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

All Pages in Game Design Masterclass

    Game Design Masterclass

    Explore high-level game design and production courses that will bring you closer than ever to the game design pipeline. Learn from real industry veterans the secrets and tips of navigating the Design world. Expand your portfolio and design skills to be used in industries beyond Game Development. Game Design is a huge field, leveraging parts […]

    Unread — 1 minute read

    Designing and Improving Game Feel

    Game feel is entirely a subjective construct, it is the idea, the essence, and the soul of what makes a game feel, Good, Awesome, and overall, fun. It is hard to describe, as it changes from game to game. Game Feel is not just the mechanics, it takes literally any form of a particular games' […]

    Unread — 5 minute read

    Functional Game Design Theory

    As games in their current form, reach the age of f more than 40 years we can begin to ask ourselves about how the design and patterns, the mechanics and rules, and the functional abilities have progressed over that time. Overall we have made a significant improvements to graphics technologies, input devices and turn on […]

    Unread — 2 minute read

    Strategic Dominance in Single Player Games

    In scenarios where there is only one player, there can still be dominant and dominated strategies. For example, consider a situation where you are walking along a street, and you know that you need to cross the road. As you reach the first of two possible (and identical) crosswalks that you can use, the light […]

    Unread — 8 minute read

    Macro vs Micro Video Game Design Thinking Approaches

    If you're looking for an article describing Micro vs Macro as a study of Cursed Problems Game Mechanics and player strategy, check out our Optimizing Player Strategies page. Macro Approach In the initial days of a project, a Macro vision approach to game design should be the first step. It is like observing something on […]

    Unread — 9 minute read

    Accessibility in Game Design

    What can we do to Improve Overall Accessibility? Accessibility means avoiding unnecessary barriers that prevent people with a range of impairments from accessing or enjoying your output. Preserve depth of the core mechanics: Those game remove the fat down to what matters. Expansion of core while keeping accessibility: drifting and snaking as an example, in Mario Mart […]

    Unread — 8 minute read

    Video game pacing methods

    Video game pacing can be thought of in two main categories, the first being in which the playtime is expected or estimated by the designer of the game, or by which the speed and action potential of the game change or increase over time. Expected player play time As we designed a game we must […]

    Unread — 2 minute read

    One Button Video Games

    Consider that most RPG’s today required quick inputs, and a memorization of the skill set of the character in use. As designers take more experimental approach is to video games, a one button RPG, or any other genre, for that matter it is an interesting concept in and of itself. Usually the point behind making […]

    Unread — 2 minute read

    The Science of Player Motivation

    Almost every game relies heavily on extrinsic rewards. You accomplish a task and the game gives you a reward (sometimes). These rewards work very well in a simple game like Bejeweled or Peggle — Many will play Bejeweled for hours trying to beat their high scores, and many would wonder if there had been no […]

    Unread — 4 minute read

    Health Systems in Video Games

    The hitpoint system is simple. That's why it works. I once played a shooter that simulated realistic injuries. Different parts of your body could be damaged. If your arm got injured your accuracy suffered if you got a leg injury your movement speed declined. Eventually without aid from a team member bullets wounds would cause […]

    Unread — 5 minute read

    Achievement Systems in Video Games

    All games have goals. Used properly, achievements can provide an alternative set of "success" criteria to the main game mission, providing incentives to play the game in different ways. Different ways which are, hopefully, also fun. For years, video games have been a fringe market, traditionally viewed as "for kids" or "for nerds".  Now, we […]

    Unread — 2 minute read

    Intelligent Avatars

    When most games provide a playable character, they exist as a "blank canvas" for the player to impart their own idealisms into. A Character that thinks for themselves. There are, however, games in which your avatar can communicate to you, thus showing some degree of intelligence. While subversive to the game's end goal of winning, […]

    Unread — 3 minute read

    How to tell a Video Game Story without Words

    First off, why would you want to do this? Why make things so abstract and obtuse? Three reasons: Writing is hard. Bad writing is worse than no writing, in the same way, that saying something dumb is often worse than saying nothing at all. This gives you more flexibility in what happens in the story […]

    Unread — 4 minute read

    Creators Statement and Experimental Games

    How do we describe what a game is? More specifically, how do we describe what our game is? If a games experience could be accurately described with words, why make the game? If we don't agree that games are art, then there's no need for a creator's statement because there isn't any underlying meaning to […]

    Unread — 4 minute read

    Cursed Problems in Game Design

    This article is based and researched from Alex Jaffe's Cursed Problems in Game Design for GDC 2019. Players Expectations in Video Games. As designs become implemented into a game’s core mechanics, they also augment the audience's understanding of the rules. These essential experiences must be in line with how the player continues and expects their […]

    Unread — 6 minute read

    Optimizing Dominate Strategies in Video Games

    Most Efficient Strategy for Winning Games First Order Optimal (FOO) Strategies are the lowest effort strategies that reap the greatest reward. They’re what experts of the game would consider beginner strategies. They’re typically (but not always–as we’ll see) the first thing that new players gravitate towards, and they’re the easiest strategies to execute and still […]

    Unread — 5 minute read

    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 […]

    Reading — 10 minutes

Game Design Masterclass Topic Completion: 5%

Explore GAMEBIN.tv

    Indie Video Game Studios

    Indie video game studios are usually run by a small number of people, and usually, don’t have very much capital or resources to work with. Regardless of this many Indie Studios have been known to create beautiful, engaging, and groundbreaking/ world-changing video games over the past many years. Some of the most influential and transformational […]

    Unread — 3 minute read

    Video Game Publishers

    What do Video Game Publishers do? Real publishers can offer a wide range of services including funding, localization, hardware compatibility, market expertise, marketing, communication, etc. It really depends on the services you are after, but you should try to get a contractual quantification for every aspect (if PR, for example, number of articles in x […]

    Unread — 3 minute read

    Game Design & Development Courses

    Game Design & Development courses provided by GAMEBIN.tv are one of a kind, up-to-date, and sourced from real industry Game Developers. We cover the theory and practice of the fundamentals of Game Design & Development as well as an introductory to major concepts and ideas. Making Video Games as a Hobby Whether it's just you, […]

    Unread — 2 minute read

    The Gaming Industry

    What would we say if we could say anything about the gaming industry? Look how much it’s grown. There was a time long ago when some people believed that the games industry would be a passing fad and fade into obscurity. They turned out to be incredibly wrong, as consumers spent $108.9 billion in the games […]

    Unread — 1 minute read

    Making Your First Game

    Making a video game for the first time can seem just as hard as climbing a mountain before we've written the even first lines of code. If we follow the right steps, though, any task is doable. Here are the crucial steps we should follow when making our first video game. The Idea and Prototyping […]

    Unread — 8 minute read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *