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Visualizing the Creative Process

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

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 game’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 ‘kick-ass war movie’ he saw last night where ‘that dude did that awesome thing with that minigun’. Don’t laugh, it’s probably happened numerous times… Unfortunately, for a game to be the best it can be, there must be some amount of planning and preparation. “But wait! So the question is not what your game will be about, for you’ve already satisfied that in the first part of the Game Design Process, namely inspiration. Whew.

Graphics News #14 « Frogatto & Friends November 20th, 2010 by Jetrel We’ve added a new tileset to the game, which is exclusive to the new “arcade mode”. Unlike our full, story-mode tilesets, which are essentially a hybrid mix of 16×16<->64×64 tiles, intermixed in lots of wacky combinations, this tileset is a strict collection of 16×16 tiles. It’s not possible to do very organic rock faces and such in this tileset; everything will feel very blocky – however, it makes for much more flexible arrangements of tiles (since quite a few up-close arrangements were not possible with our story-mode tiles). Especially for our arcade mode, which will be based on some very tight platforming challenges, this is a good fit for gameplay. Ultimately, we decided that rather than choosing between either style of tileset, we’d choose to have both. Also, here are some updates on forest stuff; showing off some new branches, better foliage, and one of the new palette shifts. (click to zoom in)

Gamasutra: Paul Sztajer's Blog - Game Design Tools: Narrative Graphs The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. There's an awesome video where Kurt Vonnegut explains the shapes of stories using narrative graphs. In fact, I'm going to just link the video here ( and talk about their applications after. Chloe and I started talking about the narrative for Particulars a couple of weeks back, and one of the first things we did was to use a Vonnegut 'Good/Ill Fortunes' graph to map out our plot (in fact we made two graphs: one for the flash game and one for the full game. They're below: see if you can guess which is which). Why is this? By graphing out what you want from one of these (in this case, story), you force yourself to ask how the others will affect it. Have you had any cool experience with narrative graphs?

Risk and Reward Deluxe « #AltDevBlogADay I recently came across a quote from Cliff Bleszinski (source forgotten) where he contemplated that he’d rather have other game designers ripping off Gears of War’s “active reload” mechanic than its cover-based shooting. Reading that, I was reminded of an observation that my friend and colleague Peter once had while we were playing Wii Tennis together. We were pretty good players, having played that game daily during our lunch break for months. And we finally understood the finesse, the genius, of the service in Wii Tennis. The service in Wii Tennis works like this: First, you waggle the Wii Remote to throw the ball into the air. While the power serve is played by throwing the ball into the air and hitting it with the bat when it has reached its peak, the lulu-service needs the player to hit the ball moments before the Mii catches the ball again with his hand. Nintendo’s genius can be seen in this intricately modeled risk-reward scheme.

Platforming Games 101: Running, Jumping & More Presented by Gamerforlife The Racketboy crew is back with yet another ambitious effort to educate the masses on some retro-gaming (and even some modern gaming) essentials. In this Retro Gaming 101 installment, we will be taking a lot at one of the most essential and popular genre in video games. Platforming games really kick-started and pushed the 8-bit and 16-bit generations and the genre has remained an integral part of modern gaming culture. Of course, the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog series are the most well-known examples of the genre, however, there are many games that preceded them and there are many subsequent games that broadened what we can expect from the genre. Genre Foundations What is a Platform Game? While some video game genres more often focus on killing, defeating or avoiding enemies (shooters, beat’em ups, fighting games, survival horror, etc.), platform games are more about how skillfully players can move through an environment. Donkey Kong (Arcade), 1981

Lost Garden: What are game mechanics? The phrase “game mechanics” sends a pleasant shiver down my spine. At the heart of every game are these mysterious whirring clicking mechanisms that deliver to the player pleasure and thrills. We use them, we build them, but I’ve never seen a good unified definition of game mechanics that gives us a practical base upon which to build great games. Game mechanics are rule based systems / simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms. It is a simple definition, but it offers a good amount of insight into why games work and how we can make them better. Feedback loopsCentral to the model is the concept of feedback loops that encourage learning. Player performs an action.The action causes an effect within the simulated game world. The info treats that a game provides to the user need not be used to solve the immediate black box at hand. Some mechanisms have highly predictable burnout rates.

4 Powerful Game Development Tools | Gameplay Passion September 20th, 2012 When making a game, you want to : Work efficiently and quicklyEasily organize and keep track of your ideasSee your game in action as soon as possibleEasily test if the final product matches to your Game Design In this article, I present 4 powerful game development tools that you can use to achieve the 4 goals stated above. 1) Game Design document (GDD) Update 23/03/2013 : some of my ideas here about game design documents may be outdated, check this article for more up-to-date ideas. When a game is born, it comes to the world in the form of a piece of paper or a word document called Game Design Document A Game Design Document describes EVERY feature of your game in a precise, clear and detailed way. Every detail should be there, no exception. When I started game development a few years ago, I made very incomplete or no GDDs at all. By neglecting to maintain a GDD, I was off-topic most of the time. The quickest way to develop a game is to imagine it first. 2) Dev Journal

Critical-Gaming Network - Blog - Complex Time Simplified pt.2 Take a 2D fighting game for example. Using the dynamics of 2D space the animations and matching hitboxes for attacks create a variety of timing challenges. Intercepting an enemy target with an attack of your own is the equivalent of hitting a moving target with a moving target from a moving position. It can be difficult to wrap your mind around the fact that most attacks move the character in one way and strike in another and that both of these aspects can be used to create tight strategies. So if you haven't already checked out my An Examination of Skill article series, at least watch the video on the various timing challenges in Super Smash Brothers Brawl found at the bottom of the page here. Of course, playing at such a level is something most players will never experience. image from The answer is hit-stun and block-stun. For players that may be used to other kinds of action games where they always have full control of their characters (Super Mario Bros.

MDA - Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics Game Design Resources Mass Effect: Massive Interface Fail Part I Mass Effect received a lot of praise when it came out. It still receives a lot of it. It is considered as one of the prime examples of next-gen western RPGs. It is a status I don’t think it quite deserved. Yes, Mass Effect offers a visually and thematically rich, cinematic experience. “You won’t get away with your sloppy interface design this time. One can argue a lot about the various shortcomings of the game and whether or not they bear a significance to judge the game. The endeavor turned out to be more laborious than I thought. Character Customization Lazy interface design. The game greets you with a series of menus for customizing the appearance and character of the player’s avatar. Blind re-using of generic interface elements: Facial features can be controlled by adjusting horizontal sliders. The HUD. Let us move to something more common: The HUD. (Bad) Styling obscuring function: Let us focus on the health bars in the lower right left corner. Character Management End of part I