Conceptualize a Video Game

Pick a Game Idea

  • Copy an existing game.
  • Slightly innovating on an existing game.
  • Alter the setting of an existing game.
  • Tell a different story of an existing game.
  • Combine two or more games together.
  • Brainstorm novel ideas.
  • Brainstorm around Game Jam themes.

Write a Game Design Document

A Game Design Document (GDD) is a consolidation of text, diagrams, and art, that describes your game's design.

What are the High Level Details?

  • What are the genres, goals, and features?
  • What is the art and sound direction?
  • What platform/s are you targeting? (Desktop, Console, Mobile, VR, AR)
  • Who is the Target Audience?
  • What do you want players to experience or feel?

Elaborate on the Game Design

  • Rules, game mechanics, game objects, game systems, interfaces, interactions, control schemes, and game options, game loop, progression, rewards.

Game Design Doc Tools

Google Drive Logo Dundoc Logo Dundoc Logo

Game Design Doc Templates

Draw Concept Art

  • Solidify the art style and list out the necessary assets, such as environments, characters, props, music, and sound effects.
  • Establish a more cohesive theme and aesthetic.
  • Sketch out environments, levels, characters, and game objects to get a sense of scale and art direction.
  • Make Wireframes of the UI and HUD Elements.

2D Art Tools

Adobe Photoshop Logo Gimp Logo

UI Tools

Adobe XD Logo Sketch Logo Figma Logo

Sketch Out Levels

  • Sketch out the levels and game flow.
  • Make diagrams and rough maps that show game flow and mark positions of game objects, obastacles, scenery, landmarks, etc.

Diagramming Tools

Milanote Logo Miro Logo Xmind Logo

2D Level Design Tools

Tiled Logo

Jot Down the Narrative Plot Points.

  • Describe the setting, the game world, story, premise, lore, characters.
  • Describe the basics of the lore, world building, story beats, plot, narrative, and character interactions. Storyboard scenes and cinematics of key plot points.

Narrative Writing Tools

Articy Logo Arcweave Logo Twine Logo

Update the GDD Over the Course of Development

  • The GDD is a living document and should contain the most recent design of the game as it will serve as a reference during development.
  • But, it is very likely design will change after several sessions of prototyping, playtesting, and discussing.

Evaluate the Scope

Narrow Down the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

  • Determine what are the essential features that makes up the game (mechanics and systems).
  • Determine the minimum mount of content that you think the game should offer (characters, levels, events, art, audio, etc).
  • Remove any Features that are not necessary for creation of the Game
  • Set the minimum amount of content that you want to be in the game.
  • If necessary, mark content you are willing to cur from the game.

Could You Make this Game?

  • Do you have the technnical skills to make the game? If not, where will you get them?
  • How long will it take to make this game?
  • Can your team execute this game idea and create a finished product in the desired production timeframe?
  • How much time and money would it take to make the game?

Avoid Design Pitfalls

Avoid Perfecting Your GDD

  • A game's design is always subject to change.
  • You don't know if a design works until you make it.
  • Start Making Your Game.

Avoid Feature Creep

  • Don't continuously add new features and content to the game's design over the course of development.
  • Focus on achieving the game's Minimum Viable Product before adding additional content.

Resources

Full List of Design Tools

Full List of Narrative Writing Tools

Full List of Diagramming Tools

Full List of 2D Art Tools