Creating a Game Design Document: Intro

Kevin James on a Rope Swing

Kevin James on a Rope Swing

For a lot of us amateur game designers, we didn’t really make any game design documents. We jumped into it like it was a cool swimming hole under a tire swing, and despite swimming around for a while, most of us washed ashore pretty quickly. Or got chomped by a gator, never to return.

A game design document (GDD) is a road map to your game’s creation. When you lose your way — and you usually will unless it’s a very concise project with a straightforward plan and you happen to be a very focused person — you can refer to your GDD. But there’s another reason to do this: you want to be able to explain your project’s innards to someone who is not familiar with your work at all.

Your GDD doesn’t have to be extremely complex or overly verbose. In fact, it should be simple for someone outside of your project to understand. It doesn’t have to be watered down enough for an Amish great-grandmother to understand though, you can assume that your audience understands the game industry and how games are made.

So, since only 3.28%* of people read text prefaces, let’s jump in this. I’m separating it into a few different posts because it’s quite long.

*Estimated guesstimate based on approximately nothing, give or take everything.

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