Tom Sloper's Format for Game Design Specifications June 26, 1997 Game System (Hardware) The primary goals of a game design are to (1) excite and (2) inform the reader. First paragraph must excite the reader and make the reader want to read more of the first page. The first page must be interesting, concise, and informative, and must make the reader want to read the remaining pages. When the reader has finished reading the entire design, if the reader does not have a clear understanding of what you want the game to be, you have failed to communicate your vision of the game. Give a brief description of the game. I Have No Words & I Must Design This article was published in 1994 in Interactive Fantasy #2, a British roleplaying journal. A more recent version of the piece may be found here. There's a lotta different kinds of games out there. A helluva lot. Cart-based, computer, CD-ROM, network, arcade, PBM, PBEM, mass-market adult, wargames, card games, tabletop RPGs, LARPs, freeforms. But do these things have anything at all in common? Well, we can all do the latter: "Good game, Joe," you say, as you leap the net. As game designers, we need a way to analyze games, to try to understand them, and to understand what works and what makes them interesting. We need a critical language. What Is a Game, Anyhow? It's Not a Puzzle. In The Art of Computer Game Design, Chris Crawford contrasts what he call "games" with "puzzles." Some puzzles are obviously so; no one would call a crossword a "game." A puzzle is static. It's Not a Toy. According to Will Wright, his Sim City is not a game at all, but a toy. Just so Sim City. It's Not a Story.
Game Design Concepts The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 2: Documentation Guidelines for the Functional and Technical Specifications The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 2: Documentation Guidelines for the Functional and Technical Specifications Editor's note: Part 1 of this article was published on 10.19.99. Did you ever look at one of those huge design documents that barely fit into a four-inch thick, three-ring binder? This article is part two of a two part series that provides guidelines that when followed will ensure that your design documents will be pertinent and to the point. Functional vs Technical Specifications Traditionally in the game industry, there was only one spec. This problem was tackled as more and more seasoned programmers and managers of business software development moved into games. Therefore, the technical staff waited until the functional specification was approved and signed-off before starting on the technical specification. Many companies still refer to the functional specification as the "design document" and yet also produce a technical specification.
Flark Design » Blog Archive » Stop Calling Them Design Docs - Knowing the game — by Mike Birkhead (this is a reworking, and expansion of a comment on an earlier AltDev article.) And start calling them Design Tools. Docs get appended, while Tools are put aside as needs change. A game designers job goes through three major periods: figuring out what the hell you are making, getting the team on board with the initial idea, and then managing the vision as the game is redesigned (like, a lot – a LOT a lot); similarly, your documentation, as the project goes through these stages, serves three purposes: extrapolation, communication, and collation. Extrapolation Filling the gaps in your big picture vision First comes the pitch document (or the bitch document as I like to call it, because it’s a bitch to write). You will discover them very quickly, when you attempt to write down the big picture, as the simple act of just writing it down not only visualizes these tiny systems you forget, but also forces you to deal with them. Communication Helping you communicate the vision to yourself and others
Features - Building the Foundation of a Social Future To say that social games are booming is an understatement. After having been in existence for only a scant few years, games on social networks like Facebook and MySpace are gaining users explosively. There are now over 200 million monthly users playing the top 10 Facebook games alone -- up by 50 million from August to September. Investors have certainly taken notice and, even in the depths of a recession, startups have been popping up left and right. With competition comes conflict and social gaming has been no exception -- already the space is a mire of me-too clones and lawsuits, with companies so busy looking over the shoulders of their neighbors that they've lost sight of the bigger picture. Rather than dashing headlong into this new space, throwing money, resources and litigation blithely and blindly, it may behoove us to pause for a moment and consider: just what is a social game? The term "social" is perhaps not very descriptive. 1. 2. 3. FarmVille Direct -- the request
Game Design 101: The Design Doc In the early days of game development when teams were based on only a few individuals, there really wasn't any need for what's commonly referred to today as a design document. With only a few people working on the development of the game, the need for creating a document that defined in an easy-to-read and detailed fashion wasn't all that important because the individuals working on the game were always communicating and often already had their hands in every single stage of development, including coming up with the concept and design of the game. Nowadays with teams working on the development of games in the hundreds, the need of creating a design document that helps communicate the vision and direction of the game to every single member of the team, such as the programmers, producers, artists, musicians, marketers, and testers, has grown exponentially. Nevertheless, here's a good basic rundown of the items that should be included in a basic design document. Revision History Storyline
Effectively Organize Your Game’s Development With a Game Design Document Have you ever dived right in to developing a game, but found yourself having to constantly change aspects of the design or the gameplay due to a lack of planning? You should consider using a game design document: a guiding vision of the game as a whole, pulling together ideas and plans for the design, development, and business sides of your game. Introduction To put it simply: we like to tell stories. Some true, some not so much. But the point is that we have been crafting tales for a very long time, and as time went by these tales began to evolve, becoming more complex, with richer details, with more and more fantastic backgrounds and appealing plots. And as the stories grew in complexity, so did the tools used in their making. Although video games were first just about getting the highest score possible when faced with a determined task, developers soon realized the endless possibilities laying ahead of them. A GDD is a tool that helps merging the components of a game together. Art
Clarity by Design » DarrellHardy.com Sit down, son. It’s time we had a talk about where video games come from. You see, when a designer loves a game idea very much (or is paid a sufficient amount of money – that’s a talk for another time), he encapsulates that idea in what’s known a game design document, or GDD. The purpose of a GDD is to serve as a single, concrete reference for the game. The key to writing a good GDD is clarity. Ambiguity Never assume the reader knows what you’re talking about. Sure, when I wrote, “The player chooses the red monkey,” I knew I meant that the player selects the “Simian Gladiators” from the drop-down menu, then scrolls through the options until he finds the red monkey, selects it, and then clicks the button marked, “MONKEY FIGHT!” Define everything. Tequila You might think that drinking leads to clarity, but that’s just the booze talking, and it does not have your best interests at heart. Compound Audience Know your audience. The problem comes in when you have multiple audiences.
The Gamer Brain I just came across a really good wiki on gamification and I found the chart below very interesting. The wiki is called gamification.org and it talks about everything gaification related. According to Rob Benson the picture below shows the areas of the brains that become engaged through brain mechanics. It appears that different people enjoy various types of game design. In case you can not read the chart above here is a transcription of the descriptions of each reward centre: Conqueror (Defeat): Science: Some players are not satisfied with winning early – they want to struggle against adversity and fight tooth and nail for victory. What makes you tick? Looking forward to your thoughts.
Level 1: Intro to Game Balance « Game Balance Concepts Class Announcements I have to admit I was a little surprised to see that people were still signing up for the paid course after it started, but I suppose it’s common enough for people to join a class early in the term. However, to be fair to those who signed up well in advance, I’ll be closing signups this Sunday (July 10) at midnight EDT. So, if you haven’t signed up and still want in, make sure to click the Paypal link before then! Readings/Playings If you haven’t already, you should watch the intro video for this course first, before reading on. This Week’s Topic This week is probably going to start a bit slow for those of you who are experienced game designers (or those who are hoping to dive deep into the details). You can think of this week like a tutorial level. What is Game Balance? I would start by asking the question “what is game balance?” This immediately brings up the question: what if a game doesn’t have any numbers or math involved? How do you tell if a game is balanced?
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