Bytesize Adventures
Crafting bite-sized digital worlds

5 tools to encourage creativity

MindNode mind mappingAs part of the development process for my latest game, i’m trying to explore my ideas a little more by investing time in various creative exercises. I’d like to share 5 of the best tools i’ve found for encouraging creativity.

1) The Moleskine
I’ve already mentioned this in a recent post. The Moleskine is something that i’ve just recently discovered as a tool for iPhone game development. It’s great for sketching interface ideas as well as artwork for your game. The freedom afforded by a pencil and sketchbook is excellent. The high quality paper makes the Moleskine a joy to sketch in.

2) Mind Mapping Software
This is relatively new to me. Mind mapping software lets you rapidly explore ideas by creating little nodes of text and then branching of them with sub nodes. What i’ve found works will is to have the name of my game in the centre node and then sub nodes off that for each activity that comprises game development (i.e. audio, artwork, gameplay, animation, interface, promotion). Sub nodes can then be created off these categories to explore ideas. It may sound convoluted but give it a go. The best software i’ve found is MindNode.

3) Mood Boards
Again, i’ve mentioned this briefly in a recent post. Basically get a sheet of card or paper, or indeed a container of some sort, and fill it with scraps of inspiration. Tear pages out of magazines, print photos and images, collect objects, write notes. The idea is to collect related items that in some way represent ,or are connected to, your idea.

4) Autodesk SketchBook Mobile
An iPhone version of Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro. This is a great tool for sketching out basic interface ideas for your game. The most obvious advantage is that because its on the iPhone, you can get a better feel for what your interface will look like in the appropriate context.

5) iPhone App Store
Download and play with as many apps as you can; the good and the bad. This will help you see what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of unique games out there and they’re not always in the top apps lists. Here’s a great example I stumbled across the other day: Stay.