Thursday, 12 December 2013

Elements of game design, part eight: documentation

Within the game industry, documentation is extremely important in order to structure the development of a product. Regardless of the project, a studio will more than likely have a written brief and plan to ensure that every employee and designer knows what they are doing.

While I have been on this course, I have realised how important these documents are. In order to keep everyone on the same page, these should all be up to date with the managers and publishers plans as they are always changing. Demonstrating how these may be laid out, I thought I’d look at how one of my final major project ideas may be planned and set out.

The overall theme of this idea is the setting of an old valley based quarry or mine. Being in a rural setting, there would be old mud and dust tracks along with vehicles to drive about and work with. With this I also hope to put in a shooting range which would allow the player to try out various rifles and guns, which could be shot at targets. I would also produce a vehicle to drive around. The platform I would aim to create this for would be for PC and next generation consoles, aimed at a generally older audience, 16+. To produce this, I’d use 3DSMax, zBrush and Photoshop to produce models and concept art work. I’d also use various other software to help in the aid of my workflow.

You as the player will be the lead character. I had not intended to make this a known person and I would instead extend my focus onto the vehicle and weapons as well as the environment.  I would not produce a visible body so I would not really require any specifications for it, other than that of the arms and hands which may be visible when using the weapons.

I would like to give the player access to a land vehicle that could be drivable. I would need to set a budget to make it look good, yet efficient in engine. I would also have to consider possibly doing an interior for the driver to see if you were to drive in first person. But this would depend on the time I have to produce it as well as practicality with my ability as an artist.

The environment would be the edge of a valley, where you arrive at a waterfall with an old coal/slate mine low down on the slope of the valley, with a small stream flowing from the waterfall past the mine house. I would have to consider the possibility of making the building open or not, but this would depend on the time and budget. However, being able to enter the building would be unnecessary for the player as it would not help with the gameplay or experience.

As the main focus would most likely be the assortment of weapons; this would be my main focus and attention throughout development. These could be a selection of weapons such as a rifle, pistol and machine gun, or I could develop a single weapon with various attachments that could be added. As for other props, I would make the shooting range look as realistic as possible. With this being the main focus, it would mean that I could make this small section my main project environment and have the rest of the environment un-explorable with less focus on some of the environment.

Having written this plan, it’s helped me to run through the process and run possibilities through my head. As well as this, I feel like it has given me the realisation that I would really have to plan what I would want to make my main focus and desire so as not to cause any confusion or make the project too large and difficult to actually complete in the given time.