Friday, March 10, 2017

Hi there everyone,

I have something I would like to share with my fellow game developers.

It is a game concept template that I have been working on for a while now and I feel like it is pretty solid. I referenced, borrowed, stole, and redesigned loads of professional advice as well as applied my own working process to arrive at this documents current form. It is littered with annotation and my thoughts on each section. I hope you find it useful. 

Game Concept Template

Essentially if you are thinking about making a game you can fill in this template and be better off than without it. I use it for anything I think might have potential, be it a doodle in a sketchbook or an epiphany stumbled upon in the middle of the night, or even a collaborative brainstorm. 
Putting your concept into this form will:

  1. force you to clearly define your concept. 
  2. allow you to share your concept with other.

It's the fastest way to test your concept at this early stage. 

For more on My Concept of a Player Paragon, check out Matt Hall's words on improving your shot at success. 


Game Concept Template

Without formatting...below

Concept Proposal

Author(s) of Concept



GAME DESCRIPTION (SHORT)

Here write a brief description of the game. Include the main theme, goal, genre, style, 2D/3D. Keep it short and sweet. Max 4 lines.



PLATFORM

Which platforms will be targeted? (facebook, iOS, Android, Stream, GoG, Console etc...)
It’s a good idea to limit initial platforms, one is often best to start with, but have a plan to expand.


CORE MECHANICS / GAME LOOP

Describe the Core Mechanics of the game and any fundamental game loop(s). Goals of the game. How do you win/progress? How do you control the actors? I prefer to use a flow chart for loops. For core mechanics keep it loose and basic you won’t be able to say any with any certainty until you have built a prototype for them.




Mock-up FOR GAME SCREEN (optional)

Describe or create a mock-up for the actual game screen. What will it look like when playing. HUD and UI elements. Scale and position should be represented but placeholder art sufficient.
Not and artist? Who cares. Use MS paint or google drawings. Just need to have an idea where to put stuff and what NEEDS to be on the game screen. If you want a UI like Xgame, it is better to re draw it than it is to just use a screen cap (you’ll discover things you wouldn’t have otherwise).

USP / COMPETITION

Highlight any Unique Selling Points in your game. Identify other games that would share your market. 
I like to call this a “HOOK” Essentially it is answering one of the most important things about your game. WHY? Why this game? Could be a unique combination or a novel piece of tech. Avoid things like YourGame is a mash up of OtherGame and AnotherGame. Be more specific.


MARKET ANALYSIS

Who is gonna buy your game? How much do they typically spend on games like mine? How does my game compare in perceived value, in other words how much can I expect them to pay for my game? How much do you need to spend to get them to listen? This last is your marketing budget question, you’re look for things like UAC(User Acquisition Cost) and ARPU (average revenue per user). If you are unfamiliar with this consider parntering with someone who is.
If you didn’t start with this you are making games for fun or as a hobby. Even if you are just making games for fun it’s important to look at where you game fits in the marketplace. If you hope to make any money at all this is ESSENTIAL.



MONETIZATION

What are the ways in which your game will make money? What in your game will make your player want to spend real money?
My least favorite topic but if you are looking at game development as a business or even just sustaining your hobby with revenue, it's time to sort this out. If you have done your Market Research this question is all but answered for you.


TARGET AUDIENCE

Which players will your game target? And how will you reinforce this? Age, gender, gamer type? Who is your Player Paragon? 
The player paragon is your ultimate fan. The ONE person you am making this game for. The person, whether real or fictional, is like a lighthouse in the stormy sea of development. It helps maintain creative vision throughout the project simply by asking yourself, “would PlayerParagon like this in the game?” *this should not be yourself or a team member.


LONG-TERM VISION

What happens to the game after a successful release? How will the game remain attractive for long-term play OR what other opportunities are there to expand the game. 
Now that you have got all of the essentials out time to entertain a few pipe-dreams. All of your what ifs go here.




ART STYLE / INSPIRATION

What’s it look like? Provide as much inspiration as possible (if you have already defined this.) Examples of inspiration. Art Style examples, Color palettes, Concept art, Mock-ups, Books/comics/movies...
When using this proposal internally we usually devote an entire shared folder for this kinda thing. When sharing a proposal with investors or board members or their ilk put your best stuff here. Sometimes the aesthetics of the concept is more ephemeral, especially if you, the author, are less artistically inclined. This is okay. Just do your best.

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