Making a game can be quite a daunting task, and it’s sometimes difficult to get past the initial ideas. But writing a Game design document which defines the rough outline of a game can really set the ball rolling.
Some might argue that game design documents don’t work because they often get a bit of thought at the beginning of the project and then they never get read again – they can also easily go into too much detail and prevent progress being made at all.
I think GDDs should be an agile working document that can evolve and branch outside of the original document onto different platforms and forms. We don’t need to have everything in one ‘bible’. We just need to show our ideas and keep them moving, and more importantly make them accessible.
For us, starting out by writing a simple outline in google docs is really useful, and helps us to ‘initialize’ a project – but we don’t stop there! The following points below show of the key questions we ask ourselves when creating a GDD and some of the tools we use to evolve and maintain momentum of ideas.
- Define the purpose if the game. Write an introduction. What is the game about? Provide a basic outline. If you’re is still unsure, link to inspirational content make a mood board or a pinterest say what you like about it.
Define and answer the 5 W’s – the Who, What, When, Where Why Hows. It doesn’t matter if you can’t answer all of these, just make sure by the end of answering, you have begun to split these out into headings you can see clearly.
Create game elements. Use tables and lists as often as you can, they’re easy to read and quick to scan.
Break down your document into checklists tools like Trello or My colleague, Rich has made a better version of google tasks that is really useful. Make sure the tasks are achiveable and don’t involve lots of sub tasks. Break these down into tasks too! Its easier to feel like the project is moving forward. You will be encouraged to stick at it and do more.
Allow for failiure – Don’t be too strict or unrealistic with your goals. Setting boundaries too high will only make you want to give up because its unachieveable. Talk to other people about why this particular point isn’t working – maybe you can get around t in another way?
We talk often and discuss what we like and don’t like about games. Most importantly, stay super enthusiastic about games and think about how other games work is the key to staying motivated.