A Game Design Document means a lot to a game. In fact, it IS the game. Without it you can become lost in a big mess of ideas, random sketches, and designs that might all fit very well, in several separate games! So when you're writing a Game Design Document you've got to know it will hold up the integrity of your entire game. I've been learning that a lot lately. Broken Limits Media has been working for 2 years now. We know our first game project Cubicle Chimera wasn't a fantastic game, and we know it's because it was lacking in so many ways. I take it personally, because I was the one in charge of the Game Design Document and in making sure everyone understood it. The document was a mess! Trust me, I just looked before writing this post. It's still a mess!
So what should I do about our latest game, The Undead Castle's Game Design Document? I've been working on this Game Design Document for a long time. I took a class through the writing of this document. Listen, I wrote about 40 pages or so for the game project, the Undead Castle, and then I started the Intro Game Design course at my community college. I rewrote 80% of the Game Design Doc and added about 10 pages! The instructor didn't want to read my draft very much. She was... Overwhelmed...
We're hitting development of the Undead Castle pretty hard in this New Year of 2014! I'm stressing over the Game Design Document and tearing those 50 pages up! I've already written the game once, nay, twice! What more could I do you ask? Well that just it! That's the question I'm going to be asking myself throughout the entire life of development of the Undead Castle game. Game Design Documents are living things that need fresh air, love, and hugs every now and then. They need to be maintained and treated like the team pet or some such being. The Game Design Document for the Undead Castle has gone through birth, childhood, and now we're at the point of adolescence. It's ridiculous at the moment and it's giving me a hard time. But, I still love it. =D
The reason I say the Game Design Document is stressing me at the moment is due to the major changes we're making in the entire game. I'd like everyone who is reading this and interested in Game Design to realize that game projects will succeed if you let them breathe and grow. Don't cloud your mind so badly with the Big Dreams and Goals that you can't see your game suffocating and dying away. Your game may very well suck terribly and you have so much faith in it that you cannot realize the damage you're doing and the time you're wasting on the project. What if no one plays it at all because you've added features you think will take to the market, yet in reality they will sink to the bottom of the ocean and no one will care? That would be very unfortunate and that's why I've decided to completely rewrite our Game Design Document.
I'll explain how I changed the Game Design Document soon after this post, but let me know what you think and if you've ever made such a huge change in development like this. I'd like to know of your successes and failures. We can learn from one another.