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Simple, Fast, Easy Game Ideas


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#1 Ruzzinator

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:48 AM

I've been thinking so much, my brain is now hurting.
I've been playing a game on the Xbox Live Arcade called 'Spolsion and I'm amazed about how such a SIMPLE game idea, can work so well!
In 'Splosion, you press A or B or Y or X, you simply, explode. You then move yourself around, blowing yourself up. The game then expands but thats not what I'm focusing on.
It's fact that there are hundreds of game ideas out there, yet something so simple hasn't been done before, well, at least to my knowledge.
Now what I'm wanting to discuss is how to think of SIMPLE game ideas. Not the enemies, power-ups, extras or story. Just the idea.
For example:
You explode instead of jumping, though it doesn't kill you.
Simple. Fast. Easy.
How would you come up with such an idea? There must be some kind of method!
Do you like, look in the dictionary, flicking to random pages, til you find a word that just works?
Or do you pick up random things from you desk and start randomly playing with them?
None of them really work for me.
But what are you're methods?
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#2 Tratser

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:48 AM

Methods? You should instead think of learning how to use your imagination! If your imagination is really active: then you will just come up with ideas all of the time. However, most ideas won't be very damn useful.
So keep stimulating your imagination and keep it working at all times! And imagination should be quite effortless, because it's your subconscious mind that does all the thinking. All it needs is clear goals and visions (motivation), and it will output some solution.

Currently I'm not designing games, so my advice can't be too specific.
I could give you some re-usable generic game design ideas, but that is not what you are asking for...
But keep asking yourself what it really is that you enjoy in a game, and then just implement the abstract idea.

If you depend on others to do the job of your imagination: then what do you need your imagination for?
Edit: I'm not saying your should not ask for ideas, it's just a statement for inspiration (perhaps).

Edited by Tratser, 04 August 2009 - 11:57 AM.

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#3 ramses12

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:56 AM

True. If you do not have a good imagination, try to base on a random think: For example take an object in your hand and think about it until you see all it's possible aspects. That's what i do and tens of ideas just arise from nothing!
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#4 ReZurrecti0n

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:02 PM

I was at a friend's house about 2 weeks ago playing very simple games on the X-Box 360 too, some kind of demo disc or something. I remember thinking how can a game so simple be so entertaining? I don't recall the actual name of that demo though and only remember three of those mini games played... One was either jump or duck while running around some rotating tower thing. Another was like "Snake" which you zip around in a ring leaving a trail of whatever behind which elimates any player that runs into it, including yourself. And then my favorite was some roll around in a ball like cage trying to knock the other players off the circular ring while avoiding falling off yourself. But yes, very simple games that were surpisingly entertaining, least for the short time I was playing it anyways (20 Minutes or so).

So it's a good idea to try something simple, but you'll still need some real good ideas to keep players from boredom since the gameplay is going to be so simple... I can't really think of anything off-hand, but I do think you might be on the right track with building "Simple Games", it's gotta be worth a shot anyways right? :lol:

Edited by ReZurrecti0n, 04 August 2009 - 12:03 PM.

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#5 ramses12

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:40 PM

Simple games with a good idea are most popular.
Think about Pac-man or Snake. They was invented a very long time ago, and still enjoyed nowdays.
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#6 Ruzzinator

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:21 PM

You should instead think of learning how to use your imagination!

Yes, the imagination is quite amazing when you're day dreaming or night dreaming! And as you said, you can't ask other people to think of game ideas for you, cause then, it can never be what YOU want.

But yes, very simple games that were surpisingly entertaining, least for the short time I was playing it anyways (20 Minutes or so).

Simple games are shocking entertaining but 20 minutes is all it needs to be really. Simple games are casual games, you can pick them up and put them down if you don't like them.

Simple games with a good idea are most popular.

Exactly! Its amazing how simple they are but work fantasticaly.
So, you can use your imagination to get ideas, but I would like to hear more about this object holding method. (Which still uses your imagination)
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#7 ramses12

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:20 AM

So, you can use your imagination to get ideas, but I would like to hear more about this object holding method. (Which still uses your imagination)

Well, for example i take an apple and i begin to think at it: "What is this apple?", "Where does it come from?", "What's it's purpose?", then i begin to wander about things surrounding an apple: let's say, an apple needs warm. But if there is too much warm, it will get nasty and worms will begin to gnaw in it. And here comes a story of a worm gnawing an apple.
Of course, this is just a stupid example, but after some more try, there begin to appear really good ideas.
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#8 PixelPalace

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:07 PM

Hmm,well,a couple of decent examples comes from the nitrome team.They make some of the most awesome games with some of the most entertaining ideas.Such as there game Feed Me,you play as a Venus Fly Trap with an unusualy look neck.You click and hold to make your neck extend to where your clicking and holding. You eat enemies(Flies,catapillars,ect.)to make your neck gain in length.And to move? You must bite on the ceiling/walls/floor,and then the pot your in will inch towards you.(If you want to see this game and more,go to there website entitled "nitrome.com")And those four basic ideas make the most awesome game! Also,replying to ramses12,you could even make a cool idea using his example.You know those games where you have to step on every tile to complete the level,but every tile you step on disappears after you jump off it? Well,you can make a 3-D version of it! Your a tiny worm,trying to eat all of an apple,and then,after you eat the last bit,be able to safely climb onto the tree branch and head to the next level.
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#9 Ruzzinator

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:19 PM

So, you can use your imagination to get ideas, but I would like to hear more about this object holding method. (Which still uses your imagination)

Well, for example i take an apple and i begin to think at it: "What is this apple?", "Where does it come from?", "What's it's purpose?", then i begin to wander about things surrounding an apple: let's say, an apple needs warm. But if there is too much warm, it will get nasty and worms will begin to gnaw in it. And here comes a story of a worm gnawing an apple.
Of course, this is just a stupid example, but after some more try, there begin to appear really good ideas.

Oh yeah! You ask questions about the object and then one thing leads onto another and you get a simple game idea. Makes sense!
Well, I'm off to school for today and I will be sure to stare at some objects while in maths or civics!
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#10 Tratser

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:13 PM

Ok, I will just give a few more specific advice:
-What is fun? To me things that are fun to do is things that you can become better at (and can easily see your progress!). So the game must have a certain challenge that you can easily comprehend, but not so easily solve.
The challenge must be quickly understood sub-consciously, not just intellectually.

-Think of how you want the game to feel!
All games are about movement, so keep your attention to how things should move in what conditions! Navigation and movement is simply inherently stimulating to the human sub-conscious! You don't need an interesting goal to navigate towards if the thing you are controlling is fun to control.
If navigation is frustrating I won't play the game for long.

-Settle for a few building-blocks that the game will be constructed by. Like the player-object (it may have internal objects, like being constructed by points with bonds between them), goal-object (like food), obstacle-object (a circular object).
And what actions the player can perform, and how certain objects react to eachother. Like the rule of the snake growing after each food object in the game of Snake.

Now, can you imagine this player-object (a snake constructed by points and bonds) being controlled by the arrow keys adding a directional force to the point representing its head.
And in the room you have food objects that need to be captured, and obstacles to bring some challenge.
And the snake (player-object) is adding a new point to its list of points (resulting in a longer snake) each time it eats a food-object.

By just having a few possible objects, you can be as creative as you like within these bonds, and get great results!

And most importantly: Keep experimenting! Just make some small demo to test a concept out quickly before the idea is drying out!
And perhaps you could start a team to generate ideas with and test them out.
Or perhaps we could make a thread where we discuss ideas of simple games, and post demos for eachother.

Also: could someone direct me so some good game design articles?

Edited by Tratser, 06 August 2009 - 02:14 PM.

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#11 SparkzBolt

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 06:47 PM

Thy looking at an object and think of all the non probler uses of it......
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#12 Marcos_del_Bauer

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 06:59 PM

I usually get ideas from looking at other peoples game and try to think of how I can use a similar concept in different ways. I like a lot of the simplicity of Cactus' games. They're simple and short and he has gotten quite a good following. Also, I look around at examples in life and other things of that nature. Just yesterday I was playing a board game and thought, I can totally make this into a video game, except add and take away certain aspects, simplifying and other things of the like.

I guess really what it all comes down to is imagination and how you can make a simple concept your own.
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#13 aaabbbccc

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 02:28 AM

I was at a friend's house about 2 weeks ago playing very simple games on the X-Box 360 too, some kind of demo disc or something. I remember thinking how can a game so simple be so entertaining? I don't recall the actual name of that demo though and only remember three of those mini games played... One was either jump or duck while running around some rotating tower thing. Another was like "Snake" which you zip around in a ring leaving a trail of whatever behind which elimates any player that runs into it, including yourself. And then my favorite was some roll around in a ball like cage trying to knock the other players off the circular ring while avoiding falling off yourself. But yes, very simple games that were surpisingly entertaining, least for the short time I was playing it anyways (20 Minutes or so).

So it's a good idea to try something simple, but you'll still need some real good ideas to keep players from boredom since the gameplay is going to be so simple... I can't really think of anything off-hand, but I do think you might be on the right track with building "Simple Games", it's gotta be worth a shot anyways right? :)


Are you by any chance talking about fuzion frenzy? because u just described 3 games from it. fuzion frenzy is a mini-game game thats all it is mini games its fun
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#14 Ruzzinator

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:48 PM

Ok, so I found this awesome website, Causal Games Design.
And I started drawing random things on a piece of paper and I got this round ball that can catch on fire, on demand.
So there is a SIMPLE game idea: You can catch on fire, on demand.
Now time to expand and have a think about that game. But this topic is about that idea.
Have a look at the website and see if it helps you =D
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#15 lukeyrulz

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:20 AM

Hey guys, I was just reading through all your posts on this topic and some of these concepts for thinking up game ideas are really good. :)
But Ruzzinator, you will go through several game ideas (possibly hundreds) which will either be already used in games or would not make a good game.
You got to be patient with yourself and not get too exited from a few game ideas you have scribbled up.
Keep your options open, because you will one day look back at all your ideas and maybe find some good mini game ideas or something. ;)

What I'm getting at is it's always good to have a widespread of ideas :)
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#16 TalonLaonar

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:51 PM

Although I've just recently started with indy game design, I can say that some of the simplest designs can not only come from common objects we see (Thanks Ramses for that idea :3 ), but also common problems we face every day.

Games like "Where's My Water" (Disney) use the scenario of "taking a shower" and place it in a cartoon world where cartoon physics make the task a little more entertaining and overly complicated in comparison to our world.

"Diner Dash" (Playfirst) is a fast-paced, fast-food themed game that takes a real-world problem and accelerates it to the point where you could work a whole day within a matter of a couple minutes.

Other examples could be mowing the lawn, driving to work, parking, desk organization. The list is endless really.


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#17 Poseidon133

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:57 AM

I tend to hate hate games that are complicated 

They always take longer to get used and my mind cant keep up


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#18 lewis96

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:10 PM

Also, a combination of random objects and letting your imagination run wild might also be a good way to develop stories :)


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#19 kianooshnaghavi

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

Think about any object that u like, try to imagine a story about that, and give a template for ur idea whit these 5 simple questions

realize that i'm the publisher or some one in ur developing team, we want to discus about  ur idea and expand it

so i want to know:

1 - Who is / are playable character / characters of ur game?!

2 - What it / he / she / they do?!

- Think about "The Mechanics"

3 - What is the game's world?!

- Think about "World's Rules" such as physics and etc...

4 - Who are NPC*s?!

5 - What is the story? 

- Very Very short, if u want to write it, it shouldn't go over 3 or 4 lines!

 

if u could make a template with these question for ur idea, u can go trough next levels of designing and expanding ur idea 

and don't forget, after answering these question do u want to develop and play ur game yet?!

 

and a tip about ur next level of design!

chose ur "Genre"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and design about it's basics!

 

i do an example for u:

 

the first thing that i looked at is my TV's control

here we go!

 

Q1: Who is my playable character?

A1: a TV controller which is black and have lots of button on itself and flexible body

 

Q2: What this controller do?

A2: It Move towards right / left - runs -  it don't sit

      It Jumps - also have Double Jump

      It shoot some kind of electro signals for destroying enemies

 

Q3: What is the world? Where does this game happen?

A3: On Mars, but this my kind of Mars has gravity like Earth - Main color theme of the game is red and brown

 

Q4: Who are NPCs?

A4: It's love - a battery - Final Boss which is a evil controller which lunch massive electro signals - micro chip-sets which are regular enemies

 

Q5: What about the story?

A5: The story is about a controller that fall in love with it's own battery, but one day a devil controller came to it and stole it's love and ran away the story is about taking and adventure to find it's love and defeat the devil controller

 

Important QUESTION: what Genre is it?!

ANSWER: it's a 2D sidescroller action / platformer

 

Q: do u want to play this game yet?!

A: Hell Yeah, I Love this Idea

 

and now i should start the design process!!

 

Hope it helps

 

-----------------------------------------------------

* Non-Playable Character


Edited by kianooshnaghavi, 25 April 2013 - 08:39 PM.

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#20 lewis96

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 12:09 PM

How do I delete this post? I thought this topic was about something else... So this is an edit..


Edited by lewis96, 27 April 2013 - 12:10 PM.

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#21 Loaf

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:31 AM

My games are usually built around a random idea, usually something that will randomly pop into my head. Often its influenced by an interest I have at the time.

 

Once I hook onto an idea, I build from it using imagination and lateral thinking to solve design issues. 

 

I'm currently developing a game with a rich storyline, and it all started from a single gameplay concept to do with NPCs. Its an abstract little part of the overall game but it was very much the seed for the idea. I've gone over main aspects on the story in my head many, many times until I developed a storyline I liked. Now I'm in the process of bulking and writing it out, planning the levels, and doing concept art. Its a big project but I'm very passionate about it now and I have time on my side.

 

In the past, I have developed game ideas simply from hearing a song and imagining its use in a game. I know of one other person who has based entire projects around using a single piece of music, I wonder if anyone else does that?


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#22 Yal

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:51 AM

I often make games because of a few words somehow appearing in my head seems like a good game idea. These words, given flesh (and paper), forms a good base to stick other, less random, ideas onto.

 

For instance: Zevti's last review before he left the GMC described a game's music as "8-bit vomit". Those words stuck in my head, and I recently, when learning that the Jam theme was 'grayscale', I thought, "Let's make some 8-bit... vomit? Hey! That's the ticket!". So I made a game about a clump of vomit. To make it clear that it was vomit, I figured it gotta be puked up at regular intervals, which made me devise the gameplay mechanic of controlling humans. I later scrapped the whole vomit approach because it was disgusting, but I wouldn't have gotten the good ideas without considering it.


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#23 Ruub

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:51 AM

When I'm excited, ideas start spamming in my head.

 

Though I'm not really a fan of making ideas, in contrast to good inspiration. I've got two tips though,

  • Drawing makes you (a lot more) creative. Draw the most random things. If you can't come up with something at start, then drop the pressure and try again. Also, indie designers always benefit being able to draw SOO DAMN MUCH. Because you can actually make casual games alone, if you have the skills.

  • Little something called mind-mapping. Just like the website you reffered to said, take a pen and paper, go for insane quantity. Nothing is bad. eniuNOTHING. Don't make lists, use keywords and put 'm in clouds. Google it. This is used for insane pressure and unimaginative moments. After having thousands of ideas on paper, you can expand on those which you actually love :D


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#24 Curio

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:09 AM

umm.. usually in simple game, the player's handicapped right? usually i use this method; i handicapped the player, then thinking another way to do the handicapped mechanism. I.e: a player can't jump, but he can do a wallrun when you move against wall. These method is useful IMO, and i got a lot of idea by doing this.

Hope this help.
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