Ever start out trying to make a small backyard garden plot, and then look at it and realize it is trying to turn into a hundred acre wood? No? It’s about how I feel right now.
I just turned in my design doc last night. Emailed it at about 11:50pm EST, about ten minutes before the deadline for the initial entry. It’s still a work in progress, mind you. I really would not consider an MMO design doc done til all the mechanics are completely laid out, for instance – and because I have still not 100% settled between the two Torque MMO Kit options, that’s not possible yet, so all I have are the broad strokes instead of specifics. Nor do I have an art list, with every art element required added. Nor are all of the lines of dialogue written, although that’s not *usually* frontloaded into the design doc, I’d like to get it completed ahead of most of the development. Story first, remember. The overall map is done, but not the specific placements of each building and object, nor are things like dungeon maps in there yet.
Still, it’s a decent starting point.
My biggest concern is that the game might be trying to get away from me… “Simplest Game” is a concept I have been trying to use as a guiding principle, and there is a serious danger here of being too ambitious – getting too far ahead of myself, trying to put too much on the design plate. Looking at the design last night, as I prepared to send it off, I wondered if I might have done that. Took too many chances on new ideas and mechanics – added too many zones and locations – mapped too many cities and regions…
Hard to say. But I will be taking a long, hard look at the game design to see about trimming any fat.
As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been debating posting the design doc as submitted. I don’t want to give out any specific quests, dialogue, or other adventure-specific materials. That would ruin actually PLAYING the game for folks! 😉 But that sort of thing isn’t in the doc yet, and I think that most of what’s in there right now will interest people, rather than spoil things.
No one else from the contest has given out their design doc yet. It’s one of those game dev taboos, you know – one of those things you Just Don’t Do. NDAs and secrecy cloud the transmutation of ideas and concepts into hardened document. So I’m thinking maybe I’ll be different. 😉 Let everyone else see my writing. Maybe I’ll get some good comments. Maybe my formating of the doc will help someone else out who’s having a rough time. Maybe my wonderful prose will inspire someone to volunteer to help my game out. Who knows? But – I’ll give it a shot and try tipping this sacred cow.
I’ll leave the PDF link in a comment, so click the comments link at the top of this message to read where it is. That’ll leave a track of how many views that page has had, so I know roughly how many people downloaded it. I’m just curious how much interest there will be. 😉