Okay, so you want to do a project, but you are lacking an idea? Let's start with thinking about where some inspiration can come. For my unnamed project codenamed Project Ahoy, I have had inspiration from a number of sources. One of my favorite type of games throughout the years has been trading games, where one possesses a space ship, boat, sea ship, wagon, truck, train, or other kind of vehicle, picking up goods, and selling them. I have always been interested in building a virtual fortune and succeeding in such a business. From that came a seed, but one that I wasn't quite sure what to do with.
I visited Washington, D.C., and saw there much about the colonial period of history. From that, I wanted to know more, and I was fascinated by what brought people here. I also visited Jamestown, the first English settlement in what is now known as the United States. As I learned more about this period of time, I became fascinated by it.
Lastly, I had a desire to learn procedural world generation, because computer generated worlds has been something I've always wanted to try out.
So, I took the ideas that I had, trading and a colonial history game, and decided to combine them together into one, namely a sea trading game, using procedurally generated maps. While I haven't gotten to the procedural generated maps, I'm using that as a bit of a carrot, get the game to the point where that will be needed, and my reward is learning the new technology.
Okay, so I have an idea. Now what? Well, as I had a desire to be somewhat historically accurate, I went to learn more. I started with the internet, researching Caravels and other ships of the day online. I've since gone to books on the subject, and am shortly planning to visit replicas of such ships on display.
The decision to pursue another project should not be taken lightly, it is actually a skill to finish a game that one is working on that one should develop.
If you are really stuck, then try experimentation for a while. Make a remake of a classic game. It probably wouldn't hold to copyright law to sell, but there's nothing wrong with it for practice. That will sharpen your skills, and might provided some clever ideas. Even better is to take such a game and improve it, changing existing mechanics, adding new ones, and overall working to improve the game.
Last, but not least, a word on scoping the project. Ideally, you should have a project where the following 3 things are well balanced:
- Your desire to have the game made
- Your desire to make the game
- Your skill
Ben Pearson is the author of the Amateur Radio and other technology blog KD7UIY and developer of Games and Apps at Google Play pearsonartphoto, where he plans to publish some of the games created by inspiration of gamedev.tv. He is currently working on a Sea Trading game, which you can subscribe to updates at his Google Group. He has been a programmer since a young age, although only recently is learning programming with game engines. He has completed the the Complete Unity Developer Course and the Procedural Generation courses, and is working through the Complete Blender Developer Course and Unity Game Physics courses. He is hoping to soon start Unreal Courses soon. Follow him on Twitter @KD7UIY.