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scatoogle

Design Doc Question

6 posts in this topic

Sorry if this is in the wrong spot, but

I am writing this design doc about a zombie survival game I wish to produce. However, I am at about 1,000 words and I am still writing the way I want the game to feel and how the player moves when walking, driving, and interacting with objects in game. How detailed is too detail? I don't want to box my staff in with too much detail but at the same time I don't want to have features that feel half done or a game that doesn't make you feel like you are actually in the game. I'm trying to leave it open enough to let them interpret it in a way that they leave a bit of them in the game but micro manage it so it is just right.

Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question but whenever I work in groups I always end up micromanaging and taking most of the responsibility. I realize this isn't how I should do long term projects.
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Depending on the complexity of the game 1000 words might be not much at all or way too much.

[quote name='scatoogle' timestamp='1336624266' post='4938877']
How detailed is too detail? I don't want to box my staff in with too much detail but at the same time I don't want to have features that feel half done or a game that doesn't make you feel like you are actually in the game
[/quote]

This does not just depend on the amount of words you put in there, but also on the structure of the document. I personally like it if a document is structured in a way that every developer sees right away which parts are the most important ones for that person. For instance a programmer doesn't care in the first place what kind of style of artwork you have in mind. Also "one pictures says more than 1000 words", trying to describe a sequence of actions with any possible alternative can be very hard in prose, but is quite easy doing a flow-chart. Even a very simple sketch with a pencil of how you Imaging stuff to look and feel can help your team to understand your ideas better.

[quote name='scatoogle' timestamp='1336624266' post='4938877']
I'm trying to leave it open enough to let them interpret it in a way that they leave a bit of them in the game but micro manage it so it is just right.
[/quote]
That's generally a good idea, but try to be very conscious about which part you leave open for interpretation, because it will probably not turn out exactly how you imagined it, but since you specified it as open, you might have to let it slide.

[quote]Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question but whenever I work in groups I always end up micromanaging and taking most of the responsibility.
[/quote]
You are the team-leader, everything your team does is your responsibility. That's how it works :) Try to give your team-members not just tasks, but communicate your goals and ideas as clear as possible, so they know what is expected of them.
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I don't think I've ever written a dd for a game before but I have on occasion written a spec for some other program feature. I know they can get incredibly detailed and include all sorts of things including administration stuff, further documentation, testing, and estimates among other things. But if I had any advice to give it'd be simply;

Provide your staff the information that they need to do what you what them to do.

When you have that information and presumably written in a document, sit down with them and go over it. Ask them if they need anything anything else to proceed or if they foresee any issues. If they have concerns, address them and repeat the process. If possible, get people started on what they can with what you've provided.
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[quote name='scatoogle' timestamp='1336684660' post='4939132']
How much should I discus with my staff?
[/quote]

You should have free and open discussion with them.
You called them "staff." Does that mean you are the one in charge (that you are the employer, or the project manager)?
I think the word "team" is much more conducive to good morale. Even if you are the one writing paychecks or giving orders.
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