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How do you keep up with your various ideas/etc?

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Typically, whenever I think of something, I just make a text document, with a different document for each different aspect (story would be separate from item list, etc). I was wondering if there's an easier way to do it as far as keeping things organized better.

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I sketch it on a piece of paper and then throw it away. Of course, I'm probably not the best example to copy.

My final level designs usually have only a vague resemblance to the original concept since I do most of the designing by trial and error while play testing.

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In my case, I always have ideas popping into my head about other projects, so I want to record them so I don't forget them.

But I'm looking for a more convenient way to do it.

A Personal wiki seems nice. Is it possible to set one up where others can view it if I want them to?

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I do it on a textfile too. Usually I will just set a folder for a potential new project and make some "ideas" textfile on it. As for ideas on existing projects I usually have a "todo" textfile inside that project. I add the date becuase older ideas might become garbage as the project evolves and takes unpredicted paths...

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I find that if I can't remember a concept/idea/feature then it's probably not a good one. If I think of something and am about to get distracted I'll email myself a reminder.

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One liners I write on an online 'to-do' list.

More complex ideas, I create a Google Document for, so I can edit it anywhere.

Sometimes I also write with pen and paper and file it away.

These are all different things though. What sort of organisation do you need? You can group things by project (in a directory, or a physical file) and that is probably 90% of the problem solved.

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Quote:
Original post by Storyyeller
I sketch it on a piece of paper and then throw it away. Of course, I'm probably not the best example to copy.


Hahaha... this.

I generally try to keep to a physical paper notebook. I intend to use one per project but stuff always gets mixed up in there. I usually keep a 'to-do' list at the front, then often a rough ER style design, followed by poorly organised lists, sketches etc.

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I typically will just jot it down on a piece of paper, but then make sure to toss it after a while, so that only the core principles of the idea are retained (in my head). I've done this for about a decade now, leaving me with a few core ideas that I try to mix together every now and then to see what the possibilities are. Of course, I do this knowing that likely nothing will ever come from my design aspirations. If I had higher hopes, I might end up writing the ideas down in a more organized manner. Or not, as I do think the above method works in getting rid of the many "wouldn't it be cool if" ideas that are typically just clutter.

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I work with Microsoft's OneNote. It's from Microsoft Office and it works like a virtual notebook. It allows for quick movement between different sections which you can use to catagorize your game aspects. At least, that's what I do.

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i use google docs. i have folder that contains all my game ideas. When i come up with a game idea, i make a new document and then write down as much as i can about it. Even draw pictures, diagrams, and make lists. anything helps. if that doesnt do it, then the next step would be a personal wiki, ive looked at a few but google docs is working great right now. google just better not steal my stuff.


to keep up with your ideas is a little different, i usually need some sort of todo list and try and take one or two off the list a week, that way I dont overkill myself but dont get lazy. I either put my todo list on some sort of sticky note application, google tasks, or within my game idea document on gdocs.

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Quote:
Original post by Slateboard
Typically, whenever I think of something, I just make a text document, with a different document for each different aspect

That's actually not far from what I do nowadays.

Well, I used to work with pen&paper and FreeMind. As I'm very visually oriented, this worked very well for me. I still have a folder with some older concepts around. :)

But then I stumbled upon Wikidpad, so now I'm one of those who keep a personal wiki, so to say. However, if I wanted to collaborate with someone else, I probably would need a full-blown wiki software. That's not something Wikidpad is intended for.
Apart from that, I have a whiteboard for making quick sketches and notes. For archiving my sketches and the occasional graph (mostly UML) I use Dia and Microsoft Visio.

In the end, these (and the others mentioned) are all great tools. I hope you find what you need and what works best for you.

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Quote:
Original post by WavyVirus
I generally try to keep to a physical paper notebook. I intend to use one per project but stuff always gets mixed up in there. I usually keep a 'to-do' list at the front, then often a rough ER style design, followed by poorly organised lists, sketches etc.


I find this as a more recommended way to track ideas, plots, and the like. Yes, do so in individual notebooks.

Once done with the brainstorming, then you might want to type them down in something like Google Docs, MicroSoft's Office Suite, or Sun Microsystem's OpenOffice.Org.

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I usually just use OpenOffice and type everything up. I also try and keep a up-to-date table of contents, with each section and subsection labeled so I can easily ctrl-f and find it.

I keep story elements and mechanics in separate files. And certain content information in a third file. This so I'm not stuck shifting through 6000 page documents with everything in them.

Each individual project gets it's own folder, though if I intend to reuse mechanics, then it'll go in subfolders. In example, the folder C:Genesis would have the core mechanics of the system, while the folder C:Genesis\Eclipse would have the game Eclipse while c:Genesis\Dawn would have the game dawn. I do this because as I write, I tend to branch out into things that can be used, but not in conjunction with other stuff.

I also keep a notepad handy and pen for moments when I have no computer to type on.

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I'm using TiddlyWiki (http://www.tiddlywiki.com) - very useful. I've been looking into Org-Mode (http://orgmode.org/) lately as it seems very useful as well.

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I keep a physical notebook where I sketch out my game idea. Flipping back through the drawings is enough for me to immediately recall my game ideas. For games I'm actually working on I keep track of progress using notepad for temporary lists and google wave for everything else. Given the size of the games I write it's usually a simple design document and a tiered list of items to be implemented.

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Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
I run a personal wiki on my computer.


Could you please elaborate on this? What kind of wiki do you use, do you need to run a php backend(or apache, or whatever) on your pc to use it?

A wiki sounds much more usable than many of the other options. I'm currently using word documents and its just becoming too much of a mess. I think I'll take a look at tiddlywiki but would like to hear more opinions of people who are using wikis.

I would preferably like to aviod running a whole server on my computer for this. as i'm a student and my pc is budget and slow enough as it is. :P

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I keep a little notebook with me almost always, which is totally free-form. I write down anything that pops into my head. Then I have other larger notebook/journals that I copy the important ideas into. On one fiction writing project (non-game), I've taken to doing a sort of stream-of-conscious journal, of whatever pops into my head, without worrying about redundance or contradicting myself.

For software, I would recommend The Guide. It's just a perfectly simple outliner. The only problem is that it's Windows-only [sad].

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Moleskine Notebook, just a bit smaller than A5. Being an architect and a student simply vital to keep with me anyway. My ideas usually present them better in icons and little scribbles anyway rather than dry text.
Added benefit that if I later look back to them, they allow interpretation, unlike text.

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