Every game development team must have a GDD to serve as a roadmap and guide for the development process. It is a best method to manage the game development team. In Visual Math Interactive, we have to produce GDD for every new game design. Here we share our experience on how we handle and manage the GDD.
- Step by step
When we first start the GDD, the concepts always come first. This is where our development team comes together and brainstorming ideas. Everyone in the team is encouraged to giving out ideas. The ideas can be crazy so that more awesome stuffs can be think of.
All of the ideas will then be draft on paper to serve as a roadmap so that everyone has the same clear vision. After the concept is decided, the designer is then responsible for construct the background and introduction to give it a shape. Special effect and sound can be decided in this stage to give spice and mood to the game play. It is not necessary to list every feature in detail in first draft because it is hard to have a vision of a real goal in the first run.
As the time goes on, the concept would be more refined and detailed. In the middle of development, discussions and prototype will help enhance the game play further, there is always the room for more new concept and idea but the initial documentation should be follow by all. The GDD should serve as the master checklist and the mission of GDD is done when the entire checklist is tick.
After the production, the GDD will be serving as the monument of the actual game. The document will be toss up in the air and the team will go for celebration upon completion of game. It can be used as portfolio or brag about it in front of other people if the game was a big success in market. J
- Readable and understandable
The GDD must be readable and understandable by all team. It is unwise to produce a document with plenty pages of words and expect everyone take the pain to read it. Therefore, the GDD must be having some text combine with visual aids such as picture of concept art. The text should be simple and clear for better understanding.
The designer cannot assume that every department of game development knows what to add in game. Therefore, the designer must list out every detail in paper clearly so that the team knows what to add and what shouldn’t.
In Visual Math we only use concept art for the better understanding of game design. The designer use simple draft to show out how the game will look like and using simple text to show the process of the game play.
- Allow change and able to adapt to different situation
GDD is a live document and it will change from time to time, sometimes it can even change in the final days before release.
Every team in Visual Math is talented and has their vision of their own. Therefore, the designer must willingly accept their new ideas and should encourage them to do so. This will help generate new and innovative ideas for the game play.
The unused concept doesn’t mean it will be thrown into the sea and let it sunken in the blue deep ocean. In fact, it will be saving for the future builds if the concept is great.
- Having design discussions
Even we have the GDD; it doesn’t mean that there is no more room for more discussion. Visual Math Interactive encourage team member to have discussion to produce an efficient and optimized game. It is important that everyone share the same vision or else an unexpected abomination will created unexpectedly and it will take more time to clean the mess.
- Able to visualize the game in mind
Before the design start the work, it is important that the designer can visualize the game in mind and play it out. It is very effective in brainstorming process. In visual math interactive, we have board game which is Machi Koro and The settler of Catan. These help the designer and the team to have some rich idea generate in mind during the game creation.
- Set the goal
While it is good to modified game for better aesthetics and stuff, it is equally important that the game goals should be fixed and also be suitable for target audiences. It is hard to predict the unpredictable, therefore, the designer need to practice to play through the game in mind and imagine the outcome before putting them on development.
- Make use of free online tools
As a small company, we don’t have the luxury to print out every copy of GDD and even the modified version and distributed it to every team member. We as a eco-friendly company, we use marvel app to produce a draft in a virtual devices. With that, everyone can visualize how it will actual look like in mobile devices.
Sometime, the ideas can be splashed out before bed during night or having morning breakfast before going to work. Therefore, we use tools such as Slack to communicate with each other during non-office hours.
In order for designer to have the design assets sync together, we use Dropbox for sharing files and also transport complete asset to the develop team.
Last but not least, all development team must have passion in game and enjoy the process of doing it. If the developer team itself does not like the game, how can the game are expected to be loved by all when it is distributed worldwide. Here end our experience sharing, have a good day. J