Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Where do you begin?
It all starts with an idea.
It's like sculpting any sort of creature with clay. First you have your skeleton. It's the metal or foil framework that the clay (or similar material) is molded upon. Here is where you want to figure out the pose and size of the sculpture. Similarly, I started with writing out a skeleton for my idea.
Well what does the skeleton look like? It looks like deciding the genre of the game, who the audience will be. It also includes roughly how long will gameplay last, how many levels will be had and what will be the action that Player 1 will engage in the most.
The whole time I'm creating a skeleton to support my idea, I'm also thinking about the scope of the project. The scope is how deep and wide the project will be. What is the project and how complex is the project? For this game, that I'm currently creating, PILLOWFIGHT, the scope is only 3 levels/areas, but there is 12 -15 opponents and each opponent has 3-4 moves they can perform. The Player has 5-6 moves they can perform and they have the ability to hit boxes/pots for pick up items.
Then, Flesh It Out.
Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I want to make a really cool game with all these features, but I need to measure them up against my scope to see: does this mechanic fit within the scope? The idea is my vision, but what will it cost to execute it? Time, resources or will I need to bring on another person to complete this project? While I'm adding sustenance to my idea and molding it to fit the scope of the project, I must be practical about my resources and limitations. Resources can mean money used to buy assets, a friend willing to help with the artwork and it can even mean how much time I can spend on the project.
How did I do this?
Attached is a Game Development Document that I use to flesh out my projects and the scope as well.
MVP - Minimum Viable Product to be delivered: This is the bare minimum game experience necessary to prove that the target audience will find the Core Gameplay loop fun and engaging.
Design Pillars - Explore, Combat, Story
Core Gameplay Loop - This is the action the player will be performing the most throughout the game
Art/Character Bible - An Art Bible is sometimes also called a style guide. It is usually a document used to convey to the team of artists the style in which they should draw the art assets. Often times, an Art Director or Top Lead Artist will be the one to produce this document. It is done so that the art styles and assets styles match the game. Dis-unity in art styles can create a feeling of incompleteness in a game because of the inconsistency.