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  • How To Come Up With New Game Ideas

    [07.25.19]
    - Vadim Charugin

  • Compare

    Gaming is an industry that changes rapidly, and new games come out every day. If you're not following the latest releases it's easy to miss out on many important things.

    Now there's plenty of games in every genre possible. Some of them have a cult-like player base, some become timeless hits. Try thinking what makes a game stand out. For example, if you love tactical games, it wouldn't be enough to know of XCOM - there's Battle Brothers, Atlas Reactor, Into the Breach, Jagged Alliance, and Xenonauts as well.

    It's easy to find the best games. Just Google "top 10 [genre] games for [platform]". For financially successful games try App Annie and mobile store tops.

    Compare games of the same genre that came out in a short time period or years apart. All the information you'll receive is valuable. Especially, it's interesting to compare games in the same franchise or in the same genre in a time frame of a couple of years. But please be reasonable and don't compare Fallout 2 and Fallout 76 - that wouldn't make any sense.

    Experiment

    There's no use playing by the rules here. There's plenty of interesting projects with bold ideas. Tactical combat meets visual novel meets nordic setting? The Banner Saga. Survival meets resource management meets drama? This War of Mine. Turn-based strategy meets side view? SteamWorld Heist. Begin with an interesting mechanic, add another, change the visuals and top it with an unusual setting.


    This War of Mine

    Step 3: Making a choice

    Now we have a couple of ideas, evaluated our strengths and weaknesses, played a couple thousand hours of different games, and even analyzed some of them. How do we stick to that one final idea? It's time to make the limitations even stricter.

    Here's what you should do:

    • Describe the good ideas. Outline the genre, the gameplay, and what you think will spark the players' interest. Add references from other games if you'd like.

    Some ideas would sound cool, but would also be impossible to describe as a game. Drop these in favor of ones that are easier to describe.

    • Evaluate what you need to make these games. How complicated is the idea? How much time would it take to develop a game based on it? What should be in the first prototype and what can be added later? This evaluation experience is very valuable for any game developer's future, even if your initial predictions will be wrong.

    • Choose. Sort the ideas by how complicated they are. Start with the easiest to get some hands-on development experience as soon as possible.

    • Tell your friends. Always gather feedback on your ideas to see if you're missing something.

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