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Game Design Document, Scoping, Prototyping

Stefan Hendriks

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In the monthly progress post I figured I needed a Game Design Document (GDD) before working on extra features. It would be a waste of time working on features when I have no clearer picture where the game should evolve to.

 

The first thing I did was searching for online resources. I have found a bunch, and decided to share those on a page dedicated to Game Development Resources for other game developers.

 

While working on the GDD I noticed it takes quite a lot of time and it is easy to get lost into details for a long time.

 

Then, after a week or so, I came into contact with a guy named Richie and he had the tip that I had to scope my game into 5 minutes of gameplay.

 

So in 5 minutes, the player has to know:

  • what the game is about
  • the basic mechanics
  • if it is fun to play

 

With that I began to look at the GDD I made so far. I immediately noticed that I had way too much material for 5 minutes of gameplay. Obviously this is because a RTS game has several phases. It would be easy to discard the 5 minute thing, but I wanted to follow it though: what would be the essence, the end goal of the game?

 

Together with Dorus Verhoeckx, someone I work with together on our own products and dreams, I started stripping all stuff that might be ‘distracting’ from the main objective. This meant base building is minimized (2 buildings left). Resource gathering was cut – just get money from structures. Have only 1 unit type. Etc.

 

This was done on paper. A lot of stuff stripped and the core objective exposed. Then I started writing down what was left to do to get this into a working prototype:

IMG_8286-300x225.jpgPrototype, with todo’s on the right. Lots of the has been crossed, since I worked on them lately 🙂

 

 

So what is the essence? Domination in RTS games. Conquer specific structures, hold out long enough to score domination points. Resource gathering? I ditched that in favor of getting money for specific captured structures. (not all captured structures give you ‘domination points’ though). You play 5 rounds of 1 minute. After 5 rounds – the player with the most domination points wins!

 

Is it a good idea? Is it fun? What about all the other cool stuff I wanted in my RTS game?

 

Well lets first see to finish the prototype – I want to get it out before the end of the month. I’d love to hear how you guys think about this kind of game. And if you’re interested in testing out the prototype just let me know at stefan[at]indienamic.com. Then, after that I will decide if I miss stuff, want to re-add things and further iterate. My expectation is that there will be quite some iterations / prototypes / refinements before the final ‘game’ mechanics are there.


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