Detailed descriptions for animationsIt is a classic rookie mistake. Every action must be written in a laconic manner – ”boss shoots” – for example. It does not matter whether you are creating a realistic game with real guns or a cartoonish title with unreal effects like metal stretching or growing. Programmers will just write their code, while animators will do their magic with the game engine to make it look cool. Any additions or desires send directly to the assigned specialists as individual tasks. This way, you won’t blow your GDD out of proportion.
Heavy referencesDon’t get it wrong – references are good but know your limits. You can include a few in the document to set the general direction, but not all of them. Forget about posting dozens of heavy pics with your vision attached to them. You should open side tasks for this matter. For instance, if you are working on an FPS title, throw in a few weapons and concise explanations for reloading and shooting. That’s it. Everything else must be kept in external documents or archives.
Long texts and witty explanationsIf your title has tons of text content, you should create a separate XML file to store it in one place, where developers can easily find it and copy-paste it into the game. Explanations for dialogues and scene expositions are welcome in a brief format. No one is going to read long passages, no matter how clever they are.
Game overviewIt is often called a press kit or concept document. Make it small and concise – 1-2 pages max. Include the project’s summary, short synopsis, brief info about the storyline, and a list of the most significant features of the title. At this stage, we strongly recommend involving designers in the process not to miss anything important. Ask them to create pieces of visual content to illustrate your vision.
Game’s core mechanicsThis stage requires you to describe and show the main activities of the game. In addition, you need to explain how players will be using those mechanics throughout the game. Start with a list of mechanics, then write a quick description for each one of them, give your commentaries to elaborate why all those mechanics are in your project. Don’t be afraid to use fake screenshots in the document if they can help you visualize your goals and show how users will see certain things in the game or even interact with them.
Game featuresThe vault with all the features your game has. Obviously, a massive section with a lot of text. It also contains tables and illustrations for better explanation. Apart from the main features, it may also contain modifications, GUI examples, monetization principles, downloadable content ideas, social options, game world details, along with many other elements that were not mentioned earlier in the GDD.