Idea Generation exercise for Games Designers…

Every wanted to sit down and design a spaceship or a gun for your games design but couldn’t figure out where to start?

Try this little pareidolia exercise as practiced by product designers and design for entertainment media creative the world over…

As well as one particularly well respected artist from the past,

“if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms.”

…from “Leonardo Da Vinci S Note-Books Arranged And Rendered Into English”,
John R; J. Don Read (1923). Empire State Book Company.

So, Take a magic marker or even a regular highlighter pen and a sheet of A3 paper and roughly put down squiggles and rapid marks (not scribbles – think more like abstract oriental pictograms), use the broad edge of the pen in order to create block shapes…

Then the fun begins… Remember lying in a field on a summers day staring up at the clouds and trying to form shapes out of them, or seeing faces in the flames of a bonfire, or strange creatures in the weave of the net curtains or that densly floral patterned wallpaper at your grandmothers house?

Well that’s what we do here. Take a look at the shapes and see if you can see the vehicles, spaceships and weapons in the forms and marks you have made… and taking a pen… a fineliner or a biro even, go over your shapes and outline your sketch concept…

Like above… From there, scan your new shape (just one of many from your sheet!), ship it into photoshop and work ups some of the details… In the image above I saw a sort of flying scooter… like a futuristic vespa.

For some reason I thought that New York taxi style livery would look kinda cool…

From there you can refine your design… work out other iterations of the same design, or just ship it straight into another file and begin working up a background using the methods described in my previous games design photoshop concept sketching post https://apopheniainc.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/games-concept-art-experiment-teaching-session/ and create a whole new concept image for your game… like the Work In Progress below…

And like I said, there are still another 46 sketch doodles that might bear creative fruit on that original marker/highlighter pen doodle sheet…

In another experiment, I was asked by a student “what if you are trying to design something in particular, like a weapon?”.

So I showed them that by controlling your “random” mark making, keeping within a rough “L” shape you can come up with pistol shapes for example (see red lines on image below)… Several styles of weapon came out of this in less than two minutes… three of which I will definitely develop and work up further…

As a follow up one of my students produced this sheet. http://partingthebeard.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/magic-marker-idea-generation/

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~ by hesir on March 17, 2011.

4 Responses to “Idea Generation exercise for Games Designers…”

  1. […] had a go at using an idea generation technique, my tutor taught me (see here) here are the rough designs I came up […]

  2. […] when we did it here as a Games Design […]

  3. […] are some pareidolia exercises, quick shapes made with a couple of markers, then looking for unsought visual information […]

  4. […] 3 – An although it is a common skill/technique to employ amongst concept artists in Games and other entertainment media, the use of it goes back many years – See >HERE< […]

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