Inspiration is something we often overlook when it comes to game development, or if we do consider it, it's something we only value at the beginning of a project. I believe the reason for this comes from a natural tendency in people to over estimate their own abilities. If we admit we need inspiration we are admitting that we need help, however, if we are honest with ourselves.... we all do!
Inspiration has the ability to make our games bigger than our own imaginations can carry us, and also remind us of details that we appreciate in games but often forget about after we put the game down :)
Not to mention, inspiration can help breathe life into our games after weeks and months of coding, while also being a great source of energy for our minds.
Google, Instagram and YouTube are your friends when looking for inspiration. Think of games or movies you remember enjoying that relate to your project and start there. You can also share your game idea with close friends and ask them what your game reminds them of. I can't tell you how many times someone mentioned to me "wow your game really reminds me of ....."!
If you want something a little more curated, maybe consider checking out https://interfaceingame.com!
For those unfamiliar, Interface in Game is a curated and searchable database of video games and their design elements created by one of our community members (@interfaceingame ). I use it all the time because its easy to search and navigate the site. You can learn more clicking the link below:
A great way to apply inspiration in your daily routine is to flip between your game and inspiration sources while you are working, paying close attention to the detail in these sources.
Look at buildings, architecture, scenery, foreground and mood. Start bringing a few of these elements into your game.
Here is an example of me drawing inspiration from a simple 2d scene:
1) Notice how the character's portrait extends just beyond the top of speech bubble? This small detail makes the character feel more present in the scene.
2) Small little fireflies with a tiny glow helps create a mood. If you listen closely you can almost hear them on a warm summer night :)
3) Notice how the players have small crystals that glow. This helps draw the eye to the player and characters even at night!
4) A small slit in the window with some light helps remind the player that there are others present in the scene.
5) Adding a saving icon helps make the "saving" text not feel so out of place in this beautiful scene.
These are just a few things I noticed when looking at this scene, however this scene is packed with dozens of great ideas and details to draw from.
I hope you take a minute to slow down the next time you are working on your game to find some inspiration, or if you have stopped creating games due to burn out, I hope you find that inspiration motivates you to start up again! Thanks for reading this.