Where do good game ideas come from?

Kandinsky MarioKeith Stuart recently posted a wide range of answers to the question of where good game ideas come from. Excerpt:

Art has proved a fecund source of game ideas. Tetsuya Mizuguchi was inspired by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky to create Rez; Ken Levine drew on the Art Deco movement for Bioshock; Uncharted co-lead designer Richard Lemarchand looked at the works of Victorian painters such as David Roberts and Caspar David Friedrich for the exotic locations that Nathan Drake discovers. And countless dungeon designers have looked at the complex works of MC Escher and Giovanni Battista Piranesi for their labyrinthine environments.

Keith Stuart @ The Guardian

Scholarships awarded by Entertainment Software Association

The Entertainment Software Association recently announced the recipients of scholarships for college courses in video game design and related topics:

Entertainment Software Association FoundationThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation awarded 30 students with scholarships for the 2011-12 academic year recently. The purpose is to expand educational opportunities for aspiring game designers and impassion the next generation of industry innovators. Totaling $90,000, 15 college students currently enrolled in video game-related programs, as well as 15 graduating high school seniors aspiring to pursue a degree in video game design or development received scholarships ….

This year’s grantees hail from a diverse collection of 21 colleges and universities from across the nation, including DePaul University, Rochester Institute of Technology, George Mason University, and Drexel University. Additionally, this year’s recipients have academic and artistic concentrations in a wide array of video game-related fields, consisting of computer science and programming, software engineering, graphic design, animation and digital entertainment ….

The wide spectrum of schools and concentrations reflects a growing trend among institutions of higher education to offer video game-related programs ….

Generating over $25 billion in revenue in 2010, the video game industry has proven to be one of America’s fastest-growing business sectors ….

Game Industry News

Congratulations to the recipients!

See also Entertainment Software Association Foundation.

AI Game Design: The Shibumi Challenge

ShibumiShibumi (the game) is the subject of the Shibumi Challenge, an upcoming experiment in automated game design.

The overall aim is to compare the dynamics of evolutionary versus Monte Carlo search methods for game design, and to gauge the usefulness of the computer as a creative collaborator in the game design process.

The ideal game system to test these ideas would be:

  • Tightly constrained and with a small, clearly defined rule set.
  • Simple enough that most of the rule combination space could be searched.
  • Complex enough to provide a range of interesting games.
  • Small enough that its board state would fit into a single integer (for efficient implementation).
  • Novel enough that its search space was largely unexplored.

While I was looking for such a system, abstract gamer Tom Gilchrist mentioned a concept from Japanese aesthetics called shibui. Shibui objects balance simplicity with complexity; they may initially seem deceptively plain, but will reveal hidden depths and become more interesting the more time is spent with them.

Cameron Browne @ BoardGameGeek

See also Shibui @ Wikipedia.


Soft Guerilla

Kyle Bean : Knuckle DusterKyle Bean has created a series of “weapons made from harmless materials” for CUT magazine.

These images have a playful quality — playful about violence — which makes me think about game design, and the pleasures of violent videogames.

CUT magazine: ‘Soft Guerilla’

A series of weapons made from harmless materials for a feature article centred around the topic of ‘Guerilla Gardening’ and ‘Yarn Bombing’.

Photography: Sam Hofman

Kyle Bean