Everyone who has worked in a game company has probably heard of or used a GDD. A Game Design Document (GDD) is the documented base of a game where we address all the details we need to make a game. It plays an important role in capturing what the game should be like after the development phase.
For a small team, a GDD might not be that important. But, for a larger team and a large game, the GDD plays a vital role. It eases the process of explaining the game to developers, designers and probable new members of the team that might join later.
The Importance of GDDs
Before making a GDD, we need to mentally prepare ourselves for the key points to be covered. Basically, it incorporates the basic aspect of the game. While doing that, we must remember to grasp as much as possible of the game's design in the GDD. Don't worry if the GDD is more extended than the original idea you came up with. It will only help the reader understand the game deeply, which is a good thing, and the GDD can be said to have achieved its purpose.
Essentials of a GDD
As we know, a GDD is a comprehensive document that outlines a video game's design and creation process. It contains in-depth information about various aspects contributing to the game's overall design, such as the concept, mechanics, story, art style, sound design, and more.
A standard GDD should cover the following topics.
This section describes the game's vision, theme, and overall concept. It briefly overviews the game's story, world, characters, and objectives.
The game's mechanics, such as the gameplay rules, player interactions, and controls, are described in this section.
Story and Narrative
The game's story, including its plot, characters, setting, dialogue, and player's role, is outlined in this section. It also explains how the story will be presented in the game.
The game's visual style, including the art direction, environment design, and character design, are described in this section. It also includes information on the colour palette, lighting, and other visual elements contributing to the game's overall appearance.
The sound design of the game, including music, sound effects, and voice-over work, is outlined in this section. It explains how the sound will contribute to the game's overall experience and enhance its story and mechanics.
The design of the game's levels, including the layout, challenges, objectives, and player progression, are described in this section.
The design of the game's user interface, including the menu systems, in-game display elements, and controls, is outlined in this section.
This section describes the technology used in the game, such as the game engine, programming languages, and tools.
This section outlines the timeline for the game's development, including milestones and deadlines.
Marketing and Distribution
The marketing and distribution plans for the game, including the target audience, pricing, and platforms, are described in this section.
The GDD should be updated and revised throughout the game's development process to ensure it meets the original design goals and stays on track. The document serves as a reference for the development team and stakeholders.
Benefits of Making a GDD
We now know what a GDD is and what it needs to contain. Let's talk about how it will benefit everyone associated.
It is a clear and concise reference for the development team and stakeholders, promoting a shared understanding and a unified approach to the project.
It aids in the planning and organization of the development process, including defining the timeline, setting milestones, and establishing deadlines.
It enables better collaboration between the various departments involved in game development, such as design, art, programming, and sound.
It streamlines the development process by providing clear guidance, reducing the likelihood of rework and increasing efficiency.
It ensures that the final product meets the original design goals and maintains consistent quality throughout.
Optimal Resource Management
It helps to effectively manage resources and budget by clarifying the scope of the project and the resources required.
It serves as a reference for decision-making, enabling the development team and stakeholders to make informed choices based on the original design goals.
It provides valuable information for marketing and distribution efforts, including identifying the target audience, determining price, and specifying the platforms for distribution.
a well-written game development document can significantly improve the success of a game development project by providing clear direction, fostering collaboration, and increasing efficiency.
Thank you for reading. If you document your GDDs in a specific manner, let us know by commenting below!