Keeping game ideas in check

by Grungi

Things are pretty good right now : I just moved in a new flat with my awesome girlfriend and a friend, I am making progress in my Ph.D research (slowly but surely), I am happy to see my sister working towards a great career path and, last but not least, I am finally starting to approach my dream : being a fully-fledged game developer. I know, I know, I could have been doing that for years already, and you would be right – I even did, to an extent – but now I have a momentum I could only dream about before. I thinks it boils down to having people with whom I am comfortable working, especially code-wise.

As you may or may not know, I am working with a bunch of friends as a team called GSM Productions. We even have a website ! We are right now finishing our first game, which I will always remember fondly, as it was the starting point of it all. Since then, the project ideas have been piling up, from puzzle-platformers about robots to free-running inspired 3D games – the evolution of my Ludum Dare 20 entry. It is exhilarating, yet at the same time it is a bit daunting.

OUT OF HERE – A crude prototype growing behind closed doors…

Clearly, it is very empowering to feel that all those game ideas are there, waiting for some code to make them happen. And I am confident that we could pull most of them out, because up until now I do not feel like we have considered ideas so grand in scope that they would become unmanageable. There is only one factor in the equation holding us back, and that would be time.

Our first game will have taken us roughly one year from initial idea to completion, if all goes according to plan. As much as we already have all the gameplay down, there are still many areas that needs more content or more balancing. Then only can we include the story-related functionality. So, yeah, it will have been a year. There are multiple reasons to that, what with Alun Hevel being our first game, the three of us having day jobs, etc. But nevertheless, even if we can shorten our game creation time to, let us say, 6 months, or even 4, the new ideas will still come piling up faster than we can ever hope to make them.

And that is a bit stressful. Usually, when a new idea comes, you want to get working on it right away, when it is still fresh in your mind, yet you cannot. So how would you do it ? How would you manage this stream of ideas ? Would you reserve one day per week to work on them to try and weed the bad ones out, or write them in a list for later, forfeiting the advantage of having the idea firmly in mind ?