Do you find yourself stuck without any ideas for your flash games? It can be hard sometimes to come up with great new ideas that can be turned into a games. When I start to hit a developers block in designing a game, I turn away from my monitor and pull out a writing pad. In this post, I’m going to show you my method for coming up with new ideas.
Take a look at your old game ideas.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is take a look through your old games. Which games were well received? Which were met unfavorably? Also, you can take a look through some of the top games on your favorite portal. The point of this step is to choose a game that you like. It’s going to be important in the next step. For this post I chose my game Whack a Mole Revenge.
Get out your writing pad
Now that you’ve chosen one of your favorite games, it’s time to start mapping out your thoughts. Write the name of your game on the center of the piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Now, find the games description and keep it handy. Here’s a description of my game for you to refer to as we move along in this guide.
Map Out Your Game Ideas
Now is the point where you will want to start mapping out ideas. Take a few words that you feel describe the game you chose and put them outside of your center circle. I concentrated upon a few key points in the game description and wrote them down. At this point, your thought map should look something like this:
Wondering how I came to those conclusions? I chose Angry Mole because my game is based on the idea of a mole who is angry of being whacked, so he decides to take his revenge. I chose games vs. humans because my game is about a game which comes to life and is the enemy of the humans. Whack a Mole was chosen because that was the basic gameplay mechanics.
Expand upon those game ideas
Now that you have the basics outlined, you want to take your ideas a bit further. Expand upon them; think of how each thought could be turned into a game idea. For each idea, I added one or two more that were more detailed and could actually be turned into a game. Here’s what I came up with at the end of my brainstorming session:
Now it’s time to explain how I got to my conclusions. For the Angry Mole thought train, I thought about how to make a game out of an angry mole. The first thing I thought of when I think of angry is the Hulk, so that’s where the city destroyer idea came from. The Stop the Mole idea came from being the opposite of the first game. In Whack a Mole Revenge you are helpless to stop the mole. You can only avoid him for as long as you possibly can. So I thought, why not give the player a chance to fight back; as a sniper, sidescroller hero, or tower defense planner.
For the Whack a Mole thought train, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t as useful for generating new game ideas. However, I had neglected a couple features in the original, and could turn it into a sequel with new and enhanced gameplay aspects.
The Games vs. Humans thought path was a good one. This could be used to make a whole series based on the idea of common games coming to life and turning against their human player. Some examples that came to mind of games that would work for this included Rock’em Sock’em Boxing and that Duck Shooter game. Both involve characters that could turn against their players. In the the first one, the boxer would start beating up the humans. It would probably be a side-scroller/fighting game. The second idea could be a RTS (real time strategy) game in which you must command your duck army against the humans.
The ideas can go on. With this method you should never run out of ideas, as you should almost always be able to generate new concepts from each new word you come up with. Try it out, and see how many flash game ideas you get.