Innovation is an important thing in the Indie world, without it games become stale and boring. The problem is though how do you innovate, how do you be original and come up with a £1,000,000 idea? The answer is no amount of conscious thought can come up with that £1,000,000. You just can’t force creativity, but there’s some things you can do to help.
- Get inspired – People nowadays have this problem where they never get inspired, they just sit staring at a blank computer screen willing it to make a game. Without inspiration there is no creativity. So what inspires you? if you don’t know then think about where is the best place you get ideas from or what do you get ideas from. My answer would probably be taking a walk in the countryside with my dog. With the time to think and nature around me I can come up with some killer ideas, some of them never see the light of day but others do. So whatever inspires you, it may be music, art, nature etc. As long as it’s creative it can be used to inspire. One thing to remember though is; set yourself limits, you probably won’t get inspired by watching endless Mario parodies and eating Dorito’s.
- Make a creative environment – You need somewhere where you can express ideas and be creative. Without it’s very hard to come up with ideas. For example nobody has ever come up with a world changing decision while sitting in a swivel chair. You need creativity around you, maybe some friends to bounce ideas off, or a place you can just think and be yourself.
- Experimentation – The definition of insanity is “someone who always does the same thing and expects different results each time.” In the same way you will never come up with anything new if you never try anything new. Experiment with styles, ideas and objects. Try out new gadgets and items because you never know what will inspire you. Go out with new people and get a new haircut. Just do something to get out of that rut of uncreativity. (Is that a real word).
- Borrow – Borrow ideas from other places, people and things. If you look almost everything that has ever been made is a replica of something in nature. Houses are no more than classy caves, trees are like umbrellas and computers are like a brain. Do not be afraid to borrow ideas, if someone has made a game with an original idea but it sucks you could always remake it. (Asking for their permission would be the nice thing to do, but it almost never happens). Be on the lookout for things to help you create good games and never stop looking. For there’s always some new technology to adapt be it iPhones, open source engines or an idea. Borrow.
- Don’t ask people – People are nice but when it comes to it they spew out some of the most random crap. Henry Ford the founder of Ford Motor Company once said that “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse”. People don’t generally know what they want, ask people for opinions but never totally discard ideas just because someone says it’s crap.
And that is the start to innovation. Now the ideas are up to you.