Use This Simple Technique To Generate Gameplay Ideas Fast

The Problem

Have you ever tried to make a game about a theme like love?

It sounds simple, right?

But when you sit down to design it, you might find yourself stuck.

Where do you even start? There are so many ways to approach this theme. It’s like standing at a crossroads with hundreds of paths.

You could go in any direction, but how do you know which one is right?

This is a big challenge for game designers, both newbies and pros. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of ideas and end up not starting at all.

Why It Matters

Why is solving this problem important?

Well, having a clear process to turn any theme into a game concept is key. It helps you move faster in developing your game.

You waste less time thinking and more time actually creating. Plus, you start to get a feel for what ideas will work and what won’t right from the start.

Personal Experience

I’ve been there, stuck in the idea phase.

Once, during a game jam, I spent half of the 48 hours trying to decide on an idea.

When I finally picked one, I hardly had any time left to make the game. And I wasn’t alone in this struggle. After reading other developers' logs, I knew we needed a better way.

Verb Before Consequence

The solution is simple: “Verb Before Consequence”, or V.B.C.

This means you think of a gameplay idea as something the player must do (the verb) before something else happens (the consequence).

For example:

  • “Rescue the princess BEFORE the dragon eats her.”
  • “Stop the love of your life at the airport BEFORE they hop on a plane and leave forever.”
  • “Clean the whole house BEFORE your parents get home.”

These ideas have a few key things:

  • Drama: There’s a clear consequence and a ticking clock.
  • Interactivity: The player has a task they must do.
  • Clarity: You understand what the game is about.

Objections

Some might say this method is too simple to create a good game. But simplicity is powerful. The best games often have straightforward, engaging concepts.

For example:

  • Chess: Checkmate your opponent BEFORE they checkmate you
  • Super Mario Bros.: “Reach the end of the level BEFORE time runs out
  • Capture The Flag: Take the other team’s flag back to your base BEFORE they take yours
  • Basketball / Football / Soccer: Score the most amount of points BEFORE time runs out

You can dissect plenty of games and mechanics using this lens.

How to use the V.B.C. Technique

Whenever you need to come up with a gameplay concept, fill in the blanks, “Do (Verb) BEFORE (Consequence)."

Boom! You’ve got a solid concept to start designing your game.

By using this V.B.C. method, you’ll find yourself moving from idea to game development much faster.

It’s a straightforward, effective tool to unlock endless creative possibilities.

So, next time you’re stuck, remember: Verb Before Consequence.

Happy game designing!