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Ink - Creating a Game Design
About This Document
About the Structure of This Project (4/20/2009)

Before starting into the details of what Ink is, who the characters are, what the story is, how it will play, and the like, I want to explain exactly how this whole project is going to work. First off, you should understand that I'll be doing this a bit differently than if I was creating the game design for use in an actual project. But, to explain how it's going to be different, I need to explain a bit about the types of documents that are required for a game project.
The most important document for any game project is called the design document. A game design document can, depending on the game, range anywhere from several pages to several hundred pages long (or even longer). It contains all the key information on what the game will contain, how it will play, who the heroes are, who the enemies are, what items and moves they'll use, the basic story, etc, etc, etc. The design document is the most important piece of reference material for pretty much everyone working on a game. Depending on the game, there may also be some important secondary documents as well. A couple of the most common ones are the art bible (which contains all the important concept and reference artwork) and the story bible or script (which contains all the dialogue and text for the game). Sometimes they're included as part of the main design doc but they're often kept separate to prevent the design doc from becoming too long and unmanageable.
Most of the information about Ink that I'll be posting here will be things that would normally go into the design doc, though there'll be some items from the script and art bible as well. But I'm going to be doing a lot more than formal documentation. Since one of my goals here is to teach people about the game design process, I'll be spending plenty of time talking about how I came up with my ideas, why I made certain decisions, the reason different sections are necessary, and the like. So, in the end, this document will read like a mix between a design document, a designer diary, and a teaching lecture.
There's one other thing I should bring up. If I was actually writing this as part of an active game project and had an entire team working with me, I'd be sure to focus on certain parts of the design first. For example, after getting the general concept nailed down, the focus would probably be on creating the basic details about the main characters and areas, so the concept artists could get to work on them, and the basic gameplay system, so the programs could start on the main framework of the game. On the other hand, if I was just trying to create a formal design document for a school project or to turn over to a full team later on, I'd probably "start at the top" and work my way through, one section at a time. But this will be different. Since I'm just doing this for fun, and to teach any interested people a bit about a game design, I'm going to be somewhat lax with the order in which things are written. I may talk about a particular character one day, some random feature of the battle system another, and then spend the next describing the flow of a cut-scene. I may even dip into some things that would often be left to other members of the team (be they artists, programmers, or other designers). The main document itself will still be nice and organized, it just won't necessarily be updated in a very orderly fashion.
Keeping that in mind, welcome to the world of Ink. I hope you enjoy the journey.

Pokemon and all related images and trademarks are copyrighted by Nintendo, one of my favorite games companies who would certainly never waste their time by trying to sue me. Especially since I'm protected under the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Aside from that the actual site content is copyrighted by me, Josiah Lebowitz 2003.