Sunday, 6 November 2016

Moving into ideation

Okay so I have played through a lot of games recently. Not just including the ones I have written about extensively here: including all of those played at Gamecity, some gems I have downloaded from Itch.io recently aswell as some of the winning entries in the UE4 Megajam. From this I have got a more solid idea of the kind of ideas and themes I want to pursue and some potential game concepts that I could try that focus on narrative.

This next week is mainly going to be an ideas and inspiration gathering week as I start to read up on some more varied subject matter and begin to play around with some simple gameplay concepts. There will be a lot of brain-farts scribbled out of lines on my lined paper pad and plenty of inspirational images stuck to the wall of my lab space, anything that can get me into that creative zone. This is my favourite part of the whole game dev process so I tend to try and soak up as much as I can while I doodle down ideas. The Lego on my desk will be rearranged again and again constantly this week...



This isn't all staring into the stars though, when I feel I have an interesting enough idea pool to work from I will start to put together very quick and dirty proof-of-concept prototypes to test out possible gameplay ideas. These will act like gamejams almost, focused on creating short, fun games within a short space of time, usually focused around some kind of theme.

I already have some up on my wall of things that could be interesting to make but as a general rule of thumb I never go with my first idea, I prefer to scout around for alternatives and use the first as a point of reference for where I want to go searching next. I usually evaluate what each idea lacks or what works in each and see if there is a different way I could approach it, aswell as writing any passing thoughts down at all no matter how small they might seem.

Me being strange and sticking a load of lined paper to the walls. I find it easier when I can look up and see things straight away and I can make new connections between ideas, and also grouping similar concepts together so I can make something stronger.

Death


Explaining the ominous subtitle, me and Amber came to a realization that a lot of our game ideas and stuff we have made focus around the theme of death and all of it's connotations; our FMP was mainly about a world where you are a girl stuck in limbo, being guiding by two spirits of the dead. After making this realization it seemed like something that we could continue exploration of as a subject matter within our games to come up with some interesting meanings and subtext for our games designs.

Approaching our games with a theme in mind makes the design process a little easier, as I have an area I can look into and build a game around rather than having an open ended concept. For each prototype a smaller aspect of the subject will be explored, keeping each game quite specific and having a certain point. The theme of death will be found in some way across all of the games though, just explored and interpreted in different ways in a video game context.

Other things to explore

There are some other points of inspiration me and Amber latched onto, one in particular was the idea of dialogue options and expanding on the idea of conversation, so there is a potential lead for experimenting with narrative based gameplay. Most other inspiration points revolve around locations or vistas, which I guess is a result of doing an art heavy course for three years. One way to put some depth into those ideas might involve doing some reading into these specific areas and see if there are any unique stories that could be used to ground the ideas; Amber had an idea for a snowy mountaintop setting which could mean that we would have to look into something like 'Mountain Disappearances' as way to flesh it out.

Anyway that's enough for now, next post there should be a little documenting of the kind of things I have been looking at.


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