METHODS OF GARNERING INSPIRATION

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I've been stuck in a pretty deep rut lately. Not really sure quite what it is that has me so stagnant, but I can't quite get myself into motion these days. I've been trying to find the motivation to work on a variety of projects, my game being no exception, but I can't seem to get any creative juices flowing. I've sat down more than once with a pen in hand in front of a blank piece of paper for varying amounts of time, sometimes hours, to no avail. Perhaps some of you have experienced similar forms of writer's block.

So, for my personal benefit and for the sake of discussion, what kinds of things do you do to help revitalize your creative spirit? Do you go on long walks? Do you watch a good film? Do you peruse a gallery of fine art?
I watch, read and look over professional AND amateur stuff (some are just REALLY good) for inspiration.

My greatest influence is music to get running into things, specially if said song(s) is/are (a) story song(s). They can get you emotional without having to read 24421412 pages or watching 24123421 episodes. It helps you leave an interpretation and get your mind working to do more ideas.

Dreams are also a huge factor for me in terms of motivation.

I dunno if it's the same for everyone else but yeah.
- Remembering why the hell I'm working so hard in the first place. I already got this far. I may as well keep going. The day I can finally say that I finished the damn thing should be motivation enough in the long term.

- Good music. Seriously, this is a big one. Working in silence can whittle down motivation fast, but good music can really help keep you going. Least for me.

- Seeing other people's works, mostly professional but with some indie exceptions. While I have little access to game consoles nowadays, there are several games that have influenced by style. Just remembering them, perhaps watching a youtube video or two is enough.

- Brainstorming what I want to happen in events just a bit past what I'm working on. Usually gives me the drive to finish where I am so I can get there and do that instead.
I noticed that my problem is usually not lack of inspiration, but excessive self-criticism and self-censorship. I do have ideas, lots of them, all the time. I just have to stop with the instinctual "Nah..."

Maybe just stop trying to look for a GREAT idea and work with any ideas you have?
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
I think of ideas during long (3 hour+) car trips. I don't try to, it's just inevitable. Something about the inability to work on the ideas or even write them down just makes them come flowing out. If only I could remember them all later.
I think we have different ways to get inspired and I suspect that hearing from other doesn't help much. Still, I try to describe my techniques.

How I get inspired varies greatly depending on whether it's for starting a new project or continuing working on one already started.

Usually, inspiration for a new project just comes automatically. I do however also have a method I can use to help getting idea. I simple make a wish-list. That wish-list usually consist of elements described by one or two words only, such as "exploration based" or whatever.

If I have a difficulty working on a project, I've found that the best source of inspiration is other games that contains elements I want to incorporate into my project. Let's say that I want to make an exploration based game. In that case, playing another game that has a great focus on exploration is good for inspiration while games that are mostly straight paths are not. Simple as that.
My biggest influences are definitely my dreams and nostalgic things from childhood. The whole reason I even created by big project was because of dreams I had as a kid, and things that I used to watch/play/do.

Other than that, I often find myself being influenced by happy or trying times in my life. I recently went to Europe, and I was brimming with ideas when I came back. My surroundings or the times when my mind wanders out of boredom usually create something as well.

Lastly, when making things for my game, I listen to nostalgic music, or music that fits the thing that I'm doing. For instance, if I was working on a world map chipset, I may listen to the map theme from a Tales Of or Final Fantasy.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
Well it depends a lot on what you're trying to get inspiration from. Dreams and nostalgic things from your childhood aren't a great way to think up interesting tactical interactions between special abilities, nor a great way to think up puzzles, etc. Inspiration for aesthetics, for story events, and for gameplay are three very different beasts. Going to places and looking at things will give you aesthetical ideas, but not really story ideas or gameplay ideas. Music tends to make me think about my story, as does watching movies, or surfing tvtropes.org. While my best source of gameplay inspiration is this forum.

Obviously playing video games helps with everything.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
I think it is really cool that so many people are citing their dreams as inspiration. I often get inspired by images from my dreams, too.

Of course, dreams aren't something you can actively go to for inspiration so I recommend books. Even a book you've already read before. If its one you really enjoyed you might be surprised at how much it invigorates you, and you might even notice something new you never caught before.
Well, you make a good point about how those things only influence story/art style/etc. I neglected to mention that for gameplay mechanics, I pretty much just recall gameplay that I loved in other games.
Versalia
must be all that rtp in your diet
1405
author=LockeZ
Obviously playing video games helps with everything.


I play videogames. If something is cool I then stop and think "Hmmm, WHAT is cool about that? How would I put the same thing in my game?" even if it isn't a feature I would really need or want in my game. It gets you thinking about the why and how, which can spark ideas when you start thinking "well, that's not going to work in my game because of the level system.... BUT! If I change it like THIS, it might be more interesting!"

As far as inspiration for writing as opposed to designing or implementing: As they say, nothing is new under the sun. Story fragments that you enjoy ("I really liked that it turned out to be her twin the whole time") can easily be reworked to fit into your setting/plot/premise. I'm not suggesting you pick a good story and rip it off (which is the opposite of my point and the opposite of your style, I would assume); just allow your thoughts to be bounced by stuff that tickles you and see where they go.

If all else fails, TVTropes
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
It's funny, I dream vividly every single night and can always remember it in the morning, and yet I'm not sure I've ever had a dream that would be a good idea for a story.

The closest I'd say I've come is one dream I had where the world was being ripped apart by interdimensional energies due to some sort of new reactor technology malfunction. But it was clearly subconsciously inspired by the Warcraft 2 expansion and the first WoW expansion. And I remember those much better than my dream. So if I wanted real inspiration, I think I'd look to the real things my dreams are based on.
Puddor
if squallbutts was a misao category i'd win every damn year
4998
I've gotten great book inspiration from my dreams but rarely anything I can turn into game form. As for everything else I find experiencing the medium to be the best inspiration for what I want to do. So playing games makes me want to make games, watching anime makes me want to make anime, listening to music makes me want to make music, reading books makes me want to write books. It's actually pretty annoying sometimes because some of this stuff I can't actually do >.>

Though I am damn determined to make an anime some day. And learn music-making.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
author=Solitayre
I think it is really cool that so many people are citing their dreams as inspiration. I often get inspired by images from my dreams, too.

Of course, dreams aren't something you can actively go to for inspiration so I recommend books. Even a book you've already read before. If its one you really enjoyed you might be surprised at how much it invigorates you, and you might even notice something new you never caught before.

Last night I dreamed that I was saving a flooded Los Angeles from a T-rex rampaging through downtown. By flying around his head I was making him disoriented and enraged and I was trying to lure him to deeper waters so that he would drown.
I usually garner information by copying and pasting from other games and projects

Why try something new when you can do the audience a favor by using something tried and true?

joking.

umm...dreams, music, going to cool places and observing the surroundings.

For visual/aesthetic inspiration, it usually varies a lot. For the most part, I just stare at the images of various 2D games (like Sacred Earth Memory, for example) and wonder if I want to do something similar to that since graphical balancing tends to get a bit shaky on my part unless I have a specific template to work with. As for mechanics, usually obscure games such as Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu and Vantage Master, alongside with Shining Force and others.
1. dreams
2. other video games, especially ones from wildly different genres. i recently got l.a. noire and its so different, and its refreshing and its a real boost to my muse factor. it really helps to branch out into other genres and not playing only rpgs. it really works!
3. reading books
4. talking to people and living life in general. you can get a lot of inspiration just from regular everyday interactions with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. you can get a lot of inspiration just from going outside. break off from the familiar.
5. movies. movies are the classic form of digital media.
6. exercise. those endorphins aint no joke
7. playing games MADE BY YOU GUYS
8. havin sex
9. listening to music
10. reminding myself that i love making games!
For me in no particular order its:
1. Playing other video games which includes commercial and amateur work.
2. Looking at other people's character design & Sprite Work.
3. Listening to a great music score.
4. Watching cartoons/anime & reading manga/comics.
author=Feldschlacht IV
8. havin sex


Dudebro, you get creative inspiration while this is occurring? I don't know if this is good or bad. You're relieving some tension either way, so I guess you can't go wrong.

My biggest source of inspiration is music. Sometimes it inspires me to try making some music, other times to create stories.
I was kidding, I don't get game making inspiration from sex. However I was serious about the other points.
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