The organic nature of game ideation

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  • 1. The Organic Nature of Game Ideation: Game Ideas Arise from Solitude and Mature by Bouncing Annakaisa Kultima University of Tampere FINLAND annakaisa.kultima@uta.fi Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 2. My Background Project Manager/Researcher, University of Tampere, Finland Games and Innovation (GaIn) gamesandinnovation.com Previous projects: GaS, Games as Services GameSpace, Design and evaluation methods for casual mobile multiplayer games INFIM/TRIM/Game Research Lab Trim.fi, gamelab.uta.fi Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 3. Game Ideation Ideation/idea generation (creation) Game ideation = The processes of coming up with new game ideas Research questions: What are the informal practices? What are the experiences with formal approaches? What is a game idea? Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 4. Ideation and creativity Idea generation is generally recognized as a critical part of innovation (Clapham 2003) Idea generation is relatively structured and explicable process (Mumford & Gustafson 1988, Perttula 2006) Studies show that creativity training has the highest impact on originality of the ideas (Clapham 2003, Harkins & Macrosson 1990) Patterns of thinking are difficult to break (de Bono 1970) Studies indicate a strong relationship between the number of idea generation techniques and the number of successful products (Parnes 1961, Sowrey 1989) Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 5. Brainstorming Has become a general term, referring to any kind of group ideation session Originating from advertising world Popularized by Alex Osborn Applied Imagination (1953) Basic setting: Criticism is ruled out Free-wheeling is welcomed Quantity is wanted Reacting to ideas of others Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 6. Brainstorming Research: Production blocking, social loafing, fear of evaluation, (Furnham & Yazdanpanahi 1994) Instructions and setting matters Need for facilitation, “go for quantity instead of quality” (Rossiter & Lilien 1994) Several other techniques developed Brainwriting, Bodystorming, SCAMPER, etc. Game idea generation games http://www.mycoted.com/Category:Creativity_Techniques Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, Michalko 2006 Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 7. Games Industry Games are idea-based products (Tschang & Szczypula 2006) Innovation within games industries is considered to be mainly incremental and it seems to be rather common that ideas are drawn from other games and similar domains (Fullerton et al. 2006, Hagen 2009) Room for systematizing processes (Tschang, 2007) Brainstorming doesn't (always) work (Gabler K. et al. 2005; McFadzean 2000) Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 8. Data 23 game professionals from 8 Finnish game companies Various current roles, game designer experience or other idea related role Two interview settings; 2005 and 2007 Semi-structured, thematic interviews 2005: idea generation practices as a side topic 2007: concentrated on idea generation practices Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 9. Findings Social aspect Ideas are generated in solitude Matured and further developed by bouncing Informal practices Seeking inspiration: various sources Purposeful activities: retreating, walking, google pics, wikipedia, being always on watch, prototyping Formal practices Brainstorming, Mindmaps, Six Thinking Hats, Double Team + various brainwriting techniques Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 10. Findings Challenges of brainstorming (group ideation) Production blocking, fear of evaluation Inadequate understanding of the technique Fear of loosing creative freedom Sense of inefficiency (too big groups, ideas far-fetching) Practical reasons (scheduling) Game idea from one-liners to eight-page formal design documents Mechanics Change (idea as starting point, ambivalence…) Challenge of selecting and evaluating ideas Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 11. Conclusions & Discussion Need for education and training curricula, company practices/processes organic practices should be acknowledged and further developed Ideas arise from solitude solitaire techniques Change is seen ambivalently starting point / fundament Idea selection is a particular challenge inspirational value of an idea? Recent changes in the industry? Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 12. Future Research Innovation attitudes among game professionals (2009) Survey opened: www.gamesandinnovation.com/survey What is the status of games industry with idea generation? Are ideas recorded and if so, are they revisited? Results to be expected next Autumn Future Play 2010, Vancouver
  • 13. Thank you! Annakaisa Kultima University of Tampere annakaisa.kultima@uta.fi aakoosgamelab.com gamesandinnovation.com gamelab.uta.fi uta.fi Future Play 2010, Vancouver