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How do you format your game design document?

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As a lone developer I like to play fast-and-loose with GDDs.  Since they are usually for my eyes only, I tend to include sketches, graph-paper layouts, and flow chart/design pattern illustrations a la Machinations (http://www.jorisdormans.nl/machinations/) for the specific game mechanisms.  I've been know to staple index cards to pages and include photos of paper prototypes, generally all jammed into a folder.

 

The real key here is that the user ("reader") of the GDD is me, so it only needs what I want in it.  If you are making a GDD to be used by a team, for potential publishers, or for artists/programmers/whoever, you'll need to tailor it for those readers.  Know your audience!

 

Before I sound too careless, I really believe good planning leads to good design.  The GDD is vital, but the format is not.

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I was looking at the GDDs as being a sort of record or formal documentation of the process of making a game for future reference.

But I guess they can be used as a simple guideline as well. Thanks for the tips.

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Ah, OK... I think I misunderstood.  I also keep a design notebook that accompanies my GDD.  In it I record what I work on by the day, problems I run into, solutions I may (or may not) find, and a written record of my thought process.  Maybe that is what you are thinking about?  Something that you can easily organize into a post-mortem when you have a finished product?

 

I go to B&N and buy up all the lined journals they have in the bargain bin.  Each game/design gets its own journal.  Also the act of writing on paper with a pen -- not at a computer -- lets me concentrate more on the task at hand.

 

Hope that helps!

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Ah, OK... I think I misunderstood.  I also keep a design notebook that accompanies my GDD. 

 

I did that once :)

Turns out there was no post-mortem at the end of the project, so I was glad I had my own notes. Definitely recommend it, if you can make time for it.

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Turns out there was no post-mortem at the end of the project, so I was glad I had my own notes. Definitely recommend it, if you can make time for it.

 

 

I really try to make time for non-coding/technical work in my design.  10 hours of unfocused work in Unity barely equals what I can map out with my design journal in 30 minutes.  If I get working with the tools before I have a plan I end up just playing with tools and accomplishing little.  I have made some fantastic looking environmental scenes, though.  I'm the Bob Ross of Unity.

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I really try to make time for non-coding/technical work in my design.  10 hours of unfocused work in Unity barely equals what I can map out with my design journal in 30 minutes. 

 

I generally do that on my android phone when I'm not in a spot where I can work on my projects. Can't afford to waste that precious spare time on my computer... wait... what AM I doing RIGHT NOW? :P

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Can't afford to waste that precious spare time on my computer... wait... what AM I doing RIGHT NOW? tongue.png

 

Me, too! wacko.png

 

I've been getting more serious with using Articy: Draft 2.  I've got to say that now that I've pinned down the way it works, I've been able to use it for everything from broad design to mapping out dialog trees.  I don't think it is for everyone, but it sure hits some sweet spots.

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