CEGD Game Design Document in Thought and Action Part1


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Creating a Game Design Document is often an important part of the game development process. This presentation from the January 12, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Experimental Game Development Group explores building a GDD in a fast paced, light briefing. (Part I of II)

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CEGD Game Design Document in Thought and Action Part1

  1. 1. Part I: Philosophy (Thought)
  2. 2. Who are we? How did we get here?How do we go forward?
  3. 3. Reflection:“There are two paths”
  4. 4. Aspiring v. EstablishedOtherwise known as „Amateur‟ and „Professional‟
  5. 5. Aspiring: Loves to take risks. Risks are thrilling.Does not know the risks.
  6. 6. Established:Loves to reduce unnecessary risks Shipping a game is thrilling Is aware of the risks
  7. 7. 18 MillionTo 28 Million Dollars to Make a Console Game. (Morris, “As Video Game Development Costs Rise, So Do Risks”)
  8. 8. $150,000To Make a AAA Casual Game (Meer, “Angry Birds revenues at $70m from $140k costs”)
  9. 9. Cutting Cost By GoingSolo Commando? One Man, a compiler and a two-liter, making a $150 game
  10. 10. “For every Cliff Harris or Jeff Minter makingawesome software by themselves from their homes, there are a hundred would-be ninjas who have no sense of the real scale of what they are trying to attempt.” -whatgamesare.com You Need Four Coders
  11. 11. Consider:“Risk is greater than cost.”
  12. 12. “The exposure to a company that arises from taking on a particular task. A project risk can be internal to thebusiness, it can involve external events or it can stem from any other circumstances that can hamper the projectsoverall success and result in loss or embarrassment to the firm undertaking it.” -businessdictionary.com
  13. 13. “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” - Jean de La Fontaine, in Fables Book VIII (1678–1679)“A game project can be overcome by risks on the road it took to avoid it.” -[cegd] (2013)
  14. 14. Consider:“Do not fear Risk. Manage it.”
  15. 15. Start by having a plan.
  16. 16. Game DesignDocument (GDD) Reduce uncertainty in your project by actually knowing what your game project is.
  17. 17. Concept (Dream It)Micro Pitch/Directive Sell Sheet Draft Exits To „A‟ A Planning (Draft It) GDD Art/Sound Concept Research (Research It) POC Demo or Play Proto
  18. 18. Pitch (Pitch It) Enters From „A‟ AFull Sell Sheet Early Collateral Creation Implementation (Code It)Engineering Coding B Testing (Test It) Exits To „B‟ Internal Alpha/Beta
  19. 19. Submission (Ship It) Wait Worry Support (Patch It) BBug Fixes DLC Enters From „B‟ Vacation and/or Therapy
  20. 20. “In the planning phase, start your GDD.”• Concept• Planning• Research• Pitch• Implementation• Testing• Submission• Support
  21. 21. “If you are starting your GDD in• Concept planning... You are already too late.” -[cegd]• Planning• Research• Pitch• Implementation• Testing Start• Submission Here• Support
  22. 22. Fail EarlyLife is short. Don‟t invest 2,000 pages and 18 Million on bad ideas.
  23. 23. Consider:“If you must be bad, be brief.”
  24. 24. Consider:“Let Your Sell Sheet be the first page of your GDD”
  25. 25. Noun. 1. A document designed to give anycompany, perspective team member or potential investor a brief overview of the game.2. The one page start of your GDD (CEGD idea).
  26. 26. The Template
  27. 27. It answers the question:“Who are we?”
  28. 28. It generally contains:1.1 Game Name1.2 Game Developer1.3 Game Genre1.4 Game Detail Block (Platform(s), Player(s), Target Gamer)1.5 High Concept Line1.6 Special Features (Tip: No more than three)1.7 Overview of the Game (Tip: 400 words or less)
  29. 29. The Sell Sheet drives some of your other efforts including: 1. Your GDD 2. Your Overall Scope3. Your Funding and Marketing Considerations
  30. 30. You can probably write it in a weekend (and this is far lesstime than writing a good GDD)
  31. 31. Your game won‟t get magically better by explaining it in a 1,000 page document.
  32. 32. You can shop the idea around to get an idea of the potential risks.
  33. 33. Is it bad? Is it too vast?Is it too expensive?
  34. 34. Get a FriendDAIf you are a tiny indie, a one-man band or a hobbyist, get a second pair of eyes to look it over. They won‟t steal it (hopefully)
  35. 35. Don‟t Aspire. Do It.If you can not find the will to write a 1-page document, you probably can not find the will to write a game.
  36. 36. •Brathwaite, Brenda.“Creating a Game Design Document.” Applied Game Design.Accessed 2 Jan 2013 <http://bbrathwaite.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/creating-a-game-design-document/>•Gershenfeld, Alan, et al. Game Plan. New York: St. Martin‟s Press, 2003.•Egsa SoftWorks, Egsa SoftWorks Concepts Guide. Chicago: Egsa Press, 2005.•“FriendDA.” Randsinrepose.com and Frienda.org. Accessed 11 Jan. 2013 <http://www.frienda.org >•Lang, Rob. “How to use a plan to create your RPG.” The Free RPG Blog. Accessed 1Jan. 2013 <http://www.thefreerpgblog.com/2012/11/how-to-use-plan-to-create-your-rpg.html>•Marchant, Dan. “Preparing a product pitch.” Obscure: Biz Support for CreativeDevelopers. Accessed 5 Jan. 2013 <http://www.obscure.co.uk/articles-2/preparing-a-product-pitch”/>
  37. 37. •Meer, Alec. “Angry Birds revenues at $70m from $140k costs.” Games IndustryInternational. Accessed 7 Jan. 2013 < http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2011-03-09-angry-birds-revenues-at-USD70m-from-USD140k-costs>•Morris, Chris. “As Video Game Development Costs Rise, So Do Risks” CNBC.Accessed 6 Jan. 2013<http://www.cnbc.com/id/35932496/As_Video_Game_Development_Costs_Rise_So_Do_Risks>•“Project Risk” Businessdictionary.com<http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/project-risk.html>• Ryan, Tim. “The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1: Documentation Guidelinesfor the Game Concept and Proposal.” Gamasutra.com Accessed 3 Jan. 2013<http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131791/the_anatomy_of_a_design_document_.php?page=1>
  38. 38. •Tusler , Robert. “The Elements of Project Risk Management.” Reducing ProjectManagement Risk. Accessed 3 Jan. 2013<http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~rtusler/project/elements.html>•Tusler, Robert. “Low Risk Project Management.” Reducing Project ManagementRisk. Accessed 3 Jan. 2013<http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~rtusler/project/riskphas.html>•“What is a project risk?” Projectfuture.net. Accessed 9 Jan. 2013<http://www.projectfuture.net/uk/projectfuture-software/frequently-asked-questions/what-is-a-projectrisk >•“You Need Four Coders.” Whatgamesare.com. Accessed 11 Jan. 2013<http://www.whatgamesare.com/2011/02/you-need-four-coders-production.html>
  39. 39. The mission of the CEGD is to foster the gaming community in theChicagoland area by working with professional and aspiring gamedevelopers that are actively engaged in furthering the boundaries of play. This presentation maybe reproduced as long as the CEGD is credited. Visit us at www.thecegd.org.
  40. 40. Follow us @chiexpgamedev on Twitter This presentation was made possible by the efforts of: Rev 3A: 2013