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Blue Lion

Appropriate length of GDD?

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How long should the GENERAL INFORMATION section of my GDD be? I was confused when Tom Sloperama said to do an overview in the first paragraph, and then overview in more detail. How in-depth should this second overview be?

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His name is Tom Sloper, his website is Sloperama.

It is hard to say outside of the context of when / where he said it. I can only assume he was talking about an overview of how the game is played / precieved by the player as compared to just a one paragraph overview about the game.

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I recommend 3 design documents -
1 to give an overview and sell the idea (will be shown to potential team members, the public, employers, publishers), 1 to describe the demo in detail (for the team), 1 to describe the full game in detail (for the team, but also for employers/ publishers to see its thought through).

Unfortunately this example isn't the best, as a little too much info has crept in. But its a decent example of the overview design document just without specific details about the units, objects, physics and commands...
petwars overview design doc

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Quote:
Original post by Blue Lion
How in-depth should this second overview be?


A few pages? Generally the first overview is a simple "what is this game" sort of statement. The second overview is more "what will make this game what it is". If you read any academic paper, you'll see they start with a short abstract, and then a longer introduction, and that's the sort of thing you may want to think about.



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Quote:
Original post by Blue Lion
How long should the GENERAL INFORMATION section of my GDD be? I was confused when Tom Sloperama said to do an overview in the first paragraph, and then overview in more detail. How in-depth should this second overview be?

I suggest you read also FAQ 13, then go back to FAQ 2 and maybe it'll make more sense the 2nd time you read it.
Tomama Sloperamaama

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Okay, I think I understand that different genres call for different formats now. The overview should be like an introductory paragraph of your essay, stating all the contents and where you are headed in your essay, am I correct? I was having trouble trying to get mine to fit. Similar to attempting to fit a ball-bearing into a USB slot.

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After reading many things (like the Tom Sloper site, and the book made by Richard House III that I forgot the name), and doing some projects, and seeing examples, I reached this conslusion:

If you can not make your idea fit on the first overview section, or your idea is not clear to yourself (in that case, you must write the idea, and go solving the problems, until you can make it fit), or your idea suck (I mean, it is way toooooooo complex to be made in a game that someoen can play, like mixing The Sims, Doom, Quake, Chrono Trigger, Pong, Gabriel Knight, Full Throttle, Earth Orbit Stations, Millenium: Return to Earth, Master of Orion and Romancing Saga 3 in a single game, oh yeah, you can put that Koei games on the list too...), or sometimes the most possible case: you do not know how to write or how to express what you want to people outside your head.

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Original post by SpeederIf you can not make your idea fit on the first overview section, or your idea is not clear to yourself (in that case, you must write the idea, and go solving the problems, until you can make it fit), or your idea suck (I mean, it is way toooooooo complex to be made in a game that someoen can play, like mixing The Sims, Doom, Quake, Chrono Trigger, Pong, Gabriel Knight, Full Throttle, Earth Orbit Stations, Millenium: Return to Earth, Master of Orion and Romancing Saga 3 in a single game, oh yeah, you can put that Koei games on the list too...), or sometimes the most possible case: you do not know how to write or how to express what you want to people outside your head.

Or the game is just complex. In my spare time for 5 years I've been designing engines for an MMORPGRTS(2D Top down shooter). I haven't put much work in the DD because the technology is more important at this point to me. It might be because I'm a hobby programmer and the idea of writing a DD without actually working on the game sounds ridiculous, but even if you can fit the overview in a paragraph it still doesn't mean it's feasible.

It's funny that this is about the length of a design document. My design document even after 5 years of work is still only 20 pages of quick bullets in sections. But then you look at something like a technical document and it's so much longer. It's amazing for some simple concepts that might only take a few lines to say on a GDD how much algorithmic work it takes.

I wrote two words in my DD that simply stated, "dynamic entities" followed by features/examples and the TD for those two words is at around 12 core concepts spanning binders. (Albeit it's for an mmo, so the technology is going to be up there in complexity).

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