Casual Game Design » Coming up with game ideas Today, I received an e-mail from someone who asked me how I come up with ideas for my games. That’s a tough question. Coming up with game ideas is a creative process without much structure to it. Nevertheless, I do think it’s something you can learn. I’ll give you some tips I think are helpful when trying to come up with an idea for your next game. Pencil and paper First thing I want you to do, is turn off your computer. Seriously, you shouldn’t look for game ideas while sitting behind a computer. When I try to come up with an idea, I sit down behind my desk (the one without the computer on it) and just start drawing. If you still find yourself looking at your computer from time to time while putting your ideas on paper, find someplace else to work. Quantity first, quality later The days that I don’t come up with a game idea at all are pretty rare. That may sound depressing, but it’s not that bad. The trick to coming up with a lot of ideas is to not censor too early. Don’t think too much
[Mind-Speak] » Blog Archive » Project Aurora – Creating the Concept If you’re like me, you love seeing how other people design. Here’s the process – and the docs – from the first stages of development on my latest indie endeavor: Project Aurora. The Spark The idea for Project Aurora came up accidentally, the result of experimental concepting for Project Babies. Armed with a rainbow glitter texture and some semi-transparent white hills, I was in the middle of making background sprites when I had one of those awesome perceptual shifts. It wasn’t happy rainbow hills – it was the aurora borealis amongst the stars, casting bright spectrums on the snow. At that point, it was an aesthetic – there were no mechanics, nothing beyond the look, but I loved it. The Core One of the rare times I literally “dreamt this up”. At this point, the idea was still in “bright light” stage: it was vivid and pulsing with potential, but if I looked right at it with a critical eye I’d wind up blind and stumbling until I extinguished it. Curiosity – what is this world? The Feel
Hartnett's Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making (CODM) Model - Decision-Making Techniques from MindTools Developing Solutions Collectively Involve everyone in the decision-making process. © iStockphoto/urbancow You've just brought your team together to kick-off a new project. However, you quickly run into problems agreeing the right way forward. Juan, the most dominant member of your team, immediately makes a suggestion and starts talking about its benefits. Katherine begins arguing with him, claiming that her idea is more efficient. Kerry, who often has brilliant ideas, is too overwhelmed by Juan and Katherine to speak up. You're soon ready to abandon the meeting! If you work in a team, then this scenario may sound familiar. In some situations, you can cut through these problems with decisive leadership (our article on the Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model helps you think about when this is appropriate). This is where Hartnett's Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making (CODM) model is useful. About the Model The CODM model was developed by psychologist, Dr. The model uses a seven-step process. Tip: Tip 1:
Game Design Process 101: Part II (Creative Thinking) For many people who want to be Game Designers, the most difficult thing about the process, aside from the actual work, follows soon after the initial spark of inspiration strikes. More often than not, the first mistake a budding developer makes is to get inspired and immediate start the execution of the gameâ€™s design, usually after slapping together a whole lot of hype to get other people interested in his or her project. Screenshots, like an actual plan, are optional. A great example would be GamerJoe21 taking a shower, thinking about the â€˜kick-ass war movieâ€™ he saw last night where â€˜that dude did that awesome thing with that minigunâ€™. Donâ€™t laugh, itâ€™s probably happened numerous timesâ€¦ Unfortunately, for a game to be the best it can be, there must be some amount of planning and preparation. â€œBut wait! So the question is not what your game will be about, for youâ€™ve already satisfied that in the first part of the Game Design Process, namely inspiration. Whew.
How to Change the Reputation of Your Business A business’s reputation often dictates its sales. A bad reputation leads to a lack of willingness on the part of the consumer to purchase a product or service from the business. You don’t need to trash your business and start a new one to rebuild your reputation; confronting the problem that has led to your company’s poor reputation will result in people returning to your business. As long as you’re prepared to make changes to the way your business operates, a positive reputation will follow. Step 1 Determine the cause of your business’s poor reputation. Step 2 Announce any changes that you’ve made. Related Reading: 10-Step Process of Business Change Step 3 Focus on the customer. Step 4 Volunteer in the community. Step 5 Ask customers for their opinion about your business. Step 6 Train your staff. About the Author Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. Have Feedback?
Six Thinking Hats Six Thinking Hats is a book by Edward de Bono which describes a tool for group discussion and individual thinking involving six colored hats. "Six Thinking Hats" and the associated idea parallel thinking provide a means for groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, and in doing so to think together more effectively. Underlying principles The premise of the method is that the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways which can be deliberately challenged, and hence planned for use in a structured way allowing one to develop tactics for thinking about particular issues. de Bono identifies six distinct directions in which the brain can be challenged. Since the hats do not represent natural modes of thinking, each hat must be used for a limited time only. A compelling example presented is sensitivity to "mismatch" stimuli. Six distinct directions are identified and assigned a color. Managing Blue - what is the subject? Strategies and programs
My design method: Interweaving « #AltDevBlogADay Warning: there might be a couple of light spoilers, but everything is in the trailers anyway so… nevermind that. I hope what I’m going to say won’t sound too stupid, agreeing with everybody and not making a fool of myself is really hard. n_n That being said: DON’T duct-tape features together to make Frankenstein-style abominations.DO find natural sources of gameplay/setting harmony and consistency.DO identify the axes from which your game is built in order to know what you should and shouldn’t do (it also works for other forms of intellectual construction). Interweaving This has been my main design paradigm and method for the past year. There are 4 main axes that need to be taken into account when using this model: Perimeter, Exploitation, Justification, and Legitimacy. Simply put: find a nice place to dig (like a goldmine), and DIG deep, don’t just scratch the surface. I realized later that that described very precisely what QUALITY is about. Let me explain. Perimeter I’ll use examples: Portal:
Theory of Constraints (TOC) - Strategy Tools from MindTools Strengthening Your "Weakest Link" Manage your weakest link. © iStockphoto/hometowncd No matter what industry you work in, there is often scope for boosting overall performance. A great way of doing this is to identify and eliminate "bottlenecks," or things that are holding you back. So how do you identify these bottlenecks? One approach is to use the Theory of Constraints (TOC). In this article, we'll explore the Theory of Constraints, and we'll look at how you can apply it to your own situation. Understanding the Theory You've likely heard the adage, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link," and this is what the Theory of Constraints reflects. According to Goldratt, organizational performance is dictated by constraints. The theory says that every system, no matter how well it performs, has at least one constraint that limits its performance – this is the system's "weakest link." Applying the Theory Let's look at a step-by-step process for using the theory: Step 1: Identify the Constraint
Visualizing the Creative Process As I coach new developers, I've taken to scribbling out the same useful diagram for visualizing the creative process again and again on coffee-ringed napkins. In order to limit my future abuse of culinary paper wares, I've reproduced my images in a more formal fashion in this essay. The conversation usually starts with the following statement: "Creativity is like a snake swallowing a series of tennis balls." And when confused looks inevitably result, I sketch some variant of this odd little picture: Using this as a starting point, we start chatting about joys and pitfalls of creativity.The Brainstorming PhaseFailures in brainstormingThe Culling PhaseFailures in cullingCyclingFailures in cycling The Brainstorming Phase We all start with an idea. Brainstorming starts out small and expands over time There are several activities that occur during this phase:Ideas: Generate new ideas related to your initial insight. A multitude of experiments arise during brainstorming Problems with brainstorming
Social Networking Risks for Corporations By Carl Timm The rapid explosion of social networking is starting to affect corporations. Believe it or not, employee use of social networking sites while at work isn’t the only reason corporations are running into problems; corporations themselves have started using social networking sites for a multitude of reasons, such as marketing, employee communications, and emergency response services, just to name a few. The reliance on social networking use has introduced some serious vulnerability issues for these corporations. Below is a list of some of the vulnerabilities corporations are now facing: Identity Theft Data Leakage Legal Cyber Bullying Discrimination Reputation Damage Internet Threats Attackers love using social networking sites to steal people’s identities. Data leakage introduces a serious risk for companies. Legal ramifications are an often overlooked risk that corporations face when employees post to their social networking sites while at work.
Features - Jumpstarting Your Creativity [Experienced sound designer Brad Meyer (DJ Hero) espouses a creative philosophy of taking a step back and making common sense decisions as the best method for reinvigorating that elusive creative spark once it's fled.] As industry veterans, many of us grow stagnant in critically analyzing and adapting the way we design. We've been doing things a certain way for a long time, and when faced with tight deadlines we often don't take the time to evaluate the way we work and assess whether it is still serving us. I have felt this stagnation a few times throughout my career, and I consider it to be the designer's equivalent of writer's block. "Designer's block" may be as simple as drawing a blank on how to approach designing a difficult sound, but it can also be a more fundamental problem such as falling back on stale, tired tactics just because "that's what I've always done." "I like to listen. Most people assume that because we are in the audio industry, we must have good ears.
The Elusive “Quick Iteration”: Tips for Indie Devs « #AltDevBlogADay From agile and scrum to extreme programming, everyone’s trying to nail down what it takes to iterate on products quickly and efficiently. There are a lot of methodologies that you can employ to guide you through shipping products. But today, I’ll be talking specifically about video games and how, as a developer, you can use a loose process and follow some basic rules in order to get quality games quickly out the door. Now, there is a fine line between making quick iteration a focus and getting bogged down in process. Make measurable steps every time you sit down to work Did your mom notice that something changed with that last check-in? I’m not saying that those refactors or pipelines aren’t important. Someone should always be playing your game As soon as your game is playable, others should be playing it. Whether it’s a game designer with 20+ years of experience or your 12 year old brother taking a look at your latest build, you need feedback to iterate on. Ship it. And finally, fail