The Designer’s Notebook: Why Design Documents Matter

One of the most common newbie objections to writing design documents is that nobody reads them. That sounds valid at first, but it actually misses the point. Nobody reads the phone book, either, but if there weren’t a way to look up phone numbers, the telephone would be a lot less useful. Like the phone book, most design documents aren’t intended to be read but referred to. Nobody reads them cover to cover, but managers and developers look things up in them that are relevant to their particular tasks.

Without making this a long rant glorifying Ernest Adams (not because I don’t want to – I do, but I don’t have the entire evening), the latest Designer’s Notebook gives a good overview of why design documents are needed as well as some insight of how they should be used. Not that you hear many complaints about this today, most people at forums have found out that they sound more mature and weathered if they recommend MMORPG-hopefuls to write a design before they start recruiting people to work on their new and exciting idea.

Read it all at Gamasutra.

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Posted on Jul 17/07 by Saint and filed under General game development | No Comments »