You have a game idea and want to start building right away. But making a game is more than just having a good idea and the skill to code it. Before you write a single line of code, you first need to think through the gameplay, your target audience, and ultimately create a map for what you are going to build.
Creating a game design document
To help you simplify your idea to something manageable, start by getting it down on paper. No one builds a house without a blueprint, and you shouldn’t make a game without a solid plan either. Your plan can be as simple as a task list with everything you need to do or something more specific, such as a document outlining all the details. Either way, your game design process is going to start with a blank page. Let’s talk about how to fill it in.
In traditional game development, you are encouraged to make a game design document (GDD). The GDD is usually a large document outlining every aspect of a game. It’s the blueprint that the rest of the team must follow when building out the game. If you are a single developer, this may be excessive for your needs. You can easily boil down a GDD into a single list of tasks with a few introduction paragraphs and any collateral or references, such as screen shots and links to other games or game mechanics you like.
Keep in mind, the more you work through the details, the better your project will end up. It’s very “cheap” to work out your ideas on paper or in your head before you start coding. Once you begin the coding process and need to go back, you amass what we call technical debt that can make your code unmanageable or, even worse, kill your productivity altogether by forcing you to constantly hack together new solutions or refactor code you’ve already written.
New eBook: Getting Started Making Games
To read more about writing a GDD for your game and to learn about the process of building a game from scratch, download our free Getting Started Making Games eBook.