Finding Motivation and Inspiration

The past week has been filled with great things in my life however progress on my game was not really one of them. I have been spending some more time playing games, watching movies and reading books in the last little while. Why? For me project motivation comes from many places but this week I have been reflecting on motivation from two perspectives: Positive motivating factors and negative motivating factors.  Let me describe what I mean starting with the negative motivating factors.

Negative Motivating Factors

Negative motivating factors sounds like an oxymoron so let me be clear by giving an example. Part of why I started a side project was because I wasn’t not enjoying my day job and I wanted a plan B. I picked the “I, Game Maker” moniker for this site because that is what I really like doing; making games. My day job had somehow turned into managing the people and process and not focusing on making a product. This kind of motivational factor isn’t bad, it just stems from dissappointment rather than passion for an actual product. It got me started in the right direction but not for the right reasons. The good news is that my day job has been awesome in the last couple of weeks. Negative based motivation got this project started, but in order to keep it going I’m going to need positive motivating factors so I have been recharging the creative batteries with positive motivating factors.

Positive motivating factors

Making games is a creative process. I have made it to a point with my engine where I am now starting to actually make creative decisions. Creative decisions need inspiration so my search for motivating materials has been the priority over game progress. My research so far has been mostly in books, TV and playing games.


If you like the Epic Space Opera genre, you are missing out if you haven’t read the Honor Harrington series. I just finished the 11th book in the series At All Cost and I loved it. I was surprised to see an add for a video game in the back of the book and went to the Honorverse site and it seems a little dead. If I’m ever doing a game like Stars! I may take a little inspiration from this series. Reading this reminded me to try out Sins of a Solar Empire which I haven’t really been able to get into yet.

The standard geek balance is between space and fantasy. I balanced out the space reading by picking up George RR Martin’s Hedge Knight 2 graphic novel. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first installment in the series, but it was still a great read. I don’t read nearly as much fantasy as I do science fiction but I am waiting as impatiently as everyone else for the next installment in the Song of Fire and Ice. Checking out Mount and Blade is also on my TODO list in this genre, or maybe Depths of Peril, both Indie titles.


b5-boxed-s4-lgFor some reason I missed out on Bablyon 5 back in the day and I have just finished the fourth season on DVD. This show was way ahead of its time! I’m hesitant to start the fifth season for two reasons: I have heard it isn’t as good as the rest of the season and Battlestar Galactica is back on! I have a fascination with story lines that have a planned interaction or over-arcing story for the duration of series. Diplomacy and space combat in this series is just amazing. On a game front this makes me want to try out Sins of a Solar Empire.

bsglogoBattlestar Galactica is flat out the best thing I have watched on TV for years. I am still trying to think of how a game could capture the desparation and tension of this series and I haven’t figured that part out yet. I will choose watching BSG over working on my game any night of the week until the series is done! My wife enjoys the show as well and I probably know as many female fans as I do male. I am drawn to stories that put characters on the dramatic edge of survival where the fate of the human race lies in the balance. Star Control II, Wing Commander (1, 2 and 3), X-Wing/Tie-Fighter and X-Com are some of my favorite titles that “feel” like battlestar. I might need to dig up Homeworld and Freespace 2 since I missed those games and I believe they are classics.

I have been a bit lighter on gaming in the past little while. My new trick is fitting in gaming time with my wife. We are currently trying to get all the rainbows in Pixeljunk Monsters. Hopefully I can do a break down of this game after a bit more play time. In the meantime I am trying to figure out what makes the game fun for my wife. Tower defence games are a favorite of mine and I think that Monsters brings both a cuteness and a cooperative rewards based experience that is good for everyone. Much like Battlestar Galactica, Monsters appeals to both a male and a female audience. If I’m interested in having the most people possible enjoy the games I make then I think there are some real lessons to learn. It also means that I don’t have to compromise the experience in anyway since I love this game. Does a space opera game exist that is a cooperative game? Perhaps there is a way to design that in…


I am thoroughly enjoying my space genre research and I am getting excited about the types of games that I can build. I think I am nearly at the point where I need to start an actual design and I believe my posts will be a combination of design and engine development in the coming weeks. If anyone has suggestions for other great space opera inspiration, please send it my way in the comments!

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1 Response to Finding Motivation and Inspiration

  1. Pingback: 2009 In Review « I, Game Maker

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