GDD Planning

For the final phase of this project we need to construct a “Games Design Document”, however, these GDDs can be interpreted in many different ways. They don’t necessarily have to be in the format of traditional game documentation. For me, Adam suggested that my GDD should be like an interactive website that summarises my research so far. My plan is to build this in a Unity web project so that I can include my prototypes within the GDD itself.


Viability

Before I begin to build my GDD, I want to run some tests to see if my idea is viable. My plan is to host my Unity project on a new GitHub page and map a custom domain to it.

To test this out, I’m first going to create a new GitHub page and then see if I can use it to host my Faded prototype. If I can manage to do this, I then want to set up the page with my custom domain kompile.uk. It seems simple enough, but I want to make sure I can do this before I spend any money on a new domain for Sleep Clear.

Thankfully, getting the game to work was relatively easy, It was simply a case of uploading the Unity web files into my GitHub page’s repository. The only difficult part was changing the CNAME and A records of my domain through my registrar. Unfortunately, this took a lot longer than I would have liked. I thought I managed to get it working the first time, but after a few error emails from GitHub, I realised that I set it up completely wrong. After doing some research on DNS settings I finally managed to fix the issue.

Once I got the game working and the page mapped to my kompile.uk domain, I bought sleepclear.org and mapped my new domain to the page instead:

sleepclear.org.png

I chose a .org domain because they are generally related to charity websites, but also because .co.uk was already taken. Damn you internet! In semester 2 I will probably repurpose this domain to host the game itself. However, this depends on how large the game will eventually become.


Content

Now that I know my idea will work, I want to think about the content of my Unity project itself. To help me understand what kind of information would be best surfaced in my GDD, I’m going to look at a bunch of similar pages. First, I want to check out some of the games highlighted in Games You Can’t Win, an article from The Computer Games Journal. I want to see what the websites for these games look like and what kind of information is immediately available:

What’s obvious from the sample above is that these sites have lots of information available in ‘about’ pages and ‘research’ sections. However, the focal point for these sites are the games themselves and the relevent information orbits around them. I imagine that my GDD will be slightly different, because I don’t yet have a complete game. Instead I have two prototypes and a bunch of research. These prototypes will be playable in the project itself, so maybe these should be the focus. However, I also want a section which includes a summary of my research, so perhaps I can have some interactive information at the very beginning, which then leads into summaries of my research.

To help me figure out what kind of information I want to display and in what way, I’m going to brainstorm some ideas about my GDD:

sketchbook-25sketchbook-26sketchbook-27sketchbook-28sketchbook-29sketchbook-30

My brainstorm helped to surface a bunch of design issues which I might encounter and somethings which I need to think about:

  • What comes first? Prototypes? Stats? I need to grab people’s attention. What will the structure be?
  • What would the “controls” be like? Mouse driven? Static web page?
  • Need to find important statistics to lead with – rough sleeping, hidden homelessness.
  • Stats must be interactive in some way, the player needs to be actively exploring the statistics. Visualizing them in interesting ways will be important.
  • I need to keep it light weight and simple, load times mustn’t be too long.
  • I could use GameObjects in Unity to represent statistics, although this might be too resource intensive. If not, I could create animations or particle systems could work.
  • Must be really intuitive and simple to navigate.
  • Not gameplay driven, it should be driven by information.
  • Prototypes should load from the GDD or include links to them, this depends on load times and the size of the GDD overall.
  • I will need to account for this site on tablet devices. Do mouse clicks translate as touch input? Or will I need to account for this in the code.
  • What will it look like? Clean and simple, or rough and harsh to reflect the realities of homelessness?
  • How will people navigate? Will the GDD be linear or can you go back and forth through it.
  • How many stats should I include? Keeping it simple will help define the message more easily. Bombarding people with numbers might be overwhelming.
  • What comes after the stats? Prototypes? Research? Summary of my findings? I don’t want long text that people have to read. I want to keep it short and to the point.
  • Should I guide the viewer? Or let them explore at their own pace?
  • What comes at the end? An explanation of my plan for the final game? The idea for my FMP?
  • Shall I make new art assets or repurpose ones I have already created. Do I need to include any art in the first place? It could be text driven with interesting animations.
  • Should I include some ambient music? If so, I will need to have a mute button in the GDD at all times.

Structure

Now that I have a sense of what to include in my GDD, I want to start thinking about the structure:

Introduction

“There is a growing problem…”

Homeless statistics/visualisation

“In 2010 the estimated number of people sleeping rough on England’s streets was…”

  • 1768 – Make the player interact to see this number in some way.

“In 2015 this number was…”

  • 3569 – Make the increase obvious and make the player interact again.

Unreliable stats

“These are just estimates.”

“The UK statistics authority found that the government’s Homeless Prevention and Relief statistics ‘Do not currently meet the standard to be national statistics'”

“These numbers could be, and most likely are much higher.”

How did this happen?

  • Research summary on the causes of homelessness.

What can be done?

  • Research summary on what can be done about it – emphasise changing attitudes.

Can games help?

  • Link to prototypes and corresponding research.

FMP Summary

  • Overview and abstract, take from project overview or write a new summary.

I feel like this structure is a good starting point, but I may alter it quite considerable during the process of development.


Logo Iteration

Before I begin to create my GDD, I’ve decided to do some further development of my logo:

Logo 18 was created as a response to Adam’s feedback. I was quite happy with logo 17, but Adam felt that the design still wasn’t quite right. I decided to go in a completely different direction for my final iteration just to see what I could come up with. I’m still not certain of which direction to take and so I’ve decided to stop developing the logo for the time being. It’s not really an important part of my GDD so I will leave it for now. Despite not producing a workable logo design, these iterations have prompted me to change the name of my project to SleepClear.

SleepClear