On brainstorming ideas for a game jam

So, Ludum Dare 39 started roughly 2 hours ago, with the theme “running out of power“. It’s past midnight here in São Paulo and, even though I thought about an idea or two, I’m still thinking about the ideas.

The concept of “power” is so broad you can easily get lost with what kind of power you should employ that’s possible to run out. Also, with such a concept, it’s also quite easy to end up with a not-so-original idea (think about some endless runners, or games like Concerned Joe or Move or Die).

So, here’s some of my thoughts on how I’m brainstorming and how I think it’s the right way to narrow down what you can do in your game:

  • Jot down ideas and concepts of power that you can think of, and think about what can you do with them, I’m pretty sure soon enough an idea will pop up;
  • Don’t worry if your idea ends up not becoming too original, if the formula’s been used, try to think of ways you can juice things within your abilities, try to make it a nice playable experience;
  • Once you have an idea and you start planning, or even working on it, work on the basics first, do what you need to have some basic gameplay on the concept you thought, make it a playable game, then start thinking about juicing it up;
  • If you end up stuck on one thing for too long, STOP, do other things, if you’re coding, try to work on music (or listen to some), search for inspiration, try some art, but don’t get too caught on things;
  • Rest a bit, don’t force yourself to work if you’re stuck, since it’s bad in many ways and also quite frustrating, since things only start to fall down after that;

And that’s it. It’s not much, just what I believe are some “right” ways to do things, but nothing’s 100% certain, right? You might think differently and that’s fine too!

The important thing is that you should feel comfortable with your project and don’t strain too much, even though there’s a time limit.

Good luck on your project, if you’re reading this, and Have Fun!