How to Develop an Idea for Your Gamestar Mechanic Game

Finding an idea for a game design in Gamestar Mechanic can be difficult. You need an idea that is creative but loose enough that it can be applied in a number of ways. Here are some ways that you can generate new ideas for games:

  • Look at a single element of game design. The Quest strongly emphasizes the overarching elements of space, goals, rules, components, and mechanics. When you try to define one of these elements in your own words, your interpretation will likely be different from that of other Gamestar Mechanic users.

    If you have an interesting way of thinking about space or of putting together components, your thought process itself can be a helpful element of originality. For example, you could think of a level as a series of interconnected cells, and create a delightfully organized yet nonlinear game.

  • Build around a sprite. The Gamestar Mechanic Class Project system includes two projects that are applicable to this method: Build around an avatar and build around an enemy. An easy way to develop an idea for your game is to design one around a sprite. Think about the sprite’s assets — its functions, settings, and tricky abilities — and then put those capacities to every test you can think of.

    For example, if you have a sprite that can jump and shoot, give it some platforms to run and jump across while placing various enemies in its way. This process can take some experience and practice, but it’s a helpful way to gain mastery with certain sprites.

  • Build around a core mechanic. The core mechanic of your game is the action the player most readily associates with the game — for example, jumping, shooting, racing, or solving. Consider the experience you want the player to have, what you want the player to be able to do, and then design a game that offers this mechanic.

  • Develop patterns. You can use sprites and levels in interesting ways if they’re in the right arrangement. The first step in using this method is critical analysis: Think about the root concepts of levels and sprites, such as damage, gravity, and collision and the properties of each one.

    For example, choose an avatar with a high health value, and then build a puzzle where the avatar has to find the best route to escape the level. As another possibility, build a maze that uses pitfalls as one-way passages, or make a battle with a giant sprite over a platform broken up by narrow gaps so that smaller enemies can jump up at the avatar through the cracks.

    Any action in Gamestar Mechanic — whether it can be used by, for, or against the avatar — can be expanded into a challenge by using the elements of game design. Though this process can take some practice and skill, it’s a useful way to move from technical understanding to creative mastery.

If you’re still having trouble finding the inspiration you need, you can always try expanding on an existing idea. Find an interesting concept or structure, and build around it until you construct a full game.

This method is especially popular with puzzle games and the like. For example, if you were to discover that a reversible, one-way door adds interesting consequences to a classic labyrinth game, you might try to find other ways to apply this door, putting all these variations together in a game with many levels.

You can build on other ideas as well, adding creativity to almost any game. Suppose that you notice this particular idea: A stationary sniper placed along a thin path produces a clever challenge for the avatar to navigate the corridor.

The series of horizontal paths are filled with league snipers and connected by walls and holes, producing a labyrinth of connected challenges. The player must make his way to the bottom of the level, collecting all the points along the way, so the designer can place every imaginable arrangement of the idea.

Other games, especially large ones, rely on several original ideas. A long, level-by-level game may introduce a new concept every few levels, or a battle game may combine unique aspects of combat, enemies, and character development. Gamestar Mechanic is no exception: After you discover a good idea, it can often help to find more ideas that intersect neatly.

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