What initially started as a small game project you thought would take a couple of weeks, has suddenly turned into months of development. Sound familiar? This is a common experience for many game developers. However, the solution is simple: a game design document (GDD).
What is a Game Design Document?
A GDD is a document that fully describes your game, outlining every aspect of your game. This includes everything from game mechanics to narrative elements, UI, Audio, and even your target audience. Your GDD can be referred to during development any time confusion arises regarding the game. This could be a specific mechanic or how a certain system should work for example. It can also be used to onboard new team members. You can even just check it when you need a refresher on how your systems should work.
The benefits of writing a GDD
The benefits of using a GDD are numerous. For example, a GDD can help you save an incredible amount of time, energy, and effort in the long run. It can also set your game up for success. In fact, many successful game developers swear by the use of a GDD. However, you might be thinking, “But I don’t want to waste time documenting, I just want to make games.” We get it, we all do. But trust us, once you’ve used this technique once, you’ll never go back.
Many developers are also looking for funding to ensure they have enough resources to actually complete their games. A GDD can help you describe your game and your development plans in a confident way to potential investors. You can also send them your GDD to describe your game in detail. Alternatively, you can also utilize the existing information in the document to quickly create a pitch deck. After which you can use the pitch deck to convince them of your concept and development process.
Defining your target audience, as well as your buyer persona, is another potentially important element of a GDD. By detailing who you’re attempting to reach with your game, you can ensure that your game feels cohesive overall and fits your target audience. This module is optional to include in your GDD (however, you certainly need to define it elsewhere if not) and you likely won’t go quite as in-depth as with a marketing plan, but it can be useful to define these things in advance to make sure your game fits your target audience.
“But I don’t know how to write one”
Don’t fret fellow game dev, I’m here to help. If you’re new to game development or don’t have experience writing GDDs, using a template is your best bet. Templates are designed to help you create a document that’s both comprehensive and easy to read. I’ve created my very own GDD template which you can grab at a discounted rate, as a thank you for reading my blog!
While many GDD templates are available online, they are often overcomplicated and cumbersome. My template is tailored to the indie game developer that’s still learning the ropes and wants something simple and easy to work with. You can easily just fill out the supplied information, and you’ll be left with a fully-fledged and functional GDD. If you’re an experienced game developer and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you might prefer to write your own GDD instead. This will give you more control over the document and allow you to tailor it to your specific needs.
In conclusion, a game design document is an essential tool for any game developer. It allows you to create scalable systems and write good code for your game’s systems off the bat. This helps you design a game that works immediately, instead of the inevitable back and forth. It also ensures that all team members are on the same page, leading to a more cohesive game. Moreover, it can be used to receive funding for the development of your game. While creating a GDD may take a little bit of time initially, it will ultimately save time, energy, and effort in the long run, setting your game up for success.
So, if you’re a game developer who wants to make the most out of your development time, I strongly recommend that you start using a game design document today whether you write your own or use my template. With the right GDD in hand, you’ll be able to turn your game idea into a successful and enjoyable game that players will love!
For a limited time, you can download my Game Design Document Template at a 20% discount: shorturl.at/jnrLP
Check out my video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8VAAPJ_Kqg
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