Have you ever wondered how PC video games were made or how to turn an idea for a game into reality? Wonder no more! Indie game developer Neil Jones explains his formula for game creation success in this 'Video Game Creation for Beginners' blog series. He'll go step by step in detail on how he used video game software, Poser 11 from conception to creation. In this post he explains the first two steps: 'The Idea' and 'The Games Design Document'.
Step 1: The Idea
Whether you’re a large AAA video game studio or a small Independent developer, all games start out as an idea. So how do you take that idea and turn it into a playable video game?
This first step is not hard, it’s something we all can do … write. The Games Design Document is a critical document that ensures you have an understanding of the size and scope of the project.
Step 2: The Games Design Document
I asked myself these various questions then answered them in the GDD:
- Will the platforms be PC, console or phone game or a combination of those?
- Is the game engine suitable for the style of game?
- Is the style of game first person, 3rd person, top down, side scrolling, etc.?
- How will the player play, (e.g. a strategy, shooter, turn based game etc.)?
- Will it be singleplayer, multiplayer, co-op or combination? A decision here can affect complexity and future decisions like whether or not I need server farms for multiplayer.
- Who is my target customer, am I making a game for my family and friends or is it for commercial resale? For commercial games understand your customer base and have a basic understanding of marketing.
- Identify game concepts. Will you need to do any research? What you find can help you create the game design.
- Take into account budget and development team considerations.
- Can you do all of the tasks?
- Will you need a team?
- Can you purchase software and game assets to speed up development?
- How much spare time do you have?
- How many hours will this take to create? I’d suggest at least doubling any time estimate you come up with. If you understand the size and scope of a project you can decide whether it’s achievable or not. Look at similar projects and determine whether you can do the same with the resources you have on hand.
- Take into consideration concept art and game asset requirements. For example, if the game is historical and based off real events, you can use real images for concept art, however if your game is set in the future with monsters, then consider how you design your characters and environment.
- How does the game play? Decisions here impact other decisions. For example:
- Is the game reliant on cut scenes and close ups? This may impact your need for HD character models and animation requirements.
- CPU and graphics card impact. Will the game feature 100’s of friends and foes in a single scene, in which case, can the platform you release on support your gameplay?
Stay tuned for our next post on Steps 3 and 4 and learn how to create your game's concept art! Hopefully these first two steps have given you plenty to start with.