What is a game design document?
I’m not a game designer, but I’ll try to explain the purpose of the design document as best as I can! At a high level, it is basically a requirements document for the game you are trying to build. However, the document should also outline the “story” of the game, as well as unique selling points and concept art. In theory, a team of developers could pick up the GDD and build a complete game from it. In reality, the GDD may be updated multiple times during the development phase for a variety of reasons. This could be due to a lack of funding, new technology available or maybe missed requirements.
Something you probably won’t find in a GDD is exact values for lower level details (e.g. how many experience points a character gets for training his character). It would significantly increase the length of the document without adding much value. During the development phase, the dev team can work on exact values with guidance from the game designer and product owner.
What is the current status of our GDD?
It’s done! It took a little longer than anticipated, but we felt it was better to take our time and get it right now. Some small game companies are probably guilty of starting development too soon before the architecture of the game is decided, which could lead to major problems down the line. I am really happy with the documents produced and zGames have added a lot of value to the discussions. They actually delivered more than I expected, so we have some pretty pictures to show you rather than a wall of text!
Note: The images and icons in the visuals below are just examples and being used as placeholders.