I called it. Day One I had over twenty ideas and felt like I could go forever. Almost every day this week has been difficult. Each day I thought, “Should I just try to come up with the same kinds of ideas? What Idea Themes do I pick? How do I pick them?”

Which I guess is kind of the whole point of this exercise.

But I prevailed, and here are seven more days of ideas.


10 More Story Ideas

As before, presented without comment.

  • Four warriors journey to an ancient battlefield to recover some lost treasure. There, they encounter an old spirit who provides guidance and comfort, for they are afraid
  • A shaman’s closest friend dies. She is able to visit his spirit and is tempted by this ability to stay with him, or to chain his spirit to hers
  • A wizard opens a portal to hell, consuming the city in which he lives. The king spends vast amounts of resources trying to contain the outbreak, and urges the wizard to do something, but he is stricken by fear and guilt
  • An artist discovers her paintings of maps create real worlds. The dwellers of these places are always the same, and live in fear of their next incarnations.
  • A modern retelling of the story of Demeter.
  • A man’s deranged father raised him to be a “protector of man” against the hordes of mythological creatures. Nearing middle age, he now completely doubts his entire upbringing – until they come back
  • What if, when we died, our sins manifested physically and were unleashed on the world? What if our virtues did the same?
  • Theme exploration: that unspeakable malaise at the core of existence; the permanent loss of inertia some of us experience
  • A man uses VR software to get over a bad break up. He discovers it’s not software – the person on the other end is real and thinks he is software. He journeys to meet them.
  • Someone finds a genie who provides three pre-written wishes and they are all awful – but they must choose one.


10 Project Ideas

Free font matcher

DesignCuts is currently celebrating their 5th anniversary, where they’re selling some outstanding fonts like Futura and Baskerville for $5 each — for the entire font family.

But when sales like this aren’t out there to save you, it would be nice to say, “give me a free / open source font that is similar to Futura.” Or better, to specify what it is you like about Futura, and see fonts which share similar features.

This would be more than simply grouping serif / sans-serif and script / geometric / whatever. Kind of like a Font Genome Project.

Image-to-song maker

Take any image file, break it into chunks, and compose music based on the bits in the file. Teach the program a model so it knows what notes go with what other notes (so the tune isn’t completely discordant), but otherwise have the output based on the input. It doesn’t necessarily have to sound good.

Universal shortcut rewriter

I hate that the Save As… shortcut in Microsoft Word is F12. I like that the Save As… shortcut in Photoshop is Ctrl+Shift+S. But Ctrl+Shift+S Saves All in Notepad++.

I want to be able to use the same shortcut whenever I’m using a specific Class of software. So I don’t have to keep so many different ones in my head all the time.

Custom watch face designer

Work out a deal with a watch manufacturer and get generic watches with insertable faces, or have the faces inserted during manufacturing as needed.

Then let people pay to have custom graphics or “artisanal” watch faces.

VueJS metadata-driven UI builder

Something like markdown-to-HTML, but also takes into account UI elements like checkboxes, data grids, comboboxes, etc. For web app development.

Lightweight Winamp-style MP3 player

There’s no reason on this earth for iTunes to use over 100mb of RAM. (To be fair, even a blank WPF project running will take up to 30mb and that’s when it’s doing absolutely nothing!) Winamp 2.95, with my 11,000+ song library open, uses under 30mb.

It would be a good exercise to build something closer to the metal that is similarly lightweight, that also supports FLAC media.

Procedurally generated map maker

I’m fascinated with procedural generation.

Procedurally generated language builder

I’ve toyed with Markov chains and word generation. This would be a good project to get deeper into that, and to get more intimate with linguistics in general.

Day trade emulator

Perpetually one day behind the actual stock exchange. Buy and sell fake stocks. Maybe find a database of stock data over the decades and make a game around the market?


10 Things I Would Do If I Won the Lottery

  1. Pay off mine and my family’s debts
  2. Invest 80%
  3. Travel for a year
  4. Write full time for at least a year
  5. Go back to college to give it one final try
  6. Send my younger siblings to college if they want
  7. Start a small business
  8. Invest in another small business
  9. Buy a bunch of land
  10. Give a bunch of money to charity


10 Video Game Ideas

Faction-driven roguelike

Roguelikes fascinate me with their insane depth and the emergent behavior that arises from all the separate systems. I’d like to build a simple one where you choose a faction to start with, and every action in the game negatively or positively changes your standing in it and all other factions. So some monsters are friendly, and some aren’t — and it changes every playthrough.

Story-driven Bejeweled style match-3

I shamelessly love games like Bejeweled. On my Steam account I’ve put about 60 hours in Bejeweled 3 alone. I play a mobile game called Puzzle and Dragons, which is a glorified Match 3. I also have Bejeweled on my Phone that I play regularly. It’s the perfect game to play for 5 minutes here and there forever.

It would be fun to build a game with the same core mechanic, but with a fusion of story elements where you can add another layer to the gameplay. Only match certain colors for these benefits.

Old school arcade shooter like 1942 with ship / plane customization between levels

A fusion of sci-fi and Ancient Greek aesthetic. Olympus has fallen and all the mythical beasts are rampaging. You escaped Anthos, a fictional Greek city, on an airship, and fly from city to city, taking down harpies and giants and other things. Stops at each city let you buy, sell, and trade things you picked up on your way there, so you can upgrade your ship.

DX Ball revival

DX-Ball was a great Arkanoid clone that I spent countless hours on when I was younger. Something that was simple on the surface, but provided endless entertainment and some actual challenges.

Adventure RPG in the vein of Zelda: ALTTP

A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game. I wish there was something like it for the PC.

MUD style open world RPG

Something like Dwarf Fortress Adventure Mode. Less roguelike, more old school CRPG.

3D fractal exploration sim

Inspired by this post. I’d like to do something similar just to learn how to do it.

Diablo 2 inspired ARPG

There’s a pretty large pattern going on here. Just about everything is inspired by games I enjoyed when I was younger. I guess that’s okay, as long as I’m not actually dwelling in my past?

Grim Dawn came pretty close to modernizing the Diablo 2 experience. But it lacked in the level design and music departments. (Otherwise it’s a sublime game and I still recommend it.)

This kind of project would definitely be way too big for me to do alone.

Resource management / city building sim

You start with a hamlet, assign workers to certain tasks, and watch your city grow. Kind of like Children of the Nile meets Gnomoria (aka Dwarf Fortress Lite).

Boss Battles Only

The grind to Max Level in every game gets tiresome. Why not start there? Meticulously design your character and subject them to a series of huge Boss Battles where their character builds can make or break them.


10 Ways to Personally Combat Climate Change

Now more than ever it’s important to do what you can. It may feel useless to try, like your own efforts will never have a measurable impact. Just remember that no rain drop feels responsible for the storm.

  • Walk more; drive less
  • Eat less meat or drop it altogether
  • Drop monoculture crops
  • Garden, and eat the garden
  • Donate to a cause
  • Educate others
  • Use less heating and air
  • Think thrice about kids
  • Be more strict about recycling
  • Consume less; thrift shop


10 Ways to Be More Friendly

I often find myself walking around with a grumpy face. Sometimes I forget that I’m usually around other people, too, and I should at least try to be more social and friendly and outgoing.

  1. Smile more
  2. Make eye contact
  3. Don’t avoid conversation
  4. Ask questions
  5. Don’t dodge with questions
  6. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
  7. Turn negative language into positive language
  8. Think before speaking, but don’t let thinking stop you from speaking
  9. Be courteous
  10. Genuinely care for others


Ways to Get More Ideas

Things to look out for when you’re trying to be creative. Or when you’re doing a project like this one.

  • Talk to people in other businesses about their problems
  • Pay attention when you hear someone say “I wish.”
  • Try to automate small, repetitive tasks
  • “Replace Mom” – i.e., Roomba, Blue Apron, Uber
  • Read, read, read
  • Help other projects
  • Look for inefficiencies in the design of everyday things
  • Try new things
  • Fail early and often
  • Don’t be afraid to imitate
  • Mash ideas together

I think I came up with a few good things this week. At least three separate projects or ideas I’d like to explore further in the future. At some point soon, or maybe when this is finished, I will definitely be returning to see if I can’t turn something here, alchemy-like, into something good.