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How are design documents created?

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Slateboard    213
Like, I've just been putting my ideas down whenever, but I was wondering if there were rules/standards to follow when making an actual design document.

I figure it's worth looking into now.

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Telastyn    3777
Different companies might have standard documents you should follow, but in general there's no specific rules for it. You need a document to describe a design. There's certain best practices to follow that people have found effective, but as long as you achieve that communication goal...whatever is fine.

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Tom Sloper    16040
Slate,
There are numerous templates out there you can try out. On my own site, I have links to several other templates I've found.
Start with these:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/specs.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson13.htm
And do look for the additional links at the bottom of those.

By the way, this discussion is moved to Game Design.

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Net-Ninja    216
One thing I recommend to the designers I know is to write two parts, one describing the atmosphere and one describing the mechanics. Artists need to know what the atmosphere is like and programmers need to know what the mechanics are.

Remember who you are writing for. A design document is something that you work against when developing. Don't confuse it with a game concept document.

Concept document - Pitching and selling the idea
Design document - To be used as reference during development.

This is my impression on how it works anyways.

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Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
Original post by Net-Ninja
One thing I recommend to the designers I know is to write two parts, one describing the atmosphere and one describing the mechanics. Artists need to know what the atmosphere is like and programmers need to know what the mechanics are.

Artists need to know MUCH MORE than just the atmosphere (the tone and style). They also need to know the characters, the environments, the objects, the UI, the title. Programmers need to know MUCH MORE than just the mechanics (the gameplay). They also need to know the onscreen UI, the controls, the AI.
And of course if you just make a GDD and an Art Design, you have not touched upon the audio or the story.
That said, it would still be a good exercise to write an atmosphere design and a mechanics design. It just wouldn't be a complete game design.

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ambershee    532
I usually break my documents down into two discrete halves. An introductory section covers the fundamentals of the game's concepts and some additional personal notes from the designer (myself, and whoever else is involved). The first 'half' of the document outlines the background behind the game itself, key concepts in the game mechanics and aesthetics. The second (much larger) 'half' of the document outlines the specifics and technical details behind the aforementioned mechanics and aesthetics.

Notably, I don't write it all at once. I add each critical section in turn throughout the development process, especially in the second half of the document, when that part is about to become relevant (this allows me to adapt to ever-changing needs of the project).

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