Game Design Document: Scape

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Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:56 am

Just thought I'd keep you up to date.

I'm current doing a Design Process module in Stage 2 Computing and Games Development. It's 100% coursework and I'm going to be marked on the paperwork/development for a game: implementing/building the game is not required in this module, although he's encouraged us to make tech demos so that we have something to show talent-scouts.

I'm going to be making simpler tech demos for 2D platformers and puzzle games, but currently none of my ideas have managed to create a GDD (Games Design Document) with enough body that I feel I'll get good marks for. So--the point of this--I'm going to be creating a GDD for Scape (/Pallis, I guess).

I would welcome your input as much as possible and not just because you'll be doing the work for me, but because we get marks for scoping the audience and getting feedback. I feel very at home in a blog/forum environment, so I think I might actually get some work done. Wink

Here's what a template GDD looks like.
Spoiler:
Game Design Document Outline
Version 0.1(draft) October 10, 2005
By Mark Baldwin
Baldwin Consulting
http://baldwinconsulting.org

The Game Design Document (GDD) it the blueprint from which a computer or video game is to be built. As such, every single detail necessary to build the game must be addressed in the document (or support documents). If it’s not in the document, then it probably won’t be in the game.

Below you will find an outline for a generic Game Design Document. The problem is that no generic GDD will be able to address all the various genres for which a game may be created. For example, consider the games PacMan, SimCity and Doom. All three games required detailed design documents, but if you think about it, those documents would be entirely different! As such, when using the outline below you will find sections that will be totally meaningless to your game. But also, there will be sections that your GDD requires to describe the game. Just because it’s not in my outline, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t belong.

The GDD is a reference document. Members of the development team will constantly be using the document to find specific information for their specific needs. Consider the size such a document may grow to in order to document every piece of the game. We don’t want the GDD to cause information overload and then become a prop under somebody’s wobbly desk. As such it is important that you organize and format the document to make it easy to use. Also note that some of these sections might not appear in the GDD itself but instead would appear in supplemental documents such as an Art Bible or Test Plan. This helps make the overall document more manageable and readable.

One last comment, a game design document is meant to be a living document. Just as when the artist changes the design of his painting every time he takes his brush to the canvas, a computer or video game evolves as code and art are created. The GDD then is the communication tool from which all the members of the team can follow that evolution.


1. Title Page
1.1. Game Name – Perhaps also add a subtitle or high concept sentence.
1.2. Copyright Information
1.3. Version Number, author, date
2. Table of Contents – Make sure this includes all the subsections to make finding material. If practical, hyper linking the document will help here.
3. Design History – This is a change listing quickly describing each major version and changes.
4. Section I - Game Overview
4.1. Game Concept
4.2. Feature Set
4.3. Genre
4.4. Target Audience
4.5. Game Flow Summary – How does the player move through the game. Both through framing interface and the game itself.
4.6. Look and Feel – What is the basic look and feel of the game? What is the visual style?
4.7. Project Scope – A summary of the scope of the game.
4.7.1. Number of locations
4.7.2. Number of levels
4.7.3. Number of NPC’s
4.7.4. Number of weapons
4.7.5. Etc.
5. Section II - Gameplay and Mechanics
5.1. Gameplay
5.1.1. Game Progression
5.1.2. Mission/challenge Structure
5.1.3. Puzzle Structure
5.1.4. Objectives – What are the objectives of the game?
5.1.5. Play Flow – How does the game flow for the game player
5.2. Mechanics – What are the rules to the game, both implicit and explicit. This is the model of the universe that the game works under. Think of it as a simulation of a world, how do all the pieces interact? This actually can be a very large section.
5.2.1. Physics – How does the physical universe work?
5.2.2. Movement
5.2.2.1. General Movement
5.2.2.2. Other Movement
5.2.3. Objects
5.2.3.1. Picking Up Objects
5.2.3.2. Moving Objects
5.2.4. Actions
5.2.4.1. Switches and Buttons
5.2.4.2. Picking Up, Carrying and Dropping
5.2.4.3. Talking
5.2.4.4. Reading
5.2.5. Combat – If there is combat or even conflict, how is this specifically modeled?
5.2.6. Economy – What is the economy of the game? How does it work?
5.3. Screen Flow
5.3.1. Screen Flow Chart – A graphical description of how each screen is related to every other
5.3.2. Screen Descriptions – What is the purpose of each screen?
5.3.2.1. Main Menu Screen
5.3.2.2. Options Screen
5.3.2.3. Etc.
5.4. Game Options – What are the options and how do they affect game play and mechanics?
5.5. Replaying and Saving
5.6. Cheats and Easter Eggs
6. Section III – Story, Setting and Character
6.1. Story and Narrative - Specific details like scripts and cut scenes may not be in this document but be in the Story Bible.
6.1.1. Back story
6.1.2. Plot Elements
6.1.3. Game Progression
6.1.4. License Considerations
6.1.5. Cut Scenes
6.1.5.1. Cut scene #1
6.1.5.1.1. Actors
6.1.5.1.2. Description
6.1.5.1.3. Storyboard
6.1.5.1.4. Script
6.1.5.2. Cut scene #2
6.1.5.3. etc.
6.2. Game World
6.2.1. General look and feel of world
6.2.2. Area #1
6.2.2.1. General Description
6.2.2.2. Physical Characteristics
6.2.2.3. Levels that use area
6.2.2.4. Connections to other areas
6.2.3. Area #2
6.2.3.1. etc.
6.3. Characters
6.3.1. Character #1
6.3.1.1. Back story
6.3.1.2. Personality
6.3.1.3. Look
6.3.1.3.1. Physical characteristics
6.3.1.3.2. Animations
6.3.1.4. Special Abilities
6.3.1.5. Relevance to game story
6.3.1.6. Relationship to other characters
6.3.1.7. Statistics
6.3.2. Character #2
6.3.3. etc.
7. Section IV – Levels
7.1. Level #1
7.1.1. Synopsis
7.1.2. Introductory Material (Cut scene? Mission briefing?)
7.1.3. Objectives
7.1.4. Physical Description
7.1.5. Map
7.1.6. Critical Path
7.1.7. Encounters
7.1.8. Level Walkthrough
7.1.9. Closing Material
7.2. Level #2
7.3. etc.
7.4. Training Level
8. Section V - Interface
8.1. Visual System
8.1.1. HUD - What controls
8.1.2. Menus
8.1.3. Rendering System
8.1.4. Camera
8.1.5. Lighting Models
8.2. Control System – How does the game player control the game? What are the specific commands?
8.3. Audio
8.4. Music
8.5. Sound Effects
8.6. Help System
9. Section VI - Artificial Intelligence
9.1. Opponent AI – The active opponent that plays against the game player and therefore requires strategic decision making (example, Civilization or Chess, how is it to be designed?
9.2. Enemy AI – Villains and Monsters
9.3. Non-combat Characters
9.4. Friendly Characters
9.5. Support AI
9.5.1. Player and Collision Detection
9.5.2. Pathfinding
10. Section VII – Technical – This may be abbreviated with most in the Technical Bible.
10.1. Target Hardware
10.2. Development hardware and software
10.3. Development procedures and standards
10.4. Game Engine
10.5. Network
10.6. Scripting Language
10.7. etc.
11. Section VIII – Game Art - This may be abbreviated with most of the content in an Art Bible.
11.1. Concept Art
11.2. Style Guides
11.3. Characters
11.4. Environments
11.5. Equipment
11.6. Cut scenes
11.7. Miscellaneous
12. Section IX - Secondary Software
12.1. Editor
12.2. Installer
12.3. Update software
13. Section X - Management
13.1. Detailed Schedule
13.2. Budget
13.3. Risk Analysis
13.4. Localization Plan
13.5. Test Plan
14. Appendices
14.1. Asset List
14.1.1. Art
14.1.1.1. Model and Texture List
14.1.1.2. Animation List
14.1.1.3. Effects List
14.1.1.4. Interface Art List
14.1.1.5. Cut scene List
14.1.2. Sound
14.1.2.1. Environmental Sounds
14.1.2.2. Weapon Sounds
14.1.2.3. Interface Sounds
14.1.3. Music
14.1.3.1. Ambient
14.1.3.2. “Action”
14.1.3.3. Victory
14.1.3.4. Defeat
14.1.4. Voice
14.1.4.1. Actor #1 lines
14.1.4.2. Actor #2 lines
14.1.4.3. Etc.

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:34 am

Scope the Competition

I think the best place to start would be to scope similar games for the bits we like and the bits we don't like, in addition to adding features that you think would improve them.

World of Warcraft
My initial impression was that it was very artistically pleasing, at least as far as MMOs go. But it didn't take like before I started to feel isolated and alone because, despite it's awe inspiring size, the majority of the "new player zones" were vastly unpopulated. In fact, even as I progressed to the level 15-30 range (which at the time was half way), I still wasn't finding any areas of the map that felt used. I'd occasionally bump into other players completing the same quests as me, but the strict class-based system meant that we didn't share a lot of the same content... so unless they were the same class as me, we went our separate ways very quickly.

The game also lacked an obvious tutorial, so I felt very alienated. It wasn't until a real-life friend gave me the low down that I even knew how to speak in public chat, or how groups worked. The game definitely felt better suited to friends starting out together.

I eventually gave it up as a bad job, and learnt from friends that World of Warcraft's hook was their heavy instance/raiding systems... with the majority of the community hanging out in these off-map areas, with the only parts of the actual map being used were the good grinding locations, and main towns where people sell the content they'd unlocked.

RuneScape

Fable 3

Perfect World


Based on the games I've played, a direction that I don't feel has fully be explored is a real-time/dynamic map... where the majority of the content actually takes place in the "real" world, rather than caves and dungeons. Through a brainstorming session with a friend, we came down with a mechanic where--similar to raids/instances--events will happen in real time on the map, such as Goblins raiding a towns. The players would then partake, if they wished, either to aid the town or the raiders: or they go ignore it, although face the consequences of damage to their environment. The pro to an instance based construct is that once it's finished the entire area would be deleted, with no permanent "damage" done: I won't to disregard this. The community's actions would affect the community. Obviously I would need to add a repair mechanic... either the towns rebuild themselves over time, or the players can--again--interact.

This further developed into discussion about a guild system, where players could establish their own towns which would be seiged by NPCs. My friend pointed out that "super guilds" would emerge, and I instantly thought "I must try and implement something which prevents this"... having played real-time-strategies, it was very annoying when very skill players would basically use new players as a resource, given their in-ability to competently defend themselves or even know what's going on. Dynamic difficulty. If a particularly competent clan emerges, I'll create an unbeatable instance that will knock them down a peg or two. Golems raid their city and destroy all the walls and safeguards: allowing the smaller clans to pillage and get out. Perhaps create a system where a clan can only have so many member that they can house, so destroying some of their property forces the clan to segregate.

Whilst this all went on a tangent, it provided some very good mechanics. Almost Fable-esque where your decision alter not only the story but the environment you're in. The classic: destroy the evidence or hand it in. But I made the decision right there that I didn't want a global good-bad system, but perhaps localized reputations where a town would hold you with respect if they could always rely on you to help.

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:35 am

You've not gripped my attention.

I tried to join a games design course before as well, but they insisted on charging me, never sent me the goods so I got in touch with them. They still never sent me the goods, so I told them I wasn't going to pay until they did. They still didn't so I cut the payment and demanded a full refund. They acknowledged the mistake on their part and offered the course again to me, but I said no.
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:50 am

I'm not trying to grip your attention. That isn't a product overview, that is just a summary of a particular mechanic that was written on-the-fly.

Also, what goods exactly were you expecting. Aside from "Congratulation, you're in!" my university hasn't sent me anything...

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by Duskcurse on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:42 am

Hey, if you are seraching for inspirations, see Dreamlords
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:04 pm

I'm not looking for inspiration from existing games. I'd actually rather I avoided that entirely. I'm not actually that versed in MMORPGs, beyond those mentioned, so I can at least feel my ideas are unique even if they aren't. Smile

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by Duskcurse on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:37 am

I meant it for to get inspiration in some mechanics there, for example in Dreamlords one has a "Patria" wich one can expand by conquering isles, and ocasionaly it get's attacked by creatures, and by the end of the time all servers are reset putting you in lvl 1 again, but before that happens all players are attacked by an armie of evil creatures, and after that the "God" that created the dreamlords resets time
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:05 pm

Combat needs to be a combination between ability based and "action RPG", which is basically like FPS where you have primary and secondary weapon on left and right mouse, and you click for each attack. With the right weapons you can get a hack-n-slash feel, although I'd rather NPCs were on par with players. So if it's a level 1 area the enemies should be level 1 and the combat suitably hard (or at least against enemies who look aggressive/able to fight/defend, fighting a giant rat might be simpler).

Perhaps it's just me, but from playing games like Dungeon Defenders and , I find myself lunging forward with each attack and it's impossible to steer whilst in combat. Either I need to be taught how to remain in cotrol of my character, or this is intended as I'm going to not use the mechanic.

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by Zectiox on Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:54 pm

I read your ideas with intrest. I like the event if Goblins/Orcs/Bandits would attack towns, villages. And players could join with the town guard to protect the town or join the bandits to destroy it, or just ignore it. It would mean a huge coding and stuff but the result would be very instresting. And one day wouldn't be the same as yesterday. But the town would repair itself from income, and/or players could give the town stuff to help rebuild it and protect from smaller groups of bandits trying to attack. I got so many ideas of theese events.

The guild would also be an intresting spectra. If you've played Lord of the rings Online they got Guilds and Guild houses. and also a player-owned town (town with houses owned by the players) It would be nice to have i.e. portals to clan/guild towns. It wouldn't be like the citadel, with an upkeep which due to long inactivity leads to decreasing the tiers. The town could have more ideas. Where Guild members could participate in events gathering stuff, protecting the town from invaders, helping building the town (own bank, church, shops) it could all be managed. (sry I got my imagination in the air on this idea now)

I hope I got this right Tongue
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:15 am

All sounds very good. The only issue I have with that player-owned-towns idea is that it takes players away from the map. As much as possible, I want to keep players in the "real" locations. Perhaps I could use something similar to Varrock during the Varrock Defender quest, and merely have the a fixed area on the map but it's uniquely generated per player... but somehow allow players to see each other.

Overlapping different worlds. Smile

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by Zectiox on Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:45 am

Spoiler:
and it wouldn't work with that you got a npc-town with player-owned houses right there in the town.. like a small player-own district. just enter a portal and you're in the district. still in varrock or where ever y ou have it, but in the POD (players own district) im just throwing out ideas...

how would you solve that in other words.. not to take them away from the real map,

it just that.. theres milions of players in runescape, and if everyone who have membership wants a house in a town (it would make a metropol if we put one house next to another house) Tongue

just thinking on lotro, there they got town-servers that players can go into and buy themselves a house, upgrading it etc. how could we make it unique, and nothing as no one ever have figured out. Idk how it is having a house in lotro, if they just buy stuff and if they ever spend any time there.. and how to make it not crowded with players? population limit? lot price limit (lower cost of a building lot is smaller and tiny, higher cost of money is larger and wider?) idk.

how to make it work in a current npc-town/city in runescape? In pallis it would be different, there we could have player-towns little here, little there.. players who make stuff go right or wrong in the city.. (have some intresting ideas over that).. oh crap... well lets braaaainstoorm u_u
.^just a bunch of ideas and thoughts..
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by 3mptylord on Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:27 am

I think far too much focus is being put into "player-owned" / "player-controlled" and not the "play" part. I'm creating a game, not a toy. I've been taught a distinction between games, toys, simulations and puzzles... and thus far we're discussing features of a "toy". Wink

I think I should get a better GDD template, so I can get a more reasonable list of headers to populate. Smile

ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Game Design Document: Scape

Post by Zectiox on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:32 am

yeah the thoughts was completly on the player-owned instead of the play-part.

yeah, we could take one section of that template and discuss it or something


btw, this site has bugged me during some time now, atm Im seeing through this website to the background, so I need to scroll up everytime I want to read the post above Tongue maybe just my firefox...
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