“Project G” Development Log : Part 1

“Project G” Development Log : Part 1

So you want to make a game!

Like many developers we get very excited at the prospect of starting a new project. But where exactly do you start? This can be daunting for a lot of up and coming creators. Whether you’re in a small dev team or Triple A Developer the start and end of a project cycle are often the most difficult. Here at Nebula we are also embarking on a new game and have decided it would be fun, (and hopefully helpful) to document our process and keep all you lovely people posted on the games progress.

Hobbit

So where does this epic tale begin?

Its all about the plan!
Now try and contain your excitement, we know how much everyone enjoys writing a good game design document… no? Oh well. Many budding developers don’t revel in this particular stage of game development, but can definitely attest to its value. For those of you who don’t know, a game design document is essentially a blueprint for your game.
It is not:

  • a story or art bible
  • an essay on your game
  • a long rambling wall of text and programming

It is:

  • Broken down into sections.
  • Direct and to the point.
  • The road-map to the parts of your game (mechanics, art, music etc)

But Whhhhhhy?
Sitting down to write your game design document may not be the most glamorous part of games development but it should not be disregarded. For us its value is obvious, but when your sitting down to think about your game keep these points in mind.

  1. Breaking down your game and explaining how you play, why its fun, and what you need will force you to look at your game objectively. It can help you identify gaping wholes in your mechanics, game flow , reward system etc weeks before you would notice it in coding or even user testing.
  2. Think of your team mates! You may be able to visualize your game perfectly, but will other people “get it”? Give them a well thought out game design doc and they will understand that far easier then your excited ramblings.
  3. It helps you legitimize your project in the eyes of others. Its shows that you’re taking your project seriously. For example, It will also be helpful if you are getting outside assets like music, give the musician the doc to read over and they should get a good feel for your game.

An excellent place to get started with writing a game design document is over at Gamasutra. Other Gamasutra pages covering the basics are here and here.

Tune in next week to see how we got our project started from the artistic and developmental perspectives!

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