What is a Game Design Document: how is it prepared?

What should companies pay attention to when preparing a Game Design Document?
Game Design Document
What are the details about the Game Design Document?

When someone tells you to “check the design document,” they probably refer to the Game Design Document (GDD). This document contains all the game characters, levels, mechanics, skins, scenarios, stories, various menus, applied options, etc. It provides a detailed explanation about

Game Design Document

The Game Design Document helps put the essential pieces together. It records main ideas, includes critical topics such as game descriptions, art styles, or sound, and allows the team to visualize the future work plan. It can be a good helper for large projects involving dozens of employees. You can prepare your Game Design Document online through websites such as Nuclino and Milanote, or you can do this by using your resources.

Game Design Document example
Game Design Document example (Source: Nuclino)

We have provided you with a general template to create a solid document. However, any game development company can choose its style and change the structure above optionally. However, the following suggestions will still give you an idea:

  1. Simplify game documentation. The document should be easy to use for every employee involved in game development. Do not go into too much detail; explain your ideas shortly and concisely.
  2. Let your colleagues collaborate on the document. This is particularly useful when creating a digital version of the document.
  3. Visualize your document. Today, a document must be 100 percent visual and facilitate collaboration among colleagues. In addition, all changes must be made electronically. Using text documents is tedious. People use documents as live charts, diagrams, etc., will perceive them better.

The Game Design document can be internally divided into three subsections, where each section of the document defines a specific phase of the game project. It describes the three development phases from concept to design to production. These:

Concept Document

The concept document acts as a proposal letter in which the entire objective and the tools and human resource requirements are planned. It helps you define your goals (or the whole team) clearly. The storytelling, genre, target audience, most exciting feature, cost, development time, etc., information must be specified in this document.

It also acts as a sales and promotional tool for partners who launch the product. At this stage, you can start working with a mini prototype that will allow you to test and revise your idea.

Design Document

This game design document should include ongoing ideas between artists, animators, sound engineers, and developers. These documents are often used to clarify the confusion by adding comments and sharing ideas. Budgeting for the tools and software required for the design and development of the game should also be included. The design document makes sure the final product is what you expect.

Production Document

This document is the final phase of the Game design document where the production management and developer group worked to create the final product. Often game designers are outsourced for a specific game design purpose only. At the same time, the game production team and game developers are the internal human resources of that company. This stage includes details about the number of developers and their jobs and topics such as time management schedules, task databases, budget spreadsheets, and specifications.

To learn more about game development stages, you can subscribe to the Mobidictum Academy YouTube channel, or you can browse other articles in the Academy category on our site.

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