When people play games, whether on a PC, console, mobile device or in a Web browser, they expect a fun, distraction-free experience that has been well thought out and executed. Games need to have cohesion; and internal logic, and the user experience which must support the goals of the creators.
If you are unaccustomed to game development, you may not realize how much planning and preparation goes into the design process before the real programming and testing can happen. Key to the process of making a game is the game design document.
What is a Game Design Document?
To convey it simply, a game design document (which developers often refer to as a GDD) is an extremely detailed document that is subject to frequent changes and updates as the developers solidify their vision for the game.
Game developers rely on game design documents to allow precise collaboration amongst many members of the team. Once you have settled on the GDD, all collaborators will have to adhere to its requirements.
Game design documents typically include text descriptions, drawings of characters, props and levels in the world. Developers may prefer to work from printed document pages or use an online digital collaboration system to guide and organize their efforts.
The Importance and Benefits of Having a Game Design Document
When embarking on a project as complex as a new game, it’s important to have a good roadmap and set of references to make sure that the developers can work together as a cohesive unit. Everyone will know exactly what he or she is supposed to do and how to achieve it.
People with limited game design experience may think that no one reads game design documents, so what’s the point of making them? In actuality, you are expected not to actually read the document from cover to cover just once like a novel as much as refer to the document through each step of the process to make sure you are on track.
Game design documents are also important because they demonstrate that the developers know what they are doing. They may even be part of the contractual requirements and need to be delivered before publishers will allocate full FUNDING for the development process.
Your game design document serves as an organizational tool for each team member, which is the key in such an enormously collaborative process. The design document creates an ongoing record of the developers’ decisions. Precision in game design documents ensures that everyone knows the details and not just a general sense of various aspects of the game