I began development not too long ago on my next game (check my social media for updates), and with it came a lot of planning. Development of my recent games struggled because of a lack of planning, so I made sure this time around to spend a good amount of time on it.
I wanted to find a tool that would allow me to organize and gather my ideas so that during development it would be easy for me to reference them, while also being able to plan properly. The tool I found to do this was called Mind Meister.
Mind Meister is a cross-platform mind mapping program. It is designed for general use, and I have found it to be of great use in game development. The program essentially allows you to connect your ideas with others into groups, similar to a family tree.
I like to divide my mind map into different broad categories, like gameplay, art, marketing, sound, etc. Then I go more specific, like characters, models, UI, background music, etc. Doing it this way by getting more and more specific allows you to not only get a general sense of what needs to be done but also allows you to visualize how many tasks there are. This is great when you put your game tasks into something like Trello or HacknPlan (Those are for another article).
Mind Meister also has some great premium features, like the ability to add pictures into your thought bubbles. I haven’t used it, but it seems very useful for adding concept art and other reference images to look back to later.
Also, for a more visual person like myself, seeing all my information laid out in branches is a lot more appealing and effective than lists on a document. There are advantages to traditional documents, but I think mind maps do a better job of organizing the information.
When planning your game, I’d highly recommend using a tool like Mind Meister.