📖Practical Creativity

Koster, Raph
  • Study games
  • Games hierarchy

    • A game — unique rule construct
    • A reskin or clone — changes presentation or content
    • A variant — changes a rule
    • A family — a set of variants
    • A genre — a set of reskins and their variants
  • In tabletop games, most of the game are actually new games. For computer games, most stay in some known genre.
  • Atomization

    • Games are made of games → Game subsystems are games
    • each input is a game, each subsystem is a game
    • build you mechanics library

      • going back to old simple games is useful
      • play mobile games
    • distance yourself from the core problem (reframe your problem in a new language)
    • books for mechanics library

      • game design patterns
      • game mechanics
  • inventing new mechanics

    • adding statistic can change game

      • e.g., just counting and showing time makes it more likely to be speed-ran
      • (another example is combo count — you try to do more strikes in a series)
      • too much statistics is not always good. if you add new statistic—try removing an old one
    • change a dimension
    • work in analog materials
    • force constraints (constraints improve creativity) → Restrictions enhance creativity
    • add new goal
    • change input

      • input/control is a game in itself
    • change topologies

      • forms of elements / map
    • mixing games with similar topologies
    • simulate using an oddity. select a non-optimal simulation intentionally

      • e.g., simulate health with territory, simulate 3d with 1d, etc.
    • transplant skin

      • action remains the same but it has a different meaning, a new focus
    • merge mechanics
  • art

    • theme

      • ask deeper question

        • what game system is about
        • what this mechanic is about
        • what is the goal of mechanic
    • start with experience (top-down)
    • model an unusual story

      • (goat simulator, etc)
    • start from system first (bottom-up)

      • what does mechanic mean? what does it imply?
    • use both top-down and bottom-up together — converge at the center
  • life habits

    • creativity is a skill (design a game every day?)
    • messy desk increases creativity
    • exercise
    • sleep
    • take notes by hand
    • take risks
    • positive mood works better (high stress—not)
    • read
    • avoid homogeneity — introduce more variety in your life
    • explain things to other people


Want to receive my 🖋 posts as I publish them?