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With GDD or without GDD?


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#1 Vidar son of Odin   Members   -  Reputation: 1322

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

Hi there,

 

I am going to make a platformer game in c++ and it will be my first major project. My question is: "Does it worth making a game design document for a indie game as I am the programmer, the artist and musician all at once?  


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"Don't gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver or gold." - Bob Marley

 


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#2 Lactose!   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 3365

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:07 AM

If the project is so large you cannot easily have every bit of information in your head, I would definitely recommend writing it down. Also, consider that small games usually have short design documents, so it wouldn't take too long to write something.

How formal and detailed it ends up is basically up to you.

 

On larger projects, writing down your ideas and getting it all planned out before actual production starts (so-called pre-production) can save you a ton of time and problems down the road.

 

Additionally, you might also end up in a situation where you want to get input or feedback on something, or even have some help creating e.g. assets or levels.

If you have to communicate to someone about any part of the game, having a GDD means you might be able to just show them the relevant portion of the document, etc.



#3 exOfde   Members   -  Reputation: 809

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:08 AM

The simple answer is yes. The reason why yes is simple to keep the overview about your project and to have plan of what you actually want.
It makes it simpler to achieve what you want because while writing your document you have to question yourself of what you need and how you could achieve this.

The process of thinking and then writing it down, helps to know.

#4 Vidar son of Odin   Members   -  Reputation: 1322

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

The simple answer is yes. The reason why yes is simple to keep the overview about your project and to have plan of what you actually want.
It makes it simpler to achieve what you want because while writing your document you have to question yourself of what you need and how you could achieve this.

The process of thinking and then writing it down, helps to know.

 

 

If the project is so large you cannot easily have every bit of information in your head, I would definitely recommend writing it down. Also, consider that small games usually have short design documents, so it wouldn't take too long to write something.

How formal and detailed it ends up is basically up to you.

 

On larger projects, writing down your ideas and getting it all planned out before actual production starts (so-called pre-production) can save you a ton of time and problems down the road.

 

Additionally, you might also end up in a situation where you want to get input or feedback on something, or even have some help creating e.g. assets or levels.

If you have to communicate to someone about any part of the game, having a GDD means you might be able to just show them the relevant portion of the document, etc.

 

Thank you guys :) So I will start writing it. I am so lazy........ph34r.png


Check out my portfolio : https://bratie.wordpress.com

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver or gold." - Bob Marley

 


#5 fir   Members   -  Reputation: -460

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:45 AM

i think not writing that counts but thinking about your game design (can be very hard work) what you can sum up by writing the summary



#6 dejaime   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4027

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:18 PM

It will also help you when you need to cut out any features or assets from your game; due to lack of time or maybe you just lost interest on the project but want to finish it anyway.



#7 burtybob   Members   -  Reputation: 272

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 04:46 AM

Personally a GDD should always be written so that you are in the practice of writing them so when you are doing a larger project you will have a good base and experience and then you should find writing the GDD for a larger project a bit easier.



#8 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18556

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 05:32 AM

I think it's always useful to have at least some short design document -- at least a brief statement of the general idea, perhaps with something like a mission statement you can check to make sure you're still on track -- but you might consider design logs as an alternative to or to supplement a lengthier design document. smile.png



#9 Vidar son of Odin   Members   -  Reputation: 1322

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 06:39 AM

Its not a huge game, just a small platformer :) The GDD its almost finished. Thank you guys.


Check out my portfolio : https://bratie.wordpress.com

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver or gold." - Bob Marley

 


#10 Andrew Perrin   Members   -  Reputation: 179

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:20 PM

I found this helpful

http://stonetronix.com/gdc-2010/OnePageDesigns.ppt

 

I tend to make a bunch of one page designs for various features of a project rather than one giant text-heavy GDD, and I make them as I develop, and not before.

That way I don't get bogged down into too much planning that's just going to end up changing anyway.

(Of course, I make a page or two for the overview at the start to keep me focused on a main theme)



#11 Vidar son of Odin   Members   -  Reputation: 1322

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 09:14 AM

I found this helpful

http://stonetronix.com/gdc-2010/OnePageDesigns.ppt

 

I tend to make a bunch of one page designs for various features of a project rather than one giant text-heavy GDD, and I make them as I develop, and not before.

That way I don't get bogged down into too much planning that's just going to end up changing anyway.

(Of course, I make a page or two for the overview at the start to keep me focused on a main theme)

Thank you.


Check out my portfolio : https://bratie.wordpress.com

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver or gold." - Bob Marley

 


#12 Stavros Dimou   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:15 AM

I think the answer depends on many factors. Here are some:

 

#1 Do you work alone ? One of the reasons GDDs are useful is so every person in a team knows exactly what it should be working on,so it doesn't end up making a different game.

 

#2 Do you have a good memory ? Well if the amount of information about the game is such that you can memorize everything,perhaps you might not need a GDD. At least it doesn't have to be so full of information as some templates seem to suggest. But because game development is something that can take much time,and because you might just forget something at some point,it would be a good idea to have a record with all your thoughts about the game written.

 

 

What I do is having a folder for each project,where there are usually many text files in it. Not all files are written at the same time. Usually there is only one file written before actual development starts,and that is usually only a list of features that together detail the concept of the game,its main experience,the 'core' features. What is the basic idea,the vision behind the game.After actual work has started more and more files are added gradually.Some files are dedicated in to explaining with details how each feature will work. Other files have to do with story writing. The folder ends up with files for time planning,technology,notes of various sizes and qualities of in-game world objects,etc.

In the end someone could take all the info of the individual files and concentrate them in one file,and with the appropriate formatting,make a typical GDD. But I find that opening wordpad and dirty-writing down notes individually is a more ideal workflow for me than opening a more advanced text editor and keeping all the info in a single file.






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