Designing a complex game requires a planned approach. This is where the Game Design Document or popularly known as GDD comes into picture. A game design document is the complete sketch of the game in paper. The design document should contain each and every aspect of the game. It should act as a guide for all team members.
GDD should not remain the same from beginning to end of the development process. This document should undergo various changes as and when required.It can help to reduce the development time significantly, if written in the right way. Lets see how to write a good GDD.
A GDD must contain the following
Contains the name of the Game and simple description about the game.
- What is this game about?
- Who is it targeted to?
- What platform is it going to be on?
- What art style? Game Art – Key assets, how they are being developed. Intended style.
- Work distribution chart- who is going to do what.
- An overall target date and milestones
Gameplay ,Mechanics and Assets
- Gameplay-Game Progression, Mission, challenges, Fun part and puzzle parts
- Mechanics – Rules to the game.
- Physics/animation – How does the physical universe work or no physics
- Player and character movement
- UI that will interact with game characters
- How the game world will be like. Restricted or free movement.
- Overall scene movement – How player is going to move from one scene to another.
- Game saving and loading
- Characters powers and abilities. Opponent and Enemy AI
- List of needed assets.
- How the assets are going to be developed.
- What is going to be outsourced
- Time period for asset development.
- Whether to Use free assets.
- Each level should include a synopsis, the required introductory material (and how it is provided), the objectives, and the details of what happens in the level. Depending on the game, this may include the physical description of the map, the critical path that the player needs to take, and what encounters are important or incidental.
- Training Level.
- Level design tools
- Visual System.
- Control System
- Audio, music, sound effects
- Help System
- Settings for the game.
GDD may not be required if you are a solo developer making a small game. But if you are a team its better to put everything on paper so everybody gets the idea and works as a team. You should also find a way to communicate the design changes to the team. A good communication between the team members can reduce the production time and increase efficiency.