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Game Design

Before starting serious dev on Iphone, I needed to make the GameDesign’s document. I like documentation that helps me imagine what the game will look like in the end.
It helps me setting goals on quality ( functionalities ) and quantity ( number of levels ) and monitoring the progress made during the developement.
Seeing the finish line getting closer and closer is motivating.

You can get many Game Design documentation examples on the net, for instance on Gamasutra.
But I don’t think there is one and only good organization for such a document. You need to adapt it to your game type.
For a rhythm game or a shoot’em up, scores are essential which is not the case for an Adventure game.

For my game, I began with 3 chapters:

1. Quick presentation
2. Story
3. Gameplay

I think these 3 chapters give a glimpse of the game to any reader.
Don’t forget that this text is a working paper for production, but also a document that will sell your idea, and these 3 chapters are your selling part.

My Gameplay section is composed of several parts:
a) Gameplay Jump/taptap -> Desciption of core gameplay
b) Score                                      -> How Score is calculated (increases replay value).
c) Difficulty level                    -> How the gameplay change from difficulty level (increases replay value).
d) Unlockable elements      -> Description of item unlockable by the player (reward him).
e) Achievement                      -> Description of each achivement and each game variable used to unlock achivement  (increases replay value).

4. Help/Tutorial
Very important on a mobile game. People don’t read manual anymore.
The best help is a tutorial integrated inside the story. I’ve limited myself to some help screens.

5. Game screen
On a mobile device, this section can eat up to half of your time in developement!
This is more important for the user than you think. An user feeling frustrated by a bad screen flow design won’t take pleasure in playing your game.
In this area, the simpler, the better. In this section you will describe the flow between different screens ( main menu, score screen, help screen, pause menu etc… ). You can also explain ingame user interface.

6. Graphic and Audio
Rough estimation of graphic/audio resources needed (number of level, character etc..).
You can define the graphic style ( cartoon or realistic for example ).
Of course in my case, music is very important. I describe in this section how many musics I will use.

7. Social network integration
We can’t skip them..

8. Lite version
A description of what will be in lite and full versions.

9. Going further
Here you put every idea which won’t be integrated in the game.
Writing this section will help you separate basic core gameplay from extension.
It will also help you plan further updates and increase the lifespan of the Game.

– This document should be short. 10 pages max. If you have more to add, put this information into annexe documents. For example one with the detailed story, or one with all the characters’ designs.
– This document is dynamic. It should evolve during production and be up-to-date.

I’ve already made a first draft for my game, but it’s still a work in progress.


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