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View Full Version : Can I Write a GDD for Assassin's Creed?



Sigma 1313
08-13-2016, 06:10 AM
This is more for the community managers, but I've been thinking about writing a mock game design document for Assassin's Creed Empire and I was curious if that would be breaking any rules. I was allowed to do it for Halo (with Installation 01), and was hoping to write another large document just to garner some attention as a game designer. I would like to share it on here as well. For the community, would you be interested in reading the document? The one I wrote for Installation 01 ended up being 504 pages, but I doubt Assassin's Creed will get that far.

ze_topazio
08-13-2016, 10:31 AM
I don't think there's any problem.

Sigma 1313
08-17-2016, 05:44 AM
Well I already have begun writing it. Not too far on, just have the story, weapons, armor, maps, upgrades, and skills planned.

LoyalACFan
08-18-2016, 07:55 PM
Will you upload it here? I'd like to take a look at it :)

I have a pretty hefty GDD for a game I've been planning as a passion project, but I'm reluctant to put it online since it isn't protected by an existing IP.

Sigma 1313
08-18-2016, 11:23 PM
Will you upload it here? I'd like to take a look at it :)

I have a pretty hefty GDD for a game I've been planning as a passion project, but I'm reluctant to put it online since it isn't protected by an existing IP.

Yeah, I plan to once the first draft is done. I'm currently on page 20. I'm expecting it to be less than 50 since I'm not writing LDDs for each mission and not going too into the exact balancing of every weapon, piece of armor, enemy and so on.

Farlander1991
08-18-2016, 11:32 PM
I have a pretty hefty GDD for a game I've been planning as a passion project, but I'm reluctant to put it online since it isn't protected by an existing IP.

You've mentioned that passion project a couple of times, do you have any prototypes or anything beyond paper design?

The reason I'm asking is because writing a huge GDD before starting doing something really is not the most effective way to work, 95% of it will change anyway because most of the time what looks good on paper even if you've spent lots of time on it starts to fall apart pretty much as soon as you actually start implementation. And that's not just my experience, but of pretty much everyone in the industry who tries to do it like that.

A much more efficient way would be to start off just with a high level concept and defining the core vision and use that as a starting point. Add details and write a comprehensive GDD on the way as things are implemented, prototyped, tested out, discussed, feedback is received, flaws are noticed, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, no game ever comes out as planned beforehand regardless of how much detail you put into the preplanning, so a huge GDD before starting any work is a great exercise but honestly sort of not very useful for the final result.

ze_topazio
08-18-2016, 11:49 PM
Loyal you're talking about that Robin Hood game?

Sigma 1313
08-19-2016, 12:11 AM
@Farlander well not only does the project change, but people (in my experience) don't want to read a 500 page GDD. I ended up writing a secondary 20 page version that simplified it a lot for Installation 01 because no one (not even the leads) wanted to read 504 pages.

LoyalACFan
08-20-2016, 06:47 PM
You've mentioned that passion project a couple of times, do you have any prototypes or anything beyond paper design?

The reason I'm asking is because writing a huge GDD before starting doing something really is not the most effective way to work, 95% of it will change anyway because most of the time what looks good on paper even if you've spent lots of time on it starts to fall apart pretty much as soon as you actually start implementation. And that's not just my experience, but of pretty much everyone in the industry who tries to do it like that.

A much more efficient way would be to start off just with a high level concept and defining the core vision and use that as a starting point. Add details and write a comprehensive GDD on the way as things are implemented, prototyped, tested out, discussed, feedback is received, flaws are noticed, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, no game ever comes out as planned beforehand regardless of how much detail you put into the preplanning, so a huge GDD before starting any work is a great exercise but honestly sort of not very useful for the final result.

Thanks for the advice :) And yeah, I do have some assets; I've got a couple of tech demos in Unreal sitting around somewhere for a couple of the core mechanics. It's been majorly back-burnered in the last year because I'm working on an educational history game for an internship (which is actually pretty sweet and will hopefully be out on Steam in five-ish months, details to come. I'm pretty proud of it).

But yeah, I know the GDD isn't sacred. My project management training was all Agile/Scrum, so it's definitely going against the grain of what I've been taught to have this kind of top-heavy development structure, but honestly, it's more for me to keep my thoughts organized than anything else, and if one day I have the time to trim it down to a reasonable, approachable size, I'll toss it up on my website. All of this is totally hypothetical at the moment though, because as I said, I'm really busy with this internship project and my jobs :p


Loyal you're talking about that Robin Hood game?

Yep, good memory there, Ze :) Working title is Lincoln Green. Although I'm hearing whispers that there are at least two Robin Hood films/shows in the making right now, so I'm trying not to get too firmly attached to the Robin Hood theme. If the market is flooded with RH stuff in the next few years, I might have to uproot my story and mechanics and use a different backdrop. I'd hate to, since they were created specifically to inform that mythos, but I don't want to jump right into something that people are already going to be burned out on.

rob1990312
08-20-2016, 06:54 PM
its sounds great and best of luck with it but i think you should be designing origional content if you want to get noticed something thats yours that people can say oh that guy created all that himself, i reckon lots of people have all ready done what you are about to do, i am not try to put you down it is great to see people doing stuff and creating other than just procrastinating also if you are showing something new to people they will take greater notice of it because they will have no pre concieved idea of id such as with assassins creed, they would actually have to take a closer look at it to see what it is about

LoyalACFan
08-21-2016, 08:55 PM
its sounds great and best of luck with it but i think you should be designing origional content if you want to get noticed something thats yours that people can say oh that guy created all that himself, i reckon lots of people have all ready done what you are about to do, i am not try to put you down it is great to see people doing stuff and creating other than just procrastinating also if you are showing something new to people they will take greater notice of it because they will have no pre concieved idea of id such as with assassins creed, they would actually have to take a closer look at it to see what it is about

This actually isn't quite true; mind you, I'm not really part of the industry yet, but according to all the advice I got at the GDC last year, fan content is totally fine for a portfolio. Employers aren't necessarily looking to hire someone with a really great idea, because frankly, great game ideas are a dime a dozen. Rather, they're looking for people who understand how a game works, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can contribute to it and make it better. Because AAA games require so much talent and manpower to create, chances are you'll always be working on a game that was someone else's idea. Being able to divorce yourself from your precious brainchild project and get excited about somebody else's idea is a good trait to have.

Sigma 1313
08-21-2016, 11:38 PM
This actually isn't quite true; mind you, I'm not really part of the industry yet, but according to all the advice I got at the GDC last year, fan content is totally fine for a portfolio. Employers aren't necessarily looking to hire someone with a really great idea, because frankly, great game ideas are a dime a dozen. Rather, they're looking for people who understand how a game works, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can contribute to it and make it better. Because AAA games require so much talent and manpower to create, chances are you'll always be working on a game that was someone else's idea. Being able to divorce yourself from your precious brainchild project and get excited about somebody else's idea is a good trait to have.

I was just about to say the same thing. Plus I have written many GDDs for work, including for Installation 01, my own game that's being worked on (Beyond Equilibrium) by my team, and several GDDs I've written or worked on with other indie studios who had little to no documentation, roadmaps, and planning done. I can't show most of them because of contracts and NDAs so I'm stuck with I01 and soon Assassin's Creed.

rob1990312
08-22-2016, 12:02 AM
well i have no experience with gdds or any experience with game developement but i do have experience with art and design for over about 7 or 8 years my point really is if your an employee who has seen lots of different candidates wouldnt it be better to see something origional thats stands out assuming its also of good quality instead of another person doing assassins creed or call of duty
For exmaple if there was six games almost identical all of a high standard but five were about assassins creed and the other was an original, you would remember the original one

would i be right in thinking that a gdd would be a standard exercise where the game idea isnt too important but more the overal structure of how the game works on a tchnical level or something like that

LoyalACFan
08-22-2016, 02:04 AM
well i have no experience with gdds or any experience with game developement but i do have experience with art and design for over about 7 or 8 years my point really is if your an employee who has seen lots of different candidates wouldnt it be better to see something origional thats stands out assuming its also of good quality instead of another person doing assassins creed or call of duty
For exmaple if there was six games almost identical all of a high standard but five were about assassins creed and the other was an original, you would remember the original one

would i be right in thinking that a gdd would be a standard exercise where the game idea isnt too important but more the overal structure of how the game works on a tchnical level or something like that

You might remember it, but you also might not care about it or feel like taking a deep dive into the original work of someone you aren't necessarily going to hire. I mean, GDD's are long. Really long, if you're talking about AAA games. If I'm sitting at a desk looking at 20 different portfolios, I might not want to jump into a document for something original that I know nothing about. If you go with an original, it can feel like you're trying to squeeze in a job application and a product pitch at the same time, which isn't really a good thing. I imagine it's different for art, since each full product can typically be seen in its entirety at a single glance, and you want to put forth the greatest visual impact you can in that moment to make your creation memorable. But I'm primarily a writer, and all the advice I've been given has been totally in favor of fan work.

rob1990312
08-22-2016, 04:44 AM
You need to take risks:) it all sounds like playing it safe to me but then again i dont work in the games industry so dont take my opinion too seriously but i wwould like to think that in any creative indusdry that creativity would be encouraged over rinse and reapeating similar ideas. but it is probably more efficient to create a fan fic just for portfolio purposes

LoyalACFan
08-22-2016, 04:53 AM
You need to take risks:) it all sounds like playing it safe to me but then again i dont work in the games industry so dont take my opinion too seriously but i wwould like to think that in any creative indusdry that creativity would be encouraged over rinse and reapeating similar ideas. but it is probably more efficient to create a fan fic just for portfolio purposes

It's still creativity, though. Being in a creative industry doesn't mean everyone gets total freedom of expression to do whatever they want with, it's about many people working together toward a common goal. I don't want to make it sound like the artists/writers/programmers/etc aren't creative or individually influential in the final product, because they certainly are; however, it's about bringing your talents to the table in a way that works toward a singular vision (which, realistically, is typically going to originate as someone else's vision).

Basically, the TL;DR version is that anybody can come up with a sweet game concept and a design doc that looks great on paper, but you need to be able to show that you can be equally effective working within a set of parameters that you didn't create.

ze_topazio
08-22-2016, 07:18 PM
Yep, good memory there, Ze :) Working title is Lincoln Green. Although I'm hearing whispers that there are at least two Robin Hood films/shows in the making right now, so I'm trying not to get too firmly attached to the Robin Hood theme. If the market is flooded with RH stuff in the next few years, I might have to uproot my story and mechanics and use a different backdrop. I'd hate to, since they were created specifically to inform that mythos, but I don't want to jump right into something that people are already going to be burned out on.

Indeed I still remember, and like I told you back then, if that idea fail, you can make a Zorro game instead.

LoyalACFan
08-23-2016, 12:59 AM
Indeed I still remember, and like I told you back then, if that idea fail, you can make a Zorro game instead.

Haha, I remember writing a Zorro fanfic in middle school when I was like 13. Maybe it's time to resurrect it ;)

Sigma 1313
08-29-2016, 01:01 AM
For those interested, I finished writing it yesterday and posted it. However the thread got moved to the community creations forum. I won't link it so this doesn't get moved too. But it should be the first thread in that forum.

The Youtubers LazerzZ and LongEaredFox are doing a livestream on this in a couple days!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWrDk4X2rlY