Friday, December 17, 2010

One Page Game Design Document

Writing detailed game design documents has never been something I have much trouble doing; I enjoy writing and when I'm working on a design by myself I find the best way to actually think it through in detail is simply to sit down and scribble, sometimes on a computer, but often on paper, it depends on how the mood takes me.

Why this works so well for me I am not entirely sure, but I suspect it's the fact that writing allows all the ideas and requirements to have a strange kind of dialogue as they fight to get onto the paper ahead of one another.

Like all conversations this dialogue can have many forms: Sometimes it's like meeting someone you're attracted to, replete with all kinds of awkwardness and mistakes - "er, you look very petty, I mean...". Sometimes it can be very serious - "and if you fail to accomplish this then the earth is destroyed...". Sometimes it's jovial - "and that's nothing compared to the way it looks with a feather in it!". Rarely, though, is it very short.

This is generally a good thing - game design documents serve one great purpose, quite apart from telling the team what the game should be, and that's giving the publisher confidence that you know what you're talking about. There's nothing like a big weighty tome to build confidence.

However, yesterday I completed the first draft of a GDD that is just one page long. Admittedly, it's for an iPhone game and there are a few details not in there, because I haven't figured them out yet, but it's still a fairly complete spec, in just one A4 sheet, and no, I didn't use 0.04 point text.

This would never fly with a publisher; in just the past year I've heard a publisher mention that a game design document didn't weigh as much as they'd like!

No comments:

Post a Comment