that you can easily formalise the document structure later (as Tom Sloper mentions).

I use FreeMind for making mind-maps when I'm at the computer. Once you've learned the basic 3 or 4 keypresses you can be as productive as you would be in Notepad except easily creating some sort of organisation as you go.

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