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My GDD


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#1 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

For the last 6+ months now I've been working on a survival horror video game. I wrote the story from scratch, which is a 21 page reading. It's a 3rd person Survival Horror video game Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dino Crisis etc.

 

 

I've attached my GDD.

 

I mailed it to myself and got it today so that's why I am posting it. Not saying my idea is best, but people will steal when they can.

 

I open to disscussion

 

even if it includes, thats cheesy, corny etc

 

If you have no interest on game design dont tell me how to write my GDD's

 

 

I got the staple idea for the Technical part from GTA's GDD

 

Activision likes the idea. Well Activision likes Money.... So I told them I'd make a game that would compete with Dead Space (EA) and Resident Evil (CapCom) even though both of those games today are a mockery to the genre of survival horror

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#2 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16027

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:12 PM

Is this game already in production, or is this a proposal GDD?

#3 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

I'll try to help a bit. I do not understand your main character.

"The focus of the game revolves around “Jenna” when the city became filled with monsters she is focused on finding her two children and getting out as fast as she can. While looking for supplies and heading through the city she meets some of the survivors who change her focus from her kids to actually saving them, while discovering the plot behind all this."

There is some ambiguity here which is very dire: where you say "change her focus from her kids to actually saving them," it appears that the word "them" is referring to these new found survivors. Is that the case?

No mother just up and forgets her children in a crisis and (frankly) any mother I can imagine doing this isn't a character I can get behind. This isn't necessarily a write off, but it needs a lot of flushing out, especially if it's part of the hook (i.e. it's early in the design doc and the first exposure the reader has to the main character).
 
When you say "children" the assumption is "young children", which I read between the ages of like eight and 14. Are her children old enough to be semi-capable (late high school age, early college) or fully capable (mid 20s or older)? What's the mother's relationship with her children? And how many are there? Why is she so suddenly able to change her focus to saving these random survivors? Does she believe her children are dead? Does she believe that they're able to survive on their own? Is there some kind of time constraint on "solving the mystery" of the game and some reason she's uniquely suited to deal with it? Why her? This makes especially little sense as she's supposed to be a normal person, i.e. not some scientist or soldier or whatever.
 
Then there's this follow-up:

The game will open with Jenna and her husband playing with their children at a park (laughter and smiling) all done by voice and photos. It will than shift to Jenna and John having an argument on how he always has to leave for weeks at a time. Jenna receives a letter from him stating that he plans he to take her to court to get full custody of the kids, classifies her as an unfit mother as he is the only bringing in income. The judge sides with him and he moves across the city from Jenna, she currently has no visitation rights.

If he's the only one bringing in income and he's filing for divorce, he's got a massive, losing battle ahead of him both for custody and - frankly - half of his assets. She'll be getting some rather impressive alimony and, in all likelihood, keeping custody of the children. For a mother to be declared unfit (especially to the point where she's refused visits) some very serious stuff needs to be happening; maybe Jenna's a recovering heroine addict and John leverages that against her. Maybe John hid her parole letters from her so she missed some appointments and she's in hot water for that; build a case up for John to get the kids and for the player to side with Jenna. Were I you, I'd (legit) find a family friend who's a divorce lawyer (or a student of that subset of law) and I'd talk to them about this at great length to see how you can make it really ring true. The more accurate, sensible details you can provide, the more believable this part of your game will be.

 

Additionally, you really want to flesh out where this animosity between John and Jenna is coming from. One path you might choose could be, for instance, that John has been cheating on her and he's subconsciously racked with guilt but he's trying to convince himself he's in the right...or maybe he's actually in the right (i.e. maybe Jenna really is unfit) but that's a tricky sell. If it's obvious at the start that Jenna is unfit and a big jerk that shouldn't have custody of her children, then that's a hard sell for a protagonist. You could (maybe) build a good case for her early (that she's a great mom) then slowly  let the idea settle in (through flashbacks, for instance) that she's actually a very bad mother and she's got a LOT of regret pent up over that. She and John clearly have a lot of built up feelings (and some extreme denial) built up in a case like this, but it gives you time to build her up as an anti-hero trying to make things right...and then her struggles against "this monster threat" is suddenly a metaphor for her struggling within: her efforts to not just "save her children from this monster threat" but to save her relationship with her children (and possibly her husband). If you find a way to get an audience, no matter how small, to cheer for an ex-heroine addict failure of a mom having an epiphany, stopping the zombies, and finding self respect, new found strength, and redemption, you will have a big winner of a story here.

 

You could tone the whole relationship schism thing down a HUGE notch and drop the ideas of divorce and custody; just have John "take the kids to his parents house to give Jenna time to think" which would necessitate a pretty vehement argument and probably the presence of John's parents there to back him up on so serious and awkward a thing. That makes the hope at a redeeming ending more tangible for the player early on and eschews the difficult legal trivialities while still affording you plenty of avenues for huge emotional motivations.

Finally, have you played I Am Alive? It's pretty cheap on Steam (and a frequent Steam Sale candidate) and your design has quite a bit in common with it. You'll want to check it out and see what worked for them and what didn't.


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#4 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

Some things while reading the doc. You posted a long document, so I hope you have no objections to a long reply. I tried to space it out for ease of reading:

  • There's a lot of mentions about this guy "West", but I don't see him as a character. Am I missing something, or are you missing that character from the list of characters? Or maybe that's intentional - but this is a GDD, you're supposed to describe more or less everything.

 

  • For a game which you describe as being survival horror, and early on you denounce (in a way) the newer survivor games that have turned into just action - you sure have a lot of guns and talk about eliminating the enemies a lot. A really truly 'helpless' survivor horror game is something like Amnesia: The Dark Descent - which actually gives no means of the player to defend themselves.

 

  • I've also taken some shooting lessons - and let me tell you, the first time holding a gun and firing it, your hands go all numb, and the kick will hurt you pretty badly. It takes practice to be able to have any sort of efficiency with any weapon, even at close range. For Jenna, somoene who you say is untrained, to be able to realistically use an assault rifle and a sniper rifle seems kind of... unrealistic. Not to mention, I'm a rather big guy, 6'4", 270lbs, and the kick on these hurt me. For someone with a smaller frame, firing more than a few shots becomes impossible without proper training to handle recoil. The pistol is probably the most realistic to be used, though even firing a pistol without training will result in very inaccurate shots.

 

  • More to the point though, when you mentioned the quote on the first page( "player character is underpowered and vulnerable" ) I imagined a game without any weapons. Perhaps using your wits to escape the monsters, but certainly not using "weapons and melee if and when needed to defend herself"

 

  • Saying "Every location will be fully detailed" sounds like a big task. Perhaps describing what exactly will be detailed - i.e. will all buildings have interiors? What objects will be interact-able with? Will there be free-form physics, or will objects be mostly stationary?

 

  • Android City - "it keeps a generic feel" - that is very vague and doesn't make me excited to visit the city at all. Is it heavily populated, large skyscrapers, surrounded by urban sprawl? Is it heavily industry based? Does it have the dark, Gothic architecture, gloomy feel, say like Gotham city (don't use that to describe, I'm just giving example), or is it a clean modern city with newer buildings like Metropolis? (again, only example)

 

  • Your note about "the potential of a leak" about the middle east location - I hope that's only for the version you put on here. I don't think gaming studios will be wanting to read something like that.

 

  • You mention a Harrier jet - but I'm not clear - will this be player controllable or will it be a cutscene only transportation? also, if it is player controllable, from a game realism point of view, I'd like to point out that flying a jet of any type is next to impossible unless you've had near a decade of training - so it seems unlikely that Jenna will be able to fly it. A Harrier jet also does not seem fitting for a 'survivor' type horror game, but that may be just me.

 

  • Regarding the story, I think thade made some very good points in his post above.

 

  • The health mechanics have sort of vague descriptions. For example, what effects do lingering scratches have on the player? Infections? Does it cause some in-game effect (like lowered health?). Same goes for the severe wounds and broken bones - what in-game effect do these conditions have? Is she forced to crawl with broken legs? Are the severe wounds a major problem? I think you need to describe this in far more detail.

 

  • Weapons and Monster damage: "The closer Jenna is to the monster the more damage it causes" - so enemies cause damage by proximity? What's "close enough" to cause damage? What's a safe distance? Or are you simply talking about monster melee attacks? 

 

  • Same goes for some of the other things, like "When Jenna is frightened she becomes very agile" - what effect exactly does that give? Faster running? Bigger jumps?

 

  • Other things: you might want to re-read your document and check grammatical errors. As someone mentioned, especially if submitting to a big company like Activision, they expect a very professional document. Also consider renaming generic section titles like "World Feature 1" to the actual feature of the world, and removing things that serve no purpose, like the Single Player Detail 1 heading that has nothing under it. (I realize that's from a template, because I too have seen that indie gdd template smile.png )

Ok, up to this point, feel free to ignore what I have said. However, please do not ignore this:

Referring to "When Jenna is captured by West and raped":

Rape is a very serious matter in the real world, and is an incredibly serious subject even if used in fiction. I don't know if you're aware of the somewhat recent Tomb Raider 2012 rape controversy. It's not the only one by far, but a more recent example.

You should not write in a plot point like that lightly, or use it a cheap ways to create controversy. Even if you don't have such intentions, it is incredibly difficult to handle the subject properly, and will more often than not result in 'rape' being used a plot device. I don't personally know your abilities, but my guess is that you will most likely not be able to handle the subject properly, so please consider changing that plot point.

 

That's my two cents anyway.



#5 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Thank you guys. For the first post. That was a simple typo. I really haven't had time to go over it.

Second post, yeah I figured the use of so many weapons would take away the survival feel I'll limit it to a hand gun and sniper. As for the rape, its not just rape randomly. She is being searched by West for a locket. I do remember the TR situation. I'm going to work on a better back story and grammar errors should be ready to look again by tomorrow. I got so focused on horror I forgot the meaning of survival.

#6 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

As for the rape, its not just rape randomly. She is being searched by West for a locket. I do remember the TR situation. I'm going to work on a better back story and grammar errors should be ready to look again by tomorrow.

This is both an oxymoron and a huge, huge mistake for your story.

First off, the easy part. If West is searching her for an object and then decides to violently violate her sexually just because it's convenient at the time, that is rather incidental (or, as you say, "random"). It's either the point of his encounter with her or not.

Milcho's comments on it (and that article about Tomb Raider) are what you need to keep in mind. Honestly, cut that scene out; cut it entirely. Do not make the player watch the protagonist go through that. Do not take such a grave, horrible issue so lightly. It is not a plot device and it's best left out. The reasons are innumerable.

 

There's really no reason for it. If the story is about her "tangling with inner and outer demons" to "reunite with her children and maybe husband" then "also getting sexually assaulted by the antagonist" is (to put it very, very, very mildly) excessive. You could instead re-write this scene and use it to boost your story and put power in the protagonist's (and player's) hands. Consider this instead:

 

West wants the locket and he's a big, fit guy so he easily overpowers her; now, the old Jenna didn't believe in herself, but after having managed to sneak by or even dispatch some number of horrible monsters (maybe in some visceral melee) she's no longer that old Jenna. Jenna manages to wriggle free (maybe hit him in the eye, throat, or something) then arm herself and take power in the scene, leading to a dialog. Or if you need West to get the locket (and that is truly his goal) then she can just throw the locket into a pit or a vent or some other place that says "You're Going To Have To Go Through a Whole Level To Get The Locket". Then she can race West for the locket and escape, or kill him, or reason with him, or whatever.

 

Do not violate the player. Just don't. <3


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#7 Aeramor   Members   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

Thade and Milcho covered most of the things I would have brought up. But a solid re-read is highly recommended; grammer/spelling errors abound.

 

I did however want to reiterate on the rape point. This is not a subject to be taken lightly. While I understand its importance to your plot (jenna becoming pregnant by West's (who I assume is "Scott") baby) it is still just a bad idea. 

 

Just one other point I should make real fast: Do NOT put your personal email on anything that sells more than 5 copies. Putting your personal email even on a support website is not only unprofessional but something I really just cannot recommend (mostly for your sanity's sake).


Edited by Aeramor, 04 February 2013 - 06:19 PM.

-Aeramor

CTO at Conjecture, Inc.


#8 Rybo5001   Members   -  Reputation: 490

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:19 PM

I mailed it to myself and got it today so that's why I am posting it. Not saying my idea is best, but people will steal when they can.



Just so you know, this means nothing. Mailing something to yourself does not prove anything, it's kind of a "legal urban myth" to believe it does.

#9 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:24 PM

I'll rewrite the rape scene. Try not to make it known to the player. But I cant scrap it. The baby plays a keyrole at the end. I
the thing is though for the assault is she has been delaying all his plans. Not to mention she is chained up. I can upload the story if you want

#10 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

Is this game already in production, or is this a proposal GDD?

production

#11 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:39 PM

I mailed it to myself and got it today so that's why I am posting it. Not saying my idea is best, but people will steal when they can.


Just so you know, this means nothing. Mailing something to yourself does not prove anything, it's kind of a "legal urban myth" to believe it does.
it will work as a legal stabding. S. King did it. So will i

#12 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16027

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 06:59 PM

If you have details like this in a GDD, they need to be backed up with descriptions of two things:
  • What the intended gameplay effect of each number/etc. is - why does this weapon work this way, versus that one? Why three mags instead of five or two? And so on. Anything with specific numbers or details needs justification from a design standpoint.
  • All alternatives you have explored - if you have a 3 in your doc, you should explain what testing you have done with 2, or 7, instead; explain why those alternatives do (or do not) reach the design goals as covered above. If you cannot do this, you have not designed a game - you have written an arbitrary drama. Do not fake this, either. Actually implement design changes and see how they play.
A GDD should not have solid numbers in it unless you are already done polishing that area of the game. From the discussion here it sounds like you've got a lot of premature decisions made and no explanation of them. As a designer reading your doc, this strikes me as very risky. I should be able to look at any design decision in the doc and understand exactly what motivated it and why it is optimal for your purposes.

#13 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

Ill be working on that. I'll ask myself ecer question I can and answer it. Again thank you.

#14 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

I'll rewrite the rape scene. Try not to make it known to the player. But I cant scrap it. The baby plays a keyrole at the end. I
the thing is though for the assault is she has been delaying all his plans. Not to mention she is chained up. I can upload the story if you want

That's really still falling into the same trap. I strongly recommend you research the topic far more thoroughly and/or drop it altogether. Start by reading that Tomb Raider article linked above. Notice how much heat that AAA game - backed by a big publisher - is taking for doing the same thing in their game. And they're not even touching pregnancy, which is its own extremely serious issue in sci fi/fantasy fiction (which is often handled incorrectly). To be perfectly frank, the only reason the Tomb Raider team got that atrocity through the publisher is that they're an established team with an established IP.

 

It really swings far, far afield from your hook: a down-and-out mom trying to reunite with her kids in the middle of a zombie apocalypse has a lot of potential for deep character development and exploration: it has a lot of potential as a plot point in its own right.


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#15 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

 

I mailed it to myself and got it today so that's why I am posting it. Not saying my idea is best, but people will steal when they can.


Just so you know, this means nothing. Mailing something to yourself does not prove anything, it's kind of a "legal urban myth" to believe it does.
it will work as a legal stabding. S. King did it. So will i

 

It doesn't work. Go and google "does mailing yourself something copyright" and see the landslide of explanations as to why it doesn't work. sad.png

 

Also, your fears are unfounded. Read this Lost Garden article to assuage your fears. smile.png


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#16 Jirachex   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:28 PM

The game looks really good but I would never write a 21 page story... Usually to come up with games I make a simple prototype that is fun and playable. Have you started doing anything else except the story? You seem to have went into a lot of detail for a game that doesn't exist yet.

 

- Jirachex



#17 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

The game looks really good but I would never write a 21 page story... Usually to come up with games I make a simple prototype that is fun and playable. Have you started doing anything else except the story? You seem to have went into a lot of detail for a game that doesn't exist yet.

 

- Jirachex

yeah i started working on the engine with a programmer and and a level designer as well as an artist.



#18 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:29 PM

I uploaded the story. Not saying I disagree with any of your views as they are all very helpful. But you seem to think I don't have a reason for why that is in the game.

 

So i uploaded the story in the first post....



#19 Havsmonstret   Members   -  Reputation: 464

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

I uploaded the story. Not saying I disagree with any of your views as they are all very helpful. But you seem to think I don't have a reason for why that is in the game.

 

So i uploaded the story in the first post....

 

I don't know if it's just Word 2013 screwing it up but you should really look into paragraphs. Everything is just a single line of text.



#20 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:36 PM

But you seem to think I don't have a reason for why that is in the game.

Respectfully, that is not my assumption. What I'm saying (and, as I've read it, what others here are also saying) is that you could have the most amazing justification for it ever and you should still not put it in your game. It's not appropriate, it's a trauma trigger that could potentially really hurt people you don't know, and - if for no other reason - it will most certainly make it very hard for you to secure a deal with a publisher or even to go indie.

 

Pick another vector for the cure that does not dehumanize your protagonist by exploiting the sheer fact she has female reproductive parts. She's not a plot device or an incubator. She's a main character and she definitely deserves better.


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/





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