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Scientifically Enhancing Creativity: A Guide to Game Idea Generation 💡

Coming up with inspired game ideas can be hard sometimes – especially if you are not in the right headspace for it. Have you ever wondered what that “headspace” is? That’s actually a physical state of your brain called alpha brainwave state! In this article we will give you some scientifically backed techniques and best practices you can use to enter alpha brainwave state more often so you can be more creative, come up with more game ideas, and solve complicated problems.

Understanding Alpha Brainwaves for Creativity:

Brainwaves are the patterns of electrical activity in our brain. There are 5 different types of brainwaves including gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Each of these brainwaves is associated with different states of consciousness. Alpha waves are present when the brain is in a relaxed and calm state. When your brain is using alpha brainwaves (8-12 Hz), creative focus comes easy. This is what many game designers or other creative professionals call “flow state”.

Dubravka Rebic wrote a fantastic article that dives deeper into the science of alpha brainwave state and creativity if you want to learn more here.

Key Points:
  • Alpha Brainwaves: Essential for creativity, associated with relaxed alertness.
  • Increasing Alpha Brainwaves: Regular engagement in activities that promote alpha wave production can significantly boost creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
Alpha Brainwaves: The Key to a More Creative, Productive You


Strategies to Increase Alpha Brainwave Activity

The following are tactics you can use for how you can integrate specific, research-backed strategies into your daily routine to consistently be more creative and generate more ideas. Online idea generators and tools are great, but to get the most out of them you should take a holistic approach to improving your mental clarity. Whether you need more ideas for your game story, characters, gameplay or more, you can incorporate these techniques to make sure you brain is well equipped for making something amazing. Engaging in outdoor exercise, meditation, and crafting a creative workspace are actionable steps toward making your brain an idea-generating powerhouse.

1. Diet and Nutrition

Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries – Its Delish

Brain Boosting Foods: Foods like dark chocolate, blueberries, and nuts can rejuvenate cognitive and creative functioning.

Editor note: During the times when I have had the biggest creative blocks or have tried to solve really complex problems, I will get a big jug of the green machine smoothie along with kiwis, a pineapple, and a sub sandwich from Jersey Mikes. Never been a time where that hasn’t done the trick!

Hydration During Meals: Hydration during meals is important; regular hydration and strategic meal timing can increase the brain’s elasticity for thought processing, hence the creative experience.

2. Physical and Relaxation Techniques

walking feet
Image via Getty/ boonchai wedmakawand

Outdoor Exercise: Go for a walk! Seriously. Anything from a light walk to a heavy workout can help increase alpha brainwave activity during and after exercise. 

Editor note: Sometimes this is the last thing you’ll want to do when you hit a creative block because you might just want to brute force concentration. But I promise you from my own experience, going for a short walk will help you clear your head and you’ll come back much more refreshed. Sometimes, breakthroughs are just one walk away.

Meditation: Taking a break to slow your brain down purposely by removing distractions and practicing mindfulness will calm your brain down and get it into a more relaxed state.

Editor note: If this sounds hard to do, I have an easy and scientifically backed hack. Get in a comfy place and listen to the song Weightless, by the band Marconi Union. It has been dubbed, “the world’s most relaxing song.” and here is an article explaining why it might reduce anxiety by up to 65% just by listening to it!

3. Environment


Creative People: Surround yourself with creative people! Talk with friends that are creative or find people to talk to on online communities like reddit or discord.

Editor note: I go through my contacts list and look for creative people I can call to talk about my general idea. There is a creative energy that comes from collaboration that sometimes cannot be replaced by working on something alone by yourself.

Clean Your Workspace: Make sure  your desk is clutter free. A messy workspace can cause stress at various levels and by cleaning your space you allow your brain to relax and think clearer.


A Comprehensive Approach to Creativity for Game Ideas

Using all or some combination of these strategies to get your brain relaxed and into alpha brainwave state will hopefully help you consistently come up with more and better game ideas. By understanding the scientific background of what is going on during alpha brainwave state and actively incorporating strategies to foster this relaxed yet alert state, you’ll be able to significantly improve your brainstorming sessions and the quality of the game ideas themselves. Whether through dietary adjustments, engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness, or surrounding yourself with creative people, the path to unlocking full game ideation mastery is multifaceted. This comprehensive approach will not only improve your game ideas but it will also improve your mental clarity in many different aspects of your life. Remember, creativity isn’t just about having a single breakthrough moment; it’s about consistently nurturing your mind to think outside the box, solve complex problems, and bring innovative ideas to life. Good luck and we can’t wait to see what you build!


References and Further Reading:

“Where Does EEG Come From and What Does It Mean?” by Cohen MX, Trends in Neuroscience.

“Brainwaves Suppress Obvious Ideas to Help Us Think More Creatively,”  Queen Mary University of London, ScienceDaily.

“Effects of Physical Exercise on Individual Resting State EEG Alpha Peak Frequency,” Neural Plasticity.

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