Want to get into games but get lost in tracking your changes, jotting down your ideas, or don’t know where to start? Look no further than the GDD.

What is a game design doc?

A game design doc is a living document that details the overall vision that shows how the gameplay, story, narrative, art, audio, and UI/UX connect to create a game. Used by an individual or a team, GGDs track changes between departments and help focus ideas into features.

Lauryn Ash, personal definition, and like the GDD, always a work in progress

The Game Design Doc helps align the team to a solid vision. At some companies, it’s a confluence page; at others, it may not even exist. But for every member, a solid GGD supports and solidifies a common goal: making the game you (or you team) strive to make.

It sets goals, establishes vision, and creates conditions of satisfaction. As a solo dev, it aligns you with yourself and becomes your first “build notes,” “dev log,” or “red string through fifty post notes finally typed up into a doc.”

This version has been passed down to me from another dev who probably got it form another dev. I’ve tweaked it to be more for solo to small teams. When I did projects, it helped align me to think more “technical” when I was creative and vice versa.

Hopefully it helps you!

Free game design doc template below!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UP-9rFw2I61NuNPFDZT4cG5MHc-afJHqmHI-RKo2E9g/edit?usp=sharing

Want my template for mid to large teams? Email games@laurynash.com for more info and deets!

Photo by Stas Knop

Lauryn Ash

Game Designer & Writer

About the Author

A full-time game developer and writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I analyze the world through video games and coffee. Sharing my experience in game design, coffee, and writing. All opinions are my own. Patreon coming soon!!

View Articles