My name is Russell King. Since the age of [some young age] I have always wanted to make computer games. Then, during my work placement at university it became abundantly clear to me that I do not want to work for someone else. I want to work for myself. So now I want to combine the two and make computer games to earn a living.
Fast forward to the present day and myself and some colleagues are trying to achieve this. We are KPM Software.
Our latest project is an iPhone game called Floobz and as the creator I am currently taking responsibility for it. At present I am already past the design stage and have started writing the level editor for the game. But more about that later. He’s some blurb to let you know what I’ve been doing since day 1 of this project (about 3 weeks ago).
It all started with…
Think of a concept
This is easier said than done. I have thought of many things in my time. As a kid I thought of football management simulations. As a teenager I came up with a game called Slick Slime and Dirty Dime (don’t bother googling – it never got past the design stages). Just a few moments ago I was thinking about having a cigarette, but then I remembered I’m trying to quit as my wife and I are trying for a baby. Too much information? Yes, you’re probably right – I digress. Thinking of an original simple-yet-fun concept for a computer game is difficult. Much of my recent honeymoon was spent staring out at the Caribbean ocean in search of inspiration. The best I could come up with was a 2D version of Minecraft or an iPhone version of Dungeon Keeper. Both of these would be beyond my scope – not because I am not capable – but because it would take forever.
No despite common belief, being more relaxed than ever staring at the beautiful sea, with a margarita in one hand and the faint smell of coconuts did nothing at all for my creative mind.
Floobz has evolved from an idea that came to me when I was eating spaghetti bolognese whilst watching the adverts between an episode of Coronation Street. You see kids, TV can be very inspiring!
For more information on the original idea I had, read one of the many interviews I hope to have with journalists once Floobz has been realeased (a guy can dream :-D)
Ok. I have my concept, now what?
Write it down! Then add some details that you may have missed. Then read it. Then add more detail. Then when you think you have finished read it again, then think of a new feature which changes another feature, which impacts on another feature, which therefore results in rewriting the whole thing!
That may sound tedious and boring but you’ll be happy you did it later. Why? Because you will have considered all features of your game in detail and it is much better to do that before you start coding, otherwise you will end up with spaghetti code and will most likely have to start again anyway.
It has taken me the best part of three weeks to “finish” the Game Design Document (GDD) for Floobz and I use the term “finish” lightly because the document will never REALLY be finished. It will evolve as the project moves forward. So how do you know when to stop and move onto the next stage? Well, that depends entirely on the project I guess. For me, I got to page 27 of the GDD having detailed the in and outs of the features, all the different things a player can do, the sound, the music, the graphics, the menu scenes, some drawing and sketches of menus. At that point I figured I had enough details to move onto the next stage.
Now, I do not claim to be an expert in writing Game Design Documents. In fact this is probably the most thorough one I have done. But if anybody wants help with writing theirs, or just wants to discuss something with me then feel free to get in touch.
I’ve finished the GDD Russ. Now what?
Well, firstly stop addressing me like I am a Jedi of games development. That crown must surely go to Andreas Illiger – bravo Andreas, your success with Tiny Wings really inspires me… and also aggrevates me because I wish I had done it first.
Ok, so what next? Well I will discuss that next time because now I need a cigarette – don’t tell my wife!