In Game Development, sometimes coming up with a game idea can be hard. You want to pick the perfect one, but only come up with some silly fish game. You see a movie and come up with a great idea, only to forget it when you come home. You think of a mechanic for your game, only to scratch it off later on. These are some problems I faced early on in my game development career. I was confused why this was happening and was looking for a solution to fix it. That solution I have now found, and that is to write all your ideas down.
Sometimes in school, you may hear someone ask a “bad question”. The truth is, there are no bad questions. The same goes with ideas. No idea is bad. Often times ideas are overlooked or forgotten completely simply because people think they are bad and no one will like them. Let me ask you something. Do you think a bird flying between pipes is a bad idea? Do you think a pigeon dating simulator is a bad idea? There have been so many successful games that originated from these so called “bad ideas”. Bad ideas are just perceptions. No matter how obnoxious or silly an idea may seem, it has as much potential to be as successful as any other game. Don’t think twice about writing an idea down, just do it. You won’t regret writing it down, as it has the chance to be great.
Often times when I’m falling asleep, I’ll think about different game concepts and ideas. Most of the time I can’t think of much, but occasionally I have this Eureka moment and a brilliant idea. I say to myself “Cool, I’ll start working on this tomorrow”, only to forget it the next morning. Because ideas are easy to create, they are subsequently easy to forget. How do we fix this fatal flaw in our brain? Write it down. I keep a notebook and a pencil right next to my bed, so if I think of an idea I can jot down a few words or pictures so I remember it later. It may seem kind of weird, but having access to a notebook, phone, or even a napkin at all times is very important for any creative worker. You never know when you’ll come up with the next great idea, so you want to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity.
Without a doubt, every game developer has cut at least one feature from their game because of time or budget constraints. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just how it is. However, what is wrong is if you completely cross off that mechanic, and forget about it. That’s bad for several reasons. For one, if your game becomes massively successful and people want updates, that mechanic can be implemented for the next patch. Also, even a small mechanic can turn into a whole new game idea. For one of my first prototypes, I built the entire game around the Watch Dogs camera mechanic. One small feature, and I thought of a whole game around it. Don’t just think if you don’t use a mechanic in one game, it won’t become useful in another.
I don’t care what anybody tells you. There is no bad idea. Because there are no bad ideas, that means that every idea has the potential to be the next big hit. Write down all your ideas.