As I have realised that I need some way to checklist the bits of work that I am doing, I have decided to follow a basic structure for a game design bible. This is due to my constant switching between different parts of the process, in which I end up getting confusing and thinking that I haven’t done some stuff.
I found a really useful and in depth article called Game Design in Six Easy Steps by Francois Laramee on gamedev.net. It gives valuable information on the types of elements that go into each step of the Game Design. It is however for a big production whereas I need it for a small simple level, so some of it isn’t relevant.
Design Treatment – 4 to 8 page description of what kind of product you would like to do and what you need to do it.
- Genre, key features
- Short description of the experience you want to give the player, this includes FP, 3rdP, linear or not
- Look and feel of the game, includes visual design aspects as well as the type of gameplay
- What are the major characters/units/game pieces?
- Target audience
- What platform are you developing for?
Preliminary design document:
- Tech specifications
- Backstory, including a storyboard for the games FMV intro
- Cast of characters: player characters and their unique talents
- List of the games environments and the missions taking place in each. About 1-2 pages of general info on unique characteristics of each mission
- Special ammo etc
- Enemies, what defines them? Endurance, hit potential, type of behaviour.
- Lives, health, resurrections and tagging between player characters.
- Player characters move style of combat?
- Style sheets and colour schemes for characters. Generally 4-10 different views of the character to guide the animators and 3D modellers in maintaining consistency.
- Style sheets for major objects, vehicles and props.
- Maps of levels and environments.
After reading this I kind of wish that I had seen it before I started this brief; there is a lot of work!
“All in all, a design treatment should not require more than 100 to 150 person/hours of work; 75 if it doesn’t include any graphics. If you put more work than that into it, you are wasting your time.”
Basically I need to crack on, pronto!
I also found another much simple GDD Template, which I have outlined to what I believe is relevant for my brief; taking into account that I am focusing it on one level of the game.
- Game Name
- Feature set
- Target audience
- Game flow summary – how does the player move through the game?
- Look and feel – visual style/basic look and feel of the game
- Project Scope – number of locations, levels, NPC’s, weapons etc
- Gameplay and Mechanics – game progression, objectives, play flow, what are the rules of the game, physics, movement/interaction, combat, economy.
- Story setting and character – backstory, plot elements, game progression, cut scenes, game world, character, levels,
- Game Art
My conclusions from looking at these two game design documents is that I will succeed at this brief if I simply outline which bits I need to do in detail and which ones can be less considered. This means that as I am focusing on a single level of the game, instead of going into masses of detail about all the levels and how they pan out I should look at what comes before and after mine and leave it at that. Basically I am focusing on bits and bobs and then giving it some context.
So, which parts are the main focus???