Creating Visual Design Documents

When making video games, creating documentation is a very important part of the process. Documentation can be helpful in many different ways such as documents can be used to help keep the team on the same page about design changes, they can also be used to help explain game play to investors or publishers, and can also be used to help you arrange your ideas and think about the game in different ways. Personally I like to start making my visual design docs by sketching out some ideas, sometimes I will sketch out three different layouts that I may use and sometimes I have writers block and I just doodle. Even if I don’t come up with something I can use later this process helps me get in a creative mindset and also allows me to get any of my basic ideas out. After I’m done drawing I start doing a digital block out of my document and at this point I decide how the page is going to be laid out and how much space I will need for each thing I want to talk about. I will write a headline for the mechanic or game feature I want to talk about then I create a large square to represent how much space I need on the document to talk about that feature, this gives me an idea about how big the document needs to be. Once I have the whole document blocked out I finish up my first pass by adding art and any text I need. After the document is finished I always show it to the team for feedback, its always good to show it to at least an artist since they may have some suggestions on how to change the layout of a document to help with flow. When the team is finished giving me feedback I go and make the changes and the document is done. I really like making game design documents, it forces me to think about how all the mechanics work together and it gives me a way to show the rest of the team what my design plans are.

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