Conceptualising Inspiration Networks in Game Design

Xavier Ho, Martin Tomitsch, Tomasz Bednarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper examines the concept of inspiration and proposes a design process for inspiration networks using survey data from Global Game Jam. Global Game Jam is a 48-hour game development competition that invites anyone to participate worldwide. The study illuminates the presence of the famous ‘six degrees of separation’ effect in these inspiration networks, leveraged to model ideations as related concepts, identifying four major lodestars. It follows research through design, embodying the body of knowledge in the inspiration network as a design artifact. Inspiration networks offer a novel way to discover game genres that have not yet been formally recognised, but have displayed a large influence. The findings offer three design implications: an understanding gained by “thinking with networks”, the ability to identify emerging game genres, and the support for intuitive, visual browsing of ideas. Formalisation of inspiration network poses an open field for research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-66
Number of pages31
JournalTransactions of the Digital Games Research Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • game design
  • game culture
  • game development
  • game jam
  • ideas
  • inspiration networks
  • brainstorming
  • visualisation

Cite this