Industry veterans Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick* take a deep dive into indie game ingenuity and how to innovate your games

Finding a way to innovate a game can be difficult! Watch our Devology Livecast as Rick and Tim play Islanders and Creeper World 3 and explain ways to innovate.

(*Rick has more than 14 years experience in the game dev industry, working on IP's that include Mario, Transformers, Captain America and Mortal Kombat. He's done it all, from Game Designer, Producer, Creative Director and Executive Producer to's very own Instructor extraordinaire. Tim Ruswick is a successful YouTuber and indie dev, who's created more than 30 games in the last 5 years (wow!), and joined as our marketing monster).

Listen to the whole chat here:

Our 'AHA' moments

  • Rick freezes (2:30)  😂
  • Make sure your assets, gameplay and sound match the vibe you are aiming for
  • Use existing game ideas and innovate
  • Don’t try to emulate a AAA game
Image from Steam

Creating Tranquil Games (or certain vibes)(16:56 - 18:07)

When aiming to make a game that has a certain vibe, it’s important to make sure the elements of the game feel like they belong together.

For example, if you’re making a game that’s tranquil you’ll need to include music, visuals and gameplay that fits the specific vibe. If a tranquil game has barbarians raiding the village, this breaks the vibe of the game and does not fit.

Settling on a particular vibe helps your vision and decision making. This includes deciding on what the art looks like and how many systems players will be expected to manage. These are critical decisions of being a game designer.

Innovate One Thing To Open Possibilities (39:17 - 40:00)

There’s many games out there, creating a game that is unique or stands out is difficult. Find one thing to innovate and dial it up yo 11! Much like with Creeper World 3, this takes your standard tower defense game and completely changes the concept of enemies.

Instead of enemies walking a linear path and attacking your towers, Creeper World 3 uses a rising liquid that you need to push back using cannons, walls and then essentially trying to plug the hole from where it comes. The game is a tower defense but this innovation makes it feel like a whole new genre. A lot of ingenuity and innovation come from ideas like this.

How To Prevent Your Game From Being Boring (49:50 - 52:52)

To prevent players from becoming bored with a game, you need to make sure that you include decisions for the player to make that are compelling. If players are bored running around shooting enemies, don’t add 20 new enemy types. Instead, present the player with 2-5 decisions that they need to make while battling the enemy.

Alternatively, add different conditions that will make battles become more tense, such as limited ammo, enemies being able to one hit kill the player or having to search for items in order to proceed to new areas.

The same can be applied to any other genre, such as puzzle games. Make it possible to solve the puzzle in more than one way, rather than a single approach. Put yourself in the player's shoes and question what emotions you feel when presented with the options in front of you.

We hope this Devology Livecast helps you add indie ingenuity and innovation to your games.

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Remember, we host live develogy livecasts every Tuesday at 10pm BST on our YouTube channel. You can catch all the recordings, including this episode, in the Devology Livecast course - it's free to join, and also on our YouTube Channel.

Until next time, happy dev'ing!