Game Development Reference
Every mistake and correction forces a new approach and idea. The result-
ing map is a detailed description of a new fantasy world.
This method extends to nonvisual arts. Sometimes, when seeking
fiction ideas, I've used short stories to get my creative juices flowing. The
stories are terrible, but the process of following the story of a character
living in a fictional world always creates ideas for world story. Performance-
oriented people might do an improv skit to explore a character. The audio-
savvy might create a soundscape. The possibilities are endless.
Brainstorming is a semiformalized process intended to quickly produce
large numbers of diverse ideas. Different people and organizations each
have quirks to their process. Some are nearly unstructured, while others
use designated leaders to control the flow of conversation and record ideas.
Brainstorming's pretty well-known, so I won't go into it further here.
Brainstorming is good for generating ideas in volume. It is very bad
for refining ideas, and the ideas it produces will vary widely in quality.
Written analysis is a form of structured thought. I've slagged game design
documents a little bit in this topic, but they do have value and they do have
their place. In writing a document, we think differently than we do in the
mind alone. A document can have diagrams, references, and well-laid-out
logical chains of thought. Written analysis pushes us to think about details
in a way that we won't when thinking on the spot or discussing ideas with
A deep analysis of a complex design may take weeks to complete and
involve broad research and the use of formal statistical or mathematical
methods. It's sometimes worth the price because it creates knowledge that
can't be acquired by guessing off the cuff.
Debate has a specific purpose: it finds flaws in ideas. It is a large part of
formal decision-making systems like the courts, democracy, and science
because it is good at finding hidden assumptions and logical fallacies. But
debate isn't easy. Productive debate requires a very specific combination of
skills and social conditions.
Both debaters must be skilled. They must know how to attack and
defend arguments quickly and effectively. A bad debater will waste time
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