The Door Problem

22 Apr
April 22, 2014

AKA, how to explain what a job as a game designer entails.

The Door Problem.

Spot on. 😉

6 replies
  1. Daniel says:

    Hey Gareth hows it going? I took your advice and am making a game for myself. A Sci-fi Rpg, third-person shooter, akin to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    My question for today is: To Design document or not to design document, I have several Ideas in my head that I have written down, however I been reading dev forums and they say to write a GDD, What do you consider? Is it worth the virtual paper it’s written on or can I basically omit it.

  2. Daniel says:

    By the way I loved that article explaining the game dev job descriptions, I’ll print it out and hand it over to anybody who asks what I do for a living, lol! 🙂

  3. gareth says:

    I’d suggest a “Living Design Document”, at least until you have a fair amount of experience in game dev (even then I’d suggest it).

    Basically, build the document as you build up your game. Treat it as something that grows organically as you figure out the details of your game. Start off with no documentation, and just build a simple prototype of your core gameplay loop.

    As you’re building your game, you’ll start thinking about aspects of the design. If it’s an FPS, it might be “what type of behaviors should I give my enemies?” or “how will the guns work/what will they use for ammo?”

    As you ask yourself these questions, sit with your document and think about it, write down your ideas. Then try to test them, see what works. Come back to your document and update it based on what you found.

    Game design is a very creative discipline, and few people have the ability to predict ahead of time how their ideas will turn out, which ideas will be less fun to play than they seemed in your mind. You’ll add new systems as you encounter problems, and change the ones you already had.

    Don’t worry too much about save systems or UIs until you get that figured out. Consider those the “leaves of the tree”, you’ll get to them once you’ve fleshed out the main trunk and branches of your gameplay.

    Good rule of thumbs is that tou can write down ideas, plan ahead, but don’t get too bogged down in detail until you’ve built the system and played with it a bit. Work in broad strokes, getting more detailed as you build up your game.

    About the Deus Ex idea, just be aware of the art and content cost there hey. Even if you’re trying to do something like that with simpler art, it can be incredibly time-consuming and need a good amount of art work. Test it with a small level first before planning out sprawling hubs etc. Something small, executed well is preferable to huge and never finished. 😉

  4. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. about the asset thing and sprawling hubs, don’t worry I’ll start small, and with a cool little addon to Unity called probuilder I’ll blockout the levels.

    by the way have you looked into the scripting system made by fellow south african Leslie Young? It’s called plyblox. It’s basically like writing scripts except you don’t have to worry about typos and syntax.

  5. Daniel says:

    Sorry about spamming up your blog Gareth, but I also wanted to mention I have an awesome tool by pixelcrushers called dialogue system for unity, it’s very reminiscent of the dialogue editors from the infinity and aurora engine games. PLUS it supports NGUI too. 🙂

  6. gareth says:

    Haha, no worries, I don’t consider conversation or useful posts to be spam. 😉

    I actually know Leslie, yes. His unity plugins are very cool, though I don’t have that particular one. And I’ll check out that dialogue system. I have built a rudimentary one of my own, but it doesn’t have visual editing yet (text files, shudder) so if I can find a better plugin that I can fit into my code easily and that’s open to modify, I’m happy to switch. 🙂


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