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Question on game design docs?

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I have been working on a game design document for about 2-3 weeks, mostly doing it as something to do that will spark my brain a little more than playing games (although when I need a break I still start a quick game). This design document has been difficult for me to put down since I started. Now that I actually think this idea is one of the best I have worked on, I have a question about the document. I am sort of copying the layout used in the Claw Design Document, & Chris Taylor''s Template. I am however modifying it here and there fit the game, adding a lot of new sections, and removing a couple. Basically what I am wondering is if these kind of layouts work for a document without the programming end of things in the document (I.E. Logic)? I currently have no skill what so ever in programming, but I do enjoy writing and have a number of great ideas. I would like to get this idea down as good as it can get before involving a team, so if logic is something that is essential in the document then I will have to wait until I am almost complete with everything else and then begin work on those.

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You shouldn''t have to worry about programming anything, although in certain situations a simple flow chart could be helpful. For most things you write the exact functionality. For example, instead of just saying:

If the player gets hit too many times, he dies.

Write:

The player has a total of 100 hit points. When a player is hit with a weapon, he slides back a few feet (space permitting) and takes x amount of damage as per weapon strength (see weapon listings.) If the players health is equal to or less than 0, the player dies and is respawned at the nearest spawning location.

No actual programming involved, but based on that spec the programmer can implement the damage system to your specifications, instead of having to wonder exactly how damage is handled.

I highly recommend that you learn some programming concepts. It''s not too difficult to learn the basics and it will be extremely helpful. Most teams (even amateur teams) don''t have guys who just write design docs. Learning some programming (even if it''s just for scripting) or doing art or level design are more valuable skills (not to say that design documents aren''t important.)

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I think it''s actually good if you leave Software Design out of the game doc. Unlike Software Engineering docs, Game Design docs have to be flexible because the game will undoubtably change during play testing and as new features become available - e.g. once you play the game it is decided that a new damage system should be incorperated to improve playability.

Software Eng docs can be more complete because the system design usually does not change as much from start to the end of the project (and can thus incorperate programming concepts) - unless you have a client who is a real pain in the ...

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Oh yeah, another reason why you should leave programming out is because a person who programs professionally will probably do a much better job at it than you would. Best describe what you want and leave the implementation to them.

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quote:
Original post by Impossible
You shouldn't have to worry about programming anything, although in certain situations a simple flow chart could be helpful. For most things you write the exact functionality. For example, instead of just saying:

If the player gets hit too many times, he dies.

Write:

The player has a total of 100 hit points. When a player is hit with a weapon, he slides back a few feet (space permitting) and takes x amount of damage as per weapon strength (see weapon listings.) If the players health is equal to or less than 0, the player dies and is respawned at the nearest spawning location.



O yes I was planning on writing details like that I have no problem going into extreme details. I would like to make this basically a complete reference to how the game will be done. How it will be done I am hoping would be up to someone else.

So who would be in charge of doing the software engineer docs? Lead programmer I am assuming, or does that usually fall on the hands of the game designer a well?



[edited by - ca3dral on January 30, 2003 7:26:18 PM]

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