As gamers and geeks, we are also creators and innovators. Whether it’s writing a campaign, rolling up a new character, or working on any sort of artistic and commercial endeavors, we all look inward and outward in order to fuel the creative process. This week, we look at what drives each of us individually when it comes to finding the inspiration that turns our creative gaming sparks into (hopefully) artistic bonfires. So, settle in, listen up and grab something to write with. As you’re about the hear, if we’ve learned anything it’s if you don’t write it down, you might as well kiss it good-bye!
(00:49) – If there is anything all geeks love more than anything, it’s exercise, right?? Well, it really should be and if you make it part of your routine (and by if we mean when, us included) the upcoming Nike+ FuelBand is tech definitely worth checking out. Get a geekout with your workout!
(02:58) – If you’ve been listening to the Podcast, you know we’ve had a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with Tiny Tower. Turns out Zynga loves it and is rolling out it’s own version, Dream Heights. Can you say intellectual property? Check out a side-by-side comparison here, and be the judge yourself.
(05:23) – What is the absolute best way to separate a geek from their money? Well, it’s a convention, of course! Speaking of conventions, with the success of World of Warcraft, Star Craft II, and the upcoming release of Diablo III, what better way for Blizzard to celebrate and market to it’s fans than holding it’s annual BlizzCon, right? Guess again! Robert drops the PC bombshell regarding Blizzards questionable marketing move. Jay Mohr is gonna be pissed!!
(07:30) – Matt made good on his movie promise and saw Wolf Puncher (aka The Grey) this weekend. Far less wolf punching than to be expected (much to the chagrin of the group) but there is no lack of wolf-on-man action to be had. He liked it, but probably shouldn’t have watched it on meds. Oh, and wolves mate for life – fact courtesy of Robert.
(08:58) – Matt also sat down with his new copy of Witchfinder Volume 2, which left him less than impressed. It’s got zombies, cowboys, and witches but the John Arcudi / John Severin match-up wasn’t enough to keep Matt fully engaged, and he’s easy to please, just ask his wife!
(11:29) – Ramses was glued to the tube this week and was awarded(?) with an awkward and less-than-hip-hop ending to Master of the Mix. He also started watching season 3 of White Collar on USA and engages the group in a discussion of the neverending Real World/Road Rules Challenge tv show. He truly is a sucker for bad reality tv.
(14:28) – Okay, not all reality tv is bad. Ramses has also been watching An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List on the Science Channel. Starring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington, it sounds like a must watch show full of awesome activities thrust upon the socially awkward and inept. If we could afford it, we’d be sure to subject one another to the same sorts of circumstances. Plus, Breaking News! Vinny is back on Jersey Shore… and no one cared… except Ramses.
(17:15) – This could be the ultimate geek dream come true! Karen reveals that Wizards of the Coast‘s new Forgotten Realms Character Creation Contest could place your very own Player Character smack dab in an upcoming comic series. The upside is bragging rights, the downside… probably the prize itself…
(18:58) – Karen talks the upcoming production of L.A. Noir (no relation to the game) on TNT, spearheaded by former The Walking Dead executive producer and the mind behind the Webisodes, Frank Darabont. Rumor has it Jon Bernthal may sign on for the pilot and possible series. **Spoiler** He may leave the AMC heavy-hitter. Oh Hollywood, you weave a tangled web.
(21:40) – It’s topic time! Matt leads of this weeks discussion on what inspires his creative side with his go-to being Google Image search and deviantART. Considering the vastness of the internet, it’s just another way Matt falls victim to creation overload. Meanwhile, Robert and Karen utilize their INDIVIDUAL me time in SEPARATE restrooms, doing separate activities to tap into their creative cores.
(23:26) – More than anything, WRITE IT DOWN! We briefly discuss our successes and failures with this cardinal rule of creativity while Ramses opens a discussion about the “exploded view” approach to the creation process, or as Robert says, spit on it and shine it up…
(25:43) – We discuss the immersion vs. inversion approach to the creative process and reflect on some of the potential pros and cons, original content, and pitfalls such as when inspiration crosses the line to theft… We’re looking at you, Zynga!
(28:40) – Karen, being the master (mistress?) storyteller she is keeps the group on it’s toes! We talk about thinking outside the box, drawing inspiration from things either unexpected or completely random, and actively seeking that creative space . Karen reflects on her process of hopping in the creative bubble courtesy of Nox Arcana soundtracks, while Matt finds he is most inspired when he should be working. It’s almost like being paid to be creative with the added threat of unemployment!
(33:00) – Ramses is like a sponge and mindless TV is his bucket! seriously, though, he draws on inspiration for his characters and upcoming debut as a Mouse Guard GM from everything around him. Be it music, tv, books, or games it all touches Ramses in a special way… on second thought, Jersey Shore RPG, here we come! Also, staring really IS a form of creative meditation and we all highly recommend it. (Monkey in the Cage neither condones, nor is responsible for any injuries incurred whilst staring into the sun for inspiration.)
(35:38) – Robert discusses his subliminal and constantly evolving creation process while Karen reflects on the firestorm of creativity that struck her while looking at traffic. Meanwhile, Matt goes on a tangent about rocks and the mundane, thankfully this leads to everyone else discussing the inspiration that exists in nature. Look, think, and write it down!!
(40:29) – Karen stresses the importance of breaking away from the routine to keep things fresh. Changing up and exposing yourself to new environments can definitely open up countless avenues for creativity. Throw people-watching (or people-judging if your Matt) into the mix and a campaign, adventure, NPC’s, or puzzles/encounters for players may just write themselves. Also, keep tabs on your local crime watch for any bank robberies that may happen…
(44:36) – We all see our family, friends, and co-workers on a regular (sometimes too regular) basis, so why not use them for inspiration as well? Karen points out the value of utilizing the people around and writing prompts for stoking the creative fires while Ramses reveals how he used to LARP in his head while working for a pizza parlor. Also, steer clear of pedophiles, period.
(47:47) – Ramses brings up the excellent idea of utilizing non-gamers as sounding boards for ideas. We discuss the need for forethought and the challenge in using your own gaming group without revealing secrets. Additionally, the feedback you get can serve as a great ego boost, which definitely helps crank the creativity to 11!
(49:41) – Fear is a double edged sword. Matt reveals he has a huge fear of failure despite his abundancy of inspiration while Robert points out that if you trust your players, they will (should) help a GM overcome in times of creative crisis. This leads to a discussion on a collective game-building process that could help an entire group feel they are all working within a shared vision. That’s the whole purpose behind Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, right?
(51:40) – Nothing makes an artist produce like pressure! Deadlines serve as an example of forced inspiration, as the history of our Podcast name has revealed. While the simplest of concepts cranked out in hours can kick off the greatest campaign of a groups history, too much time can potentially result in a whole lot of nothing. Matt also confesses how effective a hard deadline had served him in college and could have benefited the group a long time ago. Get in that cage, monkey!
(54:45) – For all GM’s and all campaigns the absolute most important source of inspiration is the Players themselves! What better way to keep things fresh and interesting than to let the players take over the reigns and add their spin to the game… Matt… We also briefly discuss the inspiration that revolves around character death, or the fear of it.
Closing Song – You’re The Inspiration – Written and Performed by Chicago