What is One Game Idea A Day?

On December 31, 2012, in OneGameIdeaADay, by Steffen Itterheim

One Game Idea A Day delivers a video game idea for your inspiration. One game idea every day for the next (some number of) days.

What kind of game ideas?

“I believe, us game designers have no real grasp of our overwhelming influence and responsibility for the future of our civilization.” Reiner Knizia (Board Game Designer: Samurai, Lost Cities)

I watch a lot of documentaries. I’m interested in what’s happening in the world. I take game ideas from everywhere. Exploration and discovery is a theme I like. Exploitation of resources vs saving the world. Moral dilemmas. Balancing good vs evil. And when I consider a sci-fi scenario I like them to have two things: a humanistic aspect and technology based on real world scientific principles.

I also like my game ideas to have an educational value. After playing, players should feel they learned something new about our world, how things work, or just leave with an increased interest to find out if this or that is “for real”.

I feel that those (losely based on) real world scenarios are completely underutilized in games. Often in favor of male power fantasies, good vs evil clichés, dumbed-down buttonsmashers intervened with quicktime events. And not to forget the mandatory kinky lady with armored tits.

My game ideas follow this rule: each game ought to be doable by a small team in a reasonable time frame (1-8 developers, 3-18 months). That means no MMORPGs, kids.

Today’s games lack inspiration

You’ll notice that most of today’s games’ settings fall into these categories: sci-fi, high fantasy and military. I’m tired of that.

Specifically on one hand most of these settings have no connection with the real world, they’re pure fantasies. On the other hand, when it does get “real” it’s either a generic war campaign shooter, a boring-ass “Kilt Knitting Simulator” type of game or it’s been twisted to fit the unambitious social games context, for example by plucking the setting onto a generic time management game.

And where the games are based on or at least inspired by the real world, they usually end up being war shooters – or boring, unforgiving and very niche. Not to mention ruining any type of fun with a terrible user experience like most “Simulator” type of games.

Ideas are a dime a dozen

Some people don’t understand that. It’s not about your idea, it’s about your execution.

Those are the people who treat their ideas like the family heirloom, locked up safely somewhere, only for others to take a quick peak in awe if – and only if – you sign their NDA.

Any time you read someone saying like “I have this awesome idea about X and Y (not going to get more specific because it’s really unique and innovative) …” send them a link to this page. Hear this: your idea may be unique and innovative, but everyone can come up with an idea, so your idea is actually worth squat. You’d be doing yourself a big favor if you let others in on your ideas and make no fuss about it. That’s how you win them over to help you out. By sharing, not secrecy.

And if your idea is really really really that great, only you can implement it the way you imagined it anyway. Every other person will interpret it their own way, and implement it differently.

Don’t be a prick, share your game ideas!

Copyright: None

You can’t protect ideas. Still, I declare all One Game Idea A Day ideas to be in the public domain. Creating a game based on one or several One Game Idea A Day ideas is hereby expressly permitted, and encouraged. No conditions. No requirements. No objections.

CC0To the extent possible under law, Steffen Itterheim has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to all “One Game Idea A Day” articles and the ideas expressed within. This work is published from: Germany.

Getting Feedback

What good is having an idea if you don’t share it with others? A good idea usually becomes great only after several people have mulled over it.

I’d be happy about any kind of (positive) feedback I get on my design ideas. Just comments like “Hey I thought about that too” or “I’d focus more on going this direction…” or “A game like that already exists! Here’s a link: …”. That’s really all it takes. I also like to hear if a particular idea clicks with you.

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One Game Idea A Day: Deep Sea Explorer

On December 31, 2012, in OneGameIdeaADay, by Steffen Itterheim

Imagine playing Deep Sea Explorer on Google Maps. Your task is to explore the depths of the world’s oceans. Searching for new life forms, geological activity like hotsprings and undersea volcanoes, natural resources like gas, oil and methane, and on occasion sunken ships and their treasures.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Your job is to get a ship, hire the crew, buy or rent the equipment and computers. Then take on jobs offered by the scientific community, treasure hunters, rich individuals or large corporations. Will you be helping the scientific community? Are you looking for the big treasure and making history? Or are you in it for the big cash, helping to exploit the natural resources of our planet?

Plot the route that takes your ship to the desired location in the least time with the least fuel consumption, safely. Oversee the deployment of deep sea exploration, probing, mining equipment. Handle everyday catastrophes like failing equipment, injuries, bad weather conditions. You only have limited time before the mission ends. If you and your crew perform well enough it’ll open ever more exciting assignments.

Source: XKCD

Over time you’ll venture into even deeper seas, to increasingly exotic locations, with harsher weather conditions, higher water pressures and longer trips. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the undersea world and whatever you discover down there.

Ideally the game takes this information straight from freely available sources, enabling it to be used by the interested as an educational game.


Learn more about One Game Idea A Day. View all One Game Idea A Day ideas.

CC0 To the extent possible under law, Steffen Itterheim has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to all “One Game Idea A Day” articles and the ideas expressed within. This work is published from: Germany.

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One Game Idea A Day: Energy Saving Angel

On December 30, 2012, in OneGameIdeaADay, by Steffen Itterheim

Source: Wikimedia Commons

You’re an angel-like non-corporeal being assigned to a family’s home. Your sole job is to help the family save money by conserving energy.

The family members don’t know you’re there. You can’t interact with them. Whenever they waste energy by leaving devices or radiators turned on when they stopped or paused using them, it’s your job to turn them off. After leaving a device, it will slowly grow red depending on how much energy the device is consuming. For example leaving a hair dryer or dust blower on consumes a lot more energy than a light bulb or computer does.

You can also leave notes around the house which the family members will assume were written by other family members. With notes you can try educating family members about the value of conserving energy and giving tips on how to do so. You can also influence the family to buy the items with the better energy rating.

For example instead of leaving the computer on when walking away, instruct them to turn at least the monitor off. When the family members learned how to do that, you can teach them how to put the computer in standby. You might also want to teach them how to program the central heating or air conditioner, so it turns itself off and back on an hour before the family returns. Whenever something good happens, you can ever so gently reward the family members.

Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement

Your only highscore is the amount of money conserved over a single year. After each year, you can decide to stay with that family or “level up” to a new family – more family members, more difficult social situations, less awareness about wasting energy – but also a greater potential for conserving energy.

The player also learns valuable, proven techniques to conserve energy for their own home while realizing the relative differences of how much energy various devices consume, and where it matters most to conserve energy.


Learn more about One Game Idea A Day. View all One Game Idea A Day ideas.

CC0To the extent possible under law, Steffen Itterheim has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to all “One Game Idea A Day” articles and the ideas expressed within. This work is published from: Germany.

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