A spreadsheet is what a game designer lives and breathes (probably not willingly) but as a designer, it’s something you need to get used to! Tweaking numbers, especially in an RPG, is very important - daunting but important. By using a spreadsheet you can easily see if a certain ability is too overpowered or too underpowered. By using functions you could even simulate certain combat scenarios!
We suggest that if you think something will be too OP or UP, play test it! Either yourself, your development team or your potential players could give great insight into how the game actually plays. Potential players are the best to go for as they don’t know the game as well as your development team, so will be unbiased and unskilled in certain combat tactics. A dev team playtesting could be seen as biased as they know exactly how the game works as they built it! Until the game has been out for a while to have experienced players, the best players will always be the team that built it.
Our 2nd holy grail document is our Quest Log, which is similar to a story bible. We’re going for an ambitious story-size, so a document that contains all of the quests was important. It contains things such as which plot point the quests relate to, introductions and location descriptions and a script. It works in conjunction with our GDD (which we’ll move onto in a mo) to give a full breakdown of Eridani, the planets within it which the player will visit, and what will happen during the player’s adventure.
By containing information such as a script, the location and dialogue choices, the Quest Log will be saving us a lot of development time. Instead of deciding and writing the story ‘on the fly’, we’ll have all the dialogue and quest requirements ready to effectively Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V into Unity. We’ll then be ready to playtest the questline and make tweaks if needed.
Games Design Document (GDD)
Finally, the all important design document. It contains everything we need to develop Rise Of The Jemhaji:
We decided to take a different route for the creation of our GDD. Instead of doing a large, cumbersome word document, or even loads of little word docs for each section, we decided to create a Google Site. This has made it a lot easier to find the information we need, as well as making it easily shareable. We are also planning to release the document when we release Rise Of The Jemhaji, so a website makes this super simple too!
We hope that this post gives an insight into our design process. We understand that everyone’s process is different, so we’d love to hear about yours!
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