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Honing your creativity.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by voltage, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. voltage

    voltage

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Posts:
    493
    For many people, including myself - I struggled with game design. Collecting your ideas and conjuring them into something tangible. For the longest time, I would habitually start projects by firing up Unity and plugging away. The sense of achieving something was a thrill, but I realized it was a grave mistake. The way I look at it, game development is an art form. And like any great art, it requires time to digest. Rather than feeling a stroke of inspiration, plugging away and feeling disjointed by a lack of vision, why not start writing instead? I've personally been writing for the past 6 months on a passion project. An action rpg actually and I've fallen in love with it. Spend time with your ideas, get to know them and feel the fluidity of the equation. Don't just think about what you want to create, FEEL it. Live it, breathe it in. Game development is fairly mechanical and we often lose our creative touch in the process. Don't bury your head in code, surround yourself with a vision, an emotion, a purpose behind the endeavor and I think your game will flourish for it.

    My personal journey in game development functioned much like this. I buried my head in code, components, mechanics, tools, widgets, etc. and I got burnt out. What happened to the love? What happened to the inspiration? Well, it simply got lost because I spent all my time working, instead of dreaming. I lost motivation, purpose, vision and feeling. It's a cold, empty environment of binary processes. You're effectively conjuring up a machine rather than an art form. And in the end, I believe this process reveals itself to the players, in the game itself. We can all think up a game that clearly lacked inspiration. Don't be that guy, put your soul into this. So for me, I took a two year break from game dev entirely and just sought new life. I went out, I partied, I raved, I met 100's of new people and immersed myself into a new world. Pull from the experiences around you. Art imitates life and vice versa. Use this as your platform for your game, your vision and your heart. Don't forget to take in all sorts of media. Learn from other creators. See what you like, don't like and learn from them. I believe it's vitally important to digest the world around you to hone your craft. Learn your art form, feel what moves you. And hopefully when the game is finally done, others will feel that emotion you wish to evoke too. Let them learn your story, through your works.

    I would also like to say, don't shy from other mediums. Pick up a sketchbook, draw for awhile. Listen to some chill music, anything that gets you feeling. Because I think thats what lies at the heart of good work, your feelings inside. I purchased an ipad with the apple pencil not too long ago and began converting my writing into pictures. Draw a story, a narrative, anything you personally are seeking after. Get a well rounded look at everything you envisioned, because the moment you start laying down code, or building the physical game - you're narrowing your options. You're building towards one cohesive unit. Shelter your vision and watch your games flourish.
     
  2. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    4,632
    I hope you are aware, that good writers are not necessary good film makers.
    Same applies for story writers, game designers and actually programmers.

    In my opinion, there is big gap between art and game making.
    In art you can put as much fantasy as you like.
    In fact, making art makes mostly things happening straight away. For example painting.
    In game making, you need be very realistic, of what is achievable and what is not.
    Specially true for single developer.
    When you start writing code, you come to realization, that before actually having something sensible to show, you need code tons of stuff behind a scene. Which makes much less fun for any artists.

    Is easy to go astray with cool ideas into deep Universe and dream big.
    Then when comes to actually code it, is exactly what you faced.
    You are not the first one and not the last one.

    Dream big, but really scope your though and narrow them down.
    Otherwise, you will end up in starting point of dreaming. Or even worse.
     
    Arkade and SparrowsNest like this.
  3. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    Apr 6, 2017
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    ~Boo!

    Other than that great post. :p
     
  4. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    2,116
    SpongeBob said it best :




    Be the marble! This is my daily art inspirational.
     
    TheDuples and SparrowsNest like this.
  5. BlankDeed

    BlankDeed

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    Jul 10, 2018
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    292
    I like you.
     
  6. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    Jul 20, 2017
    Posts:
    600
    I know that I most enjoy making maps and doing graphics, so I purposely made that the very LAST thing I do.

    I plan for my game to have 48 maps, and I have rough designs for all of them but I’ve only really built five levels and for almost the entire development, they had ZERO texturing.

    This approach is forcing me to complete and spolidify my sandbox before I go nuts with making levels and making everything pretty. It’s difficult to go back and change something in a level that you spent hours or even days on and will tend to make you mechanics revolve around what you’ve already done rather than focusing on making them fun.
     
    Arkade and Antypodish like this.
  7. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    I completely agree with with not going crazy with content before you finalized your game design, I too only make 3-5 of each variants, but I on the other hand try to make them as cheaply close to what I have in mind IE basic texturing or just colors as a minimum(not talking about grey boxing on the start of the project BTW), some basic particle effects, etc.

    I'll refer you guys to this to make my point as I don't want to write an essay here. also i'm drunk & high AF.
    The first guy on this "Pizzazz first Polish later".
     
    newjerseyrunner likes this.
  8. Gor-Sky

    Gor-Sky

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    Jan 28, 2018
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    187
    With some things I agree but with other not. It really depends on the genre. For a rpg the story is important but I think for a jump and run or fight game it is for example important how is the feeling about controling the character. You don't achieve this by writing 1000 of words or do sketches. You have to implement the controls and try it out. After that fix it try it out again and so on. Always find a good balance between implementation process and collecting ideas or designing.
    There are so many games with fantastic design, rich background story's and so on that actually are really boring to play. The difficulty is to make games that are fun to play and the best design will not ensure that ..
     
  9. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I think for a single developer, where game is story driven, dev should have generic idea what want to achieve and general story framework. Then develop the story, as game development progress. This way will be harder to wander off, with thoughts too far. But instead stick closer to feasibility of the project.
     
    Gor-Sky likes this.
  10. Gor-Sky

    Gor-Sky

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    Jan 28, 2018
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    Actually this post made me think about my developing process. I would really like to spend more time on designing and listening to chill music:rolleyes: buts let's face the truth ...drawing a character design on paper takes me 1 or 2 hours. Modeling this character with animations takes me way more than 20 hours.. Designing a cool mechanic also takes maybe 3 hours but implementing takes sometimes a week or more. So actually I design maximum 5 percent of my time and the rest 95 percent I purely implement. I think as a single developer game development is hard work and some people will be disappointed ... But perhaps I am doing something wrong?? Do you really have so much time to design and still being able to make finished games? Is there a trick that I missed?
     
  11. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Typically I do initial sketch design in my brain, whenever I am away from computer.
    Then read about implementation solutions and alternative options.
    Often come back to thoughts to review them.
    I analyse pros and cons, and possible quirks.

    But I rarely put thoughts on a paper. This is just my own thing.
    Many people are likely to draw, and advise put ideas on paper.

    I mean, I got dedicated paper sketch pad on front, but I mainly using it for some mathematical drawings for analysis, or more complex calculations. Sometimes I put generic flow charts. But these are thing, which I am simply unable to overlook in my mind. Sometimes my sketch my look like few simple shapes and few arrows. I know it may sounds weird for others ;)

    Either way, I just start applying my thoughts, testing and prototyping, and figuring out, if approach is feasible for me, to achieve it. When I am happy with progress, I then can give opportunity, to dive in into more details. Prior that, I don't waste time, how exactly in details I am going implement certain mechanics, since often things are changes.

    But that is me ...
     
    SparrowsNest likes this.
  12. SparrowsNest

    SparrowsNest

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    I'm exactly like that, look in my game design note book and it looks like a kid went to town on half the pages, hahaha.
     
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  13. voltage

    voltage

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Posts:
    493
    I appreciate your practical approach to the entire scenario. And I can concur that my method is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. I should've included an asterisk, "for developers who know what they're actually doing." I think diving into a billion projects and learning the basics is essential for any noobie. If you don't know the fundamentals, you can dream all day, but you're still ****ed.

    The way I look at my process, it's like an umbrella. Develop the narrative, feeling, emotion, character arcs, personalities etc. Then phase two is drawing the characters, environments etc. for reference. And once that's finally done, then I'll fire up Unity and begin the actual grunt work. I've worked out battle systems, overall mechanics too, but they're less of a priority atm seeing as I'm working on a story. Everything's been compartmentalized in phases.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  14. Magician_Arcana

    Magician_Arcana

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    I'm finding myself getting burnt out on one of my bigger projects, so honestly I needed this reminder. I so often get caught up with the literal requirements of my game and completing those so I can get something done, and that's making me lose sight of why I wanted to make this particular game in the first place.

    I went on a trip last December and some of the locations I visited served as inspiration for my next project that I'm more enthusiastically working on in addition to the project I'm getting burnt out on. But I don't wanna abandon the project as I know that deep down it's a game I wanna see made. I'll have to make an effort to revisit the media that inspired it, and try to remember the experiences that inspired it too.