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Three little tricks to generate killer game ideas

Whether formally or informally, all game projects begin with idea generation - but this can have its challenges. Here, we share a few lessons we've learned from our idea generation sessions throughout the years.

Whether formally or informally, all game projects begin with idea generation. This creative process is the starting point for concepts and designs which will then continue through the development phase. Naturally, project teams will encounter some hurdles and bumps through this process.

While there are challenges that creators will no doubt come across along the way, there are a few ways to deal with these effectively. Here, we share a few of the lessons we've learned from our idea generation sessions throughout the years.

Brainstorming at 2and2

The team at 2and2 hard at work, brainstorming ideas and mechanics for a game.

First, many creators seem to get stumped before even taking the first step into idea generation, and often the cause is simply the fear of sounding foolish or having their idea rejected.

While there is no doubt that some ideas are better than others, the judging process should take place at a later stage. If we begin by welcoming all thoughts we can pick up momentum, which is arguably as important as having actual ideas. Plus, one idea can always inspire someone else to come up with another idea—one that could be the final game.

It is everyone's responsibility to ensure things kick off with the right attitude. There are people who tend to act negative during brainstorm sessions, and although these types of people do have a role to play, it is important to keep that negative vibe in check, especially during the brainstorm process.

In theory, having more people involved in brainstorms should mean having more potential ideas to work with. Reality, however, brings about some complications and people often have to shout over one another to be heard. Members might become upset if none of their contributions are taken on board, and there may be some who are uncomfortable voicing their opinions verbally - especially if there is a large group.

Because of this, there are benefits in keeping the team's size down, and to make sure everyone involved is focused on reaching the best outcome, not just fighting to put their stamp on the project.

While idea generation is often a big focus in the beginning of a game project, design decisions are made throughout the entire development process. With so many discussions taking place, it is easy for members to become left out due to poor timing, or simply not being there when a conversation is taking place.

It can be draining for the project's lead to keep an eye on everyone's involvement and ensure nobody feels excluded. Instead, members could take it upon themselves to regularly stroll around the table and catch up on anything they might have missed. The constant exchange of ideas is part of what improves a game - after all, it is a team effort.

Creative processes are filled with challenges, but these challenges have solutions. By motivating everyone to stay active and involved, hopefully the journey will be efficient and result in the best game possible.

What tips do you have for generating game ideas?

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