Game Development Reference
This section should also include your comments on which parts of the project are rel-
atively safe. If you have any of the traditional risks covered (for example, having a full
team already in place or being able to re-use an existing game engine), then say so.
The goal of concept development is to produce a game proposal and a concept doc-
ument. These should emphasize the high points of your game and the ability of your
team to deliver a quality product, on time and on budget. As a tester or test lead,
provide estimates for the schedule, estimate test equipment costs for the budget, and
identify test risks for the risk analysis.
Preproduction is gearing-up time. Your goal is to complete the game design, create the
art bible, establish the production path, write up the project plan, and create a proto-
type. This phase is also used to do technical prototyping to demonstrate the feasibili-
ty of any new technology you hope to deliver. Preproduction basically proves that
your team can make the game and that the game is worth making.
If you are an independent developer, your publisher can also use preproduction as a
test-the-waters period for your relationship with them. If they learn that you are pro-
fessional, reasonable, and able to deliver on time, they're likely to go ahead. Otherwise,
they might write off their loss and move on.
The work products of this phase are the game design document (GDD), the art pro-
duction plan, the technical design document (TDD), and the project plan, which itself
is actually a suite of documents. Preproduction culminates in the delivery of the game
prototype—a working piece of software that shows off how fun the game is to play.
The Game Design Document
By the end of preproduction, you should have a game design document that exhaus-
tively details everything that will happen in the game. The features in this document
become the requirements from which the art production plan and the technical plan
During the development cycle, the game design document should always be the most
current representation of everything there is to know about what the player experi-
ences in the game. This should include complete information about the gameplay, user
interface, story, characters, monsters, AI, and everything else, down to the finest detail.