To me the formation of ideas is one of the most fascinating things the human brain is capable of. I find the synthesis of ideas works best when I organize previous ideas and work on improving existing ideas.
I find the most useful skill for idea generation is the ability to do research well. I think my main competitive advantage is that I’m able to type things into google search bar easily.
I’m going to talk about how a specific abstract idea formed for me. It’s really interesting because while the idea is focused it’s just built off a combination of ideas that mainly were from other ideas from other people.
This idea is an educational physics based mobile roller coaster building app. Users can build roller coasters by moving points on a spline collider to build a custom roller coaster and the see how the physics interacts as you change the weight.
This idea started this summer when I saw the forum thread on unity3d that shared the iPhone gyro script example on unity3d . This script hooks up the angle and orientation of the phone to the camera in game. This makes the users smartphone a window into the virtual world. Essentially this script gives the user pseudo virtual reality experience on your smartphone.
For an example of this check out this video here.
When I saw this script I immediately saw the potential. I then started researching ways oculus rift developers have capitalized on the vr technology. Rift Coaster a roller coaster vr simulator that seemed to draw the most attention. A simple virtual reality demo that showcases the potential of virtual reality.
An idea was planted, I was going to make a mobile virtual reality coaster experience similar to Rift Coaster. I began to do research, as other people have been working on similar ideas. I soon found the Unity Hermite Spline script. This script allows you to take points and build a smooth curved track between the points. I then found free rollercoaster 3d models on turbosquid. I now had all the assets to build a prototype.
During my research I came across the PixArtist on YouTube. He posted a video of his roller coaster work in progress of him building a rollercoaster in runtime and then riding it completely physics based. I then saw the potential of this combined with the mobile vr coaster idea.
Seeing that video and all of the PixArtist’s work really inspired me to continue working on my ideas and continue to innovate. The phrase good artists copy great artists steal comes to mind. Innovations develop fastest when you build off of other people’s ideas and the Pixartists has some very amazing ideas.
I then combined all the free assets available and made a rollercoaster prototype similar to rift coaster. I showed the prototype to some friends to play test it. They were not that engaged and I realized that the demo needs more to it. I then stopped development and worked on other ideas it was summer and there were plenty of things on my plate.
Flash forward to October, where I went to Hatch Festival. I saw several people in the tech community give talks on open source software and was inspired to release the Roller Coaster game open source, in order to give back he community. I also sent the Pixartist a message mentioning to him how great his games are and the potential of his games on mobile.
Check out the open source repo here.
Flash forward to yesterday I was talking to Audrey Wooding about a grant opportunity for education STEM games. After the talk it hit me. I should apply for the grant with a roller coaster sandbox idea.
It was that moment the combined all the ideas I had before on the subject and gave me the focus I needed to understand where this idea should go.
Over the next weeks, I’m going to be working on this grant proposal and collaborate with other developers on the idea. Ideally I would reach out to the Pixartist and try to get him to join the project.