One of the biggest issues I see everyday with aspiring game designers is they often haven’t thought through what their game actually is. Sure, they have a general idea of what mechanics are in the game and a theme, but that’s about as deep as it goes. The first question I ask is if they have written a one pager. The answer is almost always “No”. The reason I am often given for not doing this is that they felt they didn’t have time waste writing a document when they could be building the game itself.
It doesn’t help that there are a lot of developers out there who have been quite vocal in the “uselessness” of documentation. I will agree that building a 300 page game design document before building ANYTHING is probably not the best use of a designers time, but to forego all documentation is foolish. Design by definition is a “plan”, which means documenting what is to be created. To me, the one pager is the most useful document there is as it forces the designer to clearly breakdown what it is they are trying to attempt. If you can’t explain what you want to do in a single page of writing, how are you ever going to build it?
After becoming frustrated with having to explain how to write an effective one page document for the millionth time, I decided I needed to provide an example. With that in mind, I wrote a one pager on writing one pagers which I am sharing with the world now. Oh, and for people who have seen this in the past, I have just updated it to make it even better. Enjoy! (more…)