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Deadlybones

Software for organizing game design ideas?

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Hello. Can anyone recommend any applications that are good for organizing ideas? Some way to organize them in a hierarchical way would be nice. Right now I'm trying to organize a lot of jumbled ideas in to a .txt so it's time to migrate to something more efficient.

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I just use google docs for writing down my concepts. Doesn't seem like there's any better way to do it.

Some way to organize them in a hierarchical way would be nice[/quote]
Folders with text files?

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I use folders and text files. Gets unwieldy whenever the design changes as the project advances.
Currently, I'm using microsoft word documents with hyperlinks, but only for the plot and world design.
My dad uses a crazy large amount of Microsoft Word hyperlinking documents to each other and to powerpoint slides for organizing things, along with folder organization. Really cool, easy to navigate,

You could do the same thing with HTML, creating a local-only HTML website organized by folders, and backed up by a source control revision system to roll-back changes.

I've used Onenote, and I'd recommend it... but I'm personally trying to migrate away from it to something more opensource (read: free). You might try Evernote, though I personally don't like that one (a matter of preference). If Basket Note Pads were available for Windows (it isn't), I'd use that.

Some people use wiki software that can be installed on their own machine, like TiddlyWiki or something more advanced.
I haven't yet tried any mind-mapping software, but I'd like to give it a try sometime.

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I'm using "Zim" desktop Wiki, mostly because it was the first one I came across that I could get running on my desktop (windows 7) and netbook (ubuntu) with no real effort on my part.

Nice, simple. You might want to look into it.

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I just use google docs for writing down my concepts. Doesn't seem like there's any better way to do it.

Same. I'd even consider scanning some of my idea sketches and uploading them there, and/or to Aviary where I can more easily edit them.

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I personally use wikis for that, MediaWiki to be precise, but with LDAP authentication with the same accounts as I use for SVN etc. It's overkill if you're alone and it's a single project or something, but it's easy to share ideas, link pages, upload images etc. It also tracks changes so you can go back or revert your edits. The only downside is that it requires a HTTP server with PHP and MySQL.

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Mindmaps on computer are a really bad idea. You lose most of the cognitive benefits of hand-drawn mind maps and get a hard-to-edit, hard-to-display format that won't integrate well with anything. Stick to hand-drawn and archive with scanner if you must.

On computer, I recommend using an outliner (OmniOutliner is really good) for hierarchical mostly-text data.

Other easy option is a personal archive / database type app like Yojimbo, Evernote etc.

Wikis are a bit more heavy-duty and sluggish. I would use them for more formal stuff and when a team is involved. I looked into wikis for personal use and while the basics of usage are easy, I did not like the infrastructure, workflow, etc. - very sluggish compared to the above tools. I found myself thinking about the wiki technology instead of the content. Input was never really efficient. The lightweight wikis I tried had no support for the kind of complexity for which I was looking at wikis in the first place - specifically, I wanted to make individual notes, efficiently tagged, automatically timestamped and easily searchable to produce different groups of data. And I wanted version control integration to be able to search for stuff across past versions.

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I tend to use TiddlyWiki and / or Jreepad. Jreepad is exactly what you described, albeit the barest-bones version; it's a text editor that has nested tiers / headings.

http://jreepad.sourceforge.net/

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