Game design model

Hello everyone! Yes even you.

Before I address why I’m making this post I want to give a bit of background. I’m a second year programming student with (somehow) lots of time on my hands. My course is 6 semesters + 12 months of co-op and I’m on semester 3 going to my 1st co-op in January. My goal is after I finish my course is to make my way into the game design industry. I’ve picked up a subscription for this engine in hopes to learn a few things that can help set me apart from others just starting out in the field. I have no delusions that I will make a fully fledged beautiful game that will top any chats.

I’m dedicating about 15 hours per week, between unit testing my projects and swing dancing, to learning this engine then progress to creating my own project. What I’m looking for here is a suggestion, or link, to a game design model of some sorts. A checklist, template, model, or something I can reference as I progress so that I am not missing some steps, or getting ahead of myself. Sadly my Google skills are not as strong and my c++ skills :stuck_out_tongue:


You can look for some guides on making a game design document for your idea and that can help, but there’s no real standard for the process. It matters greatly how many people are working on a project so as an individual there’s not really a guide for that.
I would spend some time just getting to know the editor and then once you know what it’s capable of and how difficult it might be for you to do things then figure out a project you want to do. It’s good to plan ahead and figure out what things are going to be difficult and what things you already know how to do.

Why not? Just look at the right charts. Think Tetris, Guitar Hero, 2048 or any of the many successful “bird” games for example. While one should be realistic enough when it comes to money, it’s not a bad thing at all to go for the top when it comes to game design - just pick the right market and don’t look at AAA games. But writing the design document for the next Flappy Bird isn’t any more work than writing the design document for the next complete waste of time :wink:

Try Jesse Schell’s “The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses”

Also try searching “game design document” with google.

And one recommendation if you start with a design: always, always, ALWAYS start with a Mind Map and work the structure of the document and what you can come up with for each topic from there. Mind Mapping software is the holy grail of what was once the darkness of total game design chaos with post-its and white-boards :wink:

One last thing, while game design documents certainly won’t go away anytime soon, whenever possible I don’t make or use them. I usually stop with the mind map. GDDs are just too heavy and from my experience, nobody reads them anyway. At least not the people who should and pretty much never after the second update with changes ;). So whenever possible I use what is called a “One Page Design”, which is a huge poster with pictorials explaining the game, just like the instructions that come with IKEA furniture. Pinning this poster right in front of everyone involved with the game rises the awareness to actually read (look) at them from 1% to 99% from my experience. (And if you ever work with clients who don’t know anything about game design, like designing an advertising game for the marketing campaign of a fortune 500 company, they LOVE the presentations of one-page-designs and feel like they are game designers now right away ;))

Thanks darthviper107! From what I’ve learned in school(if anything) is that I need to have some sort of outline or plan before I jump in and start attacking the tasks. I’m hoping to have something tangible by the 6-9 month mark.

Thanks for the reply’s! I have some material to read and after I finish all of Epic’s tutorials(176?) I’ll have a path to work towards.

My 2 cents for what it is worth.

I’ve been a lead developer on around a dozen successful indie games. I was working with people who were for the most part industry vets. The only time we even thought about creating a game design doc was for two of our last games where we were going for higher production values, had close to 30 people on staff, and where development was expected to take close to a year.

What you need to do asap is build a prototype. Put some action behind your ideas. You have so much to learn you don’t have time to spend planning everything out in advance. As someone new to the process, 99% of your planning will be wrong anyways. Even those of us who have done this can’t reliably predict how things will look a month out. Especially in the prototype phase.

Exploration by doing is what will get you to where you want to be. Don’t be the idea guy with loads of worthless design documents. Go pick something interesting and start making it.