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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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Guide To Designing A Pet Game Part END

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X. Finale: An overview of the game development process and how the design document is used during this process.

1. Revise - Theoretically you now have the first two parts of a game design document: a statement of purpose and a features list. Look them over for any inconsistencies or missing information and fix that if you can, or mark it (I use bright red text) as something that needs to be fixed when you can figure out how.

2. Prioritize - Look through your features list and separate it into Core features that you absolutely must have, and Non-Core features that you like but will not start to implement until the core features are done. You can also re-arrange topics within the features list if you think they are more logical or useful in a different order. For example, perhaps the GUI and game modes section should be near the beginning instead of near the end.

3. Format - Copy your features list and paste it into your document, so you now have two. Remove all but the headings from one. If any of the headings seem confusing, clarify them. Congrats you just made a table of contents. Depending on what kind of word processor or other program you are using to make your game design document, you can go through and make each table of contents entry hyperlink to the appropriate feature.

4. Revise Appendices - Review your appendices - is there stray stuff in there that should be filed into appropriate places in the features list? Are there any things you know you'll need an appendix for that you don't yet have one for? (E.g. list of locations, list of NPCs, list of weapons, list of armor, list of enemy types, list of crafting resources, list of crafting recipes, list of quests...) Make more appendices for those. Rearrange the appendices until they seem to be in the most logical order.

5. Brainstorm - Go through one feature at a time, then each appendix; for each one, add any other useful and relevant information you can think of. The goal is to get the document as complete as you can make it without outside help, before looking for that outside help.

6. Research - If there is some feature you are interested in but don't have much experience with as a player, research what games have that feature. Read about how the feature works in those games, and consider playing one or a few to experience how the feature works. You may do this part first or multiple times if you like.

7. Copyedit - If you have really long or confusing sentences, improve them. If you have really long paragraphs or no paragraphs, cut up your wall of text into more manageable chunks. Spellcheck. Beware of homophones and use of apostrophes. Have you used consistent formatting for headings and lists? The goal of this step is to make your document as readable and polished as possible before showing it to others.

8. Seek Feedback - The kind of feedback you need will differ depending on what role you intend to play in your game's development, and how complete you've managed to get your design document. You may prefer to recruit a co-designer who will add a lot of their own thoughts to the design document before beginning development. Or you may want to hire a consultant, paying them to sign an NDA and give you all the suggestions they can come up with for your design without becoming a part of your team or having any rights to future income from the game. Or you may want to describe either the general outline of your game or a specific problematic area on a public forum to get volunteer feedback. Or you may want to begin development immediately, either by your own efforts or by recruiting or hiring a skilled programmer or artist.

9. Development - Whoever is the most experienced programmer involved with the project will need to use this design document to make a programming plan: Name the languages, libraries, engine, database, etc. to be used, break the core features into proposed code objects, and plan how those code objects will communicate with each other. Whoever is in charge of the story should make sure enough of it has been created to guide the artist(s) in producing art assets appropriate to the story. Whoever has the most experience with GUI design and/or art will need to set standards for the still images, animated sprites, and/or 3D models and textures the game requires, and use this design document to make checklists of all the art assets that need to be created. As pieces of the game are completed you can mark them as completed within the design document, for example by turning the text relevant to them blue or green.

Now, alas, you have reached the end of the help I can give you. If anyone thinks of a topic I have missed or forgotten here, please let me know in a comment. Otherwise, good luck and happy game designing! ^_^

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