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GraySnakeGenocide

Does anyone have any advice when it comes to "starting" on a project?

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By ""starting" on a project", I mean finding where to begin.

I want to come up with an idea, but the thing is, I don't know what KIND of game I want it to be, car combat, fighting, etc. Following that, I draw blanks on what to do story wise, etc.

Creative writing/design block basically.

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[quote name='GraySnakeGenocide' timestamp='1313419729' post='4849399']
By ""starting" on a project", I mean finding where to begin.

I want to come up with an idea, but the thing is, I don't know what KIND of game I want it to be, car combat, fighting, etc. Following that, I draw blanks on what to do story wise, etc.

Creative writing/design block basically.
[/quote]

If you can't think of a cool game idea, just think of a cool idea and turn it into a game. For example, I am interested in NUI interfaces, so I'd experiment with that and eventually design a game around what I find interesting about the possibilities with them.

Otherwise I generally promote picking a simple game you liked, finding something about it you didn't like or something you wish it had, and remaking the game with the new feature/fix.

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Finding a good idea is harder than it sounds. Instead come up with a basic idea and build off of it. If this is your first project it will be a learning one. Basically if in the end you enjoy playing it, you have a good idea. Then you pass it on to others. Only then do you really know if the idea is worth anything.

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Moving to Game Design.
Other threads have been written here about Creativity. (Look for phrase "I stink" in subject line.)

Edit1: Oh wait, that thread is in Writing. [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/605073-when-it-comes-to-being-creativei-stink-and-dont-know-where-to-start/"]http://www.gamedev...I stink...[/url]

Edit2: Double "DOH!" I just realized that thread was started by you, killer of many gray snakes. Apparently you REALLY DO stink when it comes up to deciding on something to work on. So let's try this: WHY do you want to program something? What do you hope to achieve? Let's start there, okay? As Steven Covey says: begin with the end in mind. (In this case, we use the "purpose" submeaning of "end.")

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Bump/Edit3: See, the thing about creativity is, you can't start with a wide-open "anything goes" outlook. You have to have criteria (what some people call "constraints"). So as I said in edit2, let's start by narrowing down the too-big universe of possibilities, and one way to do that is "why do you want to make something."

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Then don't make a game, try designing software instead. Make a simple text editor or menu system.

Maybe games just aren't your thing.. either way this is something you're definitely going to have to get over. Problem solving ideas that have never been done before is a major concept when trying to stay ahead of the curve.

@Tom - I wanted to like your post just for the comedy factor ;)

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[quote name='GraySnakeGenocide' timestamp='1313439199' post='4849535']
Well I am just trying to find my way into the Gaming Industry, either through design or programming. It's going to be one or the other. I really don't have a choice. There is nothing else I can see myself doing in life.
[/quote]

Which is a poor outlook to start from; I find the best programmers and, especially, designers come from a long and varied background. If you start drawing blanks right from the word GO then design is just not something for you - creative blocks are common but you shouldn't be completely [i]clueless [/i]as to what to do!

Finally, of course you have a choice! We've all got a choice. So, ask yourself, why do you [i]really[/i] want to do this? What do you hope to accomplish? A project in itself shouldn't just be a tick on your resume - it should be done for a reason, whatever that reason is, otherwise you doom the project from the get go.

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[quote name='GraySnakeGenocide' timestamp='1313439199' post='4849535']
Well I am just trying to find my way into the Gaming Industry, either through design or programming. It's going to be one or the other. I really don't have a choice. There is nothing else I can see myself doing in life.
[/quote]
Yes, but you are not letting me help you. Answer my question. Don't talk ten years down the road -- talk three months down the road. WHY do you want to write a program right now? What do you want to achieve out of the program you want to write right now? I'm trying to help you decide on a project, and when I ask you, all you give me is the sun, the moon, and the stars. Focus! Narrow it down.

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As far as getting a project started, start with a very simple, basic thing to simulate (like a very basic console based combat simulator). When you get the bare-bones stuff working correctly, try to think of a feature that would add a little spice to it. It doesn't really matter what it is, just so long as you can imagine it, plan it, and code it in. Then start to think about what you would enjoy doing as a player [i]around[/i] the little framework you've made, and do the same for them.

Or you could think of a setting you like (from a TV show or movie, perhaps) and try to think of things that you would enjoy doing in that setting. Then start coding it up, like above, and you can have something at least game-like before too long.

And in all fairness, it doesn't sound like you can see yourself doing this in life either (at the moment). You can see yourself being successful at it, perhaps, or imagine a having a job nominally in one of those areas, but that isn't the same as seeing yourself doing the work. Doing the work involves experimenting, designing something that you maybe aren't super excited about but designing it as best you can just the same (better stick to very small projects if you aren't excited about them).

Don't get ahead of yourself. You listed several ideas in your first post-- why not pick one of them and try to design something that you would find interesting? What do you like or dislike about any of those game types, what have you always wanted to see in such games but haven't yet? Sketch something out, and go from there. Don't leave deciding for later and then skip ahead to plot, etc. An idea is the product of work, not the divine implantation of a fully formed idea by Calliope.

If you don't feel ready for that yet, play some games that you enjoy and imagine how you might model certain features based on coding skills that you've already got. Break them down into components and see how those components interact to form the game system, and so on. Even if you can't reverse engineer the design of a game fully, you can at least do so well enough to get some fuel for your own project.

But more important is that you do [i]something[/i]. The overwhelming message that I get from these boards (I am not a professional game-anything) is that working in the industry involves applying your coding or design skills to an idea that you're assigned, not one that you create and totally love. The ability to come up with game ideas isn't going to get you an industry job anyhow. The ability to implement ideas will be your employable skill.

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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1313460379' post='4849665']
But more important is that you do [i]something[/i]. The overwhelming message that I get from these boards (I am not a professional game-anything) is that working in the industry involves applying your coding or design skills to an idea that you're assigned, not one that you create and totally love. The ability to come up with game ideas isn't going to get you an industry job anyhow. The ability to implement ideas will be your employable skill.
[/quote]
Well said.

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[quote name='GraySnakeGenocide' timestamp='1313419729' post='4849399']I want to come up with an idea, but the thing is, I don't know what KIND of game I want it to be, car combat, fighting, etc.[/quote]LOL. Toss a coin. I mean, really, there are limits on being indecisive.

[quote name='GraySnakeGenocide' timestamp='1313439199' post='4849535'] I really don't have a choice. There is nothing else I can see myself doing in life.[/quote]... Gamedesign is one of the few jobs you simply can't do unless you like it. And you are mistaken, you do have a choice, you can do something else.

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GSG,

I'm suspicious of your motives here. A certain term that starts with "attention" and ends with "ore" and would get a smack from Tom Sloper comes to mind. You didn't do anything with what anyone wrote on the last thread. In any case, "I have no ideas or creativity" has never stopped anyone from writing or making games before.

I'll offer some advice once more. Star with a "thesis statement". It's what I do for everything and get a lot of mileage out of it.

e.g. "everyone would say a game where you iron pants would be lame, but I disagree."

Then you create a [i]proof[/i] of that statement, by, for example, making a game where you iron pants and getting a good reception. "I played it for more than an hour of my own volition" counts as a good reception. Then you stew over why it went well or not well, and you put it behind you and make a new thing. The statement doesn't even have to be about game design. Just, anything you want to assert. Make some kind of assertion.

In any case, there really isn't a magic sauce or single right way. Just do [i]something[/i].

Also, as far as careers are concerned and what you see yourself doing, I would consider that it doesn't matter. I know you're told by society to find personal fulfillment in work, but you don't actually have to. If you don't care, there is no forcing it. The fact is, there's a million things that [i]must be done[/i] in this society. If you get a job [i]at all[/i], you're contributing.

It also doesn't have to be sufficiently white collar. My brother works at Panera Bread and plays music in his spare time and his job gives a decent income and an employee stock program. The company's a winner, too. You don't need to be in an office beating your brains out trying to come up with game ideas.

I would advise you to consider looking for personal fulfillment [i]outside[/i] of the career\work domain of your life, and seeing how that affects what kind of work you're looking for.

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If it is your first time around, I'd try something to explore the workflow of design as a whole.
As an experiment, I sent out my team to design the most barebone Tic-Tac-Toe clone ever.
My initial requirement is that it should be as light a game as possible, with no innovation.
Just, tic-tac-toe in a GDD.

Guess what?

It obviously turned out into something completely different with added features, leaderboards, etc, and I must say even the gameplay was substancially changed.

Botom line, pick something incredibly simpler, try to reverse-engineer it, try to write it "exactly as is".
You will more than probably hit a few 'what if it didn't do that?' and you'll be going somewhere else.

By the time you finish your project, it will be an original take onto something else.

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