Back in the game

Foreword: Today, I, like the rest of the world, woke up to the sad news that Steve Jobs had passed away. It always takes you by surprise when you feel deep sadness at the passing of someone you didn’t know personally.

The thing is, for all of its millions of people, the world can feel very empty and lonely at times. We feel connections with people who impact our lives in significant ways no matter how little they know us (or we truly know them).

I nearly pulled my original iDevBlogADay post, instead writing a simple thank you post to Steve Jobs. The thing is thousands of people, much more eloquent than me, have said it better.

Wired’s post sums up the whole thing in a post that both mourns his passing and celebrates his life – Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011.

Panic changed their homepage to reflect their feelings. Very touching.

@RobLoBue wrote a truly personal note in his post “A life without Steve Jobs“.

To wrap this up, and to explain why I’m still posting my original post below, in Mr Jobs’ own words “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Considering this is supposed to be an indie game development blog, there’s been a noticeable absence of any game development related posts; what with me spending 6 months creating a Coffee App.

I still have some plans for my Coffee App and, if it goes ahead, its likely to account for the remainder of 2011 (from a product release point of view).

So where does that leave my game development? Glad you asked. I have a game currently in the prototype stage. I’m half enthusiastic about it and half down on it – not a great start! (Its not quite what it appears)

What I need is an infusion of creativity. Regardless of whether this leads to a new game, or just highlights that my aforementioned prototype is where my heart lies, I’d like to start 2012 with a brand new game prototype that I’m excited about.

Getting Started

It may be true that its all about the execution and not the idea but coming up with good ideas is no easy task. Very few people can switch on creativity like a tap. I think the best way to get going again is to start brainstorming ideas. It doesn’t matter if the ideas are good, it only matters that I create lots of them. I can then select the best ones to turn into prototypes or to explore further.

What you need

1) Something to record your ideas

I’m opting for my moleskine and a mechanical pencil and will be sketching my ideas. You could just write them as a series of bullet points or you could talk into a dictaphone. You should choose whatever works for you.

2) A source of inspiration

I’ve selected “The Art of Looking Sideways” as my inspiration. Its a great book that includes all manor of text, colour, and imagery. I think its best to select something random. You could use an online resource but I think a book works best.

The rules

1) Flick to a random page in the book, scan it for the most prominent thing, then design a game around it.

2) You must try not to skip a concept just because you don’t like it.

3) You should create 1 idea per concept.

4) You should aim to spend no more than 15 minutes on the idea.

5) It doesn’t matter if the idea is bad at this stage. The idea is to record lots. We’ll weed out the bad ones later when we come to prototype.

6) These ideas should be platform agnostic – that is, they shouldn’t have any particular target device/technology in mind.

I’m aiming to produce around 20 ideas in the next month. Lets see how that goes.

The first few ideas

I may as well share with you what I have so far. Here is my first page of ideas along with the words/concepts that inspired them.

At the top is “Live out Loud” – a game in which you control a gramophone by shouting into a microphone. I confess that I did have the iPhone in mind for this one.

At the bottom is “Reflection” – a game that consists of drawing lines to “reflect” solid circles. The aim is to use this technique to fill in all of the empty circles.

I’ll aim for better quality images in the next few posts.

More to come next time…

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