Mind Your Game Design

I was taking out our doggies and was solving a game design puzzle in my head. Earlier very basic prototype was showing me that I need an alternative route.

Well, during the 30 minutes period outdoors I came up with an alternative approach to my design. Now the problem was that:

  • I was in the middle point of the trip
  • I’m outdoors
  • Two dogs to walk
  • One of them was pooing
  • My game idea needed to be stored somehow

So, I don’t carry a notepad, iPhone, Playstation 3 or any other vehicle with me in these situations, so I needed to trust my memory. When I got back home I was happily forgotten everything. Then I started thinking what I had already solved. Well, luckily I remembered my outdoor solution and also – while writing things down on paper – came up with a few additional ideas for certain issues. All was good.

This isn’t the case always. I find it extremely important to write/draw down any potential ideas/solutions so that I don’t forget them.

But how to dot down ideas that come in the middle of something like this – when you are taking the dogs out. Or when you are jogging. What devilish devices you carry with you?

Oh, and please don’t tell me that you’ve solved this by: “I don’t go out”.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Maybe you could have made your dog poo your game design idea in morse code and then come back later to write down your notes?

  2. One word: handbag.

    I rarely clean it out so I think there are several pens and a bunch of old receipts in there. Whether I can find them is another matter. And I take it everywhere cause it’s the easiest way to ensure I’ve got my cellphone, wallet and keys with me (rather than putting them in my pockets when I have pockets, and then forgetting to put them back in my bag for work).

  3. I’ve had a situation just like yours recently. I was jogging and had a game idea.

    What I did was I visualized myself opening the door to my apartment in detail and mentally spoke the game idea. I did this a couple of times and put it out of my mind.

    When I went back home and was opening the door, I suddenly remembered the game idea. Try it – maybe it’ll work for you.

  4. …then use a marker and write it onto a blank shirt. Makes unique clothing as well :)

  5. Hmm, quite many solutions – now just to pick suitable for me.

    write notes onto your skin… what if you get all swetty…? ;)

  6. Solution for situations like jogging: Take a small ball pen with you and write notes onto your skin. Not for everyone but discards the notebook :)

  7. Pen and paper for me. Always good to have a pen around anyway. I tried using a voice recorder but it wasn’t as convenient to listen to my recordings as it was to glance at my scribbles and you can’t really say diagrams as well as draw them.

  8. I carry a small Moleskin notebook with a tiny pencil in my jacket. I always leave it in a pocket so I wouldn’t forget to take it with me when I’m heading out. Saved my day countless times.

  9. I have a small notebook (A5) with me.
    If I am not carrying a bag or something, I usually have my Ipod with me (Notes-App as mentioned above).

    Another Idea would be a small voicerecorder. They can be bought in pen-size today.

  10. I also use a notepad + cellphone “notepad” (then in dire need) combo.

    But I have 2 possible solutions for you:

    1 – Buy a digital voice recorder (a dictaphone) or a device with such function (some cellphones and MP3 Players have it).

    2 – This will be a longer one. It’s a combination of techniques for remembering dreams and a more general remembering technique. When you come up with a new idea try to associate a few key words with it, the first that come to your mind tend to be the best because they are… well the first thing that your mind connects with this new idea (this is used for remembering dreams also). Now that you have key words try to come up with a story using those word. The more funny and bizzare the story is the better. This is a simplified version of Mnemonic Peg System (an example here – http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110291/tricks/mnemonics/peg.php).

    Hope it helps.

  11. I’m using Mind Map Memo on my Nexus. I can still pick up my dogs poo and take a quick note with one hand.
    And you can even use speech to text, love it!

  12. Palm Tungsten E2. Ancient, but comes with both text entry and a handy drawing app. Also useful for watching movies on the ferry.

  13. A small notebook with you everywhere is a good idea. I try to always carry a notebook. Unfortunately some of my cloths have insufficient pockets for a notebook.

    As a fallback I use my cell phone where I write down ideas as drafted sms.

  14. I use my note app in my iPhone. Problem is I donĀ“t always write all the details and might see the note several days later.

  15. I tend to just keep thinking about the problem as much as I can, hopefully arriving at the conclusion of the whole idea and in such a way that I only have to remember a maximum of 4 main points about the idea. The points make it easier to recall later, even if you only remember one of them.

    Hopefully you can think about it all the way until you get to somewhere to write it down, but distractions are always everywhere, so it helps to remember the main points of the idea instead of everything about. For some reason the brain is much better at reassembling a complete thought from smaller pieces that trying to remember the whole thing.

  16. I carry a small notebook and a pen in my pocket. It’s something I put in my pants, like my wallet or cell phone. I’ve carried once since I got out of college all those years ago….

    Honestly, I don’t really write much in it these days. It was really useful when I was just a game designer wannabe to record my ideas so I could revisit them later and figure out what was good and what was crap. Now, most of my game designing happens as part of a job, so I’m always near a computer, usually. (And, I have cats, so they know where to poo on their own.)

    I also find having a pen to be pretty handy in general, too. Especially at stores where you have to sign a receipt, etc.

  17. Nah, I didn’t have a cellphone. Minipen might be doable.

    Hum a song & movie poster – those are neat ideas. :)

  18. Did you have your cellphone? You could have called your voicemail, or called a friend with a notepad.

    Keep two sheets of paper and a mini pen in your wallet?

    Use a mnemonic – imagine a movie poster with your idea in symbol form.

    Hum a song you know while repeating your idea. When you get home, hum the song again to key the idea.

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