Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inspiration Point: The Beginning

Inspiration Point is a new series on Reality Refracted, where I will be discussing the various places - as well as specific things - that you can get ideas from for your game. See, the world is full of wondrous variety, and is stuffed to the brim with sources of inspiration for your characters, plots, hooks, twists, and npcs. In short, why try to think up everything yourself, when the world is just so ready to give you everything you could need for a game and more?

Inspiration Is Powerful
The first thing to know before reading this series is that inspiration is a powerful thing. However, when looking at inspiration you may be tempted to do wholesale theft instead. Try to resist this urge. Now, in all honesty, if you flat out rip off Dante from Devil May Cry for your RPG, no one is really going to care. After all, it isn't like folks are paying to be part of your game, or like it is being broadcast. However, it is generally best to just take ideas and aspects, touches of inspiration, and weave something original for your game, custom built for it as it were, instead. It comes across better, and while your players may get the nod, they also know that things are different and so get to be surprised as well.

So, what makes for a good source of inspiration? Well, honestly, anything and everything. Different entrances in this series will probably have a source of inspiration, along with a few things that can be taken from it. Some of these things may be repetitive, others will hopefully be less so. Here though, I'm going to talk about some of the baiscs.

Your Room/Home
Take a look around where you live. If you have a room that is your place just for you, then look around it. Odds are you've decorated the room with things that speak to you. Things that you like, and things that reflect the areas that you have interest. So, take a good long look. Odds are you have a poster, a book, a movie or something else that really pulls at you. Is there anything in that that you could use? A character? A side story? A romance? A single scene or turn of phrase? If you can honestly tell me that there isn't so much as a sentence you can use somewhere in your home, I'll be very surprised.

Movies are an awesome source of inspiration. Why? Well because a movie, at least a good movie, is a clash of various creative personalities that works together to make something epic and awesome. Most movies make a great source for characters, as well as a place to watch to see how particular scenes are supposed to play out. Want to know how to spice up an action scene? Throw on an action movie. Need to up the drama for some romance? Throw on some romance flicks. Watch the movies, and ask yourself why they work. Find what you need, and use it.

Of all the types of tales told in RPGs, books are probably the closest to them. They tell long, involved, and potentially very complicated plots. This isn't something that goes for two hours, and then has to be resolved. This is something that needs to build up over time, and go on for an extended duration. This makes books a great source of inspiration for a story and the various side quests and complications that can come up. Books also give you insight into how a character thinks and their motivations for acting, which can only be a plus when looking for that driving reason behind your newest thief or commander.

So, I lied above. Videogames are also fairly close in how they tell their tales. Even better, they have room for interactivity and branching paths. Particularly if you look towards RPGs. Still, the best thing to take from videogames is the world building. Especially today, more and more games are getting wikis put up, or have built in codexes, with lots of information on the world and how things work. All this information can give you tons of examples of how to build your own world, especially when it comes to solving problems that the universe would have have solved to work the way you want.

And So Much More
Honestly, the world is full of inspiration. Look around and you'll find some. Or, come back here, and I'll give you some things that you can use. If nothing else, it'll give me an excuse to use more youtube videos on here.

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