Gamedev, music, art and being creative

I am not a creative person, and I’d quite like to change this. There’s a bunch of creative skills I’ve never put the effort into improving and I think I might have some ways to overcome this. Let’s have a look…

When I say I’m not creative, what I mean is coming up with ideas to begin with is hard. I can iterate on ideas and glue other people’s ideas together to make something but having my own original ideas is quite hard. This is probably why I like programming, it has a definite end goal rather than waiting for a bit of inspiration to hit.

I’d quite like to make some games, I have the tools but coming up with a game idea that’s not just a remake of an existing game, or designing sprites and graphics is where I get stuck. I also want to gain the ability to draw things, pretty much every tablet and computer I own has pen input and I should probably use it. Again, I lack the inspiration of what I should draw.

I’ve maybe found a way out of this creative black hole though. All I need is a little spark that sounds interesting enough to go with. And this is something AI text and image generators are good at. Put words in, content comes out.

I find it hard not to just repeat things I’ve already seen or played. I go at this too logically – I should learn how to make a game first by iterating through simple games, starting with a single screen shooter, then a scrolling shooter, blah blah and it just feels so boring. Hey look it’s another space shooter with programmer art, how instantly forgettable.

So my plan is to fart around with AI image and text generators to get ideas. ChatGPT describing a game to me feels like someone telling me to make a game for them. I can do that. It cleverly short circuits the bit of me that goes “that idea sounds shit”.

Maybe the same will work for the image generators too – I’m not great at drawing, but I’m OK at copying. So if Bing spits out some interesting picture that’s a bit mutated and strange, it gives me a starting point to copy from. And naturally the process of me trying to copy something will lead to my own mutations and creative edits happening.

I’m fairly sure this creative stuff is a learned skill that needs practise, rather than being some innate characteristic. I just need to train my own neural network. Hopefully it has better content filters too because the things you can make Bing generate if you’re creative with the phrasing… my god…