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Truly original ideas

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MellowNinja, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. MellowNinja

    MellowNinja

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    Okay so basically, how do you know if your idea is the only one out there ? so many games are the same just like the hype over slender ever since that was released people have done variations of that game but slender probably mimicked another game and so on and on. just like any other genre of a game they probably have a clone somewhere out in the world. also this is a discussion about what you think about originality and the mimicking of viral or old games.
     
  2. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    A lot of it has to do with timing and execution. Angry Birds and Minecraft were both basically clones of existing games. They were just released at the right time (and on the right platform) to make them huge successes.

    Our game, Starfall: Ronin, used gameplay similar to Steambirds (which I thought was very original). It wasn't until after I released the game that some of the players started asking me if it was inspired by other games (which I had never heard of).

    I think too many people equate "original" to "good", when the two are not interchangeable. In fact, most often, they are polar opposites. Many people try to do something completely original and it turns out that there was a very good reason no one had made a game that way before... cuz it was a terrible idea.

    My best advice for anyone on this would be, use gameplay and mechanics that best suit your game. Don't copy people just for the sake of copying them. Trying to ride someone's coattails to success has never worked for anyone, but I would encourage people to find similar games and discover how they were done. If you find that its the best solution for your game, use it.
     
  3. AqusSeven

    AqusSeven

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    Slender was copied as you guessed. Everything is a copy of something else, what matters is 'how much' of a copy. Look at the most successful games on the app store, they just found games that were underrated (or games that had potential) on flash websites and re-skinned them or added a story (see Angry Birds for example). The problem with coming up with an original idea is the phenomenon that trying not to think about something makes you think about it. Saying to yourself "I'm not going to copy this game" will subconsciously make you copy that game. Its best to acknowledge that you must copy and then fundamentally change the game to some extent.
     
  4. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    There are no such thing as truly origional ideas anymore....

    Yeah I said it..... Prove me wrong

    All games now are just various combinations of features used in other games

    CONSIDER THIS

    A game is like a essay in high school...... You copy and paste bits off the Internet and then use the theasaurus to change a few words
     
  5. Daniel-Talis

    Daniel-Talis

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    Myhijim,
    Don't be ridiculous, of course there are.
     
  6. AqusSeven

    AqusSeven

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    The problem is how to define original. In this context, does original mean inventing your own genre/sub-genre or just not closely resembling something else.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  7. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    People are always saying "there are no original ideas left!" Then every couple of years, they're proven wrong.

    Bear in mind, 20 years ago, there were also people saying "there are no original ideas left!" Then take a look at today's games.
     
  8. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    I said PROVE me wrong..... Not state I'm wrong with no evidence

    Today's games are more a combination of features of older games, tweaked a bit.
    Give me a few games.
     
  9. voidrider

    voidrider

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    In my opinion, original ideas still exist. Just because one game is an RPG doesn't mean that it copies the RPGs that came before it. Genres have been pretty much fully explored, there's little chance of creating another. Approaching it differently than others, that's what makes it original.

    How about this one?

     
  10. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Where did the FPS come from (before Catacomb 3d, Doom, Wolfenstein, etc.)?

    Every genre had a beginning, and video games aren't that old. So at some point (not too long ago) they were all original ideas.
     
  11. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    It's unfortunate but I have to agree that most ideas are not original. So many ideas have already been done in one way or another, and that's really a matter of volume - there's been so many games made already it's hard to not be like something out there. That's not to say it's impossible.

    Thing is, this now (as it always was) is a driving force and people keep pursuing this idea of originality. It usually means either there has to be something visual that isn't familiar or hasn't been seen, or there is some new technology that hasn't been mainstream before. And that means typically the original games are pushing the envelope in some way and this puts a lot of focus on having to be `the most advanced` in order to be original. But not all originality comes from that cutting edge of technology. Originality is really about being different, not necessarily in any particular way, and that really comes down to a unique `identity`, which is related to branding.

    Take a game like VVVVVV for example, puzzle platformer, platform games have been done to the death, puzzle games done to the death, yet something about it was a new take on the genre, a new way of interacting with the environment, that added enough uniqueness to make people go all wow about it. Similar example would be Fez - it's another platform game, draws upon decades of history, but adds a unique `element` (rotation in 3D) that puts the whole thing in a different light. People are blinded by whatever is new and it causes them to gloss over all of what was `old` as if it were new again.

    I will say this too.... this world, planet earth, is a place of differences, inherently so. No two things are exactly alike. That makes everything a little bit original. To make your game original though you need to spin an illusion of appearances that shows to people images/interactions that get them to think they're experiencing something significantly different to others. But it's an illusion that only lasts so long as people don't `wake up` to realizing that just beneath the surface of appearances it's really the same as everything else. Because truth is, everything in the world is the same, it just looks like it's unique ;) ... but anyway. You know how FPS games get a bad rap for putting a new surface appearance on top of a totally repeated underlying structure, and so you see through the appearances and realize that it's really not original `underneath`. So to make your game really unique you need to uproot the whole thing and give it a really different underlying experience, regardless of what the surface appearance looks like. It must have some new dynamic, way of interacting, gameplay element etc that sets it apart and really convinces people `deep down` that it is `new`. But beware.... new always becomes old in this crazy old world, so ride the wave and then skip to your next new project.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  12. henry96

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    I believe there are still possibility of new original games. It might emerge with new platform.

    By original, I would say it has a unique gameplay, game mechanic, story, and so on. So, as you're developing a game, give it a twist, a new thing that you have never seen. As long as it's original to you, and you tweak and twist to make it superb, that's when original comes in, and people will see that as well.

    Talking about originality, my experience in ludum dare 23 was fun and surprising. The theme was Tiny World. So I use the game mechanic which is similar to Alice in the Wonderland (I didn't notice it would be similar to Alice until I finished it). It was enlarging and shrinking yourself to suit the situation. While developing, I thought it would be unique and original. However when deadline arrived, I found a game that had exactly the same style. But people can't say that we are copying from one and another because there is no time to copy. The time was so precious.

    And my latest game, Altered Cube (link in my signature), was also created to reach as original as possible. But I can't tell if there is game out there which is similar. What I do know is I didn't copy another game.

    So, yeah, It's hard to tell if your game is the only one out there. But just give it your best shot.
     
  13. gateian

    gateian

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    “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”

    ― Albert Einstein

    ... is one of my favourite quotes I like to remember when I start getting into the "let's get an original idea" discussion I find myself in. Truth is, there is never ever and never will be a truly original idea. Every idea you come up with is based on information you've got stored in your memory over your life. You brain can't make stuff up. So even if you think you've come up with something completely new, it's gauranteed to be based on something you've seen/experienced in your life.

    Some of the best stuff out there is basically a better take on an idea. I think the key is not an original idea, but just a fresh approach and great execution. GTA vice city is a great example. Pretty much everything in that game is taken from scarface or similar miami themed influences. You could even just say it's Scarface the game, however they've applied their own take on it and given us something incredibly fun and engaging. I don't really recall anyone whinging about it being a Scarface rip off, simply because people love it so much.

    I would concentrate on how you can bring existing ideas together. How can you improve a concept? Then set about trying to make seem as original as possible like Mr Einstein suggests. The important thing is to not become hung up on coming up with an original idea because you can't. None of us can!
     
  14. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    It seems that people are putting unrealistic criteria on originality. Of course the idea has to develop from your experiences and thoughts. That's how thoughts work. No one is suddenly struck with an alien concept from out of nowhere.

    Originality is simply doing something in a way that hasn't been done before. That's it.

    But again, original doesn't necessarily mean good.
     
  15. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Nah... only in the most abstract sense. Innovations are just variations/improvements on existing ideas. A breakthrough occurs when the value-proposition of a new product exceeds the value of existing products, but with a different metric (easier, faster, cleverer, newer, funner, cuter, cheaper, lighter, more portable'r?). (See Innovator's Dillema by Christensen).

    @OP - Quit worrying that your idea is unique. Build something. Finish it. Share. Improve. Repeat.

    Gigi
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  16. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    Man this topic again.

    Well, first off: this video is obligatory homework for anyone that attempts to discuss this topic.

    Now, with this topic we are forced to define what Originality is. Originality is not about creating something 100% new. It has never been. I hate to go into semantics but it is VERY important to do so in this discussion. Here is the definition of the word Original based off a dictionary:

    I bolded item 2 as it's the definition of the word that applies to this discussion. Over the last decades we have developed a culture of extremism. This is going everywhere, from politics to the mere fact of giving extreme and glorified meanings to mundane words. We have glorified Original as some unreachable OR obligatory holy grail where everything is entirely unique, an impossible standard of newness that simply can't be ever achieved.

    Original simply means:

    • new
    • fresh
    • inventive
    • novel

    The first "new" is a bit ambiguous but let's not fool ourselves, it simply means phrases like "the original run of the TV show" can be used to describe "the first showing of new episodes".

    Fresh is a big key to what we actually perceive and tend to label "original". A game about Zombies will not be fresh because we have been playing zombie games left and right for the last decade. If suddenly everyone stopped making zombie games and then, in 50 years, someone made a zombie game it is very likely it would deserve the branding of "original" simply because for its time period it would be something fresh.

    Inventive would refer to an interesting mixture of elements. Portal may be a good example of that, despite we being flooded with first person shooters at the time of its release, and teleports being nothing new, the use of both elements together was rather inventive resulting in a very original experience. It did not hurt that the game had some great funny writing, nothing extremely original in that department, mind you.

    Novel requires another dictionary search to get right. I heard this word used a lot to describe "new" and "fresh" ideas, but it simply means:

    This is mostly a literary bit and likely used as a synonymous to Original due to the fact that any long story is, by definition, a unique thing, therefore something that is novel is considered to be unique enough. Mind you, the long story that is used in question may also fall victim to the above dissection to see if it itself is original. Just because it’s a novel does not mean it's original. :)

    So, in closing: what do we get out of this? Just keep it fresh and/or inventive! Don’t break your head asking "has this thing here ever been used or done?" instead ask yourself: "what is everyone else doing? OK, let’s not do THAT."

    An interesting bit from someone in Pixar a while back... don't recall who exactly but they were talking about how to write a great story. One of the tips they give is that at the start of the process, they define the start and end. Once they know where they are going, they have a quick session tossing every idea they can come up with without thinking too hard into the table. These are the "obvious" ideas and they use them as the "don't go here" places. They write the actual story only after they have dismissed all these obvious elements. As far as story goes, not being able to predict what happens next in a story can also inflict that great feeling of awe that comes from experiencing something "original."

    Edit:

    We all get lots of ideas all the time. One thing I like to do is to write these down in tiny notepads in my phone. As time goes on, working on another project, I start to see other games launch that used the same idea. This is not some one beating me to it, this is some one else showing me that it was not that fresh of an idea so I chalk it out of the board for the future. Does not help my current project, but future ones will be better filtered.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  17. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    Ah those two mega hits. I know it looks great to think those games just became hits overnight. Makes it "realistic" to think we may also win the lottery one day.

    Truth is, though, Angry Birds became a great success thanks to marketing. At its launch, the game was not huge, but it offered a free and a paid version. At one point, Clickgamer did something not many had done before: they made a press release bragging about there being half a million downloaded copies of the game. This was not anything amazing; to be honest given the time the game was out. BUT it was not something many said before and so it became big news. Everyone got curious and started downloading it. THAT press release drove the success of Angry Birds. Today I bet most people get it just to check what the deal is about.

    Not saying it's a bad game, but being a good game alone won’t make you that big. A press release with the same wording won’t do much good today either. The market is better educated of the insane numbers people sell and download in the app store.

    Minecraft is a near direct clone of another game but got lucky it got covered by some reporter that triggered the viral effect while the game was still in alpha. That is a more lucky shot, got to admit, but you can still say Minecraft would be nowhere without the marketing he got from that reviewer.

    I think the real problem is too many equate "original" to "success". Big sellers like the Modern Warfare games prove this is not the case.
     
  18. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    Ah those two mega hits. I know it looks great to think those games just became hits overnight. Makes it "realistic" to think we may also win the lottery one day.

    Truth is, though, Angry Birds became a great success thanks to marketing. At its launch, the game was not huge, but it offered a free and a paid version. At one point, Clickgamer did something not many had done before: they made a press release bragging about there being half a million downloaded copies of the game. This was not anything amazing; to be honest given the time the game was out. BUT it was not something many said before and so it became big news. Everyone got curious and started downloading it. THAT press release drove the success of Angry Birds. Today I bet most people get it just to check what the deal is about.

    Not saying it's a bad game, but being a good game alone won’t make you that big. A press release with the same wording won’t do much good today either. The market is better educated of the insane numbers people sell and download in the app store.

    Minecraft is a near direct clone of another game but got lucky it got covered by some reporter that triggered the viral effect while the game was still in alpha. That is a more lucky shot, got to admit, but you can still say Minecraft would be nowhere without the marketing he got from that reviewer.

    I think the real problem is too many equate "original" to "success". Big sellers like the Modern Warfare games prove this is not the case.

    That's because everyone was busy calling it a Miami Vice homage, a more appropriate subject than Scarface. :)

    But I feel the urge to repeat: there can be original ideas because original ideas are not 100% new ideas, they are just fresh ideas. And one thing I did not mention earlier: they only need to be new for the audience. Before the internet there was a huge market for artists that took songs from other countries and did nothing but translate them to achieve huge level of fame thanks to their "original" scores and songs. It was just fresh material for the audience.
     
  19. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    My jaw dropped for a minute when I read this.

    But then it seems that despite your realization, you too hold the word to a higher standard than it deserves. :p Still give you some points for being in the right path at first. :)
     
  20. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    Yes....... And now an FPS is no longer origional..... Proving my point even further
     
  21. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    @Starsman - That "everything is a remix" vid has been golden. Fresh captures it perfectly. Applies to food - applies to development. Nobody wants a stale idea anymore than they want stale chips. They want to see fresh perspectives on old-ideas, so they feel new.
     
  22. runner

    runner

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    Ahh but Arma III and FarCry 3 *OMG*
     
  23. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    I wasn't saying FPS was original now. My point was that 20 years ago, someone else was also saying "there's no such thing as an original idea", and then someone came out with the FPS, proving them wrong.

    If you're just expecting someone to spin up a completely original concept here, just to prove a point, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.

    My point is, someone has made your argument before, and they have always been proven wrong. History tells us that you will be proven wrong as well.
     
  24. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    I'm not sure what you're trying to say. And if you read my post, you'll see that I was making the point that Angry Birds and Minecraft were NOT original. I quite plainly said, in fact, that they were a success based entirely on their timing and execution.
     
  25. shaderbytes

    shaderbytes

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    Genres and mechanics are all reusable .. Its all in the story of the game and how they tie together , make that fresh and your own to the best of your abilities I guess.
     
  26. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    "My jaw dropped for a minute" I meant I was shocked at how right your statement was: "It seems that people are putting unrealistic criteria on originality."

    But then you said that "original" is only mixtures that have not been done before and that is not accurate. You can use the same mix but still come with something that the audience considers original. It depends on the audience, something that can heavily variety by generation and geographic location. In some media even simply ethnicity or native language.

    Not in entire agreement with the execution bits, but yes my post was in agreement with yours. I just decided to pick on those two titles because their true reason for success was marketing.
     
  27. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    Genres are an interesting thing. They are simply labels set to describe a new branch of "copies". A genre is born when so many copy something you can no longer call the collective copies.

    An interesting recent case is Temple Run. After a while in making lots of money in the top charts, lots of people started releasing clones. The first few clones got labeled as just that, but the point came when even Touch Arcade reviewers (some of the first to call that out) started mentioning that it should now be seen as the "over the shoulder runner" genre. Bit long of a name, but hey, not as long as "massively multiplayer online roleplaying game"

    Sure, you can say it already exists so we are back at “see? It’s done already nothing new to do!” but truth is you can use that with anything I show you, by the time I show it, anyone can claim I's no longer original since now it exists :p
     
  28. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Ah. And yes, I agree. I was using "execution" as a blanket term for how they delivered the games (platform, marketing, stylization, etc.)

    That was really a side-point on my part, pointing out that "original" doesn't always mean "successful", and oftentimes, its blatant clones of little-known games that make the biggest impact.
     
  29. Daniel-Talis

    Daniel-Talis

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    If people want original ideas they simply need to learn to meditate and practice it regularly. Here is the Logic..... Meditation puts you in touch with who you really are. Who you really are is totally unique so each of us has a completely original point of view. Express that point of view and you are expressing original ideas. Be yourself. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  30. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Technically, meditating puts you in touch with universal oneness, so really, that's as unoriginal as you can get :)

    (Ok, now I'm just being a troll... sorry.)
     
  31. runner

    runner

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    does originality really matter or make much of any difference at success or failure, Often iteration can be a improvement on something stale.

    So how many clones of Tetris have they made anyway Just had a brain fart of 3d Tetris but guess what it exists. :eek:
     
  32. Daniel-Talis

    Daniel-Talis

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    khanstruct,
    Yes Meditation does put One in touch with Universal Oneness. This is the process by which a Meditator sees Themself and their originality.It perfectly describes the Cosmic Paradox of the One and the Many.

    I might point out that Original Thought has it's drawbacks. Firstly most People are incapable of recognising that it's original. Secondly, most people are unprepared to suspend their disbelief and explore a new idea. That is because sadly most people are locked in a conditioned repeating world and which includes Game Genres.

    As runner just said.. Originality is not necessarily a recipe for success :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  33. kingcharizard

    kingcharizard

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    thats not an truly original idea but its a decent idea on existing game mechanics
     
  34. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    I agree

    As I said, games can be considered origional.... But they really aren't..... They are ALWAYS combinations of previous games, if you want to get into the extreme nitty gritty you could say pong is a copy of tennis.

    Whats the "next" original idea, because with over a billion people in the world I assure you it is not an original idea.

    An MMORTSFPS sounds original enough.......

    A first person shooter would have been derived from a wandering game in a first person perspective.... Thus not original
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  35. TylerPerry

    TylerPerry

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    Actually, IIRC there is like 5 types of stories all stories are just versions of these with parts taken from whatever, so in that context no you can't make a original game(story based)

    I do however think that you can have original games I say this idea is original...

    1. You play as a blind person.
    2.There are no graphics, just a blank screen and a timer bar.
    3.Voices call out to you not asking questions but that is the point of the game, you must ask the right questions to then proceed.
    4.You only have a set amount of time to do the challenges before the timer runs out and you loose.
    5.Timer gets shorter and shorter making it challenging.

    I can't think of a game like that, would it be successful, no but that doesn't matter I want to make something a new genre if you will(unless it already exists, I will call it A SBA Sound Based Adventure.)
     
  36. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    Haha don't think that would sell too well.....

    I'm sure there is something like it though :p
     
  37. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    If combining mechanics and technology from different games in a new and inventive way, and said combination creates a new, fresh experience that has never been done before, how is that not original? You're being unnecessarily reductive. Are all books unoriginal because they use words and language?
     
  38. kingcharizard

    kingcharizard

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    whats
    but think bout it even video games come from real world games, for instance stealth games are like hide and seek...
     
  39. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    I think because he is stuck in the "original = 100% new without a single reused atom"

    If I Recall Correctly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  40. MaxieQ

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    When I don't try to work on my impossible game, I write novels. The thing about novels is, that all novels aren't original – if you mean unique and never seen before. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time has had the same idea. They may even have tried to put the idea into a concrete thing.

    When you write novels you're told, it's not about the idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. There are no new ideas. What is important is the execution of your idea. Even if you get an idea of “two teenage lovers of families that are hostile to each other become so much in love that they kill themselves to be together” you writing it won't make it into Romeo and Juliet. It will be your own thing, because you aren't Shakespeare.

    Little things and big things will differ, because you have a different understanding of things, and you chose to focus on other things. In so doing, you're not rewriting Romeo and Juliet, but you're creating something new. Something original. Even though the idea is tired as anything, and has been done a thousand times before.
     
  41. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Vessel isn't original, it just wasn't done before to any great amount in games because up until fairly recently, it was hard to get any decent amount of fluid going. But if you look on youtube, you'll find many fluid prototype games long before Vessel was a twinkle in the designer's eye. No, not original... It probably took ideas from gish too. But does it matter? I honestly think it doesn't!

    But it feels FRESH, and that's more important than being original.
     
  42. Finjitzu

    Finjitzu

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    The first game i thought of when I read this thread was Braid, then I thought of QUBE. Other than that I can't really think of anything...
     
  43. Starsman Games

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    Being fresh IS being original!
     
  44. Gigiwoo

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    ^ like it. Though being unique and original doesn't pay as well as I'd hoped ;).
    Gigi.
     
  45. Myhijim

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    Not exactly.... Being fresh in many cases is better than being origional.

    Combining ideas is not original but may be a fresh look at things. Even combining ideas can be considered origional when people misplace their terminology and really mean it is fresh....

    I'm not really being reductive, I am just stating how In depth originality is
     
  46. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    Jan 30, 2011
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    My point is that the dictionary definition of Original includes fresh as one of it's meanings.

    If I tell you H20 is water, you cant argue water is in many cases better than H2O

    Every single thing that has ever been done and will ever be done is nothing more than a combination of ideas. There is no misplacement of terminology when you call the combination of various things "original."

    You are giving originality meanings it does not have.
     
  47. Myhijim

    Myhijim

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
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    Well stated you put forwards a good argument :)

    I retract my last statement
     
  48. e5an

    e5an

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Posts:
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    If a high school graduation is the endpoint of your academic career, sure.
    But you're not going to write a master's thesis that way, nor are you going to write a commercially successful game.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  49. Myhijim

    Myhijim

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    That's why I said high school....
     
  50. kanga

    kanga

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Posts:
    225
    Hi

    Nice thread!
    A paperclip is an original idea, a coathanger and possibly trillions of ordinary things we use and have stopped seeing.
    When you ask about original content and if it possible to create it you mean successful content and on a game making forum that makes sense. Someone stated earlier in the thread that originality in games is coupled to tech advancement. I reckon progression in that area gives us wings to fly. A long while ago I was offered the chance to work on a game that uses the mind as a controller. That will come. Stuff will come out of your screen, well you wont have one. There are so many things on the way if I get to utilize only a small fraction I wont care if I am being original or not :)

    Cheers
    Unity swings BTW
     
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