Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Creativity can come from adapting an existing item

My current screenplay project is PAW & ORDER. Obviously this an "homage" to an existing family of dramas--only animated and with animal cops. And humor. This makes it completely different. Instead of solving a grisly murder, the cops are trying to find some kids' TV satellite so they can watch again--or in the sequel, rescue the cop's sons' classmate from Kimodo Dragons.

Now comes Raph Koster, a veteran video game designer, who says creativity is a process. In his case, he starts with existing games--he studies them. He puts elements in new contexts.

Almost every video game they design is a variant, Koster says. True innovation is rare, he adds..

They break the games down, study their systems.

Take cards--the mechanics are simple...but the contexts vary and you get UNO and Texas Hold-em. The mathmatical relationships are common to each.

He also recommends working within constraints--such as a deadline. Or add a word..like speed or defender and see how you would need to change the game.

Games are made out of games--how can you take a chunk of one game and put it in another.

Most games are about the player getting more and more powerful. This is not very interesting. Take Die Hard--the protag is not getting more powerful, he is trying to get his wife back. Pick an emotional hook.

The only failure is the failure to imagine.

Could you combine blackjack and ROBOTRON, he asks? Maybe. Try it!