Archive for month: March, 2011

Writing Better Game Design Docs

22 Mar
22 March 2011

Text has an important role in game development.  From pitches to system designs to team emails, effective writing is a valuable tool.  Which is why it’s always surprising to see how awful most documents are or how rare it is to encounter anyone interested in changing this.

I’m certain myriad people have been tasked to improve internal docs at various companies.  As far as I can tell, that results in templates, naming conventions, filing schema, preferred fonts, and similar standardization details.  In other words: nothing that will produce more effective writing.

I’ve been scribbling game-related things of one variety or another for more than thirty years.  As a packrat, I have a fair amount of that piled about, ranging from six-year-old me’s awesome Atari 2600 pitches to my first professional work on Age of Empires.  Looking over it, I assure you that I’ve made a vast number of mistakes and inflicted my share of the crappy docs on people.  But my work has  improved over the years and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to write things that are more useful to the team.  These are some of the big changes I notice across years of docs.

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