Brainstorming

brainstormingBrainstorming is a very important process that is often skipped or glossed over, which in the game development industry especially, can be quite detrimental. We did do brainstorming for Win with the Wind but I will admit that it was not to the extent that we should have. That had to do with myself as lead designer having a firm concept and image in my head already but then this potentially and did close our team off from many other ideas and concepts.

What is Brainstorming?

Good question….Brainstorming according to all our combined wisdom, Google says it is a meeting or group discussion to produce ideas.
Sounds simple right?
Well yes it is simple, so simple that most of us often disregard it as being unimportant and skip it or rush through it.

So how do you Brainstorm?
brainstormingideas

Okay, this is way it’s so simple, all you have to do in a brainstorming session is throw out ideas. Now it is important to offer suggestions that are relevant to the idea but on saying that do not discard any ideas immediately. List as many ideas as the team can first and then discuss later. Set a time-frame for the brainstorming session and stick with it, sometimes the session may conclude sooner as the idea has been all brainstormed out. Use that extra time wisely, you will be surprised how handy it comes down the track during development.
Once the time frame has expired….
brainstormingcuttingideas.PNGNow is the time to go through each idea and cull them, and I mean cull, hack them to the bone, no mercy. Thoroughly explore and expand each idea, brutally interrogating it trying to elicit a realistic and do-able plan of how to bring it to fruition. If it gets to a point where the input will not bring the returns or is just nor feasible then discard it. This part of brainstorming can and will take a lot longer than the first session as people tend to sometimes own an idea and will rigorously defend and promote it until the end. It is important to not be like these people and keep and open mind through-out. Once again set a time frame to complete this culling process until you have all decided on which ideas to proceed with and further develop.

Remember…

This brainstorming process will occur numerous times throughout a game’s development. Factors like:

  • Play-testing
  • Feedback
  • Over-scoping
  • Lack of knowledge/skill
  • and so on and so on

Will make the team have to sometimes go back to the drawing board and brainstorm again to satisfy any of the factors above.

Essentially brainstorming is an integral part of any game development and should be looked at as a valuable tool/resource that needs to be utilised as often as practical and possible.

In order to prevent me from doing this in the future I will insist and make it an agenda in any design decision meetings. 
The Hack n Plan for any project will reflect a task stating the importance of brainstorming.
As this was one task that I did not utilise enough throughout the project, the project suffered. It is a mistake that shall not be repeated.

Sorry to go all preachy like that in the end but it’s a lesson well learnt and one I do not want to repeat. Well that’s it for this one, thank you for your time and interest, I do sincerely hope that you gained something from it. Until next time….

God’s peace and blessings upon you.

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