Top 5 Tips on Making a Game Design Document
A Game Design Document is a document that has anything and everything that is going to be in a game. Practically every video game has one. So if you want to make the next greatest game of the decade then follow our top 5 tips to make a GDD.
- Use a Template: Yeah use a template, there are several game design document templates floating around out there (you should find some from a quick google search). One that I would like to point out is this one.
The reason that this specific one is a good template is that it goes beyond just the basic ideas of your game. It has categories that will really make you think about your game, and it will save you plenty of time later in development. Although it may not be the best template for a simple game.
- Compare: Once you’ve started working on your game design document (or even before you start), it’s a good idea to compare what you have to other game design documents. Here is a good GDD to compare yours to.
So check out some examples and if you really don’t know what a section is for then look at someone else’s, and you’ll be on the right track in no time.
- Do it in Pieces: I know looking at the template above can be a little discouraging, but that’s why you should do it in pieces. Although you can do the entire thing at one time, it isn’t recommended.
When you first download the template just try to fill out the main components of your game. Like the story, overview, gameplay, etc. Once you get the basics down and started, the rest of the GDD should come into place.
- Details: Put every detail of the game into the GDD. Remember the GDD is the reference document for your game. So every time a team member goes to look for a specific way to do something or a specific feature, they will look at the GDD.
If what they’re looking for isn’t there, then they may just have to do what they think would be best. Which in turn may not be what you envisioned for the game.
- Revise: The most important, revising your GDD. Now try to think of your GDD as a living organism. Over time it will grow and change. The unneeded parts will be replaced with new ideas, and sections may be added or deleted.
Don’t worry this is a good thing. As you develop your game there are going to be changes along the way. Either because of technical reasons or you just find out that the feature doesn’t really relate to the rest of the game.
If you are working with a team try to keep them up to date with the GDD. And make sure to give them new releases of the GDD frequently. As you don’t want time wasted on an unneeded feature that could have been used for something useful for the game.