While Parker is wasting away his time I entered the workforce. Last month I started a job at a recently-founded game design studio in Berlin.
Currently, my main job is writing the design document. A design document is basically communicating the overall vision of a game to each and every team member. It’s goal is to describe the overall concept of the game, target audience, gameplay, interfaces, controls, characters, levels, media assets, etc. In short, everything the team needs to know about the design of the game.
It gives programmers an idea of what modules are going to be used, artists know how interfaces will look like and so on. Basically, as Tracy Fullerton puts it in “Game Design Workshop“, a “good design document is like sound blueprints for a building. Everyone on the team can refer to and add comments while they do their separate tasks and understand how their work fits into the game as a whole.”
The documents ensures that everyone is directing their efforts towards a common goal and not interpreting what they know about the tittle in their own unique ways.
Accordingly, I have to communicate with the whole team. As we’re still preparing the prototype, I mainly talk to the main game designer (my boss and the founder of the studio), the artist responsible for the characters and visual design of the game world and the author of the game’s story. This is to agree on the fundamentals of the title.
At the same time, this document will also be the basis of a pitch to the owner of the platform we are planing to release the game on and publishers. As such it also needs to be concise and very visual, containing concept art, flowcharts etc.
The document will end up having between 50 – 100 pages, and it may also include subsections or sub-documents on certain aspects of the game which need a more detailed explanation. There’s still a way to go but the job is actually quite fun.
One of the reasons this is so fun because although this document is traditionally written by the main game designer, this work was delegated to me. This means that I also have some input in regard to the game’s design. Yesterday, for example, I spent most of my day trying to think of possible achievements and how they would influence the game play. I loved it.
Of course I’m quite curious to see how the final product will develop. I can’t wait to play the prototype!
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