Hey everyone, I’m Drew Jones, Chief Games Officer and Co-founder here at Mobile Mesh Games. I’ll be contributing to our blog along with the rest of the team and I wanted my first article to be about the question I’m often asked by friends, family and gamers. So without further ado…
People often ask me how I come up with the ideas for games. I love getting asked this question. First, I get to talk about game ideas, which everyone that knows me knows I love to talk about games. Second, and more importantly, I get to hear their perspectives, and get their feedback on how they feel about game concepts and potential mechanics.
So How does one come up with ideas for a game?
For me, it’s a mash-up of three things – Life Experiences, being a student of gaming, and my nature.
Everything we each go through in life shapes and molds us in many ways. I’ve been through a lot of life experiences that span all across the board – United States Marine Corps, the daily grind of Corporate America, and of course, my children and family. These experiences shape our views on the world, and for me, they’ve given me many different ideas for game features, mechanics and even full games.
Being a Student of Gaming
I’ve always stressed a key idea in game design: You need to be a student of gaming. Simply, you need to have a wide perspective on games, you need to know how their mechanics work, and you need to see the game logic at work during gameplay. I’ve played tons of different games ever since I was little, and to this day I still have regular game nights, whether in-person (board games) or online. This gives me an awareness of a very diverse set of game concepts. You’ll never know enough about games; they’re always evolving and the more games you play, the more you’ll learn.
I’ve always been drawn to the process of how a things are organized and how they progress. My career path evolution as a programmer, UI designer and business owner have helped me visualize processes and concepts before I even pick up a pen and paper (or nowadays, a stylus and tablet). When it comes to games, they’re really nothing more than a set of processes that flow together, with actions and reactions that create events, so my nature is to just begin visualizing how a game could play and start scribbling designs and game flows.
Everyone is different in the methods of how they create their ideas, and that’s great. But, I bet if you ask your favorite game designer this question, they’d mention some of the core points in this post … the one main thing always remember is HAVE FUN doing it! After all, we’re making games!
To show how ideas comes about in the context of our games, we’ll be doing a blog series: Game Origins. For each of our games, we’ll outline how the idea came about, what influences there were, and the basic design premise of the game. Hopefully this will inspire your thoughts and ideas for your next great game!