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Design Document Question

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What exactly should go into a design doc and how detailed should the writing be? Everytime when I write up the technical description of a game, a lot of the stuff map directly to program code. So I get the feeling that what I''m doing is overkill since I''m better off spending the time writing it directly as code anyway. I would appreciate some suggestions, esp from someone with the relevant experience in this area.

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Write out what the program is suppose to do, now how it does it. If the documents are for your own use, make them as detailed as you want. When you''re writting documents, you''ll think of things you might not of thought of right away. These things might affect the way your program works or is structured.

I''d make them almost as detailed as a flow chart. When you have docs like that, the coding will just be "filling in the blanks".

For instance: I recently wrote a quick program but I didn''t have very good documentation, just some notes. Later I wanted to add the ability to save out its data elements to a file. My program was using a lot of pointers and I didn''t have anyway to mark an element as unique, only by it''s memory address. Of course I couldn''t save that to disk so I had to change the structure of my program to include a unique ID on each element. I also had to add code to setup this ID when an element was created (which could be done in several different ways, for each of the 7 types of data I''m using)

E:cb woof!

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The easy answer for this is EVERYTHING!!! And it true with some modifications. I would say everything execpt code, it's all about what the game offers, what the player can do, what scenes, backgrounds, music will be there. Make it as detailed as you wish, but a good thing is to describe everything, if thing can be moved, describe it.

Splitting it up in diffrent sections is a good thing.
* The basic idea
* The story of it all, background story
* What is it the player should do to win
* The design, interface etc
* NPCs and dialogs

I might have fogotten something, but most of it should be there.

Edited by - Mr K on 2/18/00 4:37:46 AM

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