I’m working on a chapter outlining inspirations for one of my games, in the sense of media inspirations rather than mechanical ones. It’s interesting how much non-fiction inspires me. Granted, in almost all cases, it is in conjunction with fiction – movies, comics, and novels – but non-fiction is a huge well of ideas. Think of the Game of Thrones. I honestly don’t know enough about it to comment on George R. R. Martin’s actual inspirations, but to me, it seems like at least some of this is coming from the English Wars of the Roses.
For fantasy and even steampunk, we’ve got history. For modern games, we’ve got documentaries, and newspaper and journal articles about different communities and activities – such as Black Hawk Down, Jawbreaker, or Generation Kill. If you want to find out how something might be done or if someone is already doing it, the information is generally out there and its almost always interesting and inspiring.
There is an area in which I don’t rely on non-fiction, and that’s science fiction. That seems normal, right? Science fiction tends to defy the use of non-fiction, does it not? Well, not exactly. I think that someone with a better grasp of science could put it to use. There are likely lots of ways in which space exploration and astronomy could influence one’s ideas, even if one needs to disregard some or all of what we understand about physics – or find some way to neatly side-step them – in order to have intergalactic adventures.
So what’s the point? No real point. It’s just an interesting little quirk that might explain some of my results for both game design and adventures.