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How do you get ideas for new games?

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Though I really like the process of creating games, I can't think of any interesting idea for a game to make. I made 2 very small games based on my own idea before, but they turns out pretty bad. The only game I made that my friends would even consider playing are tinkered clones of retro games.

 

Recently while learning phaser I read a tutorial blog article which aslo brefly mentioned how the idea came to the author. It seems surprisingly smooth to him - turning a phrase into an idea, then to a concept. Seems a lot like designing flowery interface for your own blog. I tried to do the same but, nope, nothing promising came after 2 hours.

 

So how do you normally come up with idea? Is there a brainstorming process or it's always just 'spark of the moment'?

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I love to develop 2D side-scrollers and RPG games and I only can respond from my own experience: ideas for a game come from the urgency of tell a good story, and a good story itself give me the patterns to make a reinterpretation of the genre that the game is built-in.
 
So, for me, this is the order of conceptual development:
  1. Main character
  2. Secondary characters and locations
  3. Story context
  4. Game genre
  5. Reinterpretation of the game genre trough the main story
The first is the main character, I always see how it will look and behave, and what cool features can became important to the story flow and the game mechanics. I do the same thing with the supporting characters, including foes, and then I imagine a world to put all of them. To help to build this conceptual world I imagine what circumstances of this world have molded the skills and personality of my characters.
 
I think 99% of the games released in the last decade are just reinterpretations of a stablished game genre; and I think it's fine if the originality of a fresh good story can keep a old genre alive.
 
Now if you want to create a brand new genre from scratch, well that's other thing and it involves a lot of abstract thinking.

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There are many ways to find ideas for games:

Playing other games does help.

 

Here's one way I've managed to consistently deliver original concepts (not all of them good, mind you):

 

Pick a piece of code you've done before (say, a pong or pac-man clone).

Look at the good (how it is laid out, the way things have been structured).

Figure out a way to make something totally different out of it in as little time as possible.

 

Instead on relying on your ability to design, it let's your mind wander around about the possibilities of systems that you've already created (and how flexible they are).

You'd be surprised what you could end up with when converting a pong or pac-man clone into a totally different game (retaining the assets, and only the logic you really need).

 

The code base generally becomes a mess, but it generally leads to much more than just a 'twist on' the game. 

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I can't think of any interesting idea for a game to make.


Why do you need an idea? This is not a frivolous question. Are you looking for something to practice on, so you can up your game dev skills? Or are you looking to build an indie business for yourself, so you need a moneymaking product? Or what?
Most professional designers are given an assignment, a basic concept to design from (so most pro designers don't always need to "think of interesting ideas" out of nowhere per se).

 

 

Yes I want to try making something new to improve my dev skill. Making clone game within the day might be fun but I don't think I want to spent some weeks or months making a clone game :(

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I want to try making something new to improve my dev skill. Making clone game within the day might be fun but I don't think I want to spent some weeks or months making a clone

If you can't come up with something original, don't. Your goal now is to improve - so make a clone (but one that won't take forever). Do something simple and different from what you did before. Trying to force originality is a side quest down a road that doesn't lead you to your stated goal.

 

 

complete freedom to do anything is paralyzing.

Nicely put!

 

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