Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Where does inspiration come from?

Hey everyone,

So recently I came across someone in the games industry who was struggling to create a new idea for a game due to a lack of inspiration. They found themselves with plenty of time but just couldn’t get any ideas on paper. Others spoke about having the opposite happen with ideas come flooding in and never enough time to create them. Personally I’ve always found myself with plenty of ideas for projects and was puzzled that someone could struggle with creating a concept, but I decided to look objectively and ask: where does inspiration come from?

To answer this how about I use examples from my life, like our 1GAM projects; Qbits, Echoes of Hope and Late Panda.

Qbits was our first game as part of the 1GAM challenge and we wanted to start off easy, this limited us to something more simple. We started by looking into game genres and picking something with simple mechanics and repetitive gameplay, and what is more repetitive that an idle game? This gave us the foundation to create Qbits, but we needed a theme, Ellie brought up 22Cans’ Curiosity - What’s Inside the Cube. This gave us the inspiration to create a cube based idle game where the player must destroy layer after layer of a cube, receiving and spending in game currency to level up their powers to make the cube easier to destroy. This may have been a simple game (and has it’s fair share of bugs and missing features “See 1GAM January - QBits”) but like I said, it was more an introduction to the 1GAM challenge.

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Our next project however, Echoes of Hope, is more narrative focused while still keeping a simple artistic style. It focuses on dealing with sensitive issues that affect millions of people worldwide. The current version of the game (as of writing this blog) contains our first chapter, the story of Robin and how they are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts alongside their friend Sean who is trying to help them through this difficult time. After reading an article on the Washington Post about Alzheimer's and how brain training games may help. I decided that I wanted to create a project that could help someone through an illness. We have received very positive feedback on the first version of Echoes of Hope and it drives us to continue to update the game with more chapters covering other issues to help people in the future.

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Our March 1GAM project Late Panda is a game we made specifically to promote the company itself and have a playable game available on our website. Our inspiration for this title created the entire theme of the game, we wanted to create a infinite runner game however we also wanted to do something new for the genre. Instead of having obstacles randomly come at the player we decided a pattern of obstacles would be generated at the start, the player would have some time to memorise the pattern, then they would have to rely on their memory in order to get the furthest they can get. We dubbed this simply a “hybrid memory-infinite runner game”.

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So where else can someone get their inspiration? So far I’ve talked about getting my inspiration from; another project, an article online, and the genre itself. Well, the answer to this question is simple really, the phrase “inspiration can come from anywhere” exists from a reason. I have found inspiration for many stories I have written in the past including; religion, music, dreams or even just single words. Inspiration can strike at any time you just have to be open to receiving it, don’t look blankly around your room or office when trying to create something new. Take everything in and try create a story in your mind, if it doesn’t stick with you move on and keep looking.

After thinking about the person's problem objectively I decided I would try to help to the best of my ability. I told them a shortened version of the above rant, then directed them towards the 1GAM site. I hoped that they could use the monthly theme words to help them out of their slump. After some time I received a response thanking me for directing them to the site as it had helped them drastically. This made me want to talk about sources of inspiration and hopefully help other people out there who may be in the same slump.

That’s all I have for now.

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Thanks for reading,
Stephen.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” - Neil Gaiman