Game dev coffee chat

From ideas to actions – the ideation process

Anticipation fills the air as the holiday season draws closer. For us at Brakesoft this means that our launch date is approaching at an undeniable pace. Under the twinkling Christmas lights, we’ll continue to pursue our dreams, while also allowing ourselves to indulge in a small break from Swift: Galaxy Trails. This time of the year is one for remembering all the joys and pains of the past year. For us at Brakesoft, this means remembering our journey with Swift: Galaxy Trails. Hence, we’ll take this opportunity to look back at the early stages of our game development adventure. Namely, the beginning.

All journeys start from somewhere

In the beginning there’s nothing and everything. Every new project is a new beginning. It’s a chance for learning new things, But, it’s also a chance to avoid previous mistakes while also making some new ones. With a new team, the possibilities for us Brakesoft seemed endless and so began our ideation process.

Ideation process includes all of the different stages of development: innovation, development and actualization. Therefore, the ideation process is important for the entire project. The early innovation phase and the ideas create the foundation upon which the whole project is built upon. If there’s no clear idea or roadmap for the project, it will eventually fall apart. Thus, it’s important to give enough time and space for this first stage in the ideation process aka innovation. 

Innovation isn’t always easy. Forcing innovation may feel unnatural and draining. However, if the innovation process is given enough time and space, then wonders start happening. Innovation can be found from everywhere. It can be found from nature, seasons and events. Even an excellent cup of coffee can spark innovation. Don’t be afraid to channel innovation even from the smallest of things. The results might surprise you. 

One of the most commonly used tools during the innovation process is brainstorming. And it’s easy to see why. Brainstorming sessions work wonders with a multi-talented team, where each member has an opportunity to propose new ideas and approaches. Often, the discussion takes a turn into an unexpected direction and a new path is found from these brainstorming sessions. No idea is too wild or crazy during this phase. 

Due to the dynamic process cycle, it’s no wonder that the first ideas often do not match the end product. However, their shadows can still be seen from the end product, if you only know where to look at. So don’t be afraid to invest time in the ideation process.

In the first meetings, we brought up what each one of us wanted from this project. In the earliest version, we wanted to create a hyper casual game. Our aim was to create a demo version that would showcase our abilities. The estimated time frame was around three months. Oh, how these things have changed during our development process.

A walk down the memory lane

We pondered over creating a 2D hyper casual rhythm racing game, where players would gain more speed by hitting targets at a specific time. We planned this game to be colorful, cute and cartoonish, filled with adorable hamsters. Alas, as we didn’t yet have a music person in our ranks during that time we decided not to pursue this idea any further.

We also played with the idea of creating an endless bike run, where the players would take on an elevated path with tree elves, dodging humans. This idea was also tossed due to various reasons. Afterwards, we also toyed around with creating a pixel art game with a twist. In this, the players would take on the role of the main antagonist, roaming through different dungeons slaughtering the oblivious heroes. For the time being, we ended up placing this cave master game in the backburner, where it still waits for a better time.

Alas, one of the ideas that really took off was a staircase runner, where the player would control a character through winding staircases, avoiding obstacles. We also discussed the possibility of including some laser-shooting bosses in this game. Similarly to the staircase runner, we also toyed around with a wall climber, where the player would try to climb a steep wall while avoiding falling obstacles.

While Swift: Galaxy Trails didn’t end up being any of these ideas, all of them provided something new for us. It allowed us to conceptualize our talents and skills, and allowed us to realize what resources we had available and what we needed to acquire. This innovation phase paved the path for the overall project.

Image Credit:Pixabay

The beginning of Swift 

Pretty soon during the beginning of the ideation process we realized that hyper casual game doesn’t match the story we want to tell. We realized that we wanted to create a dark and mystic game with mesmerizing graphics. Interestingly, a few of the previous ideas still made it eventually in Swift: Galaxy Trails.

As mentioned, the main concept we started building our game on was the staircase runner. During the early stages, we had planned that our yet-unnamed-hero would ascend a winding staircase. Without us even noticing, our hero started morphing into a mascot-esque character, sporting a lovable figure. We wanted our main character to be a splash of cheerfulness in the otherwise grim world we were building. We toyed with various character design concepts, until we finally found one that the whole team loved unanimously.

Our chinchilla soon turned into a brave space chinchilla as our game’s theme became clearer. We wanted to offer our players a galaxy defying journey that would span across various planets. Somewhere along the discussions, the staircase started to morph into a straight path. Then the straight path gained some twists and turns, in order for us to show our environment better. During this point, we created the title Galaxy Trails.

Naturally, our beloved space chinchilla needed a name. Once more, the entire team tossed around various names ranging from Spike to Chilly, until we finally found the perfect one for us: Swift. Thus, the legend of Swift the chinchilla was born. Now, we had our character and the core gameplay concept. Swift: Galaxy Trails was well under the way, but our design process was far from over.

In the next coffee chat we’ll delve deeper into the design process. Stay tuned! and check our previous blogs as well.

Stay safe and happy holidays from everyone at Brakesoft!

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