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Please help me identify my "unknown unknowns"

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Dear all,


First time poster here, and really glad to have found this community. A friend of mine and I are looking into creating an iOS game. Neither one of us has any graphics or technical skills or prior experience in software development, so we will be outsourcing the entire process from start to finish. We are presently working on a detailed game design document before soliciting bids from vendors, and are largely approaching this as an investment.


One issue that's giving me quite a bit of trouble is that drawing up a GDD can only take us so far - I'm sure there are some things that I wouldn't even think of that are quite necessary for a successful iOS game. For example, let's take analytics - all successful games run an analytics solution that tracks how users interact with the game and enables the developer to optimize revenue. However, analytics is not something that's readily apparent to the user - unless you do sufficient research, you wouldn't even know that an analytics solution exists! So, someone drawing up a GDD without such experience would omit it from the GDD - with the eventual result that the end product would be fundamentally crippled.


Now that I know about iOS back-end analytics, I can work them into the GDD and ensure that the developers produce it. However, I am worried about what are the other things out there that I wouldn't know about, that are not apparent to the user, and that are yet completely essential for the game?


Is there a place where I can learn more about such "unknown unknowns", or perhaps a kind soul could post some tips? I was thinking of hiring a consultant who can give their perspectives on these non-apparent best practices - would this be a good approach?


Looking forward to your guidance,



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It is a common way, at least for non-gameing software, to write down all your requirements and design and give it to a software studio . The people at the software studio will write down a (technical detailed) proposal with a price tag (most likely >100k for a small project). You then have to negotiate about all the requirements, the kind of development (you want to be part of an agile process) and additional costs (eg. change requests, maintainance, license costs etc.).


Therefor you dont really need knowledge about the unknown, but you need to know what you want. The game design should be clear, and the wish of what other features (account management, adverticing, analytics) should be written down as requirements. Maybe an up-front workshop or consulation (<10k) would help you to refine your ideas.


Though, this are my experiences in non-gaming software development, where this approach is quite common, I dont really know if this way is applicable to the gaming industry. It might be more difficulty and harder  to do (vision of final product != reality biggrin.png ). At least it is really expensive. sad.png


Thank you, Ashaman (RJ fan?), this is incredibly helpful! I'll focus on the design and trust the developers to advise me on any blind spots I may have missed.


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