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The Design Document:

The Design Document Computer Games Design F915

Purpose of THE GDD:

Purpose of THE GDD “The purpose of design documentation is to express the vision for the game, describe the contents, and present a plan for implementation. A design document is a bible from which the producer preaches the goal, through which the designers champion their ideas, and from which the artists and programmers get their instructions and express their expertise” You are not writing it for people who are playing the game You are writing this document for people who are making the game. Always keep this in mind.


LAYOUT There is no industry set standard for this kind of document although different companies do have standards that they enforce within their company. The important thing is that it lays out as much detail as possible about as many aspects of the proposed game including game play, theme, characters, story, look and feel. The important thing is that the GDD has to tell a variety of team members exactly what they need to do. This variety ranges from programmers to writers, artists, musicians and more. A game design document is a "living document" and may go through numerous revisions making adjustments to the original specification to reflect technical constraints and new programming or artistic developments from the team

(PoSSIBLE) Structure OF THE GDD:

( PoSSIBLE ) Structure OF THE GDD Game Title Game Theme Game Genre Target Audience Game Platform Game Purpose/objective/plot Basic Gameplay Character Design Level Design User Interface requirements Audio Design Concept Art


BASIC INFORMATION Game Title Hardware What is the Target Audience What is the Genre? What is the Theme?


ObJECTIVE Describe the plot? Describe the overall objective of the game? Are there sub –challenges..


Narrative What is the background Story -- the story of the game that leads into the beginning of the game How does the story develop during interactive gameplay Does the game use cutscenes to tell elements of the story.

Gameplay & game mechanics:

Gameplay & game mechanics Game Progression Mission/challenge Structure Puzzle Structure Objectives – What are the objectives of the game? Play Flow – How does the game flow for the game player Mechanics – What are the rules to the game, both implicit and explicit.



Character Design:

Character Design Characters -- List and describe the characters in the game, if any. What is their story, their role? Tell something about their personalities and capabilities, and how they act in the game. Who does the player play? Single/multi player? Are there other key characters? Sketches should be included of what the characters (if any) will look like. Are there any NPC’s (Non playing characters)

Audio Design:

Audio Design Sounds and Music -- Describe at least the general manner in which sound effects will be used in the game. Every action in the game should be accompanied by a sound, and the sounds should be prioritized so that the important sounds don't get "stepped on" by less important sounds. Describe how the sounds will be created. If sampled digitized sound effects or voices are to be used in the game, tell about that in some detail. Describe the general style of the music, with some references to other well-known music for the reader's edification. Tell how music will be used in the game. Voices what accent & style of voices are required for dialogue.

Level Design:

Level Design Describe the scene(s) in which the action takes place. How many levels or locations are present? Does the player progress linearly from one location to the next or is it a sandbox design? How do the challenges and difficulty progress from one level to the next. What props, challenges, special effects, atmospheric effects are present in each level? Is there a map of the level

The game designer KOJIMA tweeted some pictures of Metal Gear design documents he happened to find while cleaning his shelves. Above is a hand-drawn level map:

The game designer KOJIMA tweeted some pictures of Metal Gear design documents he happened to find while cleaning his shelves. Above is a hand-drawn level map

Level drawing for pacman:

Level drawing for pacman

User Interface:

User Interface Controls --How does the user cause all game actions to occur? In the case of a console game, describe all uses of the buttons on the controller. In the case of a computer game, describe which peripherals the game supports and how they are used to accomplish all game actions. Describe the on-screen interface (if there is a score and a life gauge... if there is an inventory icon and dialogue choices...), and how it works. Describe all menus in detail Onscreen messages Heads up

A head-up display (or HUD) notifies players of game status info such as health, resources etc. during gameplay, :

A head-up display (or HUD) notifies players of game status info such as health, resources etc. during gameplay ,



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