A video game is the vast majority of cases a narrative act, it is telling a story, involving the player in some events. The quality or quantity of narration will depend on the type of game, but we could say that, in a way, all the elements that make up the game are designed to generate an emotion, a sensation or feeling in the player. In the same way that all forms of art that humans have used to express themselves and have done throughout history. Whether from a narrative, artistic, more “aesthetic” point of view or even seen from a more mechanical or project point of view.
It is clear that everything must always start with an idea. A bad idea well worked can end in something that surprises us and even a very good idea badly worked can end up in the drawer of things to forget. So obviously not everything is the idea, but the spark that gives life to something new must be born, hopelessly, from an idea.
The concept of a video game
As we have already mentioned before, everything must start from an idea, and that idea can be born from many things, we can actually build the game or the concept on which to base this in very different ways. We still have the idea of loneliness, of how we feel lost and find it difficult to find our place, our way. It is simply an idea, just a small seed. However, resources can we have to grow that idea and make it robust.
Many times associating concepts and ideas allows us to progress in the development of an initial spark, if we focus on the previous example we can search for the keywords we have mentioned: loneliness, loss, place and path. And from each of them, we can generate other related ideas. If, for example, we choose the first word that comes to mind: loneliness, we should link other concepts, other words to build a small cloud of spark. In this case, we could think of unity, one, and individual. From a single word, we have generated three new concepts, with the method we should be generating new clouds for each of the initial concepts, for example for lost: search, labyrinth, map and so on.
This would create a new system for us, different clouds of sparks that we should link to each other, which would create a small network of idea concepts that we could work on. In this initial example, we have carried out the exercise from an abstract concept, but as we have already said in the initial comment, the idea could be a mechanic, a visual aspect or an emotion that we want to provoke in the player.
From the small cloud that we have generated, we could choose something like: a single-player, only in a world of labyrinthine paths has to play with the perspective of the world to find the correct path to reach the end of the journey. Surely, some of you the idea has sounded to you. And this is another of the important problems that we can find. Ideas are small lights, small fireflies that illuminate us in a moment of darkness, and it is common for several people to be illuminated by the same flash. So part of the conception work is also to see that similar ideas have already been created, that our creation is different, that would make it special, that would make a difference.
This would be a method to shape a small spark, a small pulse, but from here we have to grow the concept of our game, we have to shape it. It is important to visualize that idea, to apply a kinesthetic vision to what we have in front of us, what kind of Look’n Feel it could have, what colors we hear, what sounds we see when we think of that thread that we have been unraveling from the spider web that we have built in the initial phase.
Methods of conception, visualization or creation of ideas are many and very diverse and in most of them, we will find a very common concept in the world of video games, iteration. In order to give our idea a greater presence, greater volume and greater entity, we can make different passes to the different techniques we choose in our creative processes. But once we define that concept of the game we should stay as faithful as possible to that idea. If not, in the end we would have a chaos that would be constantly changing and this would make it impossible for developers, designers and artists to finish shaping that idea.