Game Design Documents are for the Newbie in All of Us

“My name is Daniel and I volunteered to make my teams GDD.”

“Hello Daniel…”

So I tried making my project on loose Google Docs, Trello, and Spreadsheets alone. I failed. Now I have a Game Design Document. Besides the fact that I feel so accomplished that I think I can just upload it to Steam now, I feel like I am on the path to not-failure.

Pitfall, via Activision and the Internet Archive
Pitfall, via Activision and the Internet Archive

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Back to Basics the Right Way

I’ve been trying desperately to push my projects into order. It seems like they are an unruly bunch that want me to work on them all at the same time. Like last week while I was grieving I wrote six chapters to a book I shelved in December 2012. “Well it’s been like two years since I finished this, I guess I’ll dig it up, use some necromantic editing, and just add it to my plate. Why not, right?” I must have said subconsciously. Well, yeah–it’s been that kind of week. So as to stick with that theme I decided to crack open my Evernote account to peek inside…

LEGO Minotaurus
LEGO Minotaurus

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7 Ways to Avoid Feature Creep

After talking a lot about game design I thought I would discuss some practical project planning aspects this week. To start I wanted to discuss feature creep and setting goals. One of the most important things we did to help get our studio going was to set a very attainable bar for our game.

church4
A Blender model of a church.

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The Results of World Building Together

On an earlier entry, I talked about Far Away Land RPG’s co-op world building tool. I played a session with a bunch of friends and used the results to create the backstory for a Sleepy Dev project. We’re still checking legal claims and such on the project’s name to make sure it is clear for our use–so I can’t announce it just yet but I can share the lore my friends and I created (which I promptly stole… er, borrowed) for it.

Our game takes place in a world called Tavern and this is its history so far. It only goes to the Seventh Age because I had to leave around then. However here is what I know so far of the world in a sort-of historical fashion. This co-op storytelling helped get me out of my writer’s block funk that I had been for the project.

But looks more like this.
Squarecano!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Invisible Hand of Game Design

Or a really pretentious way of saying “does your game work?” This is something that is important to me on a design level: is the game fun and does it do its job? Which in this case is be fun. To find out what is fun and what isn’t for my games I try the game out, watch others try it out, tweak rules, play again, play games like my game, and repeat. Play testing is a never-ending cycle of assessment in ludology.

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Developing from Idea to Concept

Ideas are fleeting… or was it fleeing? Whichever it is for you–ideas are hard to keep a hold of. For me I get so many random ideas it becomes hard to keep them all. I want to make so many things that sometimes I feel like I’m trying to save the Titanic from sinking one coffee cup full of water at a time. So I’ve developed a system to remember my ideas (good and otherwise).

Titanic: Adventure Out of Time by Cyberflix
This is fine… Things are going to be okay…

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