Surfing the web, I found a post that captured my attention.
Originally from DeviantArt user fox-orian, the idea is to fill a 5×6 grid with things that inspire your work, kind of a map to help you remember your roots. It is a great tool to visually indicate what is important to you and how much (more important things occupy more tiles than others). It’s like a vision board but without all the metaphysical Law of Attraction crap (not the one from Newton); it’s more of a guide rather than somewhere to pin your dreams and hopes. Think of it as a pictured brainstorm, or whatever floats your boat.
I did mine and found interesting how hard it proved to be. I guess sometimes it’s easier said than done to answer questions like “Who are you?” or “What do you stand for?”
It’s pretty difficult to sum up the most important things for you with such small grid, so I propose to have several maps to help you categorize all of them better. You could create a map for just the music that inspires your work (i.e. that has a direct impact on it, not just music that you enjoy to hear while working) or literary works, pieces of art, and so on.
Furthermore, you could do a map for every project you’re working on. I mean, maybe something isn’t generally important to you, but it’s a cornerstone for a specific project.
This is my (current) general influence map that only accounts for specific games or sagas that define me as a developer.
First of all, there’s The Legend Of Zelda. My favourite saga from my childhood and, as I can recall, the first reason I wanted to create games. While originally Ocarina of Time was my predilect for a long time, that spot is currently held by Wind Waker.
The next three are somewhat equivalent in importance and are BioShock, Pokémon and Skyrim.
Portal is the next one. The best example around of how tutorials should blend inside with the rest of the game, an innovative mechanic and one hell of a script (this one in the case of Portal 2).
I’ve only played Devil May Cry 4, 3 and DmC (in that order), but I consider them (4 & DmC) among my top games. While they may suffer from generic scripts and dialogues plagued with clichés, I found them funny and cool. Also, they provide good challenges for the most veteran players. A good mix of fun and hard work.
Last, but not least, I should mention Mario (SMW 3, 64 and Galaxy), Metroid, Deus Ex and Resident Evil 4.
This is not a definitive map, as time goes by I’m sure it will reshape a little but I think the core is in there.
I’ll create more of them for my future projects. Anything that helps me focus is more than welcomed :)
P.S.: It’s awful to work with the original template, so I think I could do in the future a little tool to make them more easily and learn about web development in the meantime.