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Game Design Document

Game Design Documents

So now that we’ve thought about what our game might be like, it is critical that we begin to document and solidify our ideas. Whether or not we’re a one-person army, or are planning to gather a team, this document will serve as the Vade-Mecum of our journey. Keeping ourselves on track with realistic goals will help to mitigate grandiose changes and feature creep in the future.
There are some designers and developers who might argue that a game design document is not always required, and they act as a hindrance to creativity; they are correct. If we want total freedom amongst ourselves and our team we can sacrifice this planning phase, however, we will be sacrificing much more in terms. Looking at the industry and best-practices, let’s make an assumption that we want to create a game that stays within it’s scope, budget, and shipping date; we begin this process with our Game Design Document.

Game Design Documents (GDD) can be as simple or complex as necessary, we just need to remember to focus our time on what’s important— getting our idea out there. A GDD is not the end-all-be-all, it is a living, breathing document that should be updated regularly as assumptions are challenged and new information is acquired.

Sticking Points

There are literally an infinite amount of ways to create a GDD, so let’s review what our GDD will cover and what questions we should begin to start answering.

Overview: Concept, Story, Experience, Objectives

In our overview we will give a high level overview of our game, it should be brief, and should serve to get someone interested in our idea, imagine that this document would be read by potential game designers, programmers, artists, and business ops.

Concept: What is this game?
Example A platforming game where you avoid enemies and collect coins.

Story: What is this game about?
Example The princess has been captured by the evil turtle king! Only a single plumber can save her!

Experience: How does the player feel while playing?
Example Easy to learn, gratifying reward after the completion of each level.

Objectives: What are our objectives?
Example Learn more about player feedback and earn money from sales.

Audience: Concept, Story, Experience, Objectives

In our overview we will give a high level overview of our game, it should be brief, and should serve to get someone interested in our idea, imagine that this document would be read by potential game designers, programmers, artists, and business ops.

Demographics: Who is the target audience?
Example Players aged 12 – 18 who speak english.

Communities: What kind of players will like this game?
Example Casual gamers who play mobile games daily.

Experience Mechanics Platforms Marketing ROI

Resources

None yet…

Example GDD

So now that we’ve thought about what our game might be like, it is critical that we begin to document and solidify our ideas. Whether or not we’re a one-person army, or are planning to gather a team, this document will serve as the Vade-Mecum of our journey. Keeping ourselves on track with realistic goals will help to mitigate grandiose changes and feature creep in the future.
There are some designers and developers who might argue that a game design document is not always required, and they act as a hindrance to creativity; they are correct. If we want total freedom amongst ourselves and our team we can sacrifice this planning phase, however, we will be sacrificing much more in terms. Looking at the industry and best-practices, let’s make an assumption that we want to create a game that stays within its scope, budget, and shipping date; we begin this process with our Game Design Document.

Detective Nose — Game Design Document 
Concept

Top-Down Action Puzzle Game for Web, Mobile ++
Gordon Goodrum, 2019, Free to modify and distribute.

Development Specifications

A simple game and a simple goal make for a great exercise. This game could be completed with a single team member, however, three would be ideal.
Roles & Responsibilities include

  • Programmer
  • Artist
  • Musician
Story

Detective Nose, the ace detective in the Land of Bool has found the final clue to catching Johney Destranged. Navigate through treacherous lands while hunting for the crook, avoid his henchmen, and complete the puzzles to before it’s too late!

Experience

Johney Destranged has 3 evil plans to carry out on the citizens of Bool. In a single game room, Detective Nose must thwart, dissuade, and caputure Johney before he carries out his evil plan. Easy to learn, gratifying reward after the completion of each level.

Objectives

Learn more about player feedback and earn money from sales.

Dungeon Crawl

Created by Brian Rodriguez, Joseph Chessey, Gordon Goodrum, License MIT

Web Text

Dungeon Crawl is a first/3rd person dungeon crawl.

Players are given a limited amount of health, items, and information, and must make due with what they are given, and what they find in order to progress through the game.

Controls
W,A,S,D, and Mouse.
Goal
Campaign Mode:
– Defeat the Bosses in all the Dungeons, Collect what is required, and return it to the Gods(GM)
Arcade Mode:
– Kill the Boss – Timed Survival
Overworld
The overworld would be a large, but fairly simple landscape, that allows easy travel to the different areas. To aid in the possible generation of landscapes, the terrain may be cut into modular pieces, and placed accordingly.
Bestiary
For full list see Dungeon Crawl Mob List.Mobs are fairly simple, usually not caring about you, or wanting to eat your face.
#Path finding in a 3d environment using p3dc may be a bit difficult. Use of nodes may be necessary.
Items and Drops
[ h ] head [ s ] [ n ] [ w ] shield, necklace, weapon [ r ] [ t ] [ g ] ring, torso, gloves [ l ] [ b ] legs, boots
Equipable / Usable
(basic generation [x] of [y], [z][x] of [y], [z][x] of [p][y]) (ex, [Giant][sword] of [the lost][Kruul]) – Weapons – Melee (Dagger, Short Sword, Sword, Long Sword, Hammer, Mace, Axe) – Ranged (Bow, Long Bow, Thrown Dagger, Crossbow) – Magic (Staff, Wand, Talisman, Tablet, Tome, Scroll) – Armour – Head (Fabric Top, Chainmail, Chestplate, Obscure/Novelty) – Torso (Fabric Top, Chainmail, Chestplate, Obscure/Novelty) – Legs (Fabric Legs, Chainlegs, Platelegs, Obscure/Novelty) – Boots (Fabric Top, Chainmail, Chestplate, Obscure/Novelty) – Gloves (Fabric Top, Chainmail, Chestplate, Obscure/Novelty) – Accessory(?) – Rings – Necklaces – Charms/Tags/ETC – Usable – Foods, Drinks, and Potions
Mundane
Items that serve little purpose other than selling for gold, and trading for better items.
Dungeons
Dungeons will be the primary place the player can acquire items, and other collectables. Dungeon difficulty will be specified when the game starts, and they should be placed in a manner than it is clear in which order they should be complete.
Towns and villages
Towns and villages are quasi-random, template based, filled with building of various types. There may also be random houses and cottages placed around the world, ruins, and run down shacks, may also appear in a few places.
NPC’s
NPC’s for the most part may be non-existent, at the very least, there will be shop and inn keepers, ready to assist you on your quest. Some may supply you with useful information, the rest, will only aid in wasting your time.
Basic Servers
The GM can define certain variables of a game including, Exp Gain, Permadeath, Item Probability, PvP availability, Difficulty, etc. Basic servers would also have maps generated by the game.
Other Players
– Adventurers Either you friends or enemies, team up or race to the finish. There’s no shame in stabbing your buddy and looting the room. (this whole document is sounding more and more like rpg tactics) – Game Master Game Masters would be the server host, and would decide not only the layout of the game map, but other variables as well.
Combat
Combat would be weapon based, through the use of melee weapons, ranged weapons, and using staves and wands to cast magics.
Melee
Close quarters and heavy physical damage. Melee would be most adventurers first choice of combat style, as it is widely balanced, and it easy to learn and master.
– Usable (Swords, Daggers, Axes, Maces, Hammers, etc.)
– Applicable (Shields, etc.)
Ranged
There are two forms of ranged items:
– Usable (Bows, Crossbows, etc.)
– Applicable (Arrows, Bolts, etc.)
Magics
When any magical item is first acquired, its name, alignment, and effect will be unknown until used by the player. In most cases, it would be wise for the player to test a magical item before using it in battle.
– Usable (Wands, Staves, etc.)
– Applicable (Elements, IE: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, etc)
Connection Protocol
Packets:
From Client:
1 Ping
[http://treesun.net/accounts/verify.php?hash=*PLAYERHASH*&ver=*VERSION*] Verify username + password combination returns 0 or players Session ID
3.1 Send Session ID
3.3 Send game version
4 Request player statistics
5 Request server data
6 Request map data
7 Send chat message
-> 8 Player joined/Left
9.1.* Send player position
9.2.* Receive dummy position
From Server:
1 Ping
2.1 Connection Accepted
2.2 Connection Denied
2.3 Connection Denied – Banned IP
2.4 Connection Denied – Private Server
2.5 Connection Denied – Server in Maintenance
3.1 Session ID Accepted
3.2 Session ID Denied
3.3 Player version incorrect
4.* Player statistics
5.* Server data
6.* Send map data
7 Relay chat message
8.* Player join/leave
9.1.* -> 9.2.* Relay player position
48hROGUE

Created by Joseph Chessey, Brian Rodriguez, Gordon Goodrum, License MIT

Web Text
Zurial is a retro styled roguelike with some sweet gameplay features.
Each world is generated, littered with monsters, dungeons and treasure.
Dungeons are generated and loot is randomly customized.
You have 1 life to survive as long as possible while finding as much treasure as possible. Good luck!
Controls
Arrow keys – move
space – toggle inventory
z – select, use, equip
x – attack, examine
c – discard item
Goal
Destroy Zurial at depth 25 and achieve highest score.
Zurial, Demon Prince, Lord of Death and Destruction
Overworld
Turn based world. Each player movement adds a “step” the world speed, updating everything else.
Grid style movement system.
Bestiary
Passive mobs: animals
Hostile mobs: monsters, demons, etc.
Mini-Bosses: Amiel, Lord of Strength; Pyriel, Lady of Plague; Zelah, Lord of Fire, etc..
Mini-Bosses have different levels of difficulty. (Red for bosses and Mini-bosses?)
0: White – basic – tough.
1: Blue – elemental – hard.
2: Yellow – elemental, vampire, invulnerable* – very hard.
* invulnerable for a limited time after enemy casts a spell.
On death, all of the mobs possessions will be dropped, and every part, and piece can be taken by the player.
Items and Drops
Most items found in dungeons, and in left in various places around the world will be obscure, low value items. All items and objects will fall under two categories, Equipable (Ranged, Melee and Magick items, Clothing, Armour, and Jewlery ) and Mundane (Gems, Tools, Housewares, ect)
Dungeons
Scattered entrances to various dungeons. Each dungeon with its own starting difficulty, based on distance from start. Dungeons would be used for gear getting, and level grinding.
Towns and villages
Towns and villages are quasi-random, template based.
NPCs and Interactions
NPC interactions will be quite simple, and mostly randomly generated. Most will have nothing important to say, but some will offer items in return for other, more common items.
Swimming
Player can swim but each step will lose a small amount of air. Once the player runs out of air, health is drained each “step”. Player can not swim in deep water.
Combat

Turn based game means turn based combat. As the player sees the enemy, they will walk up to it, and upon standing directly beside it, the player has used a turn moving, resulting in the enemy being able to attack first. Standing one tile away from the enemy should provoke the enemy to move towards the player, resulting in the player attacking first.
Stand beside an enemy and press arrow key towards it to attack.
Damage value based on: strength, agility, and weapon damage.

License: MIT

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