Re-Igniting Creativity

just got back from San Diego Comic-Con 2007 in San Diego, California. I love Comic Con for a number of reasons. First, I can go with friends and “geek” for four solid days. We talk about comic books, movies, super heroes, video games, anime, philosophy, pop art, and other geek topics.

Second, it gives me the opportunity to replenish my creativity. No matter what people think, software development is a creative process. We create applications that model real-world business processes. We create.

I don’t know about you but it seems that at some point during the year my creativity seems to wane. I need some experience or process to get my creativity train back on track. Looking back, I think that my creativity seems to wane around the same time every year. Twelve months ago I wrote about a similar topic in my editorial, “Axes and Imagination.” Doesn’t life seem like “Groundhog Day” sometimes?

This year at Comic-Con I went looking for something other than just some R&R. I looked for advice, guidance, and inspiration to help re-ignite my creativity in one specific area: my writing. Comic-Con is a gathering of the MOST creative people in the entertainment business. I spent time attending a number of panels given by authors and artists like: Wil Wheaton, Jim Lee, Stan Lee, Neil Gaimen, and Mark Verheiden. In each of these sessions I looked for how they keep the creativity fire going. Here’s what I took away: write more and more often, write how you like to read (like your favorite authors), keep writing, never give up the dream. When I left the conference I was two things: tired (high bandwidth “geeking” is tiring :-)) and replenished creatively. I plan to spend a lot more time writing about technical and non-technical topics on my blog, in the pages of CoDe Magazine, conference sessions, and a new book for Apress.

Creativity and XNA Game Studio Express
You hold in your hands one of the most focused issues we have had in some time. We dedicate a large number of pages in this issue to the topic of game development using XNA Game Studio Express, released in 2006 and due to be updated this year, which opens up the world of game development for the average Joe/Jane developer. You can use XNA Game Studio Express to build games for Windows and the Xbox 360. If you see yourself developing the next Halo or Gears of War, here’s your chance. XNA Game Studio Express provides a great framework and set of tools for getting into the world of game development quickly and inexpensively. Also, it offers a good way to express your software creativity a little differently. While I am not an active game developer, I can dream of ways to use XNA Game Studio Express to develop games for my kids. I might write a game for my son Isaiah to learn the alphabet and how to count. It might also be fun to create games with my daughter, Krysta. (Heck, maybe we’ll work together to create the game for Isaiah.) I think games can be a great way to teach children to program.

I’ve also thought about creating business education games. I can imagine some uses for MMOBPGS (Massively Multiplayer Online Business Process Game Systems). XNA offers possibilities limited only by your imagination and creativity.

What do you do to re-ignite your creativity?


Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the September/October 2007 issue of CoDe Magazine, and is reprinted here by permission.

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